The term phygital is the result of the union of physical and digital, which rightly suggests that it has to do with the blending of the two worlds.
Our society is phygital, since any information generated in the physical space is then processed, shared and interpenetrated in the digital one, and vice versa.
In the back-end of current Marketing we find technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain, in the front-end, on the other hand: sensors, voice commands, robotics, augmented and virtual reality; technological tools used to improve the touchpoints of the physical world along the customer journey.
To meet the needs of consumers, the customer experience must be constantly updated, a time-consuming undertaking. In the digital space, companies are able to carry out experiments faster. At the same time, however, physical interactions still create value, so integrating the two realities is essential in order to exploit the benefits they bring.
For example, by integrating physical and digital, a brand’s customers can communicate with the staff of a company through video platforms or they can interact with chatbots for basic requests and with human staff for more detailed consultations.
A customer experience that is truly phygital must know how to combine:
- immediacy, ensuring a quick and timely experience;
- immersion, involving the user totally and intensely;
- interaction, generating an exchange between individuals.
Immediacy and immersion have to do with the digital space, while the interaction with the physical one.
Digitization must not only stop at customer engagement but must include all customer touchpoints, from marketing to sales.
Additionally, employees need to have access to digital tools to work remotely and collaborate with each other in a digital space.
Fluid experiences for fluid consumers
Thanks to the advanced technologies we have today, it’s possible to obtain a fluid customer experience, able to better satisfy the needs of consumers, who, always on the move, change devices and channels according to their needs.
The companies that have invested in omnichannel services, both online and offline, are the ones that have managed to best deal with the covid-19 pandemic. Among the instruments used, the most useful were certainly the self-service interfaces, front-line robots, contactless payments etc. Amazon has also experimented with biometric payment systems.
Through a mix of cutting-edge technologies, consumers can be offered a virtual pre-purchase experience. One example is Prada, which introduced virtual reality, which its customers can use anywhere, through VR viewers on various platforms, including YouTube VR, VEER, Oculus and Youku.
The whole issue of phygital data and reconciliation is essential: different sources, online and offline, return data that must then be reconciled, that is, put back together, normalized and enriched, to have a truly complete picture of users’ purchasing behavior in a hybrid context .
It is not easy, for example, to understand which channels are really bringing results to a Brand, for two reasons:
- the physical world includes promotional activities that are often difficult or not directly measurable (just think of OOH or even radio / TV broadcast);
- the digital world, although fully measurable in theory, is experiencing a difficult time due to the issue of the tightening of privacy regulations, which impact on activities such as online ads and analytics.
In this sense, Marketing Mix Modeling could be the solution for making reliable “hybrid” measurements.
The interpenetration of the physical world and the digital world certainly occurs in immersive marketing. The latter offers, in fact, total immersion in physical space with the help of sensors, augmented reality and robotics.
For example, several fashion brands now make intelligent dressing rooms available to their customers, inside which there are digital mirrors on which to view the chosen garments, change their sizes and change their color.
The goal of immersive marketing is to eliminate the boundaries between online and offline, in order to offer consumers an omnichannel experience.
Beyond Immersive Marketing: The Metaverse
The Metaverse is a three-dimensional virtual space in which users, impersonating avatars, can interact with other avatars, the context and the objects within it. It is a Cloud based space managed by Artificial Intelligences that can be accessed through Virtual and Augmented Reality. In the Metaverse you can work, buy products or services, sell, participate in events and carry out any other activity that we normally conduct in the real world, without space-time limits.