In the future, we will have flying cars, robot pets, armor with cloaking mechanisms, music that will play just by thinking about it, and amazing transactional documents! Bet you didn’t expect that last one…

For transactional documents, the future is now, and evolving quickly by the day. The flying car might be a few years off, but many of the most amazing technologies in statements and transactional documents are largely unrealized by many businesses and the general public. Here are some of the most progressive techniques with transactional documents that will shape the future:

  1. Hyperpersonalization- from Matt Graham, in Ten Trends to Define 2013- “Hyperpersonalization is focused on function, and will evolve with function at the core of its usage and strategy. Hyperpersonalization is about skipping the personalized salutation and going instead with something that is likely to move the needle. For example, a postcard showing a personalized driving distance and directions from the recipient’s house to their nearest branch or store is an excellent use of personalization. Additionally, using a PURL that lands on a pre-approved and pre-filled application that just requires your customer’s quick review and submission can streamline and enhance brand communications. Using web behavior in subsequent email and digital, direct mail supports imagery in color, product selection, messaging, and other ways to match demonstrated preference. Hyperpersonalization is about being able to both move the needle on response and conversions.” Data combined with cutting-edge production capabilities allow for transactional documents to be taken to an entirely new level. Digital print allows for colorful charts, personalized imaging, and calls-to-action specific to each recipient.
  2. Mobile technology- Smartphones are estimated to be in the hands of 59% of the US population’s hands by 2016. Barcode scanners will likely become native to mobile phones, and augmented reality (AR) applications will evolve greatly with the inception of Google Glass and the USPS’ focus on AR. Printed bills look to follow these trends. Look for variably printed QR codes to allow secure payment, opt-ins for paperless billing, and links to usage statistics, all directly from the statement, in turn allowing for increased user convenience. Printed transpromotional offerings can easily pair with digital couponing, as well as lead directly to purchasing when paired with smartphones.Near-field recognition allows users to directly interact with the printed piece through microchips, eventually allowing payment directly from a smartphone, amongst many other options. These technologies are available today, but are underutilized by banks, utility companies, retailers, non-profits and government agencies. Imagine a day where your utility chart can emerge from the page when viewed from your smartphone, with personalized links to energy-saving tips, investment trends or coupons for upcoming needs, and a microchip embedded that will allow your to use your digital wallet for payment!
  3. Digital Mailboxes- Online access to statements has been around for years, and only further reinforces the need for a multichannel approach, and the increased surge of digital mailboxes takes the idea of the online statement to a whole new level. Statements for banks, utilities, mortgages, retail credit cards, registration details, retirement savings, and more can all be stored and consolidated digitally within a digital mailbox. The initial crutch of online statement adoption is the million different passwords and logins that one needs to effectively manage online transactions. “Your password must be between 7 and 9 characters and must contain an ampersand, a capital letter and three numbers…” The idea of a central, secure, depository for statements part of the future for transactional documents. One login; one password; a trusted partner in security to consolidate all of your needs into one place. That being said, statement redesign is paramount in the conversion to digital, as is having an interactive solution to manage these documents and keep the statements in line with government regulations. Printed communications will long be preferred by many customers (likely the majority), but a subset of customers will prefer the option of receiving all transmissions digitally. A trusted marketing partner is crucial in determining which customers are desiring paperless transition and assuring them of information security.

Overall, the future looks very bright for transactional documents, and outsourcing options allow companies of all sizes to bring their customers to the age of flying cars, cloaking mechanisms and robotic pets. By harnessing modern statement technology, you can be the Jules Verne of transactional documents!