Phygital retail: why a Bangkok mall is betting big on it

phygital retail siam discovery
Image by sonatali | Bigstockphoto

As the metaverse inches closer to becoming a reality, some businesses are already getting a taste of what’s to come – like Siam Discovery, a Bangkok shopping mall that has launched its new phygital retail activation that it believes offers a glimpse into the future of shopping.

The activation, called Fight for the Future, is the third volume of the shopping centre’s Future Lab. It’s also the first time that the Future Lab has ventured into online-to-offline (O2O) territory.

So what exactly is phygital retail? It’s a marriage of the physical and digital worlds, resulting in an individually tailored retail experience. And it’s something on which Siam Discovery is betting big.

Phygital retain, briefly explained

Here’s how it works: visitors to the Fight for the Future activation can scan a QR code to access the OneSiam App. The app, which is powered by 5G technology, gives users access to the Sandbox metaverse.

Once in the metaverse, shoppers can create an avatar and engage in augmented reality experiences as well as personalize boxing gear. They can also take advantage of discount codes and special offers.

According to Kayla Dowling at Frame, these types of retail activations are becoming more popular because they offer a unique experience that attracts digital natives as well as more traditionally oriented consumers.

“Metaverse activations by brands and retailers alike have been on the rise, and the technology’s integration into the physical world demonstrates how it can really bolster the in-person shopping experience,” she adds.

Experience, not products

Phygital retail has been an interesting concept to watch evolve, and Siam Discovery’s Fight for the Future is one of the most ambitious examples so far. With 5G technology becoming more widely available, it will be interesting to see how phygital retail develops and grows in the coming years.

“While phygital strategies can drive significant growth in sales, it’s important to focus on the experience, not the products. After all, experiences are what consumers are actually interested in buying,” said Duncan Wardle, founder of iD8 & innov8.

Related article: Closing the data loop between physical and online retail channels

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