By Zoe Anderson
October 17, 2016 - I have a fun new word for your retail business vocabulary: phygital. This trendy new semantic composite of 'physical' and 'digital' is popping up everywhere these days. It refers to the multichannel/omnichannel customer experience that many of your followers have come to appreciate for efficiency and personable qualities. It essentially references all channels (from in-person to online chat to mobile apps) working simultaneously to educate and inform the consumer process. The result is a phygital web of seamless and streamlined communications (and subsequent brand relationship building methods) that can lead to greater consumer and company satisfaction.
Here are some ways (with a couple real-world examples) for you to create a more phygital retail customer experience.
Integrate an experience of the product. Despite how it sounds, going phygital is entirely possible for web-based retailers. Many companies have added basic components such as zoom and perspective rotation. But the possibilities go well beyond that. For example, take the L’Oreal app, MakeupGenius. The app lets users try on the products through facial pinpointing technology. Users simply activate their forward-facing camera to test the product from anywhere. Other retailers are taking note too, and additional test features are now available for everything from haircuts to cars.
Hone in on nearby targets. It could prove valuable to set up a beacon system. Beacons rely on Bluetooth to push ads at potential customers within a certain distance of your business. They are gaining popularity among mega retailers like Macy’s and heavily trafficked areas like airports. But before you opt in to the beacon system, take care to learn more about it. You don’t want to inadvertently lose your customers’ trust by tracking location data (or any data for that matter!).
Take advantage of the Internet of Things. The number of items that can be connected to the web now goes well beyond mobile phones and computers. The Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses everything you’d expect to find in a smart home (appliances, televisions, vehicles, etc.) and more. You can even add a smart button next to your pantry items thanks to Amazon’s Dash development. But what does all this web convenience mean for the retailer? It’s means that there’s a wealth of customer data to be accessed that enables you to develop popular products and maintain a positive relationship with happy customers.
Personalize customer interactions. Whether the customer is speaking to an employee directly or interacting with an automated system, you can take extra steps to tailor the interaction to the needs of each person based on their purchasing and shopping habits. You can go big (like Neiman Marcus when they decided to let their customers send text messages to store employees) or you can start small. Many retailers offer a mailing list and subsequently offer/prompt the customer to purchase complimentary items as a follow-up to a sale.
It's important to be mindful that there is a fine line between maintaining an effective phygital presence and becoming too invasive. You may find some customer attrition if you take this strategy too far (i.e. relying too heavily on geolocation-based tactics like beacons). It’s best to try to put yourself in the customers’ shoes to strike the right balance. Consider getting out and about to experience these phygital strategies firsthand and determine what kinds of elements are best suited to your retail business.
About the Guest Author
Zoe Anderson is a blogger, an avid self-learner and a part of the team working at StudySelect. Zoe is always interested in learning more about new tools for marketing and business promotion and tries to follow the latest trends.