Phygital is a buzzword coined by the retail industry. The term describes the bridge between the physical world and the digital world. The phygital experience fits in very well with the way consumers behave while shopping nowadays. It is a great way to engage the customer at the right place and time.
Whether buying in-store, accessing e-commerce, m-commerce or social commerce, today’s consumer wants to search, rate and review products via all channels in an integrated manner.
Although online shopping is big right now, many people still prefer going to the physical store, talking to a knowledgeable clerk and testing the product in person.
Phygital: the concept
Phygital means applying technology in an agile and interactive manner to directly impact the experience of users. Digital interactions expand the contact with the user, creating a seamless world.
The use of Apps to replace bureaucratic procedures is a good example. There are already applications that allow consumers to choose a restaurant in a shopping center, order the meal and pay through the cellphone. The only task left for the server is delivering the food.
An electronic article of clothing provides sensations related to what is being read in a book. A retail chain in South Korea placed virtual shelves disguised as a billboard in subway stations, allowing customers to shop using their phone and have their products delivered at home. A notebook lets you scan the notes written on its pages directly to Evernote.
Bike sharing systems via mobile Apps, labels that locate the bags they’re on, sellers using gamification apps to reach sales goals. The queue warning system for banks and supermarkets. These are just a few Phygital possibilities.
The use of mobile devices in the consumption environment is a universe to be explored by relationship marketing. Using technology that locates the client through bluetooth enables the creation of direct messages and personalized promotions. Another option is offering wi-fi to the client by requesting him or her to complete a form, registering the client information to the database.
The role of stores
Marketplaces validate brands and also have the power of resignifying them by offering enjoyable experiences to stimulate consumers. Digital interaction enhances the physical store when the brand is positioned efficiently in both environments. Brands have the opportunity to engage customers and increase empathy which may lead to a purchase.
Approximately 50% of consumers shop in an almost phygital way, doing online search and then proceeding to the store. Stores that offer check-in through apps may send messages and promotions in-store, gaining the preference of at least 10% of customers and increasing sales up to 40% at department stores.
The desire of consumers is plural, but the internet is constantly on the rise. Today, smartphones are accessed on average 180 times a day. Considering this, merging technology with physical contact can be a great way to captivate the clientele.
Understanding how the company can apply this mashup is a challenge. The barriers are becoming slimmer, since people of all ages are engaging in digital experiences. We do not know where this transformation will end up, but experts say that the next step is the Internet of Everything (IoE).