The Physical channel stands beside social, search, and apps as an effective way to engage mobile users. It entails the use of physical touchpoints such as QR codes and NFC tags as gateways to the mobile web. This can be key to reaching new audiences or conveniently meeting the needs of existing customers.
This channel has the natural advantage of targeting people with a product in hand. Similar to searches through Google or Amazon, the Physical channel reaches people with high-intent, but it also reaches Social’s same broad-reaching audiences.
Convenient solutions, rather than ads.
The Physical channel perfects the art of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right content. People like prompt answers to their questions, they want responsiveness, and they demand relevant content. More than ever, they are looking for solutions rather than ads.
As a proximity technology, the Physical channel reaches those in the best position to buy, share, or review a product. It can please people with immediate and always-on service. By delivering consistently meaningful experiences, the Physical channel can cultivate loyalty as effectively as a well-implemented app.
Reaching new audiences.
Search only reaches the narrow audience of people who proactively query with managed search terms, and then only when ranking is high. Social reaches a broader audience, but again the funnel is intentionally narrowed by demographics or psychographics. The reach of apps rarely extends beyond the most loyal users. All of these channels leave many prospects unaddressed.
Because of its ability to reach everyone who comes in contact with a product, the Physical channel can help discover, serve, and cultivate new audiences.
The Physical channel has changed, with QR codes leading the way.
Historically, QR codes have not lived up to their potential because of key limitations:
Friction in accessing a QR reader
QR codes that were not useful
No feedback loop
However, this is all changing with market conditions and with innovation. Almost single-handedly, Apple made QR scanning frictionless by integrating a scanner into its camera. Adding to this, most social apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest have also recently integrated scanners.
A new QR user experience.
At the same time, the customer experience has been transformed. No longer is a QR code a blind link to a single action. That experience was unsuitable to meet the varied needs of different customers, in different stages of the customer cycle.
Now there’s a superior experience that uses the instantly familiar format of search results to present multiple previews, curated for relevance. People select the one that serves their need, transforming the experience from one that rarely fits the need, to one that delivers a meaningful experience a majority of the time.
Knowing what your customers want.
Offering options and responding to people’s input adds the feedback loop that QR codes have lacked. It’s finally possible to get a deeper understanding of what customers want to know when they are considering or using a product. This feedback also enables the continuous improvement of these experiences.
An always-on channel.
Among the channels to reach mobile users, the Physical channel is one that can run on autopilot, allowing customers to self-identify and self-qualify. It reaches all categories of customers and touches all stages of the customer cycle, from top of the sales funnel to e-commerce gateway, to customer service portal.
Increasingly, mobile users are looking for convenience, relevance, and control.
The best way to fulfill these demands is to make it easy for people to engage when they are evaluating or using a product, and to make sure the right solutions are available.
Brands that leverage the Physical channel to capture these intent-filled moments will be far ahead of their competitors in building and maintaining solid customer relationships.