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  • Writer's pictureBRANDS & U

Going Phygital: striking the right balance in your customer experience

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Going Phygital: striking the right balance in your customer experience

Indeed, the digital transformation of the retail industry is huge. Unfortunately, an analysis by Forrester claims that even today, retailers still view digital innovation more as a transaction to a large extent. However, the fact is that retail engagement is much more than that. In fact, the omnichannel experience is changing the entire scene. We are in the era of integrating the Phygital ecosystem. According to reports, 54% of millennials use shopping apps because they find them more convenient. But this does not mean that physical store purchases are outdated. On the contrary, a considerable part of this group prefers to peruse products in physical stores. Therefore, brands need to take the cross-channel shopping experience seriously in order to have a competitive advantage. The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably accelerated changes in consumer habits and led to the growth of digital purchases. Despite this, many of us still miss the interaction with the sales staff and the personalized service that we can get when we enter the store, and we are not ready to leave. Faced with this duality, there is a new concept that attempts to combine the essence of e-commerce and traditional retail: phygital.

Phygital has both online and offline environments, using the best aspects of each space to create a more complete and satisfying customer experience. The physical phenomenon differs from other marketing strategies in its multi-channel approach, in which the consumer's purchase process is smooth and familiar. Phygital takes full advantage of the best components of the digital retail experience, such as immediacy, immersion, and speed, as well as the opportunity to interact with people, products, and the more interactions you get from the traditional retail experience. This approach is the best way to meet demanding and highly connected consumers and meet their needs across multiple platforms. Millennials and Gen Z are best suited to ideal consumers for virtual experiences, which forces us to design a 360° marketing strategy that encompasses traditional and retail concepts to adapt to the virtual world.

Phygital focuses on the realization of the "three I": immediacy, immersion, and interactivity. The following is the meaning of each item: Immediacy: to ensure that things happen at the correct time Immersive: the user is part of the experience. Interaction: The generation of communication is necessary to activate the most physical and emotional part of the purchase process. In order to achieve a true virtual experience, there must be technology to promote the introduction of immediacy or immersion. On the other hand, it introduces interactivity that is inherently lacking in the digital field.

These three conditions applied to phygital make consumers feel more connected to the brand, generate trust, increase empathy, and improve the user experience. Use phygital strategies to connect consumers' online and offline experiences to ensure they can easily move between the two. Creating more human interaction will increase your perception of the brand, which in turn will increase sales. Remember, customers are looking for connected experiences that coexist physically and digitally in the same customer journey.

The only real disadvantage is that it may take time to set up and synchronize online and offline versions. If your website or application does not currently have an online pickup order, but you want to provide it, you need to work with the developer. In addition, if your physical store wants to add digital content, you need to spend some time and money up front. Both cases are very worthwhile.

Various types of technologies can be used to improve the client's physical experience. Let's take a look at some of the most popular ones.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) AI is playing an increasingly important role in marketing and customer service. It's also useful for digital marketing.

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The AR / VR industry is growing very rapidly and is expected to reach $ 160 billion by 2023, and these two technologies will be developed in more and more enterprises. Ecommerce sites that enable customers to make informed purchases.

  • Location-based push notifications. If your business has a mobile application, location-based push notifications are a great digital marketing tool. When apps interact with the Bluetooth beacons installed in your store, they allow you to send messages to users in specific geographic locations.

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