Phygital is a term of phrase describing the use of technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world- with the purpose of providing a unique interactive experience for consumers. Although traditional brick-and-mortar commerce is slowly declining- combining it with advanced technologies to offer a personalised experience could work as a renaissance of sorts

The rise of luxury shopping in 2020

Although luxury ecommerce grew by 23.3% in 2017 and is expected to rise to 20% by 2025, luxury shoppers are still less inclined to buy online compared to consumers in other sectors. In order to combat the disparity between online and offline purchases for luxury products, brands must accommodate the needs of their customers and create authentic and personal online experiences tailored specifically towards them.

Why it’s important to consider a Phygital approach

 A report from Google found that although 75% of luxury consumers research online before making a purchase, 72% still prefer to purchase in-store with a further 65% of these customers stating that they want to touch and feel a product before buying. The incredibly high level of customer service experienced during an in-store purchase will undoubtedly be a large contributing factor, as shopping in-store offers consumers a bespoke one-on-one service with a member of staff which can be lost when shopping online.

Let’s get Physical: Brands that are already implementing this strategy 

A key to achieve high-level customer retention for online retailers is to consider combining the one area they lack in with their strongest assets- through physical experiences. Despite receiving the utmost efficiency and attributes through ecommerce like same-day delivery, customers still crave human interaction. 

Gucci

This feeling of exclusivity needs to be adapted to the online shopping experience in order to accommodate the needs and expectations of a luxury consumer audience. For example, Gucci has recently added a feature to their website which allows customers to “Shop the runway”. This enables customers instant access to catwalk looks and invites them into the inner circle of designers and influencers, regardless of whether or not they were sat on the front row with them! Another example is Dior who are giving customers a more personalised experience by offering them a call with Dior expert who will call consumers to answer any questions they may have regarding products.

gucci

Glossier

Glossier utilise technology to listen to their customers on a large scale and engage with them to build smarter discovery algorithms as they understand that customer engagement is crucial to the success of their brand. Nurturing strong connections with their customers through social media, by answering comments and being directly reachable, is another key factor which has contributed to the success of the brand. Glossier used this connection with their customers to launch a pop-up retail space in London which gave customers an omnichannel retail experience, with tablet POS systems that ordered products from the in-house stock room and delivered them to a collection point for customers to collect on their way out of the space.

glossier

TopShop

Topshop discovered it was important to consider this after their own research showed that customers favoured interaction over transaction. Therefore, they seamlessly combined both the physical and digital worlds together to create a unique consumer experience which generated 6.5 million media impressions and drastically increased their footfall and sales. Using part of a real waterslide, sounds and smells of summer and a VR headset, Topshop created an immersive and memorable customer experience. Some of the biggest businesses in the game have recognised this shift in priorities and subsequently, set altered plans in place to accommodate this.

topshop waterslide

If your brand exists exclusively online, what strategy could you consider to transform it into a Phygital one? 

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