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The rise of ‘phygital’

digital, shop, online, store, future, omni-channel, multi-channelPhygital. Funny word isn’t it? You’ll be hearing more of it in the future because this is the growing trend of retail customer behavior.

The ‘phy-gital’ are those who are as comfortable shopping online as in the store.

iPhones, iPads, whiz bang technology and anywhere anytime shopping had everyone scrambling in panic when retailers thought shopping in bricks and mortar was dead. There was an inherent fear that shoppers would spend all their time showrooming, trying merchandise instore and purchasing it cheaper online. I can’t deny this is happening, but I do think charging customers to try on a pair of shoes is going a little overboard, especially when you look at the statistics and growing trends in consumer behavior.

Did you know that the average customer reaches approximately 10 different touch points for every purchasing decision they make and online shopping is just one of those touch points? It’s about the research process, and I can tell you now, that with all the international retailers hitting our shore, an increasing number of shoppers will go to bricks and mortar to make the actual purchase. I’d like to think of it as the online shopping evolution, and currently it’s a moveable feast. Keeping up with those pesky customers can be tiresome. Trust me, I know.

Rather than bowing down in defeat, I recommend changing and evolving with customers. It’s an exciting time. Below are some ideas which customers will thank you with their loyalty and repeat business.

The self checkout: Shoppers do not want to queue up to pay anymore, basically they’re over feeling like sheep. Make it easier for them to part with their money by setting up kiosks or have sales assistants roaming the shop with checkout enabled tablets.

Self ordering of out of stock items: Called endless aisles, shoppers want to be able to order out of stock items from kiosks inside the store and delivered to home.

Crowded shops: Give customers the ability to find out how crowded a store is before they make the trip. This could be web or app based and alleviates overcrowded stores with impatient customers huffing and puffing waiting to be served.

Locating Product: How about taking way finding to an entirely new level and giving shoppers the ability to find specific product instore via a mobile or store kiosk?

There are so many unique and innovative concepts heading our way. At the end of the day, we know it all can’t be done and it’s a cost to the business but it is about developing and adapting technology that aligns to your business and above all, your customer.

Lizzi Hines is MD of Spaceworks. For more information, phone 0800 2 FIT OUT, or visit





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