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Nicola Björk

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What Is Phygital Marketing?

April 16, 2021

Phygital marketing is an omnichannel marketing approach and it’s helping businesses to create seamless customer experiences. Phygital brings together both digital and real-life physical experiences to deliver superior, interactive, and immersive experiences at every touchpoint of the customer journey. Phygital marketing has proven to be a critical element for the survival of brick and mortar retail businesses during the pandemic. Accelerated adoption of digital transformation is strengthening customers’ online experience. However, it is important for businesses to design competitive, elevated physical spaces to allow customers to enjoy retail shopping as much as online shopping. To successfully integrate a phygital strategy, companies must utilize AI, machine learning algorithms, and sensor technology in their stores to optimize the buyer journey.

Despite the explosive growth of e-commerce in recent years, consumers still love to go to physical stores just for the sensory aspects of shopping. In-store experiences can prompt online orders and vice versa. Phygital strategies are helping companies to bridge the physical and online divide. A great example of phygital marketing is AmazonGo stores are completely free from cashiers, cash registers, and self-service checkout stands. Mobile scanners and smart cards allow shoppers to scan goods as they add them to the shopping basket or cart using store-provided technology. Unlike most other self-checkout systems, AmazonGo stores have sensors that do not require any registers or checkouts. This has eliminated the need to wait in long queues. Reliability, ease of use, and enjoyment have been the primary reasons for the success of AmazonGo stores. 

Phygital marketing will change the marketing game

Marketing has shifted dramatically since 2010, and the next decade will see an uptick in phygital explorations for forward-thinking brands. Phygital experiences require methodical collaboration between all vendors, engineers, content strategists, designers, and retail experts, and should aim to elevate the human experience through digital innovation. There will be a stronger emphasis on experiences that offer real-time data that are tailored to a user’s in-store journey. This is useful for brands when they streamline purchase opportunities by offering suitable alternatives at the moment. 

It will become crucial for businesses to merge digital and physical experiences so that customers can experience the products firsthand, then be reminded while they’re within the digital realms of their choices to buy what they already tried and physically experienced. Phygital marketing has practically become a necessity for some businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a large number of shutdowns and/or social distancing requirements in place that impact how customers shop in physical stores. Certain people prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store because you can touch and try on products, talk to a human clerk right away and purchase without any dreaded last-minute add-on fees. Other customers prefer to shop online because you can browse global stores, have items shipped right to your front door, and avoid crowds. But phygital retail appeals to both types of shoppers because it’s no longer a case of one or the other, but rather an integration of both as the customer sees fit.

How to develop a phygital marketing strategy for your business?

Research your audience

Different demographics shop and interact with the internet in distinct ways. 51% of consumers who use mobile shopping apps open them inside the store to access discounts, compare prices, and research reviews. Meanwhile, 66% of Gen Z say in-store availability is important. By thoroughly studying the target audience, brands could push for further amalgamation of technology and elevate the shopping experience both in-store and online. Surveys are always a smart way to crowdsource ideas for improving the shopping experience. Gather feedback from customers to understand what can be improved in terms of sensory and visual experience.

Adjust existing marketing plan

Some brands find phygital marketing attractive because it helps them scale their in-store operations and overhead. Meanwhile, e-commerce brands might want to use phygital marketing to reach new audiences. Once you have the necessary data from customer feedback and surveys, it’s time to steer marketing strategies in a new direction to adapt to the new reality. Implementation of advanced technology like AI, chatbot, VR/AR, etc can require significant investments. So marketing leaders must strategize on how to navigate through the new plan.

Prioritise customer experience

Today consumers are looking for a superior user experience when they engage with brands online, and in-store shopping is no longer just about buying things; it’s more about the sensory experience. While online interactions do not satiate the taste, touch, and smell aspects of our senses, but, conversational content across all channels of communication can improve customer engagement and enhance interaction.

Final Thoughts

Phygital marketing is about finding clever ways to merge the two worlds through the augmentation of an existing, traditional idea with new technologies to create an elevated, omnichannel customer experience. At Alkye, we help clients to create and upgrade their digital marketing strategies to meet evolving market and consumer needs. 

Customer experienceDigital MarketingPhygital marketingTechnologyUser Experience
Nicola Bond

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Nicola Bond

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