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Out With the Paper, In With the Smartphone

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Printing May Be on the Way Out, But Business Opportunities Abound Online

This is not meant to be news, but I encounter folks all the time in the small business world who are shocked to learn that printers are on their way out. It may not happen in 100% of activities, and it may not happen along any certain timeline, but it's almost certainly true.

Think about the most basic and useful paper product-the book. Even that, to some degree, has been successfully marketed in the digital form. See Amazon's Kindle sales if you have any doubts.

The message for businesses is clear: move toward technology that doesn't force customers to buy more $30 ink cartridges. For example, coupon codes that can be used online and smartphone codes that can be shown in-store are far preferable to today's consumer than anything that requires being printed out.

In Ghostbusters, Egon famously declares, "Print is dead." Text on a paper has no integrated functionality. It isn't linked to the rest of the information available on the Internet. It has no sense of its own environment or simulated context to help the reader come to any local conclusions.

The same words on a smartphone, however, enjoy all those traits and possibilities. And with just a little bit of business creativity, you can help that technology bring your customers closer to you...and save a few trees while you're at it.