The customer experience of the future isn’t physical and it’s not purely digital either; it’s phygital.
Modern customers crave the convenience of digital solutions but don’t want to miss out on the in-person connection of physical experiences. Phygital experiences bring together the best of both worlds to blur the line between technology and in-person.
Phygital experiences aren’t new, but they are becoming increasingly popular as technology advances. Phygital experiences allow brands to personalize customer interactions, provide relevant service, and solidify more sales. And they’re valuable across all industries, from retail to banking and real estate. The phygital possibilities are endless.
Here are 15 top examples of phygital customer experience in action:
1. Kum & Go App Streamlines Contactless Gas Payments
Listening to customer feedback about not wanting to wait in the cold to fill up their gas tank, Kum & Go created a phygital experience. Customers can choose their pump location, apply rewards, and pay for gas—all from the convenience of the app.
2. Rose City Goods Integrates QR Code Shopping in Interactive Window Displays
Canadian lifestyle brand Rose City Goods is known for its breathtaking window displays. But the brand adds a phygital element by integrating QR codes for mobile shopping. Customers walking down the street may see an item they like in the window and can scan the QR code to learn more and order it—without ever stepping foot in the store.
3. Nordstrom Pilots Live Video Shopping
Nordstrom pioneered live video shopping in the U.S. after the trend blossomed in Asia. During themed live streams, customers can see clothing in action and learn its features before purchasing directly from the stream and connecting with customers in the chat. Since 2020, Nordstrom has hosted more than 50 virtual events.
4. Reformation Creates Personalized, Tech-Powered Fitting Rooms
Clothing company Reformation creates a personalized, tech-driven store experience by giving each customer a personalized “magic wardrobe” fitting room. Customers use a tablet to select the items they want to try on, which are automatically sent to the fitting room. Need a different size? Customers enter the size on an in-room tablet, and the new item arrives via the two-way closet.
5. Marks & Spencer’s AR App Guides In-Store Shopping
Customers at British retailer Marks & Spencer can now get personalized guidance right to their favorite items. The store’s List&Go app uses AR to create an on-screen path for customers to find items on their shopping list—down to their exact location on the shelf.
6. Princess Cruises Uses Wearable Devices to Enhance Guest Experience
Princess Cruises delivers a personalized experience with Ocean Medallion technology, a small pendant that can be worn as a bracelet or necklace or put in a pocket. Guests can use the device for touch-free boarding, contactless payment, food and activity reservations, locating friends and family on the ship, and receiving enhanced personalized service, such as quick in-room delivery.
7. Panera Bread Palm-Scanning Technology Creates Quick Payments
Panera recently announced new palm-scanning technology at select restaurants. Customers scan their palms when they enter, and their handprint triggers their name and order history. Employees can greet them by name, and customers can see recommended items they might enjoy. When they leave, customers scan again for contactless payments.
8. Toyota Uses AR to Streamline Car Customization
To help customers customize their cars and try new accessories, Toyota unveiled an augmented reality tool that recognizes a customer’s car through the camera and adds virtual accessories. Instead of being limited by what is in stock or feeling unsure about how pieces work together, the tool helps customers feel more confident about their car purchases.
9. Happy Moon’s Cafe AR Menu Brings Items to Life
Middle Eastern restaurant Happy Moon’s Cafe was the first chain in the world to offer 3D menus. Customers simply scan the QR code on the menu to see an AR-generated version of each of the 170-plus menu items in their exact size, down to the details and garnishes, so they know exactly what they’re ordering.
10. Hover App Helps Customers Visualize Remodel and DIY Projects
Hover uses machine learning and AI to turn simple photos into customized 3D models of exterior projects. Users snap a few pictures of the outside of their home, and the app automatically creates a detailed model with accurate window, door and wall measurements so customers know exactly what their remodel and DIY projects will look like.
11. Zara’s App Store Mode Streamlines In-Person Shopping
The unique Store Mode on the Zara app empowers customers with real-time inventory tracking. Customers can scan tags in-store to see real-time availability in their size and color in the store and surrounding stores. The Click & Find feature provides an in-store guide to an item’s exact location. Customers can also book fitting rooms and get an alert when a room is ready instead of waiting in line.
12. Progressive Insurance Uses Machine Learning for Discounts and Chatbot Claims
Forget filling out paperwork. Through Progressive Insurance’s Flo Chatbot, customers can file claims, purchase policies, and check on their claim status. Progressive also uses predictive analytics to adjust customers’ premiums based on their driving patterns.
13. Starbucks Mobile App Provides Personalized Recommendations Based on Preferences and Location
A leader in the phygital space, Starbucks provides personalized recommendations and easy ordering through its app. Based on the season, location, and customer data and preferences, the app recommends drinks and menu items, which customers can order online and seamlessly pick up at the restaurant—all while earning rewards.
14. Ralph Lauren Puts QR Codes in Clothing for Authenticity
A common problem for customers of higher-end products is ensuring the items they buy are authentic. Ralph Lauren overcomes this challenge by putting QR code tags in many of its clothing items. Customers can scan the code to quickly check the authenticity of a product, get care instructions, and see styling tips.
15. Virgin Hotels Use Kiosks for Digital Check-In and Self-Service
Guests at Virgin Hotels can skip the line by checking in on digital kiosks in the lobby or through the app’s chatbot. The contactless experience is still personalized and even uses biometrics to identify customers for a secure process.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.