December 18, 2019 / Consumer

The Phygital Effect

Last year we took a deep dive into why bringing back the human aspect to retail would help it to thrive, reinvigorating shoppers’ love for the physical store and reigniting the high street. With 82% of retail still done in physical spaces, it is no surprise to see consumers return to the high street to find delight.

82% of retail is still done in physical spaces

However retail is continually changing. Brands that are thriving are those that are investing in a physical space and evolving with it. Blending this new age of the physical and the digital, or the ‘phygital’, companies are finding that inspiring one helps the other. Proving that physical retail is still cultivating curiosity, statistics show that opening just one new physical store results in an average 37% increase in overall traffic to that retailer’s website, which increases to 45% when a brand is just emerging. 

opening just one new physical store results in an average 37% increase in overall traffic to that retailer’s website, which increases to 45% when a brand is just emerging.

In the past year, we have seen many store openings that inspire the industry. Whether it’s brand giants like Samsung or Adidas opening tech-enabled flagships, or online brands like Pat McGrath and Morphe seeing success in opening their first physical sites in the UK, there is no doubt that the line between the physical and digital are blurred. As we see Gen Z’s spending power flourish, the digitally native cohort are hypercognitive in cross-referencing many sources and integrating information with experience. 

Helping people connect to products has meant brands are forming communities in an entirely new way. While using social platforms to help engage and spark interest, physical spaces help bring people together in real life. Glossier uses this ethos by choosing specific cities to help shoppers fall in love with products and also create a social buzz that goes beyond just one place.

it is now almost impossible to understand the offline and online separately

Rather than looking at one channel, it is now almost impossible to understand the offline and online separately. Incorporating the omnichannel into a physical store means understanding that consumers no longer see a brand as just the product, but as a whole, wanting to understand the values and ethos that surrounds it. 

Known for loud values, vegan brand Lush has paved a way for doing this well. Their social values and physical presence both shout about standing up against animal cruelty and advocating for a sustainable future. There is little to no packaging used for products, and they are transparent about the process products go through before they come into the store. 

Ethical shopping is not new, but it is definitely on the rise, and while companies should be wary about greenwashing, brands should use multichannel media to help consumers understand where their values lie, and how they are helping communities. In our blog, Engaged Ethics, we looked at why this is so important to consumers and how using phygital e-commerce can help shoppers understand the ethos behind a brand. 

Using tech has become an everyday necessity in modern-day life. With smartphone users spending an average of 4 1/2 hours a day on their phones, it only seems sensible that we should be utilising e-commerce moving forward. However, this does not mean negating the physical and human aspects of shopping. On the contrary, we should be utilising tech to help invigorate curiosity and educate consumers in-store, harnessing discovery and optimising visibility. 

Insights

  • Brands should be thinking outside the box when looking at how best to use technology in-store. More than just a screen, the tech should be purposeful, helping consumer engagement, navigation, and discovery in store. 
  • Consider how to build community in-store and online. Whether it’s using unlikely platforms like Pinterest, Reddit, Tik-Tok or hosting unusual events like plays, talks or yoga, brands should be looking to understand their consumer interests and engage with their interests and values.