Three reliable strategies – good merchandise, offers and simple transactions – have brought glory to brick and mortar retail stores for years. But the advent of web based shopping experience has urged the retail industry to look beyond the physical world and venture into its digital counterpart.
The tech savvy consumer of the digitized world is accustomed to immediate and personalized shopping experience of online channels and has grown to expect the same from brick and mortar stores. To meet this demand, retailers are incorporating e-commerce into their business and creating a “Phygital” customer experience by adding digital experiences into their physical stores.
The “Phygital” experience helps the retail store understand the customer’s in-store behavior through online engagement and interactions. This data coupled with an interactive experience, both in physical and digital environments, is used to provide personalized and contextual advice to influence the customer’s buying behavior.
Internet of Things (IoT) is a game changer for retailers looking to provide better consumer experience and understand instore customer behaviour. It is used to collect data about customers from different channels such as videos, mobile, web, social, self-service etc. This equips the organization to deliver personalized, predictive and productive experiences to their customers.
The brick and mortar retail stores of the future will be equipped with the following features – IoT enabled sensors which can detect customer location inside the store and deliver personalized messages on their handheld devices; Smart mirrors which can be used in changing rooms to help customers try one outfit in multiple colors or suggest accessories that will complement the current selection; RFID wrist bands to provide personalized experiences in-store such as special access to certain parts of the store or payment methods; Delivering store assistance via smartphones to help customers with product search, suggestions or billing.
The improved retail store will not only help retailers understand their customers better but also improve inventory management, identify issues in store operations and pinpoint underperforming merchandise. Stores with personalized messaging and better inventory levels are known to more likely convert shoppers into buyers and retain brand loyalty.
The Phygital future of brick and mortar retail stores will bridge the existing gap between the digital and physical store experience, and enhance the in-store customer experience by bringing together the best from both worlds.