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Phygital Retail: The Key to Future
Retail Success


by Jasdeep Kohli

With people returning to in-store shopping with renewed enthusiasm, it is clear the nature of shopping has changed forever. Most people turned to some form of online shopping during the pandemic, and for many, the habits and preferences formed online have persevered.

According to Forbes, customers expect brands and retailers to not only keep up with the changes brought on by the pandemic, but also to enhance customer experiences beyond what could be expected traditionally in brick-and-mortar stores. The way forward is a hybrid, omnichannel approach to retail that seamlessly blends digital elements with physical. Additionally, consumers have become accustomed to speed, convenience, and personalization in every transaction. In other words, customers want the same experience in-store that they get while shopping online. Enter: ‘phygital’ retail.

What is Phygital Retail?

‘Phygital’ refers to the use of technology to bridge the digital and physical worlds to create unique interactive experiences for the user. Combining the best of both worlds, phygital retail helps improve customer experience and boost sales revenue.

According to Shopify, there are three key elements in phygital retail:

  • Immersion: making consumers part of the experience
  • Immediacy: shoppers are able to get what they need and want straight away, satisfying the desire for instant gratification
  • Interaction: allowing customers to touch, feel and engage with your products

Services such as ‘click and collect’/buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS), self-checkout , endless aisle and digital storefronts are all key examples of phygital retail in action.
‘Click and collect’ combines the ease of online shopping with the instant gratification of collecting items at a convenient time from the brick-and-mortar store, as well as saving on shipping costs.

Phygital Solutions for Your Retail Store

Scala offers innovative solutions to help retailers merge the digital and physical for a truly hybrid shopping experience. Here we explore some of these solutions, and their benefits.

Smart Fitting Room

Scala’s Smart Fitting Room provides a digital touchpoint in the fitting room for shoppers to request assistance while trying on items. Each fitting room is equipped with a device that allows them to alert staff, who receive an instant on-screen and audio notification. Smart Fitting Rooms can also be equipped with interactive digital screens or tablets from Scala that integrate with the store’s inventory app. This allows customers to request items to be delivered to the fitting room, as well as explore styling suggestions, view lookbooks and delve further into the store’s selection of products.

Interactive Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are a useful tool in phygital retail for many reasons. Kiosks can be used to access and order products and inventory beyond the physical store (Endless Aisle), as well as to access digital catalogues, lookbooks, and store-specific apps to facilitate deeper product discovery. Interactive kiosks are a key element of Scala’s assisted selling concepts, allowing retailers to create and deploy fully interactive experiences to engage customers.

Self-Checkout Kiosks

Self-Checkout Kiosks enable customers to take their shopping journey into their own hands and help provide a sense of convenience and ease during checkout. Self-checkout helps alleviate long queues in stores and provides opportunities for retailers to deliver relevant advertising and brand messaging at the point of purchase.

Interactive Product Discovery (Lift & Learn/Place & Learn/Scan & Learn/ Touch & Tell)

Lift & Learn/Place & Learn style solutions are some of the best examples of ‘phygital’ retail because they literally combine the physical elements of retail shopping (picking up and handling products, feeling fabrics and finishes) with digital elements that enable deeper product discovery.

With Lift & Learn and Place & Learn, a product is either lifted from a shelf or placed on a specially designed platform equipped with sensors. This movement triggers a nearby digital screen to display product details. Customers can lift/place different branded items to compare features, price and other details to assist with their purchase decision.

Scala’s Touch & Tell or ‘smart mannequin’ solution, on the other hand, is specifically designed for clothing. Fabric sensors are embedded in the mannequin’s clothing, and touching them triggers a nearby screen to display more information about the item.

Scan & Learn allows shoppers to scan a product to reveal product details and features.

Digital Shelf Edge Displays

Digital Shelf Edge Displays help retailers deliver powerful in-aisle shopping experiences and capture customers at the point of purchase by delivering relevant messaging and product and price information in-aisle. Customers benefit from the convenience of up-to-date, real-time pricing information and relevant messaging to assist with their purchase decisions.

Evolve your retail store today with Scala

Scala partners with many global retail brands to help them in their digital transformation journey. Discover our range of innovative retail solutions here: https://apac.scala.com/in/industries/retail/

About the Author:

Jasdeep Kohli, Vice President Marketing – APAC at STRATACACHE/SCALA, leads the spectrum of marketing initiatives across the Asia-Pacific region, which include, product marketing, brand, events, business planning, communications and market research. With extensive cross-disciplinary expertise in marketing, branding and management, he has been a key driver in raising the brand visibility and elevating the market leadership of STRATACACHE & SCALA in APAC. His passion for retail marketing and customer experience drives him to develop innovative and customer-focused approaches to business opportunities.

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