Why the senses are important in the digital age
2 years ago

Cold Digital Meets On-Skin Physical

2020-2021 became the age of digitization. A time when the world realised that it was time to actually implement the digital capabilities, they had but,  kept low-key about it. 2022 exploded this trend and brought about a massive change.

The global lockdowns ended, and people had a strong desire to interact in person with each other. Experiencing both virtual and in-person marketing became increasingly popular as the world returned to normal.

Like people, brands have their own unique personalities. They have histories, personalities, and relationships with their customers. The relationship between a brand and a consumer is based on their experiences.

Consumers can be quite fickle, those who have a meaningful experience with the brand will be without a doubt loyal but if by some twist of fate, the experience was not what they wanted or expected, be prepared to lose them forever.

Brands soon found that the two-dimensional digital-only experience was not quite hacking it with consumers who had become so much more demanding. Expectations have changed. They want more; more personalisation, more interaction, more personal relevance.


Although the beauty industry was quick to jump on the AI bandwagon offering digital skin analysis, colour matching etc etc they faced the issue that not every digital solution was the right fit for their brand, solutions, claim. A haptic product was still only believable with an on-skin experience. Digital was awesome but could be manipulated – on the other hand with digital, one could learn so much more about the consumer, track their progress, and adapt and offer what was relevant to them. The Phygital came to the forefront.

According to data from EventTrack, 91% of customers are more likely to purchase products or services from a brand after participating in a branded experience (Source) . That brings us to closer to riding the Phygital wave to give effective solutions to your consumers. It is what one can expect and what the trends are that are driving experiential cosmetic industry marketing in the next year.

The psychology of the phygital (Physical + digital) is that when consumers interact with your product, physically and/or digitally they a) are more likely to recall the experience later and b) Develop an attachment to that brand or form an impression of it. Phygital experiences creates a response that triggers the consumers memory and builds a bond between the product and them. Digital and physical touchpoints are used to create better brand experiences, whether that is through convenience, unique value propositions, differentiation, diagnosis or a general appreciation of a product, the results have proven effective.

We have been seeing some beautiful things in 2023. Making an effective digital marketing strategy with physical elements increase profitability and build brand loyalty by tapping into what motivates customers.

  1. Obviously the Physical + digital (phygital) product demos will be in the forefront
  2. Building on the phygital, gamification becomes a definite way to go. A gamified phygital marketing strategy is a fantastic way to engage the beauty industry’s target audience in new ways, cultivate customer loyalty, and build a positive brand image.
  3. In the last 3 years both brands and consumers have faced some unexpected and challenging times— pandemics, war, inflation, and energy crisis to just name a few. Consumers are therefore shopping in a more mindful way, carefully selecting where to spend their time and money. Now brands need demos and tools that support a more sustainable approach to cosmetics and personal-care as a whole. What this means is that demo tools are set to be carefully curated, mindfully, and of sustainable materials.
  4. Special experiences in-store will also be a cosmetic industry trend in 2023. Despite the ease and speed of online shopping, offline shopping continues to be the preferred choice for consumers who want to live 360-degree experiences that emotionally impact them. Omnichannel strategy is able to support this both online and offline.
  5. Consumers today expect a more personalized experience from cosmetic brands – they don’t want to be treated like a number, but want to be recognized as individuals, what they like, and what they might want. Personalized products and personalized marketing communications are the two forerunner trends in cosmetic brand marketing.
  6. Technology, such as AI, often leads people to believe that human touch is becoming less needed. In a developing information society, haptic demos or a physical touch is becoming even more so a valuable resource. And this is especially true when it comes to experiential events. In order to form emotional connections, every brand needs a physical element to complement its digital.


Sensory marketing is already a key component in the skin care industry. As a way of generating emotions and stimulating purchase intent, sensory marketing has become a powerful tool for strengthening consumer-brand relationships today. After all Harvard Business Review has already endorsed it – Customers don’t recognize them as marketing and therefore don’t react with the same resistance they have towards more standard advertising techniques (source)