Phygital: Technology integration is progressing at a fast pace and its revolutionary adoption in the physical commerce world has created a whole new experience for the retail segment. Considering customers still crave sensory aspects in the real-time shopping experience, a majority of retailers are exploring the need to adopt a phygital approach to bring in immersive customer experiences. It optimises their purchase journey by combining the physical and online worlds.
What is Phygital?
Phygital is the term that describes two very different but equally important experiences – physical and digital. It aims to maximise the experience of customers.
Digital has no longer remained just a medium but has turned into a way of life. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed businesses to pivot to online mode and the post-pandemic period engendered the adoption of hybrid models. According to a report – nearly 82 per cent of shoppers will use their mobile phones to read product reviews and find better deals in a physical store. As a result, brands are successfully mapping customer journeys across online and offline touchpoints.
Understanding the phygital approach
To move ahead in the hybrid journey of retail, brands were trying to integrate technology into their physical retail model. Simply put, retailers moving from in-store to online or vice versa creates a phygital world.
Investing in digital functionalities within the customer’s physical experiences provides them with convenience and immediate accessibility to online and interpersonal interaction. To enable this, brands need to intensify their efforts in creating an omnichannel presence. Implementing the right mix of phygital marketing tactics including on-ground experience, activating social listening, and ORMs can help them reach their omnichannel marketing goals.
According to Navin Joshua – Founder & Director of GreenHonchos – the efforts can be further aggravated by embedding AI-enabled tools and bots to gather an enormous amount of customer data and create personalized experiences for diverse customer groups.
“The present retail market is highly competitive and brands must leverage a combination of the right strategy, innovation and technology to create a multiplier growth effect. By integrating the channels of commerce, brands can accelerate the composition of the physical and digital worlds while offering seamless customer experience,” Joshua added.
Realising omnichannel potential
Currently, retailers are deriving about 13 per cent of their sales or $11.2 billion from e-commerce/Omnichannel, with the potential to grow 5 times to $55 billion by 2027. There are no two ways about it that Omnichannel retailing has enormous potential in India both from customers’ and retailers’ standpoints. Customers can interact with the company through any channel at any time and retailers can innovate their business models.
“Omnichannel can solve some difficult problems such as broken sizes, high inventory levels, and longer delivery times. Retailers thriving in the offline space and exploring ways to go online need to leverage technology and use their stores as unique assets to meet customers’ demands and improve their in-store experience. On the other hand, retailers in online businesses planning to go offline need to acquire expertise in staffing, commercial real estate, cash flow, assortment and inventory management and other domain areas where online businesses don’t have experience,” Joshua said.
The paradigm shift in customer behaviour is constituting a hybrid world. Phygital experiences are gaining more traction as businesses are exploring the options to create an omnichannel presence. This is creating a breeding ground for phygital marketers to develop strategies and create robust omnichannel experiences for sustained business growth.
Source: EXPLAINED: What is Phygital? How it is redefining user experience, behaviour in retail industry | Zee Business