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How To Shape The Customer Experience With ‘Phygital’ Marketing

  • Written by Sharat Potharaju, Beaconstac
  • Published in Demanding Views

1sharaBusinesses face mounting pressure to impress increasingly finicky customers, as more than 70% expect personalized interactions. And if customers don't receive the anticipated custom-made experience, they will typically move along to the next option. In fact, one in four consumers switched to a new product or buying method during the Covid-19 pandemic when a business didn’t offer a personalized experience.

Within this challenging, consumer-driven environment, businesses can fulfill customer expectations by providing seamless physical and digital — or “phygital” — experiences. Hybrid phygital marketing delivers an immediate, immersive experience that doesn't just make brands memorable — it captures new customers' attention.

Modern businesses should consider these three ways to leverage a phygital strategy through QR codes and deliver continuously exceptional customer experiences: 

1. Use QR Codes To Deliver Information

Even in today's increasingly digital landscape, printed materials like billboards, receipts, flyers and brochures are still valuable with guaranteed public views. However, the impact of printed collateral is limited — printed materials can be costly, and companies can't make changes once they've printed and shipped. While businesses can almost always guarantee views, they may have trouble ensuring the right views. Did the intended audience see the printed materials and did it resonate?

Enter dynamic QR codes. Companies can share discount coupons, videos, campaign landing pages, app links and more on their collateral, bringing audiences from the physical to the digital world with just a smartphone camera.

With a dynamic QR code, companies can:

  • Keep digital collateral up-to-date even after distributing physical material;
  • Give interested consumers a way to engage with the brand and share data; and
  • Use QR code scan data to better understand consumers and refine future campaigns.

Dynamic QR codes don't just help marketers update their messaging; they also promote accessibility. If customers can't or don't feel comfortable interacting with employees in person, dynamic QR codes give those clients a way to get the information on their own time and on their own terms. This accessibility and flexibility help companies engage with a broader portion of their customer base.

2. Establish A Phygital Framework

Teams deploying a phygital solution, such as a dynamic QR code, need to exercise patience as customer engagement doesn’t come immediately. First, marketers must ensure each tool properly connects with brand identity and meets safety standards. If customers don't feel safe engaging with a brand when scanning a QR code, they often won't continue engaging.

Businesses need to educate customers on how to recognize the signs of safe brand outreach. Consumers can check the safety and security of a QR code by:

  • Ensuring the consistency of a brand's visual identity, as inconsistencies in a brand's logo, font and colors may indicate a customer has encountered an imposter code;
  • Confirming the domain name matches the company's URL, because consistent landing page branding suggests a customer is engaging with a safe QR code; and
  • Looking for standard signifiers of website security, as a safe QR code landing page — at the most basic level — should include Secure Sockets Layer Service (SSL), which allows businesses to add “HTTPS” to their domain.

In addition to education, brands should be accessible to customers wherever and whenever they decide to engage. Businesses can earn or increase customer loyalty at every touchpoint by clearly communicating that they have the tools to safely deliver personalized experiences.

3. Track Emerging Customer Needs

Dynamic QR codes create opportunities for data tracking by capturing the location, date, time and number of unique scans. When paired with a tool like Google Analytics, a dynamic QR code can secure information around end-user demographics and monitor user interests.

Digital platforms unlock these benefits and are purpose-built to share data, track customer preferences and secure customers' data. Data security is particularly important as lawmakers introduce an increasing number of privacy laws.

Despite popular belief, brands cannot live track an end-user who scans a QR code. On the contrary, businesses can simply see how well QR codes perform with relevant indicators, such as measuring scans and engagement levels.

When connected to Google Analytics, QR codes help businesses understand:

  • User behavior, in the form of click-through and bounce rates, page views and session duration;
  • End-user demographics, such as native language spoken by users, country of residence and age and gender of the user; and
  • System information, including the browser, operating system or service provider used to scan the QR code.

This gathered data can help businesses fine-tune their marketing campaigns. For example, when running a QR code campaign across multiple locations, marketing teams can determine areas driving the highest and lowest number of scans. Based on this analysis, brands can double down on better-performing sites.

Phygital marketing through QR codes gives modern businesses the power to deliver a well-rounded customer experience that keeps otherwise static materials updated and relevant, engages consumers with the brand and delivers valuable business intelligence to the brand. And the ability to derive these customer insights from dynamic QR codes is no longer just nice to have; it's a new baseline for meeting evolving customer expectations.

Sharat Potharaju is the Co-founder and CEO of Beaconstac, responsible for crafting the overall strategy and execution. Sharat is dedicated to achieving Beaconstac's vision to enable digital connection with every physical object and place on the planet. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Sharat spent a few years working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York. Sharat holds a Master's in Engineering Management from Duke University and a Bachelor's degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.