Physical, Digital, Phygital? What retailers need to know about marketing’s newest channel
Wondering how marketing's newest channel - Phygital marketing - can help retailers significantly improve customer experience? Read on to find out.
Last Updated:  September 8, 2021
What is Phygital marketing?
Phygital is a hybrid marketing channel that can deliver an immediate, immersive experience that doesn’t just make brands memorable – it converts.
Perhaps just as critically, Phygital interactions also capture customer preferences to improve your marketing team’s ability to wow that customer again and again. While the benefits of Phygital aren’t limited to retailers, for those who are still working to regain brand loyalty after losses in 2020, a Phygital strategy can provide the propulsion you need to recapture customer attention.
To help explain just what this emerging channel is and how retailers can leverage it to meet your goals, I’ve outlined the three primary benefits of using Phygital marketing.
How can Phygital marketing help retailers improve customer experiences?
Improve contactless interactions with Phygital marketing in retail environments
Since the art of merchandising was turned upside down in March 2020, 87 percent of shoppers reported a preference for touchless payments and self-checkout options. Given the strength of this number, marketers are working quickly to improve their contactless interactions with customers, and no channel is better suited to this than Phygital.
But what does this approach look like in practice?
You might capture a customer’s attention as they walk by with the help of geofencing that delivers an app notification with a compelling coupon offer. Or, it could be that a customer who is visiting a retail store to pick up their latest online purchase sees an alert on their phone that welcomes them to the store when they arrive and directs them to where they can retrieve their merchandise.
While both of those examples may sound like simple use cases for geofencing as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy, these scenarios are just the set-up for an in-store experience that will wow them.
Perhaps once the customer who received a notification arrives at their destination inside the store, they’ll have the ability to scan a QR Code on the shelf that delivers more product information. In the second case, when that customer who received a coupon arrives at checkout, they can scan their own merchandise and pay via QR Code – no contact required.
The key to successful execution in these Phygital customer journeys is that the marketers and planographers must work together to map out the touch-free points where a customer might want more information or need more direction to accomplish their goal within the shop.
Deliver an immersive (and memorable) retail Phygital experience that converts
To deliver a superlative Phygital experience in a retail environment, you must engage the customer in the store, exceed their expectations, and send them out the door with a better impression of your brand than they had when they first walked through the doors.
Phygital marketing does this by tying together mobile and in-store experiences so that the customer has the sense that they’ve arrived in the right place when they reach your storefront and once inside, has the ability to answer all their questions at the scan of a code. And much of Phygital marketing’s growing popularity can be credited to the rise of QR Codes on product packaging.
In the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in these placements because they have been shown to increase in-store and post-purchase engagement. Today, one QR scan allows your customer to quickly answer the following and much more –
Where is this product from?
What is it made of?
Will it fit me or suit my needs?
Who is this company?
What do they stand for?
And it can provide that customer to sign up for a loyalty account or pay online via their preferred channel.
Whether your QR Codes are placed on product packaging or on the edge of the shelf where a product sits, customers expect to have access to your brand at their fingertips, and that in-store experience must align with the digital experience they hold in their hand.
Capture customer preferences to deliver a personalized Phygital experience that drives brand loyalty
There are many benefits to the rise of Phygital marketing for brands, but none may be greater than the rise of Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store (BOPIS) and Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS), which surged even before the pandemic, and changed the ways consumers shop.
Why are these two trends such a boon?
They push hesitant customers to create digital accounts with brands they frequently patronize.
They marry the digital and physical experience at key touchpoints that are historically major sources of traction for customers and retail staff: purchase and return transactions.
They provide brands with the digital touchpoints digital marketers need to leverage known customer preferences to deliver a better experience from end to end.
At MobStac, we talk a lot about the importance of relationship marketing and how it can improve customer retention. The rise of Phygital has handed brands the tools to leverage time-tested DTC digital marketing techniques to deliver exceptional customer experiences in real-time when they do have customers onsite.
Phygital provides a new word to describe how to craft an improved retail experience
For years, digital marketers have struggled to measure the halo effect in retail: it is still a challenge to measure the value of a great in-store experience once a customer leaves the store.
Phygital marketing doesn’t just enable better customer interactions onsite and online, it also helps brands measure their customer experiences with concrete data. This new channel is a game-changer for remarketing that will continue to shape customer expectations for every retail interaction they have in our increasingly digital world.
Schedule a demo to see how the Beaconstac platform can help power your next Phygital marketing experience.