It would be hard to argue that there haven’t been vast shifts in human behaviour over the past five years.
In some ways, it’s easier for marketers to choose from the many available platforms - higher chances of viral success, and access to multiple generations with a penchant for shopping. Yet, in other ways, it’s more challenging than ever.
The latest method of research for the average consumer looks like this: You’ve gone online, now you have 50 tabs open, five different platforms, simultaneously live streaming a show, searching for a new set of pillows, and answering a work email all before noon. Then, on your lunch break, you hop in the car and continue your research at the store, settling on a pair of pillows that you ultimately purchase, later to be reviewed on a third-party community website. You’re essentially looking at everything everywhere all at once in the most chaotic customer journey to date.
So, as we grapple with our newfound way of consuming, marketers are faced with new demands and a greater need to adapt. As head of global innovation and thought leadership at Accenture Interactive, Mark Curtis says, “Don’t underestimate the degree of relationship change we are seeing – or the role of business in responding to it.”
Have you heard of what Tik Tokers call “ the infinite loop”? The term refers to the myriad of platforms and marketing channels a consumer will bounce between before finally making a purchase, such as:
With these channel options and added interactions, consumers go through before making a purchase, marketers need to prepare a well-rounded omnichannel strategy and a well-oiled data management system to succeed. It may be the only way to jump into the “infinite loop” without falling into the abyss of competition.
But what does this new omnichannel look like?
A “ phygital” approach is a great solution for a hybrid experience. It’s the method of combining digital commerce and brick-and-mortar sales through conjoined data streams. Both areas of commerce are able to rank products thanks to advanced customer behaviour analytics across all channels, essentially enabling a brand’s omnipresence.
This crossover of both strategy and data is highly effective because it can address the research part of the customer journey, whereby consumers shop around the “infinite loop” searching for the perfect product. Once found, a customer can purchase online or, better yet, they can go to a nearby store with supreme confidence in their choice and no shipping time or cost. According to Greg Petro of Forbes (who gives excellent examples of the phygital retail experience), consumers may spend less of their time in a retail environment, but they will spend more money in a physical setting than a digital one.
One of the best ways to provide a consistent brand experience across multiple “phygital” channels is through the use of API technology. API’s can help a brand to enable the following:
The great thing about APIs is that they don’t depend on retailers or manufacturers for data; rather, they extract data directly from sites and maintain their own database. They also allow users to make direct queries to this database and to decide what data attributes they'd want to use. As a result of the technology’s flexibility and responsiveness, the database and prices can also be much more frequently updated to better reflect real time customer behaviour. The result of this more responsive system?
Increased ROI and happy customers!