Augmented reality, AI, and QR codes to automated checkout or voice ordering – technology has evolved greatly, and is still evolving.
And no one can deny that in its path of development, it has changed ways and cooked up some creative, groundbreaking concepts.
One such concept is Phygital – the perfect mix of physical and digital elements. Or just call it an innovative way to give your customers both a physical and digital experience.
This concept has only been around for years and is already hogging the limelight. What I can say is this Phygital strategy is not going anywhere soon rather it’s shaping the future of how the world experiences products and services.
But how and in what ways? To find all these and more, read on.
What Is Phygital?
So what is Phygital? Well, it’s not just one thing but a combination of physical and digital experiences.
It combines the best of both worlds and delivers a seamless experience from start to finish.
To explain in simple words, Phygital puts together elements from physical and digital worlds to give a real yet virtual environment for customers.
For your better understanding, let’s go with an example. Have you ever tried out the digital kiosks at Mcdonald’s?
If yes, then know that it’s a Phygital strategy. You visit the physical stores but checkout with kiosks rather than standing in a long queue at a counter.
You’re enjoying the physical experience of choosing your order and all but also taking advantage of the digital world to fasten.
Now, this is Phygital – where the physical experience and digital technology come together.
But this is just one way in which Phygital can be used. There are more than one ways in which Phygital strategies can be used.
Where & How Is Phygital Used?
As far as I’ve found Phygital is mainly used for two purposes –
- Improve Customer Experience
But these bullet points don’t really do justice to the potential of Phygital. Phygital is a concept that can be used in multiple ways. But still, first, let’s look at both these points closer.
Phygital Strategies In Marketing
Phygital is a hot shot in the marketing game. In recent times, marketers are making use of innovative Phygital strategies as a tool for marketing – to reach and influence customers.
They are coming up with Phygital marketing strategies to create a bridge between the physical and digital worlds.
Such marketing strategies are very common today, right under our noses but we don’t realize it. Have you seen the QR code along with an Ad on your newspaper, magazine, or outdoor billboard?
Such QR codes on scanned leads you directly to their website or a landing page showing more details about their product/service.
Or even directly to the products or services selling page. Now, this is nothing but a Phygital marketing strategy in practice.
It gives customers the experience of reading the physical ad. And on scanning you’re on their selling page of the website and that’s a digital experience.
Phygital Strategies For Improving Customer Experience
By putting together the best physical and digital world experience you can do wonders in improving customer experience.
This could be anything like using digital kiosks in physical stores, Augmented Reality (AR) to see how a product looks.
The whole idea here is to give customers a seamless journey and help them with their decisions.
For example, Nike has a store called House of Innovation in New York. What’s different about this store? Well, they’ve taken of Phygital strategies and are a perfect example of a Phygital retail store.
In this Nike store, all mannequins come with QR codes. And on scanning these codes you get to request to see that particular product.
But it doesn’t end there, you can choose your fit and color, and a sales assistant would bring that product up to you for your trial or purchase.
You don’t need to track or call a sales assistant for help and then tell them your size or chosen color.
This way Nike made it easy and simple for their customers to have a great shopping experience. Like this, you can also come up with more Phygital strategies to make your customers happy.
Some Phygital Strategies
Now that you know what Phygital is, and where and how it can be used, I’m sure you must have some ideas of how to use it in your business.
But before you jump into your plans and process of putting Phygital to use let’s go through some of the most common or say popular Phygital strategies. And you never know you might get some more ideas.
1. Create Pop-Up Stores
If you have a digital store then this one is for you.
Pop-up stores are basically short-term retail stores that appear for a limited period.
Suppose you have an online bag store. And in a fair or expo, you can create a physical space for your store.
This way customers can see and feel the product before buying. You can even put your newest product on display and let people have a hands-on experience.
It’ll create awareness and give your customers a physical experience with your products or services. And who knows? this might influence them to make a purchase then or order later sometime.
This can be considered a Phygital marketing strategy too.
2. Try VR Applications
Virtual reality – one of the best invasions of the digital world.
Using virtual reality to try out if a dress or accessory fits you is trending in retail stores.
Nowadays, you can find these virtual reality applications to try out the products in many stores.
For example, you walk into a retail store and use their VR application to scan a product and then choose your body shape and all on the app. The app then shows you how that particular product will look on you.
