‘Phygital has been a bit of a buzzword in recent years. And it is not really a secret that ‘phygital’ is an amalgamation of ‘Physical’ and ‘Digital’. As easy as that may appear, there’s a lot more to it. And attributes associated with ‘Phygital’ are increasingly visible in today’s purchase trends and consumer habits.
Consequently, businesses that maintain physical establishments are enhancing their digital footprint and market to consumers by combining both virtual and in-person experiences. Brands with physical business locations have identified the prominent trait where consumers look businesses up online, gather information digitally and then reach stores, to take their journeys forward. Hence, it is critical for brands and businesses to offer the best possible experience all along, and strengthen their associations with consumers. In other words, they must focus on ‘Phygital’ and keep consumers holistically covered.
Invariably, consumers today throw pretty much everything into a search engine and look for easily accessible solutions. And with capabilities like digital business profiles being available on these search engines, it has become easier for brands and businesses to create store-level digital profiles that can bring discoverability and offer local solutions to various requirements consumers may have. So, being present across search engines through robust, information-loaded profiles, ensures high search rankings enabling brands and their stores to become easily accessible to consumers.
But how should brands make their profiles robust, encouraging consumers to pay physical visits? Well, by offering as much information as they possibly can, to assure consumers of the value that the stores can bring. In addition to basic details such as contact and address, if digital business profiles offer information such as business hours, photographs, available inventory, and some useful FAQs, consumers find the confidence to associate with the stores and progress in their journey. Advanced engagement capabilities such as automated chats when activated on such profiles, further help consumers with basic queries and give them more reason, to pay a visit and try the in-store experience. And if consumers want a further taste of the personality of the store before they actually land up there, brands can offer links to location-level web pages which function as digital extensions of the physical stores.
Now that the digital part of ‘Phygital’ is sorted, let’s see what the physical part looks like.
Consumers having found all the desired information on digital business profiles end up reaching stores. And for brands, it is not just the digital part of the experience, but also the physical part, that needs equal importance and attention. With the kind of competition that prevails today, it does not take long for consumers to choose other alternatives, if they are not happy at any point, during their purchase journey. Hence offering the best possible experience at the store and ensuring that consumers feel that their time and effort of visiting the store was valued, is critical. Increasingly brands recognize the fact that local stores are the interfaces through which consumers form an association with brands. Hence the quality of experience in-store determines eventual purchase outcomes and the likelihood of repeat purchases.
It is clear, that consumers are interested in digital as well as physical avenues. As a result, brands and their stores need to be fully prepared. And, as an extension of the delightful consumer experience brands aim to deliver, they must offer sufficient flexibility for consumers, so that they can choose either the physical, or the digital, or the ‘phygital route’ and continue to find value and consistency at every point of their journey. So for instance, consumers should be allowed to physically return products they may have virtually purchased from a store’s eCommerce-enabled web page. Or if a consumer is physically at a store, he or she should be allowed to benefit from offers which may be applicable to virtual purchases only. Such hybrid approaches improve the consumer’s experience and build a positive perception of stores as well as the brands.
Physical shopping and purchases were already common. With the world becoming increasingly digital and technology becoming easily accessible, most of the purchase activities are influenced by the internet. So, as ‘Phygital’ continues to pick up steam, modern-day consumer behaviour will become more and more interesting, encouraging brands and their stores to find new ways of delivering satisfying consumer experiences.