There is not a physical world or digital world in retail anymore, but rather a completely connected one.

This phygital world takes the best components from the digital retail experience like immediacy and immersion, and adds it to the benefits of the in-store experience which allow interaction between customers and the product (McKinsey).

“While e-commerce will continue to be an essential element of retail strategies, the future success of retailers will ultimately depend on creating a cohesive customer experience, both online and in stores.”

Harvard Business Review

It might sound like a big change, but we could guarantee you’ve actually had at least one phygital experience in the past, whether it be buying online and collecting in store or using a QR code which offers more information. Although, we are progressing quite a lot from here.

We are seeing an increase of in-store experiences and phygital advancements since the pandemic stripped the enthusiasm for shopping in a physical space. The highstreet used to be the go to place for so many things – whether it be your weekly catch up with friends, a leisurely stroll to kill some time or an afternoon to fulfil your shopping desires.

It’s extremely clear that the pandemic affected this and as a result, we’ve become attached to the ease of online shopping. However, we don’t believe this means the highstreet is dying, it’s simply in a moment of transition!

What was once the obvious place to go at the weekend now needs to become the destination for experiences, entertainment and real-life connections. It’s important for brands to accept this and provide a little extra motivation to revive their space on the highstreet.

Luckily, consumers are open to change – which runs as a huge positive for these businesses. We know from our Love for Local blog that a large majority of consumers are seeking a stronger sense of community and looking for their needs to be fulfilled closer to home. If people want to be on highstreet, then what do you need to do in this new phygital world to attract them there?

Focus on human interaction

It’s the biggest perk of the highstreet and something everybody lacks when it comes to shopping online.

Remember that people buy from people and the biggest motivators for customers are a) human connection and b) excellent customer service.

If your phygital store can offer these, you’ve already jumped the first hurdle!

Use your data to create the best possible experience

We are surrounded by extreme personalisation everyday which means customers have grown to expect it.

If you can find ways to connect the dots between a customer’s online and offline activity then you can personalise offers, discounts, have employees who already know about a customer’s past with the brand or even invite them to a virtual try on in store, based on their online basket!

Personalised retail shopping leads to better experiences, stronger word of mouth promotion and increased customer loyalty.

There are some brands we’ve noticed who are starting to do this well


Lush have removed the testing sinks in their latest concept store store and instead, consumers are encouraged to download the #LushLabs app. When the ‘Lush Lens’ is held up to a bath bomb you can watch it fizz away on your screen, along with seeing a list of ingredients and the products desired effects.


Loaf is doing a great job at differentiating its ‘slowrooms’ (showrooms) from its competition by ensuring they are laid-back places that are more about supporting the online offer than pushing sales. There are several service screens encouraging customers to shop and order from the full online range, making the in-store experience all about engagement, sitting on the furniture, touching the fabrics and seeing the products in situ.


H&M are taking this one step further. Not only are they blurring the line between physical and digital with their app capabilities, they are focusing on sustainability and launching a capsule collection with three digital outfits that could be worn within their virtual fashion world.


Consumers are encouraged to engage with one-on-one coffee learning, tasting and machine demonstrations, carried out by coffee specialists. Customers can create their own coffee recipes using iPad tutorials and Nespresso machines in the ‘Taste & Discover’ area of their store or take their recipe creation skills further in a ‘Coffee as an Art’ masterclass.


M&S has launched an ongoing series of trials to allow its stores to work more intuitively with customers’ smartphones. Its Scan & Shop service allows consumers to pay directly on the app and scan a product’s QR code to see if an item is available – either in store or online. They are also trialling an AR app called List & Go that allows shoppers to upload a list and be guided to where each product is in their local M&S store.

The challenge for all retailers is how they develop their stores to succeed in this phygital world – how can they build strategies to incorporate immediacy, immersion and interaction to motivate customers to return more frequently to the highstreet.

As you can imagine we have a few opinions on this, and we’d be delighted to share them with you.

We're The Behaviours Agency.

At every stage of the customer journey we find creative ways to give our clients the advantage. We do it by creating preference.

Preference is being ahead of the competition in the customer’s mind. That means being more motivating, more top-of-mind and easier to choose.

If you want help being the preferred choice for your customers, get in touch today.

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By Meg Slip

Senior Account Executive