Let’s get phygital

🟪 Technology

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Liv Wilson
May 22, 2020

You can be forgiven for not knowing what ‘phygital’ is - up until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know either. In fact, I laughed when I first heard it, thinking that someone had made up a new word. It also got me humming along to Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s get physical” for longer than I care to admit (you’re welcome, by the way).

Phygital has been doing the rounds for the last couple of years in retail and marketing. It’s the blending of a physical presence (like a store) with a digital experience (like app integration) - the key is that these experiences happen in the same journey.

Basically, retailers are seeing consumers browsing online but purchasing in-store and vice versa. Just because a consumer starts their purchasing journey in one space, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll complete it there. The two elements feed off each other and there needs to be consistency and synergy for it to work.

So, what can we learn about phygital experiences when it comes to creating learning experiences? Quite a lot…

It’s about being more intuitive, smarter, and customised

Air New Zealand is amazing at this. By connecting your information in the App, you can stroll through the physical Air NZ experience at the airport with people greeting you by name and knowing your favourite drink.

Learning could be the same - leveraging what we know about the individual and use it to enhance their learning experience.

Consider this - you’ve been on extended leave and during your absence the company has launched a couple of new products. What if, upon your return, the LMS recognised this and served you up the correct content to learn about these products? Or automatically enrolled you in the next ‘lunch and learn’ on the topic? Or connected you with the subject matter expert to get a 1:1 coaching session?

Another scenario would be if your performance outcomes were linked to the LMS. If you’re struggling with hitting your sales target, the LMS would push you the right content to get up to speed faster. Or vice versa - if you’re a rock star, it would suggest people you could support.  

We have all of this information at our fingertips, it’s about leveraging it to create a phygital experience for our people.

It’s about giving people the safe spaces to play and share

If you’ve even gone into an Apple Store, you’d know that everything is there, just waiting for you to pick it up and have a play. You can ask questions of the nearby Genius’, listen to Spotify on some new Beats, or try on different watch straps. Everything is available to play with in a safe environment where you won’t be made fun of if you get something wrong.

Learning should be the same. And with a phygital lens, it’s time to consider how how technology can enhance the experience of learning something new.

At Five, we love WalkMe for this. Giving people the ability to learn as they go in a safe, unobtrusive, manner. It provides guide rails that won’t let people make mistakes, it can connect individuals to people who can help them with questions, and it can provide information that’s been shared in the knowledge base. All with the important psychological safety that people deserve with trying something new.

It’s about effective communication between everyone

I had a spooky transaction online recently. I bought something online, and was offered a discount code to make a repeat purchase. I figured I could do with another item, so clicked on the link. Reader, the chat box welcomed me by name and referenced my return visit to the site! Talk about amazing, personalised, communication.

The options for a phygital learner experience which has the same type of communication standard is endless.

Consider the transparency of information sharing - where we can open up the lines of communication between individuals, subject matter experts, learning creators, and even customers. If you look at the traditional learning model, it’s very one-sided, with, maybe, a feedback loop incorporated.

What would happen if learning was built with everyone who benefited from it getting involved? Using these insights would mean creating learning experiences which are relevant, timely, and appropriate for everyone.

The next time you’re in a store, or shopping online, check out how the two difference experiences intertwine - it looks like phygital is here to stay in the retail and marketing spaces. Let’s make it stay for learning too.

Photo by stephan sorkin on Unsplash

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May 22, 2020
May 22, 2020

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