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The Future of Grocery Retail is Phygital

Phygital is the latest grocery retail buzzword, and it's leading the way in shopper experience. Unlike omnichannel or multichannel that seek to extend a retailer's presence to the various ways people shop as separate options, "Phygital" is a blend of digital and physical. The difference is subtle, but embracing "Phygital" creates a shopping experience that more closely mirrors the way consumers shop and live their lives.

Each year, more gadgets and technologies land in grocery stores, from robots and electronic shelf labels to self-checkout to no-checkout.  While such innovations were once out of reach for many smaller retailers, the technology is now less expensive and doesn't require in-house technology experts. Today more grocers can leverage these technologies, but successful omnichannel retail requires balancing the digital with the physical so e-commerce does not compete with shopping in person.

"Phygital" retail takes the best elements of physical and digital retail. Ecommerce leads in convenience. Shoppers can browse products, check availability, and shop for the best deals from home or wherever they wish. Physical retail offers an unbeatable shopping experience, brand awareness opportunities, and loyalty. A strictly omnichannel approach would be to provide both as shopping options to cover all of your bases. But, consider an example of how people shop in 2021. Perhaps a shopper browses a digital circular on their smartphone, then heads to the store with a shopping list. Or an in-person shopper visits a store and enters their loyalty info at self-checkout, then logs in at home to check their rewards status and applies some digital coupons to an online order for some forgotten items.

In these examples, we see the real-world blending of digital and physical. It's how many people actually shop, and it provides more opportunities to connect with shoppers and provide convenience. But the key is personalizing the customer experience across both physical and digital. Retailers that do so report revenue increases between 5% and 15%. To do so, stores need to apply "Phygital" retail strategies that play to the strengths of both.

Some winning Phygital strategies include:

Click and collect
Enable your shoppers to browse and pay online and pick up in person at a convenient time.

In-store reviews
User reviews are powerful shopping tools. Integrate curated online user reviews and make them a part of the physical shopping experience.

Augmented reality 
AR can immerse your shopper and bring the exciting visuals of digital to the in-store experience. 

Location-based push notifications
A Phygital approach can mean sending alerts to your shoppers when they are physically close to your store, directly influencing their decision to stop by for a purchase.

These are just a few examples of how grocers of any size can create a shopping environment that makes the most out of both the digital and physical. As with all grocery technology, success begins with the strong foundation of smart retail solutions. Are you looking to add some technology to your store and create a Phygital experience? STCR can help strategize, deploy, and manage the technologies that boost profit margins.

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