If you like to stay on top of the latest marketing trends, you may have heard about an exciting new opportunity: phygital marketing. And no, that’s not a typo. Phygital is a combination of the words “physical” and “digital”. Put them together and you get “phygital”.
In this article, we’ll explain what phygital marketing is, why it’s important, how to develop a phygital marketing plan, and three examples of it in action.
What is Phygital Marketing?
Phygital marketing is what happens when brands merge offline (physical) and online (digital) marketing strategies in order to create the cohesive experiences their customers demand.
In other words, phygital marketing takes the best aspects of a real, in-person shopping experience and combines it with the convenience of digital commerce to create customer journeys that are both sensory and functional in today’s world.
Have you ever used a retailer’s mobile app to research products, view inventory in your area, and reserve an item for in-store pickup? Or been in-store and used a mobile app to scan QR codes and save products to a personal wishlist to buy at a later date?
If so, you’ve participated in phygital marketing. But the truth is, many companies are using phygital marketing in even more advanced and effective ways.
Why is Phygital Marketing Important?
There are many benefits to phygital marketing. For example, once you implement this strategy, you’ll be able to provide better customer experiences and increase sales for your company. Let’s take a closer look at each of these advantages:
Better Customer Experiences
Modern consumers are fickle. Some of them enjoy in-store shopping. Others prefer to buy everything online and have items shipped to their doors. Even so, there are times when in-store shoppers frequent ecommerce sites and online shoppers visit physical storefronts.
The data backs this up. Take a look at these statistics:
- 63% of people start the shopping process online. But 49% of Americans would prefer to do their shopping in physical stores.
- Once inside a physical store, 82% of shoppers will use their mobile devices to read product reviews and find better deals before talking to a sales associate.
With phygital marketing, you can give each of your customers the buying experience they want, when they want it. Doing so will increase sales…
More Sales and Revenue
Better customer experiences lead to more sales and higher revenue numbers. It just makes sense. When people enjoy buying from you, they’ll do it more often.
This has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers that offer streamlined in-store buying processes, or better yet, convenient curbside pickup options, have been able to adapt to the current crisis at a much more successful rate.
But even after the coronavirus has been stamped out for good, the companies who provide buying experiences that integrate physical and digital elements will drive more revenue.
How to Develop a Phygital Marketing Plan
Developing a phygital marketing plan is one of those simple/hard things…
It’s simple because you don’t need to complete that many steps to get your strategy up and running — just three. But it’s hard because completing the three steps could take a significant amount of time and resources, depending on your company.
Even so, implementing an effective phygital marketing plan will only benefit your brand, both now and well into the future. Here’s how to do it:
1. Know Your Customers
First things first, you have to get to know your customers. If it seems like we talk about this a lot on this blog, it’s because we do! You can’t market your business effectively if you don’t understand the unique target audience you’re speaking to.
Research your industry, dig deep into your website and social media analytics, and send polls and surveys to your customers. Do whatever you can to learn more about them.
You’ll want to look for both demographic information like the gender, age, physical location, and income level of your target audience, as well as psychographic details like their hopes, dreams, goals, and daily challenges.
If you’ve already created buyer personas for your company, you likely have this information. If not, now is the time to collect it! It will benefit every aspect of your marketing efforts.
2. Identify Your Goals
Next up, ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve by implementing a phygital marketing strategy. Better brand awareness? More sales? Higher engagement levels?
When you’re clear on your goals, you’ll be able to choose the right tactics and strategies to achieve them. You’ll also be able to pinpoint metrics you can use to track your efforts. How about an example to demonstrate the importance of goals?
Let’s pretend you run an online cosmetic business, selling lipsticks, mascara, and other items from an ecommerce website. You really want to introduce your brand to a whole new audience, so you decide to open a pop-up store (more on pop-up stores below). Every person who visits your pop-up will be given a unique discount code that’s only redeemable online.
To track the success of this strategy, you choose to monitor the number of online sales made using the unique code and the amount of revenue generated by your pop-up.
Without a concrete goal, you won’t be able to tell if your efforts are successful.
3. Create Amazing Experiences
Taking what you’ve learned about your customers and the objective(s) you’re trying to achieve, you can now create amazing phygital marketing experiences that satisfy both.
Your options are nearly endless… But we do have a few tips to help you — no matter what kind of physical + digital experience you choose to build:
- The Five Senses: In-store shopping experiences allow retailers to capture all five senses. When building a physical storefront, make sure it looks amazing, smells nice, and your products can be felt, held, and/or tried on. Pay special attention to the music you play over the loudspeakers as well, which can set the mood for your experience.
- Human Connection: Online shopping is incredibly convenient, but it often lacks the human touch that many shoppers crave. Use phygital marketing to add this back into your shopping processes via on-call sales associates, curbside pickup options, and video shopping, i.e. video calls with in-store sales associates.
- Total Convenience: No matter what, make sure your phygital marketing efforts are convenient. If it’s difficult to navigate your store’s app, locate in-store staffers, find the curbside pickup location, etc. your customers will shop somewhere else.
We can’t tell you exactly what phygital marketing experience to create. It completely depends on your business type, customers, and goals. But if you keep these three tips in mind when designing your strategy, you’ll find more success.
3 Phygital Marketing Examples
You’ve probably seen phygital marketing in action. Many of the world’s leading brands are beginning to get in on the action. Here are a few examples to help you get started:
1. Pop-Up Stores
We briefly mentioned pop-up stores earlier. But let’s dive deeper…
According to Shopify, A pop-up store is “a short-term, temporary retail space where brands—usually ones without a physical presence—can interact in person with current customers and communicate their message to potential new ones.”
Pop-ups can look like normal stores. But more often than not, retailers use them to create unique experiences that customers can’t find anywhere else.
A good example of this is Sonos, a high-end speaker manufacturer, who partnered with Google to create The Brilliant Sound Experience. The pop-up featured multiple sound-proof rooms in which customers could experience music in a physical way via light displays.
Pop-ups are regularly found in malls, at festivals and conventions, and in public marketplaces.
2. Product Samples
Product samples have been used to market businesses for… ever, maybe?
Walk into any grocery store and you’ll be able to taste the potato salad in the deli before purchasing. Beauty stores are also known for handing out samples of perfumes and such.
This could be a great phygital marketing opportunity for your brand as well! For example, you could promote free samples on your website. When your customers receive the samples in the mail, they could also find an in-store discount coupon.
One of the more interesting examples of this strategy comes from Perfect Day, who uses “plants and fermentation techniques to manufacture animal-free dairy products.”
When the brand released its vegan ice cream to physical stores, it quickly sold out. But instead of restocking, Perfect Day used digital techniques to market the technology behind the ice cream to bigger manufacturers and distributors.
3. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) technology has quickly gained in popularity. In fact, many leading businesses incorporate it into their phygital marketing strategies.
Take Target, for example. The retail giant’s app includes a “See it in Your Space” feature that allows customers to preview how furniture will look in their own homes using AR. That way they know if certain pieces will fit their spaces before picking them up from the store.
MAC, a well-known cosmetics brand, has experimented with smart mirrors in select stores for the past few years. The mirrors use AR tech to enable customers to “try on” various makeup products before they buy them. MAC’s website now has a similar feature.
Boost Your Business With Phygital Marketing
Phygital marketing is an exciting new opportunity. By combining in-person and digital shopping habits into one seamless experience, your brand will be able to better serve its customers and greatly improve its revenue numbers.
To craft an effective phygital marketing strategy for your own company, study your target audience and identify your goals. Then use them to craft compelling customer experiences.