Leading Brands are Creating Memorable Phygital Experiences

I was recently thinking about the Adobe Summit event last March. During one of sessions, the term “phygital” was used to describe how a brand would serve a physical-digital experience to its customers. Through merging apps, websites, digital point-of-sale fixtures, iBeacons, and traditional analog experiences, brands are providing new ways to impress and delight customers every day when they’re interacting with our brands. The convergence between digital and physical is becoming a common practice among leading brands. This time we are in right now is very exciting!

Customers Are Phygital – Brands Should Be, Too

Signs that point to a need for brands to build a better phygital experience are everywhere. A 2013 eConsultancy report revealed that over 40 percent of U.S. consumers used their mobile phones to search for a retailer’s nearest store. The 2015 Microsoft Digital Trends report found that nearly 50 percent of consumers “were more likely to engage with digital experiences that offer seamless integration with their physical world—signaling a shift in how consumers expect the physical and digital worlds to blend.” Well, marketers have listened. Let’s look at some examples of the innovative ways that brands are creating phygital experiences.

How a Phygital Experience Helps to Dramatically Increase Revenue

We learned at Summit about one of the largest Canadian retailers, Sport Chek (a Canadian Tire Corporation brand), which took a bold step in completely redesigning its entire flagship store to offer a physical-digital experience. By using Adobe Marketing Cloud products to seamlessly and consistently manage digital content and by deploying touch, gesture, and RFID capabilities with interactive signs in store, Sport Chek allows store visitors to have unique experiences in the store.

The Medical Motion Gait Analysis station integrates a treadmill with motion recognition software to help customers find the right shoe for running. The Swing Catalyst and Flightscope center, which provides a tee pad and interactive screen, allows shoppers to test their swing with different golf clubs. The results of this transformation were incredible! The company increased revenue in that store by over 50 percent.

Sport Chek also replaced its paper flyers and mini catalogs with digital versions, and they shared that their latest digital catalog campaign drove an increase in sales of 20 percent versus a four percent rise in sales on average when using printed materials.

Other brands have put together some fantastic phygital experiences as well over the years. Check out these innovative examples:

Hip-hop Artist and Search Engine Unite

Microsoft’s Bing partnered with Jay-Z to produce a phygital tour of the rapper’s life in conjunction with the release of Jay-Z’s autobiography Decoded. Bing users could uncover stories that start from his roots in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to his rise to fame and worldwide travels. The tour would be revealed from lyrics when users correctly responded to interactive clues provided in Bing Maps.

More than 300 pages from the book were posted at locations throughout New York, London, Los Angeles and other sites, with the location of each site related to the content in the book.

When the correct response was received, Bing would focus the user’s map on the relevant neighborhood and continue with more specific clues so users could locate where the “hidden” pages were posted. A page-shaped icon would indicate a piece of text was found, whether it was on a billboard or in unusual spots like swimming pools, billiard halls, or high-fashion clothing racks.

Mix and Share Your Own Product

[Text Box]At Summit, we also saw one of Coca-Cola’s phygital initiatives (launched in 2009) called the Coke Freestyle Machine. Coke chief product development officer, Lorie Buckingham, explained how the CFM allows users to create their own drink mix by using a touchscreen that directs the machine to dispense a mixture of tastes from micro-cartridges. The physical experience merges with digital when users label their unique creations and share their creation with others through mobile and social channels. And Coca Cola can leverage the data it collects through those machines to create new products from popular mixtures.

Technology in Fashion Provides Feedback

Business-to-consumer brands can leverage digital with in-store experiences and gather feedback for the company and its customers alike. For example, Brazilian fashion retailer C&A has installed real-time “like” counters on its clothes hangers. The data served the C&A Facebook page, where items were displayed, allowing customers at the store to see shopper opinions and buyer feedback.

In a different way, Nike created a phygital experience by generating feedback through its sneakers. For basketball players, Nike built their Hyperdunk shoes with sensors that track the wearer’s every move during games and then syncs to iPhones, providing statistics and game feedback.

Interactive Billboards Serve Phygital Experience

[Text Box]Outdoor signs can be used to create the phygital experience. McDonald’s created an interactive outdoor campaign in Stockholm, Sweden called Pick N Play, where consumers could interact with a billboard using their mobile phones to play games displayed on the billboard to win McDonald’s treats and prizes.

So, you can see there are many creative ways to create a phygital experience. How is your enterprise bringing together the physical and digital worlds? You can start by leveraging the powerful solutions within the Marketing Cloud. Adobe Campaign, for example, was built to merge the email and mobile experiences with snail mail, joining the online and offline worlds. At Adobe, we understand the need that brands have to create a phygital experience for their customers. With a mix of Experience Manager, Campaign, Analytics, and other solutions from the Adobe Marketing Cloud, you can develop, execute, and evaluate the experiences you are providing. Now, go out and think of some innovative ways you can delight your customers!