What is phygital?
Phygital simply combines the words physical and digital to create a new word: phygital. We noticed more companies quickly adjusting their strategies to digitally accomplish tasks that had previously been accomplished in-person. This includes things like grocery shopping. The success of mass retailer curbside pickup solutions and delivery programs attests to the fact that consumers are now very comfortable using a mobile app to “walk the aisles” for them. Other examples include using a phone to look at a restaurant’s menu, paying for gas without having to touch a payment terminal, or using a connected device to monitor your health. The blending of physical and digital in the customer experience strategy is certainly here to stay.
What’s phygital in the customer experience?
Considering the customer experience journey is critical to ensuring that whatever phygital strategy you create is successful. For example, if you create a mobile app for your convenience store and offer curbside pick up on quick meals but you don’t properly train store associates to engage with the app, you don’t have a successful phygital experience (or good customer experience, for that matter). We’ve seen many five-star mobile apps end up with a 1-star rating because the out-of-app experience with an associate didn’t align with the in-app expectation, damaging customer satisfaction. Getting to market quickly should not be at the associate’s or customer’s expense. Thinking about the kind of customer experience you want your users to have is critical to your success. It’s not enough to simply check a box to say that you have a mobile app or website. These digital experiences must be optimized to account for the more common phygital experience that many customers will have with your brand.
What is a phygital strategy?
Creating a phygital strategy must, again, start with assessing your current customer experience. Where are customers running into challenges? What moments of achievement do they have that you want to invest in more? These kinds of insights will give you a lot to work with and can help guide you in the direction necessary to creating a phygital experience that not only meets, but exceeds, customer expectations. What can you do to blend your physical and digital experiences together, for the better? The goal is to create the kinds of immersive engagements that customers find so easy that it achieves silent utility - it works so smoothly that you don’t even have customer feedback from your users because it simply works. That’s when you know you have a great strategy because everything simply works for your customers and the effort required of them to engage with your brand is so minimal that it keeps them coming back.
There are many ways to enhance the phygital experiences that you already have. Let’s take a look at some real life phygital examples and how they can propel your customer experience.
What role does marketing play in phygital?
It’s great to start thinking about how phygital will come to life for your business, but part of that plan needs to include your marketing strategy. How you communicate new digital offerings and configure customer support as users begin to onboard and utilize these experiences will be critical to your success. Consider signage for your stores to educate and convert in-store only personas into hybrid or digitally-friendly personas. Think about exclusive offers you can provide to customers that engage with your mobile app or website to encourage adoption. Are you adding personalization into the experience? All of these factors should be part of your overall strategy. Plus, don’t forget to measure and analyze your data so that you can continually optimize your phygital strategy for the best possible customer experience.
What is the future of phygital?
In the future, true phygital experiences will have an advanced anticipation model. This idea of advanced anticipation is something that I suspect we will hear a lot more about as phygital experiences become more commonplace. For example, many of us have voice-activated remotes. You can speak the name of your favorite television show into your remote and instantly, your TV provider launches your program. But what if your TV and TV provider knew you so well that you didn’t even need to speak into the remote? It knew your preferences and routines and what you wanted to watch. That’s advanced anticipation. It’s like the Netflix strategy – capturing data that, over time, helps devices “learn” how to make helpful suggestions that point you toward the things that will be of most interest to you. Phygital is about bridging the relationship between a user (human) and activity (company) and making that experience so effortless that your customers don’t even notice that their life has become easier. The line between physical and digital experiences will be so blurred that users won’t even recognize the difference.
Will customers really want to give me the information required to create these immersive experiences?
Data privacy and security will never go away but when it comes to consumer experiences, as long as there is a fair exchange of value, your customers will largely be willing to provide the information necessary to have the kinds of interactions that they want. Thinking about the rewards programs that customers opt into at their favorite coffee chain or restaurant, ask yourself: why are they willing to agree to the terms? It’s because they understand that if they allow the company to know that they buy coffee every Saturday, they may be rewarded for that behavior and get a free coffee after they earn a certain number of points. The same will apply for your company if you provide a product or service that adds value to their lives and is worthy of sharing their personal information.
Where should I start?
As the world evolves and the difference between digital and physical experiences become the hybrid “phygital,” you’ll want to start by thinking about the strategy that will work best for your business. Mobiquity has helped some of the world’s largest brands transform their processes, making for a more successful organization, with better customer experience management, and streamlined business operations. Our clients include companies like Wawa, Kum & Go, Vomar, Nestle, Butterball, and more. View our work and then let’s chat about how together we can create a more meaningful phygital experience for your company.
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