25 March 2021

“Phygital” for Pharma and Life Science – the new business model that combines the best of online and offline

Creating a valuable experience for your target audience is one of the keys to success, but what happens when you want to adopt a strategy that encompasses both the physical and digital worlds?

Phygital nel Pharma

In an era with almost no physical proximity between people, phygital for Pharma and Life Science is becoming more and more a reality, as digital channels have reinforced even more the idea of being able to be connected from anywhere in the world, thus cancelling distances.  

But what does Phygital mean? As you can easily guess, phygital is the combination of “physical” and “digital”, an expression that indicates the bridge between the digital and the physical world, in order to provide a unique experience of value. A few examples? Have you ever ordered your groceries online and then picked them up directly at the supermarket? Or tried on a pair of glasses from your smartphone or on a screen inside a store? Now that’s Phygital. 

Although this concept has been part of our vocabulary for some time now, it has never been seen as the only possible solution, as it is at this particular moment in history.  

The versatility and potential of this new business model certainly cannot go unnoticed, especially if we think of Phygital as an extension of the ways in which we can interact even once we are back to “normal”. 

This is also true for companies in the Pharma & Life Science industries, which were already going through a moment of transition towards Digital. The strong acceleration towards all digitalization processes ranges from the organization of work in home offices and on virtual platforms to marketing activities, medical conferences and the implementation of new sales strategies. 

Phygital del Pharma

How does Phygital translate into Pharma and Life Science? 

At this point, I would like to draw particular attention to a key factor mentioned before that should not be overlooked: the goal of Phygital is to create a valuable experience. People, the audience, the target, let’s call it what we want, but everyone nowadays needs that extra something that makes the difference so that an experience is positive and memorable.

Talking about Phygital for Pharma and Life Science, let’s take the example of pharmacies, which are currently the cornerstone of an innovation and digitalization process that has had a strong impact on consumers. Be careful, however: do not think that installing a totem for ordering a medicine (emulating the style of fast food restaurants) automatically makes the shopping experience Phygital. On the contrary, consumers do not even necessarily have to be aware of it. This means that the more the technology is “invisible” and well integrated into the Customer Journey, the more natural and fluent the journey will be. This process is very important, as it triggers a range of actions such as word of mouth and consequently customer loyalty. 

How can Phygital for Pharma and Life Science become a reality? Organizations such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and many others are adopting Phygital to improve patient experience and grow their professional reputation; for example, they use tele-medicine and make virtual visits in their ambulatories anywhere and anytime, using smartphones or apps. In addition:

  • They leverage wearable devices such as smart-watches to monitor personal data 
  • They  send personalized notifications by message or email of appointments 
  • They send or update appointments at the doctors’ 
  • They manage online ordering/reordering (with home delivery) of pharmaceutical and OTC products 

In short, the integration of the two dimensions (physical and digital), allows consumers (or patients) to quickly receive information that supports them in the decision-making process. For this reason, learning to recognize the opportunities that Phygital brings and integrating it within one’s strategy is crucial. 

In the not too distant future we can expect the inclusion of technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence and the integration with the Internet-of-Things (IoT), in an increasingly interconnected world where data is the backbone that holds the whole system together.

Phygital nel Pharma

Not only consumers and patients: Phygital is reality also in the relationship between companies and intermediaries 

However, we should not think that the application of Phygital for Pharma and Life Science is limited exclusively to the relationship between companies and final consumers. On the contrary, this particular type of experience perfectly fits the relationships between intermediaries, too. 

Back to the initial example of the pharmacy, given the high competitiveness in Retail today, it is essential for companies to have a 360° view of both the consumer and the order collection process. In order for this to become a reality, it is essential to have an agile tool that simplifies the work of Reps. 

In Trueblue we have been working for years on the development of IT solutions for Pharma and Life Science that are also able to respond to this type of need. Retail Order Management encloses within it the core of the entire order collection process, but is not limited only to this. In fact it has real-time updates on data, customer lists, contacts, with information integrated with business systems and external data sources of the market, available both online and offline.  

The possibility of receiving real-time suggestions related to both the business strategy and the compliance with commercial conditions allows Reps to have an overall knowledge of the customer. All this is possible also thanks to an increasingly accurate profiling driven by various indicators, such as activities’ timelines and the analysis of the best-performing channels. Retail Order Management in fact does not aim to replace Reps in their choices, but to support them in all their working activities. 

This is how an integrated approach is able to improve the overall experience, where ease of use, speed and customization are the watchwords. If physical contact and direct experience are elements of great relevance, digital also shows unquestionable positive aspects. Phygital therefore becomes the right compromise involving the mixture of the best of both worlds. 

Elisa Valentino – Social Media Manager

Phygital nel Pharma
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