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Phygital love: a customer experience that comes straight from the future

September 2, 2020

Phygital experiences in AR

Think about this pretty standard shopping experience: you’re in this fancy hi-tech store, willing to buy the newest smartphone on the market. What if you could choose your model and walk out of the shop, knowing technology allowed you to pay for your smartphone without even going to checkout?

We are not in a sequel of some famous movie about time traveling in the future; the fact is, the future is already here, and it’s called phygital experiences.

Phygital is expected to become the new keyword in the marketing field, and it’s the merge between the word physic (i.e., the “real” world) and digital, and trust us, it’s going to revamp the market like never before!

This technology that looks straight from a sci-fi movie takes the perks from the digital experience like immediacy, engagement, and speed, and the chance to keep in touch with the potential buyer and the brand.

This has proved to be the best way to satisfy a new generation — mostly Millennials and Generation Z — of hyper-connected and demanding consumers and is looking to meet their needs primarily online.

As Statista reports, the e-commerce share of the global retail sales started at 7.4% in 2015, reached 11.9% in 2018, and is expected to increase to 17.5% in 2021. With such stats in hand, it’s easy to understand why physical stores need to attract customers in a new and engaging way.

Big brands such as Chanel are already testing the waters with their boutique in SoHo, NYC, not a shop but an “atelier de beauté.” The experience and the iPhone are in focus; makeup artists are on-site, the customer buys samples, and they get a discount if they order the real products later online. Chanel also offers an augmented reality experience directly on their website, where potential buyers can try on lipsticks thanks to the facial recognition technology.

Here’s where Augmented Reality takes the field: merging the digital and the physical world is the key to gain new customers and boost sales. Allowing users to try on products, to experience virtual tours (i.e., in Real Estate), or to buy frictionless without the need for a checkout, is going to be the next frontier to brands that want to attract the next generations of consumers.

Of course, the struggle is real: how can SME and brands who don’t have a huge budget to invest in innovation keep pace with Amazon, Big G, Chanel, or LVMH?

Implementing AR in their marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a bloodbath — platforms like Aryel can help them to create custom WebAR experiences (not familiar with the term? We got your covered here!) to engage with users and boost sales.

Rethinking physical spaces and re-styling stores and showrooms to offer a phygital experience to customers seems to be the road to success in the next decade.

As this stats from Retail Perceptions reports, 88% of customers use their devices to research products before purchasing in a physical store, comparing prices, comparing products, or looking for more information, while 76% of customers research products in physical stores before making an online purchase, to test the product in the store, look for a lower price, and ask salespeople questions.

What phygital experiences make is merging these two worlds giving consumers the best experience ever and removing all the friction from their buying and decisional processes, not only when it comes to shopping.

Of course, you can think about being in a store and seeing a new device: thanks to Augmented Reality, you can live a phygital experience scanning the item and watching video comparisons, tech specs, and even reading reviews — all of this from your smartphone.

But the fun doesn’t end here: things you can do with phygital experiences are virtually endless!

Think about integrating this technology to printed media, maybe in the subway in a big city of the far east. Tourists who cannot read ideograms could scan their tickets to see their journey information and discover at which station their trains stop. Or think about a new exhibition at a museum: you could give your visitors a unique phygital experience, letting them engage with the paintings and sculptures in a whole new way.

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