Brands were quick to pivot and eagerly met their customers where they wanted to shop, despite the widespread belief that the pandemic would bring an end to physical stores. online. Retailers are perfecting digital marketing, which combines online and in-store experiences, as mandates continue to rise nationwide and more people return to public life.
What is Phygital Marketing?
Despite the fact that e-commerce has grown in popularity significantly more rapidly than traditional retail, there are still ongoing debates regarding which is superior. Experts and many brands are discovering that both are essential for brands to survive and thrive rather than choosing one over the other. Physical marketing comes into play at this point: finding a way for customers to seamlessly shop online and in person.
Beaconstac CEO and founder Sharat Potharaju stated, “Think of it as the advantage that online and digital commerce have — the ability to target, connect data, and create specific customer profiles, which is not really possible in the physical world.” Finding a means by which interactions can collect data and construct personas in the digital world in order to target customers accurately is the concept of physical engagement. From the consumer’s perspective, it is crucial to connect these efficiently, which will assist brands and retailers in connecting the physical world to the digital world.
Reimagining the Physical Storefront
Retailers need to keep in touch with customers and focus on how their physical and digital storefronts complement one another because of faster trend cycles and increased interest in returning to stores as COVID regulations ease. Jamie Gilpin, Sprout Social’s chief marketing officer, says that Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s are excellent examples of retailers who rethought their physical storefronts.
“In response to the growing trend that is taking off on social media, each has created smaller format stores or pop-up shops, with Bloomingdale’s most recent rendition being inspired by the popular period drama Bridgerton. In a similar vein, Walmart increased its focus on shoppable live stream events in response to the demand and positive feedback from TikTok users. As a result, they gained 25% more followers. These examples show how insights from social media can help brands figure out how to participate in conversations that go viral or get the most out of trends before they reach their peak. Gilpin stated, “Retailers can create customized and relevant experiences that will give them a strong, competitive advantage, both in-person and online, by leveraging social data to stay on top of consumers’ interests.”
Utilize Social Media for Phygital Marketing
Elissa Quinby, Sr. says that smaller independent retailers frequently face off against large chain stores that have the resources to implement the most recent CX technology. However, Quantum Metric’s Director of Retail Insights says that these flashy tools aren’t always necessary to attract and keep customers. Indie brands, for instance, can use social media to promote their business, gain exposure for their brand, and cultivate a sense of community with customers that they may not have been as interested in prior to the pandemic. During COVID, checkout trends like “buy-online-pickup-in-store” and curbside pickup options went from being luxurious to essential. Brick-and-mortar retailers can also keep these checkout trends.
“Perfect Store Analytics”
“Perfect Store Analytics,” a proprietary intelligence tool that connects the Shopper and Retail Lab and enables Mars and retailers to comprehend shopper behavior, is used by Mars Inc. The precise and actionable data that retailers need to convert customers into sales is provided by this program. According to AiCi Li, Director of Mars, Inc.’s Shopper and Retail Lab, “Perfect Store Analytics” simply assists retailers in optimizing the space they occupy. It assists brands in determining what actually motivates customers to convert, which products they are purchasing, how effectively the products are laid out, and where merchandise sits in the store by utilizing image recognition and internal resources. This ultimately leads to better business decisions.
Boosting In-Person & Online Shopping Through Increased Search Functions
According to Giuseppe Miriello, Global Digital Director for Paul&Shark, “search functions are a core part of every customer experience, despite it being frequently overlooked.” Customers shouldn’t have to sift through hundreds of product pages to find what they want, shouldn’t have to worry about finding products they like that are out of stock or shouldn’t have to remember what to search for. A positive customer experience that makes it easy for them to find the products they want and lets them personalize their shopping by showing them other products they might like will ultimately build brand loyalty, improve the reputation of the brand, and boost profits. The customer experience (CX) is all about convenience and ease, and the simpler your customer’s experience is, the more likely it is that they will confirm their purchase and return in the future.
In the end, despite the technology’s potential to increase customer acquisition and brand recognition, it is essential for independent retailers to keep in mind their primary motivation: to satisfy customers. Bradley Sutton, Director of Customer Training and Chief Evangelist at Helium 10, stated, “Business owners get so concerned with algorithms and optimizations that they forget that at the end of the day, they are selling to a regular customer.” Therefore, my advice to sellers is to keep in mind that there are only two parties you need to satisfy with your efforts: the algorithm of the market you are selling on, as well as the final customer, which is even more significant. With a data-driven approach, try to balance human touch and emotional connection with your customers while diversifying your market.
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