Sunday 28 January 2018

How Digital is helping businesses with geofencing?

You are walking in the mall doing the window-shopping, you pass in front of an electronics store, and suddenly you get a discounted offer to buy a TV you dreamed for….you are amazed. You go in see the TV and buy it at a very discounted price.

How does this happen? The digital technology behind this is called geofencing.

Geofencing is a use of global positioning system (GPS), WiFi, Bluetooth beacons to create virtual boundaries around a location.

It is a location-based service where your location is tracked by the app or WiFi on your mobile. Geofences can be used to target customers in physical locations, allowing you to trigger the right message, the right campaign, at the right time and place.

Geofences can be put into big stores, airports, major events/concerts, tourist places.

Today with digital transformation at its peak and wide adoption of smartphones, geofencing is common for businesses  via several ways:

·      Location-based marketing can deliver in-store promotions to specific customers based on customer analytics they have carried out such as restaurants sending text messages of daily specials to customers who are walking by, Attract new customers by sending them exciting offers they can not refuse
·      In Smart homes - security alerts when someone enters the area
·      Employee tracking – in hazardous areas like mining it can be used to track if workers are in the safe zone or getting into danger zone
·      At big gatherings like concerts geofencing can be used to engage audience by sending them guidance or information about the event
·      Exit surveys for the customers leaving your store and asking for feedback
·      Build solid profiles of customers based on their entry /exits, where they spend more time and use that further for marketing right offers

How does geofencing differ from beacons

Beacons need to have customer’s Bluetooth on for targeting whereas geofencing uses location data from the smartphone. Beacons work well indoors within a small distance of 10-15 feet while geofencing can cover 100 meters.

By sending your customers a time-specific, location-specific push notification with a special offer, geofencing allows you to increase overall sales.

There will be multiple further developments in geofencing, which will help businesses to use the digital technologies to their advantage.

Sunday 21 January 2018

How is your marketing gearing up and making use of Digital?

For many businesses, digital has simply been the domain of marketing: web marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing, etc. It was lightly wrapped around existing products and services.

As digital is more about customer experience, Marketing is the closest department to handle this. They have to use Machines, Humans, and things to interact with customers in real time.

As we have seen, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Uber, etc. have grown their businesses almost entirely through digital marketing. 

Digital technologies have introduced new kinds of marketing tools that take the guesswork out of marketing. With analytics, marketers have a much more accurate picture of their customers.

The main goal is to use data to reduce the expenditure on marketing, increase the customer retention by using the digital channels.

With these omni-channels marketing, businesses can guide the customers through various stages of their journey such as increasing the awareness of the products, build their desire to buy via sending personalized messages so they finally take a decision to buy the product.

Earlier methods of marketing spend attribution, which decides what worked well, instead of just clicks, are now augmented with artificial intelligence to give information that is more accurate.

The marketing department is the closest to the customer in the digital age. Businesses have changed the sales-driven approach to consumer-driven approach of the purchasing process.

This customer-first approach has brought the brands closer.  Further, today’s consumer uses their smartphones for everything. Analysis of this mobile data can help organizations understand the affinity of different groups to brands, changes in digital and physical footfall after campaigns, and so on.

Today marketers use several digital techniques such as SEO, SEM, Web Analytics to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Global brands have changed their marketing strategies over the years now.

For a business to succeed in today’s Digital world, it is really important to have a strong digital footprint on the internet. With today’s sophisticated digital lifestyle, consumers are probably on Facebook, checking out Twitter, browsing their email inboxes and searching for products and services on a search engine

Burberry was earlier just telecasting the live shows of their fashion catwalks, which now are online on social media, which means they are going to masses.

How is your marketing is gearing up and making use of Digital?

Sunday 14 January 2018

Role of Mobile in Digital Transformation

Our world has become increasingly digital. 

The mobile-first strategy is no longer valid as we live in the mobile-only world.

Today a number of people having mobile phones on the planet is much bigger than bank account holders or credit cardholders globally.

People use mobile devices as Swiss pocket knives: they serve a range of needs, activities, and purposes.

We shop and buy more of our products online or via mobile, we decide where to eat, buy a car, and hire a plumber by looking at the app digitally. Any critical decision that is made, a credit decision, admissions into a top university, accessing your social security benefits statement, etc. are all made electronically.

With the proliferation of new digital platforms, businesses are forced to rethink their physical presence. Gone are the days where you just have an app and a website: it’s vital now that mobile’s role is understood within the larger digital ecosystem.

Mobile is now present along every step of the end-to-end customer journey, from research and inspiration to return. Mobile is one of the most important touchpoints in the customer lifecycle.

Mobile has already stormed the Banking, Travel, Retail industries. Mobile has become an integral part of the shopping experience as consumers spend more time with mobile devices than with desktop and laptops combined.

Users leave billions of data points, which brands use, by applying analytics to personalize & keep them actively engaged to generate revenue. Integrating social media networking channels with mobile apps would further allow the consumers to interact freely with the enterprise, paying the way for increased brand loyalty.

With so many advances in mobiles, the mCommerce has also changed the face. Since the launch of the iPhone, mobile commerce has moved from sheer text messages to apps. There are so many uses for ticketing, money transfers, information services like news, stocks, traffic alerts, etc.

Mobile payments have gained momentum and as more options become available, usage is set to surge. Consumers are adopting mobile wallet apps, Google wallets, smartwatches and devices with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay t capabilities.

Mobile brings various advantages like portability, instant connectivity, personalization & localization of services. Further, it allows businesses to be visible to the customer at all times, build brand and recognition.

Even at work and out of office employees can benefit from mobile access to information, work from anywhere, reduce traveling and increase overall efficiency. While an organization can benefit from easy collaboration with team members, helping sales folks with quick information at their fingertips.

Businesses are focused on delivering growth and profitability with faster; better decision-making, & mobile technologies appear to be in the driver’s seat in this Digital Age.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Artificial Intelligence in Financial Lending

I remember the 90s when I wanted to get a home loan and it took me 3 months to complete the process from providing all the hard copies of my income, tax returns, identity proofs then bank checked my creditworthiness & provided the approval.

Today everybody has some kind of loans like home loan, auto loan, education loan, two wheeler loan or even loan to buy appliances like HD TV and Refrigerator.

How do they assess your creditworthiness? There are so many cases of defaulters, which keeps increasing and hence established banks or lenders constantly looking for ways to improve the returns or proactively identify risks.

Lenders traditionally make decisions based on a loan applicant’s credit score, a three-digit number obtained from credit bureaus such as the TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.  But these credit scores are based solely on credit-history and do not take into account rich data available, which can potentially give lenders access to data points as varied as online purchases, the strength of social connections and travel patterns. When viewed this data holistically, lenders can get a complete picture of potential borrowers & can significantly improve their ability to predict loan defaults.

Today digital transformation has changed everything. While the interest rate and closing costs on loans are still primary considerations, the speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire process is important.

As the purchasing power among millennials & gen Z continues to increase, they tend to purchase property and acquire assets that will provide stability & generate wealth.

The ability to cross-sell to these customers on loan products drives a significant portion of new loans. The difference for a digital-first customer is that they do their shopping online and may select an alternative provider based on the right combination of cost and ease of process.

Artificial Intelligence is used today, to determine the creditworthiness of those who don’t have any credit history like students or immigrants etc. It also helps to improve customer experience, e.g. by showing pre-approved loan amount. AI makes loan approvals quick and easy, reduce operational costs and these savings can then be extended to customers in the form of lower rates. Artificial Intelligence can process large amounts of data that human underwriters would simply not be able to make sense of.

Machine learning streamlines the process, drastically reduces the likelihood of errors and significantly cuts down the time it takes to approve a loan and disburse funds to the borrower, thereby enhancing the customer experience.

AI & Machine learning also helps to detect fraud by comparing customer behavior with the baseline data of normal customers and removing outliers.

Today apart from credit score and income, lenders are also looking at the digital footprint, payment data from other sources, purchase history, professional reputation from LinkedIn and other sources.

This is called alternative data sourcing. The use of machine learning to analyze this alternative data in loans and credit rating is going to raise some privacy, ethical, and legal concerns.

The future of digital lending will reduce the friction associated with the borrowing process, eliminating paperwork and moving all of the steps of the customer journey to an online and mobile capability. AI and Machine learning will become an inherent part of financial lending.

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