Overview: What is Phygital Marketing?

Phygital marketing is an Ecommerce scheme that combines both physical and digital experiences. Phygital marketing usually involves communicating with potential customers who tend to toggle between online and in-store shopping.

With the rise of mobile shopping experiences, customers now use their smart phones to make their in-store shopping experiences better. In the context of this article, I would call in-store shopping; “Offline shopping”, while I would occasionally refer to digital marketing experience as “online marketing”.

Phygital marketing is the combination of both online and offline marketing experiences. In the course of this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about Phygital marketing, and how to create a Phygital marketing strategy for your business.

Introduction to Phygital marketing

Phygital marketing entails creating a personalized marketing experience for a customer. And there are a lot of approaches that can be followed to accomplish this. A business can use drive-throughs, online reservations, click and collect, and even in-store lockers to add a physical experience to digital marketing.

Phygital marketing originally started as multichannel marketing, and has now evolved into what we see today as Ominichannel marketing.

Multi-channel marketing is the use of multiple platforms to do content marketing. Such platforms include; Social media campaigns, SEO, and sometimes PPC campaigns. As for ominichannel marketing, it involves making marketing experience possible in as many platforms as possible. For instance, a bank can allow users to deposit checks or make appointments on their mobile devices.

Phygital marketing is all about creating a solid online + physical experience for customers.

Advantages of Phygital Marketing

One of the biggest advantages of Phygital marketing is that it creates an improved user experience regardless of the location the user is shopping from. In addition, Phygital marketing can increase both in-store and online purchase.

Bringing in behavioral analysis to the scheme of things, some people prefer to make a purchase in brick and mortar  store because they physically try on and touch some products and even get to talk to a sales person right away.

However, no matter the how wild the buzz for digitalizing shops goes, physical shopping experiences are still a thing. The majority of other customers that shop online do so because they can browse products on global stores and have items shipped from abroad to their doorstep.

Phygital retailing appeals to both the online and the offline shopper, as an integration of both marketing schemes is best for any business in the world today.

A good example of Phygital marketing is a case where a user scans a products QR code to get information about the product. This way, they do not need to go online to research the product or contact a shop staff. In this example, Phygital marketing works on the go, simultaneously providing the customer with an online and offline experience in tandem.

Phygital marketing, proved to be a game changer during the pandemic season, and also in sales seasons like black Friday, cyber Monday and holiday seasons. Potential customers can research new products and make a purchase with the most convenient way.

Disadvantages of Phygital Marketing

Phygital marketing does not have a lot of disadvantages accrued to it. The only serious disadvantage of this marketing is the time it takes to set up and synchronize the online and offline versions of the retail process.

For instance, as a business owner, if your site or app does not have an online delivery system, you would have to get a developer to do so for you. Likewise if your physical retail store wants to add a digital face, it would take some money and time.

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For instance, in the publication industry, New York times was a physical newspaper publication. However, with time they transformed into digital-only publication company. All their efforts in content creation were channeled into their digital platforms. Other newspapers as Le Figaro and France’s paper went on to retain their physical publication, while still adding an online version.

Top 5 examples of Technologies Used For This

 There are real world examples of technologies that are been used to improve Phygital retailing experience. Let us take a look at 5 most popular technologies that are used to improve Phygital marketing experience.

#1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

The VR/AR industry is growing so quickly that it is finding its way into in-store marketing. 

What is Augmented Reality?

This involves the use of technology to superimpose data that comes in the form of text, sound, and text in the world we see.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a 3D environment or image that can be integrated physically with special electronic equipment.

#2. Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in marketing has become common place and can be very much applied in Phygital marketing. In subsequent paragraphs, we would delve into some applications and examples of Phygital marketing.

Ecommerce sites and big retail brands use these technologies to optimize their websites and show users products that are relevant to them. They also use AI to show what products are available from their inventory. An example of website optimization using AI is the use of automated helpdesk chatbots that are used for resolving customer concerns.

#3. Location-Based Push Notifications

If your brick and mortar store has a mobile-app, a location based push notification integration, is an extensive way of deploying Phygital marketing. With these notifications, you can send targeted messages to potential customers in a particular geographic location. This happens when the mobile apps that go close to beacons that are installed in the retail store.

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A good example of this, is a scenario where a passerby is walking pass your shop, and then receives a notification offering them 10% off their placed order or a free coffee or snack.

This can land the business a lot of customers, as people that are walking past the physical storefront can be converted with the Phygital solution provided by “Location-based push notification”.

#4. Video Shopping Technology

Video calls like FaceTime or Whatsapp are nothing new, but using them with a retail clerk is. There are lots of conversational commerce app that stores that allows customers to text, video call and chat with their favorite stores. A growing number of big name retail companies have started to integrate the video shopping technology. Examples of Nike, Levi’s, Adidas, etc. 

The video shopping technology played a huge role in the corona-virus pandemic.

#5. Automation Technology

One of the technologies that has brought Phygital marketing into the spotlight in recent years is the automation technology. Automation technology is fast seamless, and easy. Integrating this tech with Phygital marketing takes some tasks off the hands of the business owner.

Let us take a look at some real world examples of the use of automation technology in Phygital marketing. One tangible scenario, is when online users schedule an in-store pickup, they would be sent instant notification about their pick-up availability. This eliminates the need for a staff that explains when and how to get your product delivered or picked up.

Conclusion

As indicated in the article, a strong balance between physical and digital marketing is best for the profitability of any organization. In times past, a lot of attention used to be placed on digital experiences, but when digital marketing fails you, Phygital marketing should be turned to, or at least experimented.

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Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.

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