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“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?

3 Blog Cover Phygital
Customer Engagement
4 min reading

Phygital in Pharma & Life Science is is increasingly becoming a reality, especially after a period when physical proximity was absent or strictly limited; the digital channels have reinforced the idea of staying connected from every part of the world, thereby eliminating 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, providing a unique experience of value. How about we make 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? That’s Phygital. 

Although this concept has been part of our vocabulary for some time now, it was during the pandemic that we saw a substantial increase in the importance of this kind of experience.

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. 

This also applies to companies operating in the Pharma & Life Science sectors, which were already going through a transition towards the digital realm, experiencing a strong acceleration in all digitalization processes: from organizing work in home offices and virtual platforms to marketing activities, medical conferences, and the implementation of new sales strategies.

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; regardless of the name used, everyone nowadays needs that extra something that makes the difference so that an experience is positive and memorable.

When we talk about Phygital for Pharma and Life Science, we can visualize this scenario in pharmacies, which are currently the cornerstone of an innovation and digitalization process that has had a strong impact on consumers. Be careful, however: don’t be mistaken, installing a totem for ordering medicine (emulating the style of fast-food restaurants) doesn’t automatically make the shopping experience Phygital. On the contrary, consumers don’t necessarily need 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, by using tele-medicine and conducting virtual visits in their ambulatories using smartphones or apps, anywhere and anytime. 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 supporting them in the decision-making process. For this reason, learning to recognize the opportunities that Phygital brings and consequently integrate it within one’s strategy is crucial. 

In the not-too-distant future we can expect the inclusion of technologies such as augmented reality, 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.

Not only consumers and patients: Phygital is also a reality 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. 

Returning to the initial example of pharmacy, considering 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. 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 and AI-driven solutions for Pharma and Life Science that are able to respond to this type of need too.  AiDEA Retail encloses 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, 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 a complete knowledge of the customer: from the action's timeline to the analysis of best performance channels. AiDEA Retail's aim is not to replace Reps in the choices they make, but to support them in all their work activities. 

This is how an integrated approach is able to improve the overall experience, where ease of use, speed and customization are the code words. While physical contact and direct experience are elements of great relevance, the digital realm also presents unquestionable positive aspects. Therefore, Phygital becomes the right compromise, blending the best of both worlds.

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