Phygital: what it is and how the customer experience evolves

It is not easy to keep up with the times and hybrid solutions are often the winners, which is why we talk about Phygital, the new frontier of modern marketing.

The world around us runs fast, we need to keep up. More and more people are looking for solutions that fit in with their way of life, and that solve the needs they face on a daily basis, and companies are having to respond to specific needs that need to be solved quickly.

In a world beset by digital transformation and all that it entails, utilizing the benefits of digital and tying it inextricably to people, physicality, and presence will be the right strategy to make the customer experience extremely satisfying.

In this article, you will discover:

  • what is phygital
  • its role in marketing today
  • how it affects the customer experience
  • how it can be used in companies
  • some practical examples.

What is and definition of phygital

Phygital comes from the fusion of two words physical and digital, it is a combination of elements of the physical world and digital processes, this optimizes the user experience by allowing the user to use different channels and ways to get in touch with the company.

This word is not new in the world of marketing, it has been around for a few years, and in its early days, it defined the introduction of robots that looked after customers in stores. Now phygital is a much broader term that holds great potential for those who know how to exploit it intelligently.

How often have you gone to a store and tested a product and then bought it online, or how often do you look for information or reviews before buying something?

What are the objectives of a company that wants to facilitate its customers? Provide them with the information they are looking for, and lead them step by step to purchase using online: from social channels to a simple website, via email or inbound marketing, using e-commerce portals and chatbots for assistance. Finally, creating a direct and real approach in a welcoming physical environment that lives up to expectations.

Phygital marketing offers many advantages to companies, we are not necessarily talking about large budgets, but one must focus very carefully on the synchrony and alignment of the different channels for a smooth, simple, immediate interaction for the user.

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Phygital a new marketing frontier

Phygital is fully part of the marketing of the future because business and everything that links a company to its customers is increasingly a mixture of online and offline. By now, our daily life is permeated by real moments and moments linked to the use of devices. It is no longer a question of defining a channel or developing it, but of realizing that if we want to achieve the objective of satisfying the public, we must aim to use different modalities, making them homogeneous, and fluid for complete satisfaction.

Traditional marketing with the physical shop made up of shelves and trained, qualified staff pampering the customer must be integrated with online marketing to create a unique space where shoppers can find answers to their needs, not only with regard to the simple act of buying but also with regard to support and service needs, all at the click and hand of a mouse.

The real difficulty lies in creating an integrated system where targets and campaigns work simultaneously and in an aligned, coherent way in both the real world and the digital dimension. Two spaces that must come together to create a hybrid reality with simplicity for a 360° experience.

We know that the customer journey is almost unpredictable, never linear, and sometimes absurd, surely we can work to make the user’s trajectory as smooth and simple as possible to create but also maintain a fruitful and active dialogue with customers.

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How to improve the customer experience

Improving the customer experience when faced with an integrated, state-of-the-art system must be the goal of every company that wants to achieve excellent business results.

phygital customer journey

Phygital marketing consists of 3 fundamental factors:

  1. immediacy
  2. diving
  3. interaction

The first two factors have to do mainly with the online environment while the last one is with the physical space; however, these must be perfectly combined to provide the customer with a simple and easily recognizable message.

Immediacy means that things have to be done quickly and promptly, the habit of having everything and everything now is ingrained and the mere thought of having to wait discourages even the most patient. The general idea is that there is never enough time and there is nothing left but to try to give immediate answers to the public. Incorporating technological systems at points of sale to facilitate service is a simple thing to focus on to speed up and facilitate the exchange between need and intention.

Immersion is key, as to capture attention it is necessary to create intense moments and make the experience fully lived by the user. Aiming at storytelling to create empathy and bring real moments to life through a story, is certainly one of the winning methods that helps convey the importance of the human being as the center of this new way of marketing.

To complete the picture here is interaction: the word itself says it all, creating an exchange between individuals and allowing people to experience the moment in a physical and emotional way. It is important to have a qualified and empathetic staff representing the brand with its message that creates a contact, sets it up properly, and prompts the customer to finalize. Online commerce is gaining momentum but half of consumers still prefer to go to the shop to purchase because connecting remains a crucial moment for the consumer.

