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The future of shopping, redefined

What is phygital retail?

Text: Jessica Bounni

Discover how in-store experiences are being reinvented digitally...

Metaverse, NFT’s, cryptocurrency, ADA and what not – with all the new changes, inventions and everything is becoming digital. Even Merriam Webster's dictionary has an update and a new lexicon to add to 2022, take for example the word ‘phygital’. While it’s not exactly clear who invented the term, it simply combines the words 'physical' and 'digital' to create a new word. The pandemic was a strong motivation for a lot of retailers to adjust their strategies to digitally accomplish tasks that required physical presence before.

Phygital strategies are now being a part of retail planning and retailers are trying their best to create the immersive engagements that customers find so easy that it achieves silent utility. Since the pandemic, the retail industry has had its shares of challenges. That’s why digital transformation is more important than ever. Retailers believe in uniting physical and digital environments and exploring how technology can change the way we shop.

One of the big advantages is the in-store personalization service a lot of brands are not offering. We also see the traditional store model always being in-demand which is why they will also continue to expand on that front too, to offer a seamless, omnichannel experience in retail. Retail is about creating exciting new experiences for customers to take part in – for example, what Majid Al Futtaim just created in partnership with Cisco.

The future of shopping, redefined (фото 1)

‘The Store of The Future’, located in Mall of the Emirates, is an immersive, digitalized and personalized shopping experience. Customers and visitors in Dubai will get the exclusive chance to interact with the unique, fully digital, and physical concept store. The store enables brands to gain actionable data and a deep understanding of visitors and shopping behaviour. This allows them to create experiences to suit each and every customer that enters the store. They provide value to customers by offering a mix of tech, fashion and beauty tailored to them in a space powered by technology and data.

Fuad Sharaf, Managing Director of Majid Al Futtaim properties explained to us more about the new technologies implemented at the store saying: "Cisco contributed a broad range of technologies, among others networking, security, digital screens, WiFi-based location services, video collaboration tools, virtual mirrors, and Augmented Reality (AR). With the help of Cisco technologies, we can use advanced analytics to provide a deeper understanding of shoppers’ behaviour while in-store. Intelligent cloud-based ceiling cameras can track and analyse additional data, such as the number of visitors, demographics, footfall heatmaps, dwell times, sentiment, store capacity, physical distancing, facemask compliance and more. Digital display screens welcome customers into the store and create an immersive atmosphere with the help of artificial intelligence and computer vision."

Moreover, when a product is lifted from the shelves, sensors can identify that movement. They then automatically retrieve and display product details and recommendations on the screens. With the help of Cisco, they built a so-called Magic Mirror, where shoppers can digitally explore different variations of products that are available in or outside the store. So, they can make the best decision possible. Another example is the Beauty Mirror. With that, visitors can virtually ‘try on’ various types of beauty and make-up products.

Would you take that trip to the future?

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