2019, the Phygital year?
How to take advantage of an enriched customer experience with the advice of store vendors, the ability to touch and test products while enjoying the benefits of digital (instant, fluidity and completeness)? A contraction of the words "digital" and "physical", phygital illustrates this major change affecting all retailers.
We no longer oppose physical commerce to online commerce, we complement them. A strategic and technological change able to revitalize stores and create new growth drivers for merchants and e-merchants.
After several years of testing and experimentation, 2019 should finally mark the true democratization of phygital.
The store digitalization meets a double expectation: to welcome the consumers in store with new experiences, and to capitalize on the value created by the consumer knowledge.
If the purpose remains the same (better serve the client), the process has considerably changed. Some examples :
We witness the opening of Flagship pop-up stores with fewer references but giving access to the brands entire catalogue of product with the possibility to get fast delivery on-site.
Some stores, like Bloomindales Home feature terminals where you can scan any product through the store and access to the full product information instantly.
This phygital revolution is not only about traditional retail. Even the e-commerce giant Amazon has decided to phygitaliaze its offers by opening physical outlets. Amazon Go is the first cashless supermarket in the United States of America. A concept of "digital" stores that could be deployed in the future at airports.
How to achieve the phygital turn?
The first step is to map your existing tools and channels: website, mobile app, social networks, stores, etc. This makes it possible to define a clear strategy, because the phygital offers many opportunities: experiential in-store, ship-from-store, drive-to-store, connected store, increased seller etc.
Once your map is structured, you can converge your tools and channels in an omnichannel approach to place the shopper at the center of the strategy.
Finally, the training and support of sales teams in parallel with a deployment of appropriate technological choices will complete this transformation.
What are the levers for phygital?
The phygital is a comprehensive strategy that integrates both front-end components, which are seen by the client, and work in backend for smoother data convergence and channels. Some examples :
Retailers in full phygitalization
Front-end: the connected experiential
Vendor tablets (clienteling)
The provision of connected mirrors and touch screens,
Cashless shops and virtual queues
A click-and-collect approach or refund/replacement in store...
Back-end: behind the scenes logistics and technology
The ship-from-store to virtualize physical stocks and e-commerce
The in-store analytics with the SmartBox to measure the impact of the store actions
The convergence of online and offline data for a fluid experience
Predictive analysis to anticipate demands and better manage resources, ...
While phygitalization is developing as a bottom-line trend, the sooner retailers will be able to make this shift the sooner they will take the lead needed to meet the new consumer needs. Essential process to step away from competition in a world where giants like Sears, Target and Toys R Us are wavering one after the other.