Clocks and New Year’s just go together, don't they? On the eve of a new beginning, there's an instinct to watch the clock, each tick and tock representing a transition from the old to the new — a reflection and an anticipation. This year, as the pendulum swung from 2023 to 2024, I found myself thinking about shifts in time, technology and connections.

The way we live, conduct business and even bank has changed significantly over the past several years. The world swiftly moved from face-to-face interactions to digital solutions because we needed, and wanted, speed and convenience. Yet, now, there's a longing for both — the efficiency of digital experiences and the personal touch of in-person expertise — because the value of genuine connections is timeless.

This has led to the “phygital experience”.

What is ‘Phygital’?

Is it a typo, you might be asking (and you wouldn’t be alone!). It’s not; it’s a newer term that bridges the physical and digital marketplaces. In other words, phygital is brick-and-mortar interactions merged with digital conveniences, and it is transforming the way businesses interact with customers today.

Take business banking, for example.

Do you remember when there was just one way for a business to deposit checks? You or another employee drove to your bank during banking hours, endorsed the back of the checks, filled out a deposit slip, and presented both the slip and the checks to a banker in the teller line to deposit into your account.

Today, technology has unfolded a variety of possibilities tailored to the preferences of individual customers. No longer confined to a one-size-fits-all approach, you can snap a picture of a check with a mobile phone camera and deposit it into your accounts anytime, anywhere via your mobile banking app. You can scan the check at your business and use a Remote Deposit Capture device to deposit it electronically. Or, you can deposit the check into your bank’s ATM. Speed and convenience, the best of digital.

But, you can still step into a branch or make a phone call and get assistance from a friendly banker. While in a branch, for example, you deposit your check, but you also have a chat with a customer service representative about a product that’s available that could help you streamline your business. Service and expertise, the best of physical.

Phygital is the best of both. I like to think of it this way: Technology empowers, humanity enriches, and together they enhance the way we live, work and connect. The digital conveniences mentioned above save us time, but there’s also something reassuring in the warmth of a friendly greeting and a helpful recommendation from a banker.

Businesses that really want to elevate and grow should look for a bank that gives them a phygital experience: efficiency and partnership combined.

The ‘Phygital’ Experience in the Banking Space: 8 Ways it Empowers Businesses

As a business banker, I've personally witnessed the transformative power of phygital banking in fostering meaningful connections and bringing innovative solutions to local businesses. This tailored approach can help you aim for growth and innovation, and even help your business enter the exciting phygital space.

So, let’s dig into four digital and four physical ways banks serve businesses, and we’ll see how working with a phygital bank that provides both makes a difference.

Digital

1. Uninterrupted Access & Control

You can manage your finances on your own terms, anytime, anywhere with secure online banking platforms and robust mobile apps. This digital revolution, born in the 1990s and amplified by mobile app advancements in the late 2000s (thanks to smartphones!), allows you to enjoy real-time data insights, seamless bill payments, and secure money transfers.

This 24/7 access can save you valuable time and resources, allowing you to focus on what matters most to your business.

2. Streamlined Check Deposits

As the digital wave gained momentum, the introduction of remote deposit further streamlined operations for businesses. This innovation simplifies the deposit process, allowing businesses to effortlessly process checks through various devices. The efficiency brought by remote deposit not only saves time but the quicker access to funds also helps boost cash flow, allowing you to stay ahead.

3. Advanced ATM Features

Today's ATMs are far beyond mere cash dispensers. You can utilize them for deposits and account information access, too. This is perfect if you’re an on-the-go business owner or employee who can’t quite get to the bank during business hours and who is looking for ways to increase efficiency.

4. Enhanced Cash Flow Management

Sophisticated banking solutions can help you run your business more efficiently and maximize your revenue opportunities by accepting credit or debit card payments.

This is where you can begin to enter the phygital space yourself, by accepting in-store, online and mobile payments from customers. You can then give your customers better experiences by allowing them to scan QR codes to pay or faster tap-and-go features.

Physical

1. Dedicated Financial Guidance

Financial institutions, especially community banks, understand that each business is unique. Whether navigating loan options, optimizing cash flow or planning for growth, their expert advisors have the local market knowledge and industry expertise to help you succeed. They go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions, ensuring your business is always moving forward in the way that’s best for you.

2. Responsive Customer Support

Building a successful business requires seamless operations, and that includes efficient support when issues arise. At Bank of Utah, for example, when you call or reach out, you’ll connect with someone who is ready to help you promptly and effectively, or who will happily find the right person to help with your specific need.

3. Financial Literacy Resources

Ongoing access to expertise and practical learning keeps you ahead of the curve and ready to seize every opportunity. You can empower yourself and your team with financial literacy resources, such as your bank’s blog, workshops led by banking experts and other events such as lunch-and-learns. These can all help you gain valuable knowledge and make informed financial decisions for business growth.

4. Collaborative Growth Network

Your bank's extensive network is more than just connections – it's a strategic asset. Networking events offered by your bank, whether that’s insightful economic forecasts or fun movie nights, connect you with valuable opportunities to collaborate, learn and share success.

Final Thoughts

The new year has arrived, bursting with potential for businesses. If growth and success are your vision for 2024, embracing phygital-banking solutions can help you with those goals.

Remember, banking should be both convenient and empowering. The digital advantage puts you in control; the physical guidance lets you grow with confidence. To elevate your business for 2024, make sure your bank offers you both.

At Bank of Utah, we embrace the power of phygital banking. Behind every screen is a dedicated team of experts dedicated to customer success. All you have to do is reach out.



Charly PetersenCharly Petersen is SVP Relationship Banking Manager for Bank of Utah. She is an experienced banker who has a passion for business banking and helping business owners accomplish their goals.