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As a retailer, imagine being able to offer a shopping platform to customers without visiting a store or website but by simply using a VR headset. Think of having selling options while customers play games on a console. What if we tell you that someday customers will be able to prepare a food item remotely and then get it home delivered? Such possibilities and innovations could hold a lot of surprises for retailers irrespective of the size and scale of their business. Remaining aware of these trends will help retailers carve the right phygital business solutions in a planned and organised manner. This blog examines more such interesting potential future trends in the world of phygital & omnichannel retailing.

Wider Inclusion of Local mom-and-pop Stores

Retail giants and mom-and-pop stores within industries have always been perceived as competitors at different levels. Phygital and omnichannel ways of delivering value propositions and related services have begun to change this now. Retail players at all levels now see a point in collaborating in the sourcing and distribution networks.

Big retail brands now see the advantage that small retailers have in the form of a strong local presence. The inclusion of mom-and-pop stores at the root levels has the potential to help the big retail players achieve market penetration and develop new markets. It can also save investments for the big players in establishing their own network of stores or physical presence. Brands that want to enter new markets can seek to achieve their promotional goals on shorter timelines.

On the other side, local stores will also have their share of benefits by working with big retail players. These stores will get to share the brand prowess of domestic and global retail brands. This has the potential to increase their sales and revenue. They can push private-label brands with higher margins. Big brands also come with better marketing support, professional business process solutions, and world-class technologies.

Emphasis on D2C

While using the extensive network of mom-and-pop stores is an option, many retail brands are also foraying into establishing their D2C distribution networks with the help of eCommerce or any other suitable strategy. D2C removes the reliance on traditional channels. Brands have better control over data, operational quality and customer experience. When working with external channel partners, businesses do not get a first-hand awareness of the opportunities and challenges. If they can work on them, they have the chance to carry out the value chains with more strategic and long-term benefits.

Selling via traditional channels also deprives retail brands of exercising control over customer experience. For example, FMCG brands have little knowledge or control over how their products are stored or sold at the grassroots level. By providing an omnichannel platform to customers, retailers can provide a better shopping experience to their customers.

With direct access to internal business data in the value chain, retailers have better chances of improving their operations. These data are also crucial to deepen the understanding of customer segments which in turn is useful for product/service improvisations.

By significantly reducing or eliminating the role of middlemen in the supply chain, retail brands can exercise greater flexibility in their pricing strategies.

Use of AR and VR

AR and VR are probably going to be the two biggest hardware-based disruptors in the world of phygital and omnichannel retailing. They are already here and their presence is extremely likely to intensify in the very near future. For instance, many fashion retailers are already using AR (some also on their storefronts) which helps customers in their purchasing decisions. A popular instance would be Ikea using an AR application to help customers virtually see how any particular furniture would look in their homes. These two are examples of product visualisation. Make-up products would also fit into this category.

Another application of AR and VR technologies is delivering customer support services. For example, instead of using chatbots and phone calls, customers can be delivered a more expressive, immersive, and engaging experience by using VR-based solutions. AR and VR are also highly useful in delivering high-quality customer support training programs to employees.

The use of AR and VR-based solutions by retail brands is not going to be something new. In the near future, these two technologies will be more common as AR and VR hardware becomes cheaper and achieves higher acceptance among all stakeholders. However, the speed at which AR and VR are gaining popularity is on the slower side.


Online marketplaces were also perceived as virtual markets. They still are but they have become so common that we may not even regard them as virtual. Something similar is likely to happen with the concept of metaverse. The technologies that are or are going to be used in metaverse applications may be ones we are already acquainted with (like AR, and VR) or may be new mediums or platforms that will emerge. But one thing is for sure the metaverse is going to impact the retail industry in more profound ways particularly steering the phygital and omnichannel ways of selling and shopping. The application of the metaverse concept is already visible in many sectors like fashion, furniture, grooming, and more. Many retail brands offer virtual shopping that allows customers to have more immersive and engaging shopping experiences.

