What is Phygital Retail?

Brian McPeek Phygital retail

Phygital retail combines both physical and digital experiences so customers can choose their preferred shopping channel. Brian McPeek notes that for many it offers the best of both worlds: the immersive, personal experience of trying products in the store, and the convenience and customization tools of e-commerce.

Even before “phygital” became a marketing buzzword, consumers were already using both online and offline channels to make a purchase. They do online product research so they can minimize the time they spend in stores, or try a product personally then make repeat purchases online.

What are the benefits of phygital retail?

According to one study, more than 50% consumers already have phygital shopping habits, and will grow to 70% in the next few years. By creating meaningful and positive shopping experiences online and offline—and making sure those are integrated and unified—brands can increase sales and build loyalty.

Is phygital retail possible on a small marketing budget?

Even start-ups or local brands can create an effective phygital retail strategy. In fact, this is one of the best ways for a new brand to make a strong impression on a customer and compete with bigger stores or cheaper brands.

Click and collect

Allow customers to place orders online, and then pick it up from the store when it’s convenient for them. They don’t have to line up at the store, and they save on shipping fees.

Curbside delivery

Customers can order online, and then arrange for the staff to bring the item to them while they wait in the parking lot or curb. This method became very popular during the pandemic, when people could not enter stores because of social distancing.

Even in the New Normal, curbside delivery is a good phygital retail strategy in areas where parking is limited or inconvenient.

Buy and deliver

Conversely, customers can browse and buy in the store, and then have the items delivered to them. This is ideal for big, bulky items or products that customers like to see beforehand (i.e, fresh food items like meat or produce, clothes).

Brands can take this a step further and offer customers the opportunity to schedule repeat deliveries. They just need to keep a record of the customer’s shopping history and preferences.

Digital displays

Instead of using posters, stores can use touch screens to showcase new items, customers reviews, product tutorials, or other relevant information.

The screens also pave the way for more interactive content such as quizzes, or the chance to leave a review in exchange for free items or discounts.

Pop-up stores

Pop-up stores

Online stores can open a temporary pop-up store in a strategic location or during peak shopping events like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, the holidays, or Black Friday. To encourage customers to drop by the store, they can offer limited-edition products or store-only discounts.

This is an excellent way for a brand to reach a new target market or test the waters before investing in a brick-and-mortar store.

How can technology drive and enhance phygital experiences?

The latest technology can create very immersive, personalized shopping experiences. While the cost may be too prohibitive for most brands, it gives a hint of the future of phygital and all omnichannel experience.

Augmented and virtual reality

Customers can “try on” different products—makeup, clothes, or even a new hairstyle. Luxury brands like Gucci and Burberry are already offering this service, and ASOS (an online fashion retailer) recently had a virtual catwalk that allowed consumers to see how a dress would look like on models of different sizes.

Virtual carts

In some Amazon Go stores, customers can buy what they want without going through check out. Instead, they use a virtual cart which is connected to their Amazon profile, and their purchases are then charged to their account.

Digital wearables

Guests of luxury liner Princess Cruises are given an Ocean Medallion, a pendant where they can log in purchases, make reservations, or communicate with the staff. The pendant helps create frictionless experiences and learns the user’s preferences to make smarter recommendations.

The future is phygital

Phygital combines offline and online experiences to provide more meaningful and immersive experiences. It is the future of retail—and an opportunity for all brands to find creative and effective ways of connecting to customers across different platforms.

By Brian McPeek

Brian McPeek official blog

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *