Phygital: A definitive guide for 2021

Phygital: A definitive guide for 2021


The evolution in customer experience space is disrupting the current order of arrangements and transforming it for the better. Two centuries back, when the first hardware came into existence the world had zoomed across the panorama of data communication and explored its enigmatic possibilities. Today, with improved communication businesses have invaded the digital space and made a market out of it by making it available on every device. However, the pandemic took over the world and made the physical retail market at a standstill. Brands have transferred their services into the digital world, eliminating their physical presence.

Just like the Manchester United story of the Munich air disaster in 1958, business experts and leaders also believed that ‘there is no coming back for offline retail. Customers have also accepted this mendacious interpretation. They were missing the charm of the personalized shopping experience of touching and feeling the product. Thus, it pushed brands to come up with innovations that can allow customers to experience the product without visiting stores.

“The arrival of phygital as a protagonist in the customer experience movie has shaped the prospects of overall commerce.”

To put it simply, phygital allows a unified offline and online presence where the customer experience takes place somewhere in between physical and digital space. In this guide, we’re showing you how brands are embracing phygital technology and delivering the customer experience of the future.

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What is phygital ?

As a definition, phygital is anything that is seeking to bridge the paradox between the digital and physical world. However, it is widely used in retail for now and industries are looking to adopt it in an effort to enhance the customer experience.

Some of the customers have a Phygital experience unknowingly. They search for products online, then visit a local store to see them and purchase them in-person. Hence, it makes sense for both online businesses and physical stores to exist in this same space between the digital and physical realities and meet customers there.

Though physical retail is sinking, customers still want to experience its valuable perks. With most products and services available online, still customers want to touch, feel and experience it virtually, if not physically, before going for it.

To deliver the perfect seamless customer experience with unprecedented possibilities, phygital seeks to incorporate the best ingredients of digital and physical space. Phygital customer experiences could emerge as the lifesaver for falling physical retail stores. The decade is likely to see a paradigm shift in shopping experiences. If the physical stores still continue to exist, the amalgamation between both digital and physical commerce is inevitable.

Reaching out to consumers is all about timing and a lot more about their convenience. Phygital stores take advantage of those situations when customers have time and the psychic space to review products. For example, when they are having a cup of coffee, sitting in their living room.

How is phygital evolving customer experience?

Phygital experiences combine both online and offline spaces, by exercising the best components from each context to create a sentient, satisfying and definitive customer experience. Nevertheless, the phygital customer experience separates itself from other digital customer service approaches with its multichannel focus strategy, where it ensures that the customer’s shopping journey is fluid and familiar.

The consumers browse and purchase but they would also love to touch, feel and try to experience the product virtually. Despite the fact, everything in the world is available on the smartphone with just a click; most of the customers still prefer buying products after experiencing them, especially, with FMCD goods. For example, while purchasing a smartphone or tab itself, one generally does like to feel it first in their hands, click on the screen & explore features, talk to a customer service representative and then proceed to make decisions.

It only indicates that interpersonal communications still continue to be on priority and are highly rated by customers. Brands out there have recognized this customer behavior and implied the emotional quotient (EQ) into the consumer’s buying journey.

Now, let’s find out how businesses are articulating the phygital world with customer service. Suppose, you are a consumer who is keen to buy a washing machine but cannot visit the store. Rather, you approached a customer service representative to virtually show you through the product specifications. Earlier, the agent would just tell you the details hurriedly which is not adequate to decide on the product. Hence, you prefer to walk away from the product rather than buying with so many questions in mind. Unless you see, touch, and experience the product, there will always be perplexities.

Here, brands are turning this phenomenon around. With the emergence of phygital customer support, businesses have been able to eliminate boring product descriptions. The interaction with customers will happen on a video call where the representatives will proffer customers a live product demo. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AR glasses and autofocus cameras, brands are creating a tangible virtual space for customers, where they can ask the representatives to show different specifications and touch switches, etc; for example, and feel the product virtually. Utilizing TFT or LED screens, the agents show the product specifications and features one after another, which is more impressive in nature. Representatives talk through the whole buying process in the same virtual ambiance, building a store-like experience.

For instance, buying kitchen appliances using augmented reality would be one of the exceptional phygital experience examples. It is an augmentation of the physical reality that is projected through smart-phone cameras. Customers can see, touch, and feel the product virtually in an augmented platform through video calls.

