Five years ago seems like yesterday, and in this short period of time we’ve witnessed the birth of smartphones through to the present day where sales have raced past a billion units, changing the internet game as we thought we knew it.
Five years ago executives were just getting their heads around ecommerce and today mobile commerce has become the imperative. Pervasive phones, tablets and apps, along with the ubiquitous access to people, business, information, content, products and knowledge has splintered the landscape with as much force as the internet’s inception.
This real-time, convenient, communication of mobile – everyday, everywhere, has changed the way we shop by when, what, where, and how.
Business logic, the purchase funnel and cost structures have been disrupted and, in some cases, completely overthrown. Innovators and early adopters have responded to this new challenge, the early minority is making a move but the late majority and laggards may not get across the gap.
Cloud based services, predominantly through apps, have already raised the bar for omnipresent expectations across devices. I use Evernote and Spotify on five machines daily. My appetite for more content delivered with the same level of universality across the app spectrum, is simply expected.
While your phone is your gaming device, camera, map and remote control helicopter handset, it will soon be your cash register and wallet.
If you haven’t already, start to think from a business perspective, how your phone will be your automation device for on the spot purchasing, receiving payment, invoicing, live order tracking, loyalty programs and accounting reports.
Consumers will stay ahead of business and continue to expect even more relevant content and increased usability. I don’t know why iOS handsets are dragging the chain on NFC, presumably it’s either nagging concerns about security or it’s because Apple’s trying to lockdown their own mobile payment system before rolling it out.
Either way when Apple gets onboard, I expect to see an instant shift to conventional mobile cashless payments, particularly because Apple already operates the largest mobile payment platform available in the iTunes store.
Think about dedicating budget to mobile, beyond simply wide area network connectivity. If your company plans to remain on its legacy systems then start planning what web services, analytics and data can be connected through APIs and interoperable connectivity. If you don’t start dedicating budget now, it will be too costly to take the leap.
The whole C-Suite needs to be on this journey because while marketing and CRM benefits sit on top of the cake like a cherry, the cake itself is the result of carefully blending the right mix of integration product, web services, processes, content and pricing, with a dash of real time access, analytics, big data and control.
And just when you think the cake is baked; GPS, NFC, augmented reality, image recognition, gesture control, 2D bar codes and smartphone integration with wearable technology will be the requested garnishes for the final presentation.
Cross device attribution
It was only literally last week that I didn’t think cross device attribution was going to be possible without logged in connections, however even with this complex concept, technology and innovation has proven me wrong. Drawbridge is a technology that will no doubt soon be one of many that enables cross device ad targeting, retargeting and attribution.
It’s a ‘bridging’ technology that uses anonymous signals from multiple devices to reliably conclude that all of the devices belong to the same user, it does this by coordinating a user’s behavior (on their PC, tablet and smartphone), statistically dissecting the data to create clusters that over time, through observation, link all of the devices to a single person.
This is pretty awesome and opens a wider door for solid ROI for cross-channel attribution, marketing to mobile, commerce to mobile, rich media, engagement, and data driven apps.
As these