Between online and offline marketing is lagging. According to the latest eCommerce study by IAB Spain, there are fewer and fewer users who buy only online or only in physical stores. 58% of consumers already combine both channels, and the future trend is for this figure to reach 73%.
To meet the expectations of these consumers, brands will have to be able to combine digital and physical experiences.
What Is The Physical Experience?
Phygital is a trend in marketing that is based on combining e-commerce and physical stores, taking advantage of both to offer a complete user experience. This trend has been strengthened after the changes experienced in 2020, which have meant an acceleration of electronic commerce but have also valued in-person experiences.
A physical event is a truly multi-channel experience that combines the benefits of the digital environment (such as immediacy, immersion, and speed) with the possibility of interacting physically with people and the product.
The physical experience stems from a customer journey that seamlessly moves from the physical to the digital world. Two examples of this are ROPO and showrooming:
The ROPO (Research Offline, Purchase Online) consists of going to a physical place to see and interact with the product and then buying it online, taking advantage of possible discounts and home delivery facilities.
The showrooming, however, is to research a product online and then go to a physical store to make the purchase.
For brands, the physical represents an opportunity to improve the customer experience by adapting to their consumption habits and preferences, which leads us to increase satisfaction with the brand and customer loyalty.
Channels To Create Physical Events
There are multiple solutions for creating a physical experience, so this trend can be tailored for businesses of all sizes and budgets.
On the more technological side, we have solutions such as:
The touch screens inside the stores, which provide additional information about the products on display and facilitate interaction with customers.
The light ID: a technology that uses light as a communication channel to send alerts directly to mobile devices.
The beacons: these devices use Bluetooth to locate consumers who carry a tracker on your phone and send them information about the place where you are, for example, a physical store brand.
Digital signage: it is an offline advertising solution that integrates digital elements. For example, billboards and interactive billboards.
The RFID and smart testers: RFID is a tag that replaces the traditional barcodes and stores information of all kinds on products. In addition to being able to share all kinds of information, the fitting room mirrors can use RFID to recognize the object. Thus, the user can interact with the mirror to see more information about the product or suggestions for other items that match it.
At the moment, these types of solutions require a fairly high budget, but that does not mean that SMEs cannot create a physical experience for their customers. There are other alternatives to combine the physical and the digital without the need to make large investments:
Social networks can be used to offer discounts and coupons that can be redeemed in the store in exchange for taking an online action (for example, sharing content). We can also encourage customers who are in a physical store to follow us or tag us on social networks in exchange for a promotion.
The pop-up and temporary stores are a great solution to create online stores physical events, for example, opening an ephemeral store in a strategic point during periods like Black Friday or Christmas. To find the perfect location, we can use the geolocation data of the online commerce customers.
To offer a multi-channel experience, there are low-cost tools such as Shopify and WooCommerce that allow you to integrate online stores with email and SMS marketing platforms.
Examples Of Brands That Create Physical Events
The Amazon Go supermarket is the best of the king of e-commerce for physical experiences. Users can make purchases by scanning products directly with their smartphones, without having to pay by the box. Once the purchase is complete, an electronic invoice is sent to you and the amount is debited from your account.
Thus, the brand has managed to recreate its digital “one-click payment” experience in the physical environment, making the purchase process as easy as possible and creating a customer experience that is as efficient as possible.
This fashion brand has used physical technology to transform the experience of its customers. Its stores have touch screens where customers can select the garments they want to try on. When they are ready, the customer receives a message on his mobile phone to go to the fitting room.
Once inside the changing room, the customer will not only find everything they have ordered but will also be able to request a different size through the screen without having to ask a clerk or go out to look for it.
In 2019, Nike created a pop-up store in Atlanta targeting registered users of its Nike SNKRS app.
Users within a 40-kilometer radius of the store received a notification encouraging them to visit it. Once there, customers could use their mobile phones to activate a QR code and receive free accessories.
In addition, Nike also used exclusivity as a “hook” to promote its pop-up store, since it launched a limited edition of products that could only be purchased there.