Since the arrival of e-commerce, some fears have emerged about the future disappearance of physical shops. However, these technological advances are not synonymous with the reduction of distribution channels, but instead of enriching them. We now live in a century in which technology and physical points of sale meet to form : ‘Phygitalization’.
The concept of the phygital was registered by the Australian marketing agency Momentum in 2016. Phygital is the fusion between “Physical” and “Digital”. Momentum defines it as “the transformation of physical stores in the digital age : the concepts rethought to offer a new customer experience and to use digital tools as a sales support.”
How can a physical store be digitized ?
We’re witnessing the growing impact of mobile devices on consumers habits, and it represents an opportunity that businesses shouldn’t neglect. Let’s take the example of the virtual reality application idea set up by Sephora through its mobile app, which allows the products to be digitally tested by consumers. Consumers uses this glamorous new technology, called Modiface, by scanning their eyes and lips so that the products are then digitally added onto their face, demonstrating the digital representation of the product.
Phygitalization has also created a new way of distribution : starting with an automatic pay station, which leads to new technology such as geolocation technology, Click-and Collect and e-booking websites to finally simplify the purchase path.
For example our partner, the retailer Intermaché in France, started to propose their customers to purchase their products online, and then to pick them up at the closest store. This new way to buy changed the way for people to consume.
The reduction of time-loss related to payment
Intermarché equally offers a way for their consumers to pay faster by using an automatic checkout, the users were able to shop, pay, and go instead of waiting at a regular pay station. In fact these examples are the beginning of the phygitalization that have already been adopted by most of the biggest markets.
We can also illustrate the concept of phygitalization with advertising surfaces and mobile payment in physical stores.
When Apple released their new iPhones which offer the NFC technology and therefore , allows the consumer to enter their credit card and pay with their phone.
Following those events, the french bank Banque Populaire allowed their clients to set up a new security technology to answer to this new payment device. These changes also included a new investment for all the retailers who had physical shops equipped by POS (Point of Sale) that only accepted credit card by entering the card into the POS to a new one where you can swipe the credit card on the terminal.
This union between online and offline is perfectly illustrated by Amazon Go grocery stores. In these shops, the customer does not go through the checkout at any time to make payment. All they have to do is scan a code on their smartphone to receive an electronic receipt indicating the amount of their purchases.
The Phygitalization, a risk for humanity ?
Now in all these news technologies we just talked about, we could wonder if the phygitalization is a bad thing for human ? If we think this through, we could say that the salesperson has become an adviser, who suggests the new shopping experiences to the consumer. And from now on, all salespeople must train and become perfectly comfortable with all the new tech’. Those same salespeople also have to get the knowledge and understand marketing and commercial strategies.
Thus, sales people are supported by this technology to provide an experience that in turn promotes the sale of the product and more in the future. In fact, the different concepts thought out around phygitalization will create favourable emotions so that customers will return to the store. Therefore, digital technology widens the range of possibilities and does not necessarily lead to the loss of physical stores and its sellers.
Knowing that phygitalization refers to the process by which a point of sale will combine the advantages of a physical presence with digital applications. We are happy to say that we are a part of the phygitalization of this new century. And how so ? Because Click2Buy’s solution is a perfect answer to this need, as it supports companies’ multi-channel strategies. Indeed, the widget shows the different distributors who own the product according to their distribution channel. Thus it offers the consumer a direct choice of purchase method : either physical or online or both at the same time (respectively online purchase and going to the physical point of sale to pick it up).