More Drugstores Are Pushing to Incorporate Phygital Experiences — Here’s Why

More Drugstores Are Pushing to Incorporate Phygital Experiences — Here’s Why

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They’ve got the data, and they’ve got the customer loyalty. With those key components in place, more retail drugstore chains are looking at how they can blend physical and digital marketing to create personalized and contextualized phygital experiences.

The idea behind “phygital” marketing is simpler than it sounds. Phygital combines physical and digital experiences to create seamless and immersive customer interactions. Digitized price tags that update in real-time and interactive displays that allow shoppers to customize products are just the beginning. 

“A phygital approach transcends the traditional boundaries of on-premise shopping experiences by leveraging technology and data to customize interactions, optimize processes, and deliver value across on-premise and online channels,” says Jaime Bettencourt, senior vice president of North American sales and brand strategy at Mood Media. “The goal is to provide a cohesive brand experience across multiple touchpoints while empowering customers with product information.”

Phygitally-enabled experiences can include everything from digital signage to interactive displays, in-store audio, personalized recommendations and seamless omnichannel journeys. Bettencourt says creating a cohesive phygital environment is particularly crucial in 2023, because Gen-Zers, currently the largest generation, prefer shopping on-premise to online.

That’s a sentiment shared by Vibenomics’ Paul Brenner. Brenner credits the push among drugstore chains to incorporate more phygital experiences to Gen-Zer shoppers, who grew up with technology. This cohort’s experience has heavily influenced their expectations for personalized and efficient shopping journeys. 

Retail Drugstores Up Their Investments 

As retail drugstores like CVS and Walgreens up their investments in phygital experiences, other businesses in the sector are scrambling to follow suit.

“Demand for enhanced customer journeys, technological advancements and industry competition is driving drugstores’ ‘phygital’ future,” explains Brenner. “Shoppers expect seamless transitions between onsite, offsite, and in-store experiences, so blending physical and digital elements is a natural transition.” 

Brenner says that drugstore retail is one of a number of sectors that’s harnessing innovative technologies to personalize interactions, enhance convenience, and create more immersive shopping experiences in 2023. That technological shift is opening the door for drugstores to gather even more valuable data about consumers, so they can improve their service offerings, streamline outdated processes, boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage over rivals that fail to recognize the value of data.

“Today’s technological advancements make integrating digital solutions with physical store environments much more straightforward. Phygital tools are becoming widely available, scalable and more secure, opening new possibilities for drugstores to deliver unique and improved shopping experiences,” Brenner says. “Now, people can benefit from self-checkout kiosks, prescription reminders via drugstore apps and live text chats with pharmacists.” 

The Future of Phygital

Looking forward, Bettencourt expects to see even more retail drugstore chains integrating emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence into the shopping experience, as a way to enable even more immersive and customized interactions.

“I also foresee more device connectivity and data-driven insights, enabling retailers to deliver hyper-targeted experiences and measure the impact of their phygital strategies,” Bettencourt says. “We will continue to digitize and elevate on-premise media experiences through a robust ecosystem of solutions leveraging curated content, technology and data insights.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.