It gives customers an idea of how different styles and sizes look on them.
Like GAP has its own VR fitting app called the DressingRoom which is developed by Google.
This Phygital strategy would allow your customers to experience both physical and digital elements.
3. Add A Pick- Up Option
Don’t just deliver, let your customers pick up too.
If you have an e-commerce store, plus a physical store too, then you can put this Phygital strategy to use.
There are customers who might not back off from ordering to avoid delivery fees or just stay close.
They can just make a pick-up on the way. And you never know in the process of picking up they might end up liking another product and buying it as well.
So increase in your sales.
4. Have A Checkout Kiosk Or Checkout Process
We have talked about this in the beginning -McDonald’s having checkout Kiosks.
Well, this is very popular and useful today. For busy people, it’s best. They can just order, receive and pay through a Kiosk.
Other than this there’s no checkout, where you can pick up your product from a physical store, walk out and pay later.
Like in Amazon Go stores, where you choose, pick, and walk away. And the digital tools follow recognize the customers, their purchases and process the payment automatically through the Amazon Go app.
Again, the best of the physical and digital worlds are brought together.
Real-World Example Of Phygital Strategy
By now you might think that you have learned the basics of Phygital strategy and you can try it on your own.
Maybe you can, but it never hurts to look around a little and learn from the best instead of jumping head-first yourself.
So here are some successful real-world Phygital strategies examples to give you a better idea of how to use Phygital in the real world.
1. KFC’s Phygital Stores
In China, KFC has stores that operate on Kiosks.
You can just select your order on the touch-screen kiosks and make a payment.
The kiosks have a facial recognition application to process the payment. Plus, it can show dishes based on your precious buy. It customizes the menu according to your preference and then shows it.
Moreover, along with human chefs, there are also robot chefs working in the kitchen. A perfect example of Phygital.
2. TimberLand TouchWalls
Another Phygital strategy was done right.
It’s a physical store with products for online purchases. Sounds confusing right?
But this is what the store is for actually, on entering the store they hand out tablets. With this tablet, they can know about the products as it works on Near Field Communication Tech (NFC).
Through this tech, the tablet can locate which particular product customers are picking out and show details about it.
Let’s say you have a customer who is picking out the black boot, then on scanning it through the tablet, the product will show up on the big screen.
Showing features and customers can add it to their cart and just make the purchase later from the home too.
3. Sephora’s Techs
Sephora is heavily dependent on Phygital.
And you’ll get a taste of it as soon as you enter a Sephora store. As soon as you enter a Sephora store its mobile app starts providing the store map as well as deals.
Plus, the make-up artists of the store have iPads, using which they help customers try different products virtually.
And Sephora’s Phygital efforts don’t end here. Sephora sends an email with a tutorial as well.
4. Rebecca MinkOff’s Idea
A New-York fashion designer who became the talk of the town with her Phygital strategy.
She installed touchscreens all around her stores.
The customers can pick a dress choose their size and color and once a fitting room becomes available they can just go try out the real one.
Even in the trial room if they needed any help they could call a sales assistant by using the trial room’s screen.
All the dresses in Rebecca’s store are RIFD or Radio Frequency Identification Technology chips tagged, i.e. when a customer chooses a dress or any other product the store automatically gets to know what he has chosen.
This way it becomes easy for store staff to locate that product. Now this is what a perfect Phygital use looks like.
5. Macy’s AR, VR Tech
Macy’s has made shopping for furniture and home decor easier with its Augmented or Virtual Reality tech.
It has a mobile app called “Macy’s On Call” which uses AR & VR tech to give customers an idea of how their products fit inside their houses.
It allows you to create a virtual room setting and then put your chosen furnishing in it.
This way customers can see how the product will look and feel before buying it. Suppose, you like a sofa, then just create a home setting similar to your virtual one and position that sofa in the setting.
You’d get an idea of how much space it’ll take if it will fit, and whether the color or design will match your existing interior.
Ending The Phygital Experience
Phygital strategy is the result of physical and digital realms unifying. It provides customers with a better shopping experience.
Plus, it works as a great marketing strategy too. With Phygital strategy, you stay ahead of your competition and always provide something extra – a unique experience to your customers.
Phygital is great if done right. So be very careful while putting Phygital strategies to use.