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Let’s Get Phygital

The lines between the physical and digital world of retail are getting blurred, and soon customers will be engaging with brands through a seamless continuum

There was a time when retail operations were pure brick and mortar setups. And then came Amazon and Flipkart, who enabled retailers to go online quickly. But this led to the creation of two separate worlds, both for the customer as well as the retailer. What’s available in stores and what’s online, why are prices different, why is customer service differentiated, these and many other issues started to bother brand owners no end.

Harshavardhan Chauhan, Central Head of Marketing & Digital Transformation at DLF Shopping Malls, explains that the day is not far when retailers will be able to provide a seamless world to their customers, where they can engage with the brand without having to cross any fractured lines. And the benefits of merging physical with the digital will have enormous benefits for businesses. This has started to happen at DLF Shopping Malls, which comprises of DLF Saket, Mall of India, and DLF Promenade, and is among India’s most prominent and largest retail and destination marketplaces.

“A few years back we ran a pilot, wherein we monitored the behaviour of customers as they moved from shop to shop within our malls. As the data accumulated, we were able to profile the customers about their shopping behaviour, preferences, and interest categories. And we came up with some fascinating insights.”

While analysing the data, Chauhan and his team discovered that a significant proportion of visitors to beauty and cosmetic outlets were men, which was quite contrary to general perception. Another discovery was that a large percentage of female beauty and cosmetic customers also visited childcare and home improvement outlets, which led to the creation of another distinct profile. Chauhan says that these and many other insights were shared with retailers across DLF’s malls, much to their delight.

This led DLF to launch Lukout mobile app which enables its retailer clients to build virtual storefronts and provide customers personalised real-time proximity offers so that they remain engaged even when not in the store.

Chauhan has been listed amongst the 50 Most Influential Retail, E-commerce & Marktech professionals in India by CMO Asia-Africa-GCC Retail Congress. He has also been recognised as Marketer of the Year by Economic Times Now. An accomplished retail and e-commerce professional with prior stints at ShopClues and Godrej, he will be sharing his insights and strategies for ‘physical to digital’ at India Kitchen Congress.

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