How the World continues to transform from offline (physical) to online (digital)
Were you still rifling through that stack of papers on your desk? What happened to the paperless office the Future promised us? Where are the flying cars?
Omnichannel Marketing Digital Meets Physical
We’re not sure when the flying cars will arrive. But we’re pretty sure that stack of papers will be around for a while. So the transformation from offline life to online living continues … but slowly …
Ultimately, paper printouts aren’t going anywhere.
Email and team management apps like Slack significantly reduce the need for hard copies. But lengthy reports and graphics are often more easily digested in print than computer screens.
Office copiers still crank out prints, users are still confused about generic vs. genuine toners, and we still need to diligently take care of our printers even though all this hassle does not exist on digital.
No physical printer, no problem!
But we still print and use paper in 2019. Our society could have gone paperless years ago, but today we still prefer the tactile experience of print. As a result, print is going nowhere in 2019. Digital transformation in this area might still be going on, but more than the pace of this process is needed to cause any serious transformations before the end of this year.
The relevance of print in the digital age is better seen when we look at the physical books vs. e-books rivalry.
The graph below shows how book lovers still enjoy the print experience despite the rise of e-readers.
So, people continue reading books predominantly in physical format regardless of digitalization. This trend is likely to continue in 2019 and beyond.
Our Digital Home
Modern machinery was once relegated to schools and businesses. Now our homes — and lives — are linked to technology. The graph below shows how consumers feel about tech in their homes. It’s interesting to note that while most agree technology makes life easier and helps them stay connected with family and friends, most also believe it is intrusive, addictive, and potentially harmful.
Games sales have tipped in favor of all-digital formats. However, physical games still hold a nearly 50 percent market share.
Digital Meets Physical
The Harvard Business Review tried hard to get the term “digital” to stick when describing the combined effect of digital and physical marketing. Hopefully, it won’t. “Omnichannel marketing” is more accurate, implying consumers are exposed to ads in various mediums.
According to Indusnet Technologies, an omnichannel experience took center stage for consumers in 2019. As a result, Brick-and-mortar retailers need to digitize their business to create a seamless retail journey. This can include using Bluetooth, smartphones, and the Internet of Things, to create a fully immersive shopping experience.
The online-only sales trend that devastated brands like Sears and JC Penny is swinging back the other way, and the future of online business is inevitably connected to physical. According to Forbes, digital brands are entering brick-and-mortar stores even as traditional retailers close up shop. For example, bookstore-killer Amazon is opening physical bookstores, while Casper and BARK now offer products in multi-brand retailers like Target.
Tomorrow’s Workforce Today
In addition to keeping customers happy, business owners should consider employee satisfaction. Traditional businesses need to create a modern digital workplace to attract young talent. So, the trend here shifts towards digital.
According to Visix, a digital workplace means:
- Office space is expensive. Each employee’s average annual cost is around $10,000 per desk.
- Companies that support mobile tech and telecommuting saw a 16% increase in productivity and an 18% increase in creativity.
- Workers at tech-forward companies reported 23% greater satisfaction and 21% higher loyalty.
- 45% of telecommuters admitted that they love their jobs, whereas this number was 38% for mobile workers and 24% for office-based employees.
- 24% of workers do some or all of their work at home.
- 98% of parents who work full time think having a flexible job would positively influence their overall quality of life.
- 59% of Millennials believe flexibility is likely to improve their productivity, and 49% say it’s likely to improve their happiness.
- 19% of Gen Z and 19% of Millennials consider flexibility the most important workplace benefit.
Smart business owners need to watch three digital trends in 2023.
First, be aware of emerging technology, like Bluetooth beacons, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and chatbots.
Second, digitize operations, from inventory to checkouts.
Finally, create a multisensory shopping experience by bringing digital to your store with in-store applications and push notifications. Your best chance for marketing success is merging the digital and physical experiences. Unfortunately, the world has yet to go digital in 2023 completely.