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From the Editor

The Time Is Now to Meld the Digital and Physical Realms

It’s critical that retailers embrace a strong phygital strategy




REMEMBER ABOUT 10 YEARS ago when the industry first began talking about the concept of omnichannel, or the idea that shoppers should enjoy a seamless experience across channels?

At the time, IDC Retail Insights published what would become pivotal research that introduced the term, finding that retailers leveraging omnichannel strategies enjoyed a 15 percent to 35 percent boost in average transaction size, followed by an increase in loyalty customers’ profitability of 5 percent to 10 percent. Powerful stuff.

Fast forward to today: In 2021, the operative word is “phygital,” or the seamless marriage of the physical and digital realms at retail. As we emerge from a global pandemic, it’s clear that, now more than ever, it is critical for retailers to embrace a strong phygital strategy to deliver the quality experience today’s consumer demands whenever, wherever and however he or she prefers.

Much of what was “nice to have” in the past has become table stakes. Retailers have spent the pandemic addressing extraordinary pain points, but now it’s time to truly embrace the notion of this seamless experience we’ve been speaking about for the better part of a decade.

Let’s take a look at some research on personalization – a hot topic these days – to benchmark the progress. In a study conducted by Forbes, researchers learned 41 percent of consumers say they expect representatives in a brand’s physical store to know what they have purchased online.

Seems like a reasonable request, but how often does it actually happen? In fact, only 19 percent of consumers report that they have experienced this, and a full 71 percent of consumers are frustrated when a shopping experience feels impersonal.

There’s a common saying that knowledge is power. As we move beyond the transitory period we find ourselves in today, it is imperative for smart retailers to leverage the technologies and data they use so well in the digital world in their physical stores as well to meet and exceed the expectations of consumers and provide those memorable experiences they crave. Food for thought.

Happy holidays, and best wishes for a fantastic new year!

Jennifer Acevedo
Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher, VMSD Magazine




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