Metaverse will open additional new marketing avenues for retailers. They can create virtual stores and touchpoints to attract new segments and provide rich and fulfilling experiences to their customers in their shopping journeys.

Right now, the metaverse is in its infancy. Only a few players have adopted it. For customers in general, metaverse-based exploration and shopping is still a far-fetched notion. But as the tools and technologies become more economical and the business environment is congenial for the concept of metaverse to proliferate, more retailers and more customers will enter the field with improvised solutions and services.

Drone Deliveries

Delivery is a critical part of order fulfilment processes. It concerns not just eCommerce players but all phygital or omnichannel retailers with delivery services. Drone delivery is the next big anticipated development in the global delivery industry. Drones are already used for many civil and commercial purposes like agriculture, construction, delivery of aid and support, etc. However, we are yet to see a widespread application of drone-based deliveries in retail and eCommerce. Once the bottlenecks are addressed, drone-based delivery solutions are imminent.

One of the biggest benefits of drone delivery is that it will reduce the delivery timelines for retailers. There will be less dependence on ground delivery teams which is likely to make deliveries more accurate. Having no need to deal with the menace of traffic is another plus. So early birds to adopt and implement this technology will have many distinct advantages. With more advanced drone delivery solutions, there may be no need for customers/residents to be physically present in their delivery locations.

The drone delivery solution also comes with certain challenges. Regulation is one of them. Presently, there are many safety and security concerns that must be properly addressed. The world will need success examples to follow. As a technology, drones for delivery purposes may need some time to mature. From a business perspective, the volume of business will be a major factor in justifying investments in drone-delivery solutions.

Changes in the Role of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

As many retail businesses are likely to pursue their growth and expansion plans in the future, entering new markets will be one of the strategies. In that pursuit, going phygital or omnichannel will be critical for them. This is where the local network of brick-and-mortar stores will become highly relevant to some retailers.

The local network of traditional stores is a big asset to retailers or retail brands that want to enter new markets. Many retail brands have used this network asset to deliver their goods and services. This has marked a change in the role of local brick-and-mortar stores in the distribution chain. In addition to their independent business, these local stores can also play as branches of big brands whose customers are the same. For example, a local furniture shop can tie up with a domestic or international furniture brand. The details can be worked out if the business model suits both parties. The local furniture store gets access to the branding of an international brand. It will help the former attract more customers and potentially increase their turnovers. Via store presence and digital applications, such big brands can maintain a phygital approach.

Another big advantage to retail brands working with local assets is the access to local market insights and expertise. For example, a successful retail brand in one region need not necessarily possess the cultural and behavioural awareness that plays a big role in the customer service of another region. This is especially true in culturally diverse countries.


By now, this must be apparent to online and offline retailers that it will become increasingly difficult to rely on any one single-channel strategy going into the future. Adopting the phygital or omnichannel route will soon become unavoidable. The real challenge for retailers is to bring home the expertise and infrastructure. One option is to manage them internally whether by building or outsourcing. The other is forging partnerships. Let us grab this with an example.

Think of dry-cleaning businesses. Traditionally, these businesses do not offer free pick-and-drop facilities; most of them still do not. They are good in their core services but an overwhelming majority of them are still practically offline. You may find their names and contact on search engine results but nothing beyond that. Even if they choose to go omnichannel (say with online order facilities), they are unlikely to possess the updated expertise to adopt and implement it. This is when partnerships or collaborative solutions come into the picture. Imagining an ideal circumstance, multiple businesses can come together, pool resources, and build and implement one common online platform for their customers. This will be more economical for them than each building their own platform. Customers will also benefit as a big gap in their service consumption journey will be covered.

Phygital and omnichannel ways of delivering value propositions and related services are establishing that retail giants and mom-and-pop stores within industries can work together. Big retail brands now see the advantage that small retailers have in the form of a strong local presence. The local network of traditional stores is also a big asset to retailers or retailing brands that want to enter new markets with omnichannel goals. On the other side, local stores also have their share of benefits when they associate with big players. While using the extensive network of mom-and-pop stores is an option, many retail brands are also foraying into establishing their D2C distribution networks with the help of eCommerce and other suitable strategies.