Customer Journey and its importance: watch the video!

New solutions and benefits for companies

For companies, phygital has a huge advantage, as it allows them to contact, collect and dispose of a huge amount of data, which enables the company to optimize purchases, focus advertising efforts, or realize campaigns more in line with the needs of the audience and manage the after-sales relationship more precisely and quickly.

Adopting multi-channel strategies exponentially increases brand reputation and consumer loyalty, this approach allows a very important exchange of information between buyers and sellers.

It is crucial that technology acts as a facilitator for a completely new type of shopping experience, but also in terms of service.

There are several possibilities to purchase in an integrated way and all are composed of a physical and a digital part typical of phygital marketing.

  • Click & Collect: when purchasing online but collecting in the shop.
  • Try & Buy: when you try the product in the store but buy it online.
  • Research online purchase offline: when you collect virtual information but buy in-store

 

Studying and keeping track of the customer journey and the customer’s approach allows you to acquire a lot of information, this makes it possible to come into contact with more and more habits and allows you to know in depth what needs to be addressed. From the analysis of the reports, it is possible to understand which products are most interesting or what to focus on for advertising campaigns, what the critical points may be, and how to optimize stock.

what is another word for phygital

After the purchase, there are many ways to keep in touch with the consumer, such as remarketing or advertisements customized according to the purchase made, important are reviews that allow the user to give his opinion or talk about his experience but, above all, allows the focus to be on service.

How many times have you had to handle a return or make a complaint without finding a way? A company that puts the person at the center and intends to create an integrated, hybrid environment must provide a fast and efficient response, especially in relation to support to manage the relationship effectively.

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Phygital some examples

Putting phygital into practice may seem difficult, but here are some concrete examples that can help you better understand what we are talking about and how it can be applied in different business realities, from the largest to the smallest, and in worlds with different needs from retail to culture.

Simple touchwalls

Timberland, thanks to the simple installation of these devices inside its shops, has made its online catalog available to customers, the navigation data as well as all the actions performed by the user are studied and analyzed by the brand for targeted advertising actions.

In Rebecca Minkoff’s shops, touchscreens are used to order garments to try on: who wouldn’t want to walk into a shop and select on a device the garments they want to try on and find them directly in the fitting room? An experience that everyone (especially women) would like to try on and that revolutionizes the way of shopping.

Augmented reality

With augmented reality, Ikea allows many of its products to be placed directly in the personal space of the home to see if they match the furnishing and space requirements of the consumer. Definitely worth a try.

how does phygital work

A new way of shopping

Amazon Go’s super-tech supermarkets: through a simple App you can create an account and access the store by showing a code. Once inside, buy whatever you want without going through the till finish your shopping, thanks to sensors and cameras managed by artificial intelligence you receive an invoice, and the total is charged to your account. The user is thus able to shop conveniently and very quickly.

Online visits and events

Woolrich during the pandemic made the online store visit available to the customer, gathering information on his preferences and customizing the search to accompany the purchase.

In 2020 during Milan Fashion Week, more than half of the scheduled fashion shows were in digital form by means of video reproduction or realistic 3D, the technology allowed one of the most important fashion events to take place while respecting the requirements imposed by the pandemic. In 2021, the experiment will be repeated.

Many museums with social networks or well-structured sites were able to provide followers with special virtual tours even when it was not possible to get off the couch. This allowed many people to broaden their knowledge despite the difficult situation, they were lucky enough to have a unique experience that combined something tangible, real with a digital mode of communication within the reach of everyone with a device.

Conclusions and strategic coaching

People increasingly want to live personalized and unified experiences, hybrid environments fulfill this need so companies must equip themselves and move in this direction to better manage the customer experience through the implementation of a true phygital strategy.

In order to meet the marketing challenges of the future, it will be necessary to focus primarily on entertainment, communication, and customer assistance only in this way will it be possible to meet the customization needs of individual users.

Remember that the person who searches and buys is a person who feels emotions and likes to experiment. It is important to keep in mind that you are also a customer, this can help you find efficient and humane multichannel solutions. Have you already thought about how to innovate your company or your e-commerce for the right physical-digital mix?

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