For the first time ever, marketers have noted a reduction in their cart abandonment rate — and no, it’s not from email retargeting or free shipping. The novel concept of the phygital store is now making its way into the marketing industry, bringing in never-before-imagined ways of shopping to customers.
No more annoying salespersons running after you in a store; you now have fashion advisors who help you with personalising your shopping experience. In a phygital store, the concept is very simple — “CLICK. TRY. BUY,” says Dharmin Ved, Founder and CEO of 6thStreet.com.
A fashion ecommerce destination in the GCC, 6thStreet.com recently opened the region’s first-ever phygital store. Led by AI and machine learning, the phygital store is an innovative space that combines the physical store and the online shopping experience. Customers can browse items on a tab or on their mobile phones, and try the fashion accessories in real-time.
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores with limited space, the phygital store does not have any inventory or merchandise in the front of the store. “You can browse the products on the in-store tab and try your items in our smart fitting room, which lets you exchange sizes without going back to the rack, and you can walk out with your purchases right away. It’s all about making customers feel like they can get what they want right away,” says Ved.
We spoke with Ved about how a phygital store is the perfect destination for today’s customer needs, and the marketing technology that goes into building one.
Excerpts from the interview:
As the first phygital store in Dubai, how has the experience been?
Since we launched our phygital store, it’s been quite the adventure! Customers have loved the blend of online and in-store shopping. We’ve seen a boost in foot traffic, engagement, and sales. It’s been amazing to offer such a wide range of products, with over 1400 brands all under one roof. We’re learning so much about our customers through data-driven insights, which lets us create more personalised experiences.
Do the rules for inventory placement change in a phygital store?
In a phygital store, it’s a whole new ballgame. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores with limited space, we do not have any inventory or merchandise in the front of the store. Customers can browse our entire lineup of brands and items on the 38 in-store tabs. This allows us to stock 2.4x more styles than traditional stores and offers a massive selection of products thanks to AI and machine learning. We’re talking about having more products on hand and being dynamic in managing our stock based on real-time data from both online and offline sources.
How can marketers leverage instant gratification to build further upon the phygital store concept?
Instant gratification is key in the phygital store. Picture this: You can browse the products on the in-store tab and try your items in our smart fitting room, which lets you exchange sizes without leaving it, and you can walk out with your purchases right away. Marketers can really play this up by highlighting the convenience factor. Plus, we offer exclusive in-store deals and make transitioning from online browsing to in-store shopping a breeze. It’s all about making customers feel like they can get what they want right away.
How is the merging of offline shopping with online helping resolve the issue of cart abandonment?
Cart abandonment can be a headache in online shopping. But by letting customers try products in-store before they buy, we’re tackling those concerns about fit and quality head-on. It’s like combining the best of both worlds. You can do your online research and then get that hands-on, in-store experience. It’s been a big help in getting customers to complete their purchases. It’s as simple as CLICK. TRY. BUY.
What are some organisational changes required in a brand’s team to execute the launch of a phygital store?
Tech and data are truly the backbone of the project. We are a software-based store, and we keep enhancing our software every 2 weeks to keep improving the experience for our customers. We’ve set up data analytics teams to capture and analyse data from all sorts of touchpoints, and to decide what to stock in the store. We’ve also had to get cross-functional teams together, bringing in marketing, IT, supply chain, and retail operations. Additionally, We’ve ditched the traditional sales staff and have fashion advisors instead for a more personalised shopping experience.
What advice would you give leaders about integrating data from online and offline?
Invest in some top-notch data analytics tools and build a centralised data hub. Get your teams talking and sharing insights. Also, don’t forget to use customer identification methods to bridge the online-offline gap. It’s all about making decisions based on data, not just gut feelings.
Given that phygital stores are a novel concept, how can brands assess their relative success?
Brands can take a mix of traditional retail metrics and digital analytics. This includes analysing foot traffic, sales data, customer satisfaction scores, online-to-offline attribution models, and ROI measurements. Customer feedback and surveys also play a crucial role in understanding the effectiveness of the phygital concept in meeting customer needs and expectations. The key is to stay adaptable and make alterations based on what your customers are telling you.