Feb 16, 2022 Chris Kelley

Let's Get Phygital! Blurring In-Store and Online Customer Experience

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Let's Get Phygital! Blurring In-Store and Online Customer Experience

Phygital retail. It’s a new buzzword for an omnichannel sales approach that offers shoppers a connected experience whether they are shopping in-store or online. It’s a strategy that builds upon the boom in online shopping as well as click-and-mortar, when buyers pick up items they ordered online.

For hardware and home improvement stores – which saw a boom in sales as people were ordered to work from home – the line between online shopping and the in-store experience became seriously blurred amidst the pandemic. Customers could order online, yet still have the benefit of face-to-face interactions with store personnel when they picked their items up curbside.

Creating the optimal phygital experience means creating an immersive experience, options for order fulfillment, and ways for customers to interact with your products. Let’s talk about what this new paradigm means for brands, and how businesses in the home improvement and building products space can up their marketing game to reach buyers who inhabit both the physical and online worlds, as well as the benefits of getting phygital.

The benefits of phygital retail

Giving customers what they want can only boost the bottom line. Here’s the business case for developing a blended omnichannel experience.

Improves the customer experience

It’s all about convenience. Combining an in-store and digital experience means your customers can exercise their preferences when it comes to shopping, payment, and fulfillment. Offering flexibility can only result in a better customer experience, which translates to more sales and enhanced brand loyalty.

Increases sales through hyper-personalization

To create the perfect experience, you must take a holistic view of your customers and integrate online and offline data to create a complete customer profile that empowers you to create accurate and relevant personalized product recommendations. The insights you glean are passed on to in-store associates as well as online customer service staff, which allows them to make a personal connection with the buyer. Your business gains 30% marketing spend efficiency and up to 15% more revenue.

Boosts brand loyalty

It only makes sense that customers who feel seen and heard want more of that experience. They will buy more, buy repeatedly, and tell their friends. Remember, it’s all about the customer experience. Consumers–89%–will go to a competitor if you provide a poor experience, 64% say that experience is more important than price, and 95% of consumers will share a bad experience, while 87% will share a good one.

Those are just some of the benefits of this new strategy. Now, let’s talk about how you can get started.

Marketing strategies for a blended customer experience

It’s about a new way of using your current marketing methods and perhaps adding some new ones. Here are some strategies you can use to develop your omnichannel phygital experience:

QR codes

For years, QR codes did nothing but supply information quickly. Then, as readers were added to mobile phones, they were utilized by marketers in-store, on printed pieces, on packaging, on bus shelters, and even cars. They really came into their own during the pandemic, when touchless solutions became essential.

QR codes can be a useful part of your marketing strategy to move customers through the buying journey by utilizing them in your brick-and-mortar store to connect with your digital store to combine the two experiences. For example, if someone is looking at cordless drills, you can have a QR code on the shelf tag that buyers can scan to get usage and warranty instructions, and product recommendations for drill bits and other accessories.

Give customers choices

Customers like choice, whether it’s products or buying methods. Be sure to offer options such as:

  • Buying online and picking up in-store. Customers can purchase on your eCommerce site and then pick up their orders at a designated spot inside or outside your store.
  • Curbside pickup. In this scenario, customers do not get out of their car, but text, call, or email your staff, who then brings their order to the curb. Customers love the convenience, which increases their satisfaction with the buying journey.
  • Self-checkout. Self-checkout provides the ultimate convenience for people who have just a few items and don’t want to stand in line behind someone with a cart full of lumber. You’ve no doubt seen self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores. Customers love them because they reduce the wait and provide additional marketing opportunities with on-screen messaging.
  • Ship-to-home. Offer your customers the convenience of shopping in-store and then having their purchase shipped to their home. This can increase in-store sales because people can order out-of-stock items and have them delivered to their front door. This option can be added to your self-checkout kiosks as well as offer personalized service from your staff.
Use advanced technology

Augmented reality and virtual reality combine physical and virtual worlds to give customers an immersive digital experience that transitions seamlessly with an in-store one. For example, Amazon has an app called View in Your Room that lets customers see how products might look their home before they buy them from the online retailer.

Augmented reality is perfect for try-before-you-buy scenarios and presents a real opportunity for the home improvement sector where buying decisions have a big impact, such as home improvement and home decor.

Make the most of social media

Social media makes it easy to have a digital presence, and you can even use the eCommerce features on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to sell directly through those platforms. It’s also easy to engage with shoppers, advertise sales, as well as loyalty rewards. Social media is a great way to connect with your customers and provide a cohesive digital experience.

To create the phygital experience on social media, you can do things like offer a discount on an in-store purchase by answering a trivia question or being the first to comment on a post. Get creative to engage your audience, and then draw them in with a great offer.

These are just a few of the ways you can combine your digital and in-store experience to get the most out of your marketing efforts. We have lots of other great ideas. Contact Heinzeroth Marketing Group for a consultation to discuss integrating your online and in-store marketing and merchandising strategy to get the most out of your marketing dollars.

Published by Chris Kelley February 16, 2022
Chris Kelley