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Is Phygital the new Omnichannel experience?

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One of the most discussed concepts in the digital environment is Phygital, a combination that comes from the words Physical and Digital. We usually treat the Offline & Online Channels separately as if they were not related to each other. Nowadays we can say that most of the barriers between them have been broken so the Customer Experience is more connected throughout any channel and device.

Until relatively recently, we were familiar with the concepts of Multichannel & Omnichannel, but a new concept has appeared and seems to be emerging as the new omnichannel experience. Phygital is a new reality that provides the best shopping experience by merging the physical and the digital worlds.

In this article, we will explain you what phygital is, how it differs from other strategies, which are the main advantages, and the opportunity to create differentiated and personalized customer experiences.

What is Phygital referring to?

Physical contact is still very important for the consumer since they have the opportunity to touch and even try the product before buying it and have a person available to help them find what they are looking for. And eCommerce often represents comfort and flexibility, allowing users to buy products from the sofa of their homes.

The phygital experience is a concept that is directly associated to marketing and it’s about integrating the physical and digital environments taking advantage of both to create the most dynamic and fluid relationship between a user and the brand. Basically, it’s about using technology to generate experiences and understand both realities together so the consumer can live digital experiences in physical spaces and vice versa.

So, what if we unify both channels to provide a better shopping experience?

We don't even realize it, but this concept is already part of our daily life with QR codes in restaurants to access the menu, contactless payments at petrol stations, or even when we order a Cabify through the mobile application. Furthermore, there are other tools to work a phygital strategy such as augmented reality, touch screens, … All these actions that we make without realizing it, are those that are understood as Phygital experiences.

This way, we can significantly improve the customer’s shopping experience and make it more interactive since they have the immediacy of the online channel and the confidence of the offline one. It’s a great opportunity for brands to achieve a more dynamic and personalized relationship with their customers. In addition, both channels are enhanced increasing the effectiveness between them.

Which are the main differences between a multichannel strategy, an omnichannel strategy and a phygital strategy?

The multichannel strategy is basically to be present in those online and offline channels that are used by the target audience of a brand. However, in this case, each channel follows a different communication strategy.

The omnichannel strategy consists of unifying the customer's shopping experience regardless of the channel used to make a purchase, both online and offline. This is achieved by maintaining the same communication strategy throughout all touchpoints within the Customer Journey.

So, a phygital strategy is not only about unifying shopping experiences in the different channels, but also about integrating the digital experience into the physical environment, and the other way around.

Which are the main advantages of Phygital?

Simplify the purchasing process. It’s very important for the consumer to speed up the process of buying a product without providing unnecessary data or wasting time. With Phygital, you can, for example, check the availability of in-store products through the online channel, pay in a store with your mobile, search for the nearest store to your location, etc.

Reach a wider audience. In eCommerce, users can shop in the store 24/7, know which products are available or out of stock, they can receive their orders without leaving their home, etc. In a physical store, customers can touch and try the product before buying it, talk face to face with the sales assistant, etc. By combining both channels, your brand can reach different target audiences; those that prefer to shop online and those that prefer to shop offline.

Create unique customer experiences. On one side, with a Phygital Strategy you can generate added value in physical stores by adding, for example, touch screens to order products online that are unavailable in store. On the other side, a brand can also add value to digital experiences with a more human interaction and communication through a Live Chat, reviews, a 3D configurator to create personalized products, Pick-up in Store, or discount codes available for the physical store, etc.

Collect useful data from consumers. For example, when brands incorporate in their physical store, a digital screen with a smiling face and a sad face so that customers can evaluate their experience in the store by choosing between the two options, or offering a small quiz with the option to write a short rating, etc. This is a great opportunity to apply the Customer Satisfaction Score metric (CSS) and measure the customer satisfaction at the end of their interaction with the brand. Moreover, this information could be useful to improve shopping experiences.

Increase sales. In summary, all those factors mentioned above, will help a brand to increase their sales and the customers’ satisfaction.

So, is Phygital the new omnichannel experience?

It’s true that multichannel, omnichannel and Phygital are concepts indirectly related to each other since they all create strategies taking into account online and offline channels. However, they are all different concepts that don’t require one another, it’s just a new way to connect online and offline experiences regardless of the channel.

The main goal is to optimize the Customer Journey providing speed and fluidity to achieve more interactions between the customer and the brand. The better you know the user, the higher the conversion rate will be.

Technology is constantly evolving and it is important that companies know how to adapt to those that will really make them grow. All those brands that incorporate a strategy like this one, will have an enormous competitive advantage in their sector as they will be able to adapt to new consumer habits and preferences more naturally, and establish a closer relationship with them.

In sum, it’s a concept that perfectly coexists with the other two concepts and that in some way can become an evolution of them.

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