Partnerships or collaborations will play a crucial role at all levels for common solutions and mutual benefits.

As it has always been, technology will continue to pivot major disruptions in the retail and eCommerce industry concerning phygital and omnichannel ways of selling and shopping. Talking about technology, AR and VR are two big looming developments for these two industries. As far as widespread application is concerned, multiverse looks like a closer reality than drone-based delivery solutions.


Phygital vs Omnichannel: What is the difference between omnichannel and phygital?

Phygital denotes the creation and/or integration of online and offline capabilities. Omnichannel focuses on the integration of all channels involved in the distribution and delivery of goods and services. When these two concepts are applied to retail and eCommerce, phygital becomes one of the ways to achieve omnichannel. For example, by providing customers with the flexibility to update the delivery instructions over the web/app, eCommerce brands seek to give an omnichannel experience to their customers. The phygital effect takes place here when a customer is able to change the delivery instructions over the web/app and the actual delivery activity is altered.

What is the future of omnichannel retailing? What is the future of phygital?

Phygital and omnichannel are already changing how goods and services are delivered to customers. Many global and domestic retail brands now realise the potential of working with traditional brick-and-mortar stores at the local levels. Also, the local network and expertise of local traditional retailers is also a big asset to retail and eCommerce brands that want to enter new markets with omnichannel goals. Such tie-ups are going to get more common in the near future.

Many retail brands that have traditionally relied on distributors at different levels have also started establishing their D2C distribution on the lines of eCommerce. If the trend picks up steam, it will impact the traditional roles played by distributors and retailers in the supply chains.

Partnerships or collaborations among retailers to solve common problems or for mutual benefits are not yet seen as a trend but they can emerge as a high-performing strategy as competition in retail and eCommerce gets more intermingled.

As we saw with eCommerce, technology will continue to remain the dominant source of all major disruptions in the retail and eCommerce industry. AR and VR are two imminent developments.

How to implement phygital in my business? How to achieve phygital transformation?

Phygital means the creation and integration of online and offline capabilities to achieve certain business objectives. So, it is imperative for businesses to first establish why they want to adopt phygital. The strategies will vary from business to business but here are some important considerations/activities while striving to achieve phygital transformation:

For online businesses:

  •         Establishing physical presence/control in the distribution and delivery chain (may not be applicable in the case of services)
  •         Carrying out physical marketing campaigns touching critical touchpoints in customer buying journey/need realisation points/need awareness points
  •         Facilitating communication mediums to further the buying journey (e.g. QR code to business website/app on business cards/promotional documents)
  •         Creating scope of showing/offering physical evidence for validation
  •         Capabilities to operate in both online and offline modes with all stakeholders as applicable

For offline businesses:

  •         Establishing digital/online presence as per strategic relevance (and maintaining it)
  •         Carrying out digital marketing activities
  •         Capabilities to receive, process, and manage online orders/queries/requests/changes etc.
  •         Capabilities to operate in both online and offline modes with all stakeholders as applicable
  •         Offer credible and reliable online payment solutions


  •         Establish the business objectives for going phygital
  •         Prepare the financial and commercial assessments and projections for implementing phygital initiatives
  •         Develop SOPs for managing and carrying out business operations
  •         Incorporate business and omnichannel objectives into the SOPs
  •         Planning for IT and automation platform and solutions
  •         Integrate offline and online business processes

For enquiries on phygital retail solutions or to speak to one of our expert omnichannel consultants, please drop us a message and we will reach out to you.

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Author Bio

 Nikhil Agarwal

Nikhil Agarwal

Chief Growth Officer

Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ retail e-commerce brands and companies from various sectors, since 2012, to define their growth strategy and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping brands achieve 10X growth.

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    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.


    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)


    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.


    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.


    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.


    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.


    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!


    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.


    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.


    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.


    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.


    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.


    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.


    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.