“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing” – Mike Volpe
Phygital Marketing is the result of such an experiment. ‘Having the best of both worlds’ is what Phygital Marketing is all about. As you can guess from the name, this term is an amalgamation, a merge of Physical and Digital Marketing. The reason for doing this is rather simple – combining the numerous factors of both digital marketing and in-store physical marketing to improve the consumer experience.
In the past few years, digital marketing has been getting a lot of importance because it makes use of numerous digital channels to market products/services. While this has improved the business reach to customers, the buying is still as much a physical process. The touchpoints for the customers are still rather physical, even if the stimulation may be due to digital technology. This then led to a need for integration of the digital space and the physical business. However, the concept of Phygital marketing is not merely an integration of both, but rather an attempt to bridge the gap between both – with its main focus on enriching customer experiences. So, let’s take a deeper look into this new marketing approach.
What is Phygital Marketing?
Phygital Marketing is the blending of the consumer experience by relating the digital world (devices and applications) to the actual, physical world of the customer. This concept stems from the fact that the customers are not limited to either the digital world or the physical world. Rather, the buying habits of customers are a combination of the digital and real life.
Let me give you some examples to explain. Imagine yourselves on vacation somewhere in India – let's say Goa (yes I am absolutely a party lover). So, here you are, at the party capital, and you are on the lookout for a decent Only Veg Restaurant. What do you do then? Option A: You get in your car, and search for restaurants nearby. Maybe ask someone for the name and direction of a restaurant. Option B: You search on the internet, find a Restaurant, go to their website, book an order, make the payment, get food delivered to the hotel you are staying at. Option C: You search the Internet find a variety of options, you choose one which has good reviews and ambience, you go to the restaurant, give an order, have your food, enjoy the ambience and music, etc. Which option would you choose? Here Option A is the physical buying approach, Option B is the digital buying approach, while Option C is the combination of both. I would choose Option C, and the main reason for that is because dining is never about simply eating to fill the stomach or get the taste. It is rather the whole experience, the ambience of the place, the colours, the lights, the mood it creates, the aroma of the different dishes, that buzz of people talking about, etc.
What this example shows is that customers need both – the control of being able to find what they want and when they want digitally; at the same time, they need the liberation of being able to feel in real-time. As a business, you need to crack this need of your customers, understand what factors of the digital world appeal to them, and what physical characteristics make an impact. Once you understand your customers, you should then strategize a marketing plan which is digitally enabled as well as includes hands-on quality.
Phygital Marketing in India:
Last year, Internet users in India crossed 700 million; however, it was still merely about 54% of the total population. Which means that still, nearly half of our population is non-internet using. This is a clear indication that India has almost equal customers with a digital and physical presence. Undoubtedly, as a Business in India, you need to be able to tap onto both your customer and hence Phygital Marketing is your answer. The retails which were completely physical need not only to be Digital but rather Phygital. The fact that big brands too are going Phygital is a clear indication of this. For example, amazon has started its physical outlets without the hassle of the counter, cashier, etc. Instead, buyers can simply walk in choose the products they want, scan it and the payment is done through their amazon accounts.
Now that you understand what Phygital Marketing is and why is it crucial to adopt this marketing strategy within India, let’s take a look at how it will help your business.
Importance of Phygital Marketing for Business:
This is 2020, a post-COVID-19 world, and we need to look at the impact that the pandemic has had on businesses. Retail Marketing has taken a rather huge beating. The physical retail stores in India, as well as the world, which till now had been trying to avoid going digital, have suddenly been gripped with the need of going digital. Digital can no longer remain an afterthought. Instead, this is the right opportunity to adopt a hybrid model. A Phygital approach will help businesses to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
When it comes to retail shopping, consumers are in the need of being able to touch and see the products. Now with the pandemic on the scene, consumers will still want that experience, but on the digital platform. Here comes in the Phygital strategy. For example, Lenskart as eyewear retailers offers 3D try-on. This lets customers experience the look of how the product will look if they were wearing it.
With consumers today avoiding to go buy products physically, they are looking up for products digitally. This has led to digital platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, etc. showcasing products even before their physical launch. This can help in increasing sales.
Undoubtedly, Phygital Marketing is the new outlook for businesses today to survive and profit.