As the new year begins, businesses are exploring new ways to connect with customers, improve productivity and lower operational costs. Much of this change is expected to come from a convergence of physical and digital technologies. Following this theme, Pitney Bowes, known for its global e-commerce solutions and shipping and mailing products, recently shared five trends it expects will transform the nature of business in 2016.
The Internet of Things (IoT)–a world of network-connected devices–is expected to influence industrial commerce. Communication and data from connected machines will deliver analytics for measuring efficiency. The potential benefits are noteworthy: operational savings, higher output and productivity, and increased service levels.
Another influencer benefiting small and mid-sized businesses is the digitization of physical communications. According to Pitney Bowes, cloud-based solutions and technologies are rolling out, simplifying processes while integrating digital and physical communication channels. Paper mail, for example, can be printed with links designed to deliver a digital experience to consumers.
Global companies are localizing and personalizing customer experiences to drive more business. Consumers around the world have specific needs with specific shopping behaviors, and this is challenging retailers to offer meaningful experiences.
Data analytics, long used for personalizing customers’ experiences is being used for fraud detection and prevention. Personal identities within various company databases are matched to a single record identifying any inconsistencies. Aligning digital and physical information across businesses will help identify fraud attempts, protecting consumers.
Software solutions to clean and streamline database information are being developed. Cloud-based platforms are accessible to small and mid-sized businesses that will not only integrate digital and physical communication information, but also allow for privacy compliance.
In addition, digital and physical technologies are merging through omnichannel marketing to provide an effortless customer experience. Marketing materials are becoming more attractive and engaging, using data to customize individual experiences.
Moving forward, companies must be open to new ideas, bridging the gap between digital and physical channels. Customer service is at the center of gaining and retaining business. Technology provides great opportunities for reaching customers. It is up to companies to capitalize on these advances for success.
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