The Phygital Era of Retail
'Phygital' is the latest buzzword for the strategies and tactics retailers use to engage with shoppers in a post-pandemic world.
Although recent trends may have once suggested that e-commerce and online retail was set to take over and become the 'new norm’, in reality, the demand for in-store retail is stronger than ever, with physical retail forecast to account for 76% of global retail sales in 2026.
With both physical and digital retail experiences very much in demand, finding ways to merge the two and offer a blended "phygital" experience to customers has become a key focus in this emerging retail landscape.
What is Phygital Retail?
'Phygital retail', put simply, is the blending of both physical and digital retail into one integrated shopping experience. It’s the realisation that physical and digital don’t exist separately, and shouldn’t be treated as such. The aim is to take the strongest elements of each and see how these can complement one another.
So, blending the physical and the digital: what does that look like in practice?
Introducing X-Madrid: an innovative, state-of-the-art shopping centre recently launched in Madrid, Spain. Described as a “revolutionary retail concept [...] to meet the demands of the new generations of consumers”, the space goes far beyond the usual brick-and-mortar stores that you would typically find in shopping centres, and is marketed as an ‘experience’ to its shoppers.
The centre includes an impressive 18 purpose built pop-up structures to host short-term rentals for e-commerce businesses, providing their digital store with a temporary physical space.
The centre is also very much designed to connect and be shared with the online world - hosting many exciting events and activities every week. The space features a skatepark, a vintage-style cinema, and even a diving/aquatic centre right within the centre - further adding to the instagram-able opportunities throughout the centre.
Setting up for Success
With consumer expectations and wants constantly evolving, we should expect the emphasis on ‘phygital’ retail to only continue to grow. This is a shift that retailers can’t ignore, and so integrating strategies and solutions that blend the two experiences together is a worthwhile investment , and ensures that businesses are not left behind.