Phygital space is rooting businesses to interact with consumers with more immersion and immediacy. It is getting the better of other customer support channels and businesses hardly need to spend huge amounts of money. Going phygital not only enhances customer experiences as a whole but can be proved to be imperative to delight hyper-connected demanding users by matching their expectations through multiple channels. The phygital ecosystem is ideal for Millennial and Gen Z customers, forcing brands to straddle between online and offline in order to create phygital examples with every interaction.

3 Best practices of phygital customer experience

In the meanwhile we are still envisioning phygital possibilities, brands have already implemented phygital practices in customer service. Here are three best practices to deliver phygital experiences.

AR glasses are helping customers to decide

The innovation has added more value to Augmented Reality in customer service. AR ensures whether the product is absolutely convincing for consumers by projecting the live video feed. It empowers consumers to observe precisely how the item fits their preferences by presenting a close-to-real product visualization, be it the clothes, refrigerators, or interior design products.

For example, while selecting furniture, people tend to become picky aesthetes. For them, buying it from stores can eat up a lot of time. However, customer service agents wearing AR glasses during the live product demo and through the video call can help consumers to buy the perfect fit sitting at home or from anywhere. This is an exceptional way to boost confident purchase decisions.

Pro-phygital TFT or LED screens

As businesses are flexing their strategies to develop a phygital market space, the use of TFT screens is also evolving. Brands are using it in live product demos as an amalgamation of digital into physical.

For example, while buying a TV, smartphones, and even clothes, phygitally, customers can see different features of the product or even try different clothes at the same time virtually, with just one click on the TFT display screens. As consumers want more in this experience economy, future-ready brands are adapting to their needs and staying ahead of time.

Channel-free customer experience

Businesses need to up their customer experience ante to draw prospects and convert them into sales. With phygital innovations, companies are looking to offer face-to-face customer service that builds the brand’s credibility and fosters customer relationships. This makes customer engagement so seamless without requiring to involve any other customer service touchpoints.

Phygital is the futuristic form of yesterdays’ omnichannel with greater possibilities; where consumers come, virtually experience the product, shop effortlessly sitting at home, and become customers. In the same way, indeed, it will be relevant if the customer asks for remote after-sales service.

How can brands cope with the phygital experience economy?

With everything is being judged by consumers based on experience today, phygital will encourage brands to deliver a more lucrative customer experience.

Understanding the goal of phygital

When shifting into an alternative digital or physical space, brands must understand the value of what they create. They are inviting consumers into a virtually tangible, interactive, and make-believe world. The idea of phygital is an innovative extension appealing to kids, teens, and their discerning parents.

Phygital experiences need valid reasons for being there. While brands are focusing on their existing presence on social platforms elsewhere, however, customer expectations are forcing businesses to build up a broad network of retail spaces with the ability to create powerful experiences. It is allowing customers the convenience to pick from thousands of products with just a click.

Focus on integrating online and offline worlds

Brands who are willing to thrive in the ‘no compromise generation’ market should embrace phygital-as-a-service, getting the best components from both worlds. As businesses are struggling to match the higher customer demands in both spaces, a seamless integration will empower brands to get the best out of customer experience. It’s time for brands to take their customer service efforts to the next level, where both the physical and digital space complement each other to deliver a more comprehensive customer experience.

Combine best aspects of both digital & physical spectrum

Physical experiences were not convenient for consumers and digital experiences were lacking the sensory zest. Thus, phygital has become the customer experience destination for forward-thinking brands. By evaluating and blending the best aspects from both spectrums, businesses have been able to achieve their customer service goals. For customers, phygital has become an alluring standalone platform for product discovery that delivers exemplary customer experiences.

Conclusion

The purpose of the phygital is to stitch the gap between physical space and digital technologies. Eventually, it allows customers to dive into an augmented reality space and creates a more personalized, intuitive, and seamless shopping experience. This sounds ambitious but the last mile will be the new lifeline.

With the awakening of phygital customer service, in stores, floor salespeople will be replaced with the delivering advisers with an ability to deliver prompt and defined customer experiences. The conventional methods will be remodeled into a more adept and presentable way that incorporates live product demo on the go. As we predict, the quality of the phygital customer experience will determine the course of customer retention, soon, virtual stores will take over the hyperlocal retail. The product discovery will be redefined and will determine the pump in the sales funnel. Phygital is the new customer service catalyst that needs similar investment but a more focused approach.

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