With the advent of advanced technology and the widespread use of diverse digital platforms, today’s consumer has changed considerably. The set of beliefs that a consumer holds about a brand is a key influencer of consumer behaviour. They have less time but are more conscientious as they have ample options to choose from. Consequently, brands today rely on every tool in their arsenal to serve consumers’ ever-changing needs by re-imagining every touchpoint involved in the consumer’s digital as well as physical journey to reach the brand’s offerings. This is a conscious attempt by brands, to elevate consumer experience.
While digital technology is finding prominence, consumers still have access to both digital and physical routes. According to a recent report, omnichannel experiences are more important than ever and constantly evolving. More than 80% of respondents reported shopping across at least three channels over the last six months. Digital habits have slowly but effectively started to influence our physical activities in different ways. With advanced technology and intelligence, a brand might capture a customer’s attention as they walk by with the help of an app that delivers notifications with a compelling offer. Another example can be that of a customer who is visiting a retail store to pick up their latest online purchase and ends up seeing an alert on their phone that welcomes them to the store. The alert can direct them to a place where they can retrieve their merchandise by simply reading reviews online before making a purchase decision.
Today, digital and physical consumer behaviour are intrinsically intertwined. This is motivating brands to focus on delivering unique experiences through ‘Phygital’ channels. The concept of ‘Phygital’ offers unique, immersive shopping journeys that blend the convenience of online shopping with the personal touch of in-store shopping. With brands increasingly seeking to understand the modern-day consumer, tactics to align with the ‘phygital’ approach enable them to deepen consumer-connect and expand their consumer base. It visibly results in a rising number of consumers accessing the brand online and visiting the storefronts. This is something that brands thrive on when it comes to growing their business.
Searching online before visiting has become a common trend that triggers consumers to make informed purchase decisions. That’s the starting point of the journey these days. The moment consumers find accurate information about nearby stores, available offerings, and other relevant store information they feel confident about moving toward a purchase. Using digital information, consumers reach storefronts to validate various products or services. This is where brands find an additional opportunity to offer commendable service to refine a consumer’s experience, which had fundamentally begun with a digital touch point. It is this kind of holistic ‘phygital’ engagement, that eventually contributes to a brand’s overall growth when it comes to brand recall as well as top-line numbers.
With the increasing prevalence of technology, devices, and easy access, more and more consumers are displaying digitally impacted behaviour. For instance, according to a survey, 82% of consumers avoid businesses with limited ratings on search engines such as Google. Such insights are further triggering brands to strengthen their digital presence in order to raise online as well as physical interactions. Through capabilities such as discoverability, reviews, ratings, and automated chats, brands are encouraging a rising pool of consumers to try them out. While large-scale promotions and advertising help to create a buzz, it is primarily the ‘phygital’ ecosystem that underpins the importance of growing engagement and eventual conversions.
This is all the more critical, as brands try to build their hold in local markets and establish an association with their audience. Such end-to-end foresight plays a pivotal role in brands strengthening their digital touchpoints keeping in mind physical activities, to assure positive experiences that will translate into purchases and long-lasting relationships.
Offering holistic consumer experiences by using offline and online insights is useful in not only attracting new consumers, but also shaping experiences that will build consumer loyalty. The interlinkage between ‘phygital’ and local-level marketing help brands personalize their offerings with respect to consumer needs, new product, new product offerings and services that need to be adapted to, with changing environments and consumer preferences. The consistency experienced by consumers between digital and physical channels helps brands to become more reliable. And with this kind of assurance in place, consumers find purchases from brands as an activity of value and not just transactional associations. As times change, such awareness about consumer behaviour across physical and digital platforms will help brands solidify their presence, business outcomes, and the eventual impact they make on markets and people.