By Saul J. Berman
Today, as the lines between physical and digital interfaces blur, connected consumers demand premium services that enhance their lifestyles.
In some cases, people are willing to pay more for digital services than they are for physical ones. For example, how many of us prefer to access digital editions of our favorite newspapers on our iPads because it’s easier to copy, save, and share our favorite stories – as opposed to picking up the newspaper from the doorstep every morning? I fall into the former camp. I want to read my news seamlessly, quickly and on my terms. Not to mention that the experience is increasingly better in digital form.
More than just a trend, mastering the integration between digital and physical has become essential to success in the age of the connected consumer. The rise of digital-physical innovation explains the demand of wearable devices, the use of sensors to track traffic patterns, and the growth of RFID tags for smarter shopping. People want to exercise data-driven decisions to improve their lives, while expanding their choices.
Last night I hosted a dinner in New York City to talk about how companies are pioneering digital and physical innovations to pave new roads for enterprise success. I was joined by an eclectic group of start ups, bloggers, and social media mavens who shared their personal experiences.
Some key highlights of our discussion:
- Create New Value - Organizations have to use technology to create new value for their customers. Remember, not just value, but new value. Consumers will give up their long-term loyalty to those that deliver personalized, differentiated services. One individual in the group brought up how he gave an online retailer helpful feedback/input to improve the customer experience, because he wanted to help the retailer deliver superior services to other customers. This is what deep, long-term customer loyalty really looks like.
- Make 1:1 Customer Relationships - New digital technologies need to be exploited to develop personal, 1:1 relationships with customers. Social technologies are leveling the playing field. Large, more established organizations often face disruptive innovation from smaller more nimble companies who can make deep inroads into a market by offering a slice of services, at a higher price. The solution? Invest in incorporating digital technologies, or fall behind.
- Dare to Transform – As an enterprise, be flexible, and be willing to change. Business models are rapidly transforming, and maintaining status quo is not an option. Too often in life, you can remain in inertia when things are going well. By embracing openness, and a culture of change, an organization has a better chance of thriving in a dynamic, unpredictable future. Think about how a company like Netflix has constantly reinvented itself to remain current. It started in the business of DVDs, moved to streaming video and now is creating its own customized content for its viewers. The willingness to transform is what can make a company successful and viable in the long-run.
Overall, there was a lot of enthusiasm and hope for the future. We are only at the very start of the digital and physical innovation wave. The possibilities of total confluence are enormous. I can’t wait to say what lies ahead.