Staying at the forefront of a rapidly changing business environment requires keeping your finger on the pulse of new customer experiences and approaches. You may have already heard about customer-centricity, the success-from-anywhere world and, of course, seamless omnichannel experiences.
But a new term has taken its place on the tongue tips of leaders and employees alike: phygital.
As you’ve probably guessed, the term ‘phygital’ combines the words ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ and for good reason. A phygital experience crosses the divide between physical and digital channels, blending the connected yet often separate channels together in ingenious and marketable ways.
Phygital experiences should not be confused with omnichannel experiences. While, yes, omnichannel experiences allow seamless customer access to multiple channels that include the physical and the digital, those channels aren’t blended to form something entirely different. Which is what makes phygital special, as it fuses virtual and real-world experiences to engage customers like never before.
Of course, your omnichannel strategy remains essential to conducting business in 2022 and beyond. But adding phygital aspects to your business will allow you to grow and remain relevant, and do so in a frictionless fashion.
To better understand the potential of the phygital world, here are four Trailblazers who’ve already made the most of it.
We’ve previously explored Barbeques Galore’s transformation journey, and one of its pay-offs is their success in the phygital space. Buying from the brand is no longer a fixed experience but a fluid one, blending online and in-store experiences that transcend barbeque appliances alone.
How did they manage it? They decided to create an entire world of service, education and entertainment around their flagship physical products. The in-store and online journeys now overlap, with typical online research expanding into both digital and physical tutorials that showcase not only the product, but the latest in barbeque culture, cuts of meat, and cooking techniques.
That particular barbeque you researched can now be seen in action online, then in person in a living steakhouse, to the point where you can literally smell its potential to cook a great cut of meat.
It’s not only the retail industry that is taking advantage of opportunities to blend the physical and digital and create something innovative. Aussie healthcare start-up PharmaPrograms has harnessed the phygital to create something vital.
PharmaPrograms saw a pervasive problem within the traditional areas of patient care and pharmacy operations. Steadfast in their belief that more collaboration was needed between drug manufacturers and pharmacists, the company developed a model that affords increasingly seamless support to those on regular medications.
After implementing a joint system of record for chemists, pharmacists could now create a record of each intervention with the individual patient — which is particularly beneficial to older patients on multiple medications.
The phygital comes into play in a way that benefits that same group. By unifying this patient experience, PharmaPrograms’ in-house healthcare team can offer outbound patient support including direct phone calls from nurses, dieticians and pharmacists, plus email and SMS updates. These personalised communications serve to check in on those in need and remind them to take their medications.
What this means is that a visit to the pharmacist is no longer a siloed experience that lives purely in the physical space. Now, digital is propping up such interactions and supporting patients wherever they are — at home, out and about, or in the pharmacy.
This is particularly important to not only the patients themselves, but families and support networks who want to ensure their loved one is receiving the best possible care.
The pest control industry has been relatively static for decades. That is, until companies like Bittn decided to rethink the traditional business model, allowing customer expectations to do the talking.
Too often, pest control is a relatively urgent matter. Customers attempt to engage a pest control company quickly, yet are often made to wait due to a lack of open appointments. This leads to diminished loyalty, and to the bugs dictating (and often limiting) customer choice.
Even when they do find a company that can tend to their pest problem, customers are often made to wait around for technicians who might not show up on time.
Bittn entered the phygital space with a solution to this problem. Through integrating multiple Salesforce products, Bittn have been able to give customers a new kind of freedom. Instead of straining to find an appointment, Bittn’s appointments find them. Through a deep level of personalisation, customers are notified of upcoming appointments with technicians that fit their unique situations.
With this kind of real-time digital engagement, the physical act of organising a pest control technician to (maybe) come to solve your problem is no longer bound by real-world confines. In other words, pest control just got the phygital treatment.
Running a collaborative coworking community out of four Melbourne locations wasn’t the ideal business model when the pandemic hit. However, the minds behind CreativeCubes.co have managed to go with the tide of change and retain 97% of its members.
How was this possible, especially when CreativeCubes.co rely on memberships for in-person traffic?
The answer: keeping members happy via digital, then integrating that digital engagement into a return to the physical office.
Such engagement included keeping the already tight-knit community of members together via Slack channels, the sharing of stories via social media, and supporting wellness with interactive innovations such as online guided meditations.
Before the pandemic, they already offered members unending benefits when it came to networking and collaborating within the CreativeCubes.co community, so further harnessing technology such as Slack and Salesforce allowed for that spirit of entrepreneurship to thrive online.
Once again, the fact that a business centered around the physical presence of members was not only able to survive the pandemic, but flourish going forward, thanks to a solid phygital strategy.
To hear from more Trailblazers about the latest digital trends, watch the best of World Tour Sydney 2022 on Salesforce+.