The Phygital Glossary: Breaking Down the Digital to Physical Shopping Experiences

August 20, 2019 Vibes Marketing

As the digital world matured, a new one was born – the “phygital” one. While the rise of e-commerce presented endless opportunity in the retail industry for both brands and consumers alike, it left struggling brick-and-mortar stores in its wake – but not for long. In the phygital world, store locations don’t supplement, but augment digital experiences – and vice versa.  

Digital and physical storefronts perform best when working together, and various players in the industry are tackling the challenge – experimenting with and testing their own phygital programs. In this fury of innovation, it’s no surprise the differentiation between these programs has gotten a little chaotic 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common phygital program terms in the market today, and which factors brands might want to take into consideration. With the right strategy and implementation, any brand can launch a phygital experience that mirrors the way we all, in our daily livesendlessly shift between the digital and physical landscape 

Online Reservations 

Harness the benefits of the in-store experience to boost foot traffic and sales 

ROPIS/ROTIS - Reserve Online Pick Up In-Store / Reserve Online Try In-Store 

Sometimes it’s easier to get things done from the comfort of your own home. Shopping is no exception. The rise of e-commerce didn’t just change the way consumers receive their products; it changed the way they decide to purchase. As brands continue to invest in their e-commerce channel, they make it easier for customers to digitally browse their products - but not all will be persuaded to buy from the digital storefront alone. Reserve Online Pick Up In-Store (ROPIS) and Reserve Online Try In-Store (ROTIS) are phygital solutions that several large brands have launched to help those customers make their purchase decision easily while saving them time  

ROPIS programs are more common with brands that sell big ticket items – a new TV a large home appliance, etc. The low commitment nature of a “reserve” program lowers the barriers for shoppers and gives them the peace of mind to venture further on the purchase path. This opens the door – quite literally - for brands to showcase the benefits of their in-store experience. Take advantage of this digital-first interaction by providing your customers a ROPIS mobile wallet pass used to end any pick-up confusion by scanning their pass right at the POS —saving your staff and your customers the stress of verifying exactly what they reserved. 

ROTIS, the more stylish cousin of Pick-up In-Store, is often used by clothing retailers – shoppers want to confirm in-person if the items they selected online are indeed ones they want to purchase. Giving the shopper the option to select the products they want to try online, before they arrive in-store removes any headaches that might come along with in-store browsing – not being able to find your size on the racks, crowded store floors, or even just choice paralysis. ROTIS gives your shoppers the leisure to browse at their own pace. If you’re already practicing ROTIS, you can use the mobile pass exactly as you’d use a pick-up pass, plus, you could send triggered notifications when their order is collected and ready to try-on. You could even send a reminder about a new sale when you customer gets closer to your location! 

Moving a shopper from browsing products on a digital storefront to trying/examining their selected products at the physical storefront takes quite a bit of energy from your shoppers. Try connecting a mobile wallet pass in their journey so they know that what they ordered is waiting for them when they arrive. 

Online Purchasing 

Expand your distribution options - give your customers optionality with a seamless in-store pick up process 

BOPIS – Buy Online Pick Up In-Store or “Click and Collect” 

Shoppers who purchase items online and pick them up in-store skip the long lines and avoid additional time and fees it takes to ship to their home. This not only saves the brand the shipping cost by utilizing their existing in-store channels for distribution, it increases foot traffic and the likelihood for larger basket size and upsell. It’s imperative when implementing a BOPIS program to consider not only the BOPIS shopper’s experience, but the experience of other in-store shoppers – slow order retrieval can waste not only the BOPIS shopper’s time, but also the store associates who could be spending time assisting others - be sure to distribute a pick-up wallet pass when your customers complete an online order to end any bottlenecks at the POS and ensure your program’s success. 

BOSS – Buy Online Ship to Store  

Shipping shoppers products to store reduces the barrier of shipping costs as well as drives in-store trafficThis increases the potential for additional purchases as well as curbs the negative effects “out of stock” interactions. Similar to BOPIS programs, the order retrieval process needs efficient, and requires digital investment like mobile wallet pass notifications to verify arrival of products to your shoppers. 

So, where to start? 

As the retail world shifts from focusing on establishing their digital strategies to establishing their phygital ones, brands should pay attention to which of these processes complement their business. While some of these programs might work with a brand’s current infrastructure, some may require technology investment to streamline logistics, store associate training, or customer experience. Mobile channels such as mobile walletSMS/MMS, and push are often key for merging the digital and online experiences but be sure to carefully consider which strategies makes the most sense for your unique shopper. 

Read more by the authors: Andreas De La Rosa and Naomi Hsieh

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