Channels Collide as Physical and Digital Converge

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This is also true in the marketing and sales arenas, but the outreach also needs to give consumers a reason to keep watching, according to many experts.

In fact, a majority of consumers (57.5 percent) are more likely to buy a product after watching a video ad if there is an offer or discount, according to Clinch’s research. This far surpassed other attention-grabbing factors, such as product close-ups or celebrity endorsements.

Consumers are also more likely to watch a video from start to finish if it has an immediate call to action or offer. Creating a relevant experience with a call to action that is in tune with the consumer’s own needs is critical, according to Etzioni. “Consumers remember, like, and engage with content that is relevant to them. There is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to combine these findings with the power of video to increase conversions online. Expect to see more companies leveraging personalized videos across platforms, as well as playing with new shoppable formats into 2020,” he states.

And when dealing in video, it’s also worth noting that more and more consumers today are “cutting the cord,” ditching traditional cable or satellite TV for streaming, on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Many Millennials are among a new viewing public that could be called “never corders,” having always used streaming services.

Companies hoping to reach these consumers need to ensure they are targeting those platforms too as they allocate their marketing dollars, Etzioni says. The benefits here can be substantial as well, given that most people watch these streaming services on mobile devices or personal computers, giving them access to online purchasing platforms immediately after viewing an advertisement.

Other digital channels, including text messaging and chat, are also expected to continue gaining traction. “While voice will always remain an important channel for support, especially for urgent issues, in 2020, we will see [SMS and chat] overtake voice as the most important support channel,” UJET’s Janefalkar relates. “Woe to customer service organizations that cannot provide an omnichannel customer support experience that includes messaging.”


Also feeding into the new wave of digital interactions is artificial intelligence, which will make significant inroads into the omnichannel environment in 2020, experts agree.

“AI will dramatically improve the employee experience,” Janefalkar says. “The ability to automatically and instantly collect data from across multiple channels, analyze it, and provide actionable insight will enable support agents to more quickly, easily, and accurately address customer inquiries and come to highly satisfactory issue resolution.”

In 2019, companies already started to see how they could use AI to enable better, faster responses to customer service requests and to offer more personalized touchpoints, according to NICE inContact’s Bauserman. “In 2020, we will see automation and AI continue to evolve as more back-office tasks are automated and more customers are able to handle simple inquiries by themselves. This leaves room for AI-driven analytics to help agents focus on emotional intelligence and relationship building with the customer in order to build more impactful interactions, while AI takes care of the actual case resolution,” he says.

Bauserman expects that AI-driven analytics, for example, will be able to identify the root causes of customer frustration, looking beyond general measurements of sentiment to identify the specific pain points for each customer and then recommending ways to correct them.


Still, despite the fact that customer conversations and transactions are moving at great speeds to digital channels, companies, particularly in the financial services sector, shouldn’t start dismantling their brick-and-mortar locations just yet.

Citing a Deloitte Insights study, CRMNEXT’s Salesky says that though customers want digital options, branches are still a preferred method for many financial transactions. Though they like doing the preliminary work online on their own schedule, many still prefer to come into a branch office to finalize the deal, he notes.

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