E-commerce is booming, but physical retailers are still important and many people still prefer to do their shopping in stores. But what if we could combine the two experiences? That’s exactly what happened in a recent experiment where ‘phygital kiosks’ combined the best of both worlds – and saw some interesting results.
The Fitting Room
A report in Kiosk Marketplace explains how two retail brands increased sales and reduced costs with phygital kiosks (touchscreen kiosks that are used to bridge the gap between physical and digital shopping).
The two brands were Sneaky Steve, which sells shoes, and Wacay, which sells apparel, and they are both premium brands in Sweden.
For the experiment, Deniz Chaban (CEO of Touchtech) and Johan Lind (CEO of Vertiseit) converted a 63m2 space in the Nordstan shopping centre in Gothenburg into a unique store called The Fitting Room.
In this store, customers could browse items from Sneaky Steve and Wacay using interactive kiosks and then try on clothes and shoes before placing orders and getting the items delivered to their homes.
How It Worked
The concept was tested over a period of two months. Customers would find an item that interested them, then take it to the kiosk and scan the RFID tag to see more product info.
There was also a touchscreen table that customers could use to browse items, which worked as a sales tool and provided detailed information about the products.
They then paid for the items using a card or smartphone (no cash payments), and this was done via a payment kiosk. The orders were then sent to their homes in a day or two.
Physical Store Benefits
The Fitting Room provided several benefits that come with shopping in physical stores, including the ability to touch items and try things on and get access to better customer service.
It also had benefits for the stores, including the liberation of the sales staff. All the sales staff had to do was help customers when asked, which allowed them to provide a better experience for customers.
There was also hardly any need for on-site inventory. All that was required was enough stock for customers to try on.
Digital Store Benefits
At the same time, the digital experience provided benefits that customers have become used to with online shopping.
They could get access to a lot more product information via the kiosks, including more selection options, just like they would on a website. They could also get quick access to information on details like what makes the product special.
In the follow-up article, both brands reported that the experiment was a success. Måns Månsson, the CEO of Sneaky Steve, said the phygital kiosks experiment accounted for a third of the company’s sales for the month, and sales per square metre were double other stores selling their brand.
Another benefit was that returns were far lower than the standard returns for e-commerce. 30% returns is common in Sweden for e-commerce shopping, but it was less than 1% for this experiment. This was because customers had already tried the product and knew they would like it.
Are Phygital Kiosks the Future of Shopping?
Phygital kiosks certainly provide an interesting and innovative shopping experience. There are no plans to launch The Fitting Room again, but it has shown what is possible, and more brands are likely to incorporate digital elements in their physical stores in the future to take advantage of the benefits provided.