The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way people shop: while it has encouraged consumers to adopt increasingly digital shopping habits, so much so that global eCommerce has increased by 58% (compared to 17% the year prior to the pandemic), it has also led to a re-evaluation of the importance of the physical experience, giving momentum to the phygital phenomenon.
WHAT IS PHYGITAL?
Phygital is the connecting bridge between online and offline, a new way to enjoy the shopping experience in which the lines between the two environments are blurred, creating a hybrid model. The aim is to combine the best of both worlds, the “physical” and the “digital” one, to offer a comprehensive and satisfactory customer experience.
And how many other times, before buying in a physical store, have you looked it up online, consulting the brand’s e-commerce and reading dozens of reviews to help you make a decision?
Just think about how often you’ ve found yourself in both of these situations to understand why the phygital phenomenon is becoming the new frontier of the customer experience, proving to be one of the top trends of the future.
WHAT ARE THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF PHYGITAL?
The first distinctive element is immediacy, making things happen at a specific time.
The second feature is immersion because the user is an integral part of the experience.
Finally the interaction, engaging and generating more physical and emotional communication.
To be truly phygital, a customer experience must unite all of these components, combining the immediacy of the experience and the immersion of the user, which are typical of the digital world, with interaction, which is the prerogative of the physical experience. To make this union possible, it is necessary that:
a technology that plays the role of facilitator is introduced in the physical space to ensure immediacy and immersion;
tools that encourage interaction between consumer and product or between consumer and company are used in the online space.
WHAT HAS DRIVEN THIS GROWTH IN DIGITAL COMMERCE?
During the lockdown, the lack of the social aspect of shopping was certainly felt. In fact, the crisis forced organizations to adapt to a new and challenging reality that required, first and foremost, great efforts, especially in terms of digital transformation.
The digital channels have succeeded in meeting the needs of the new consumer by bringing new products and services that are now indispensable, characterized above all by convenience, practicality and infinite choice. Precisely this sudden change has affected business requirements and purchasing decisions for customer engagement solutions: customers are now digital customers who drive web traffic primarily from their smartphone, which has become the most frequently used device for online activities.
But the digital experience alone does not satisfy this increasingly demanding consumer: in this time of crisis, “phygital” experiences have dominated the scene, capable of merging online and offline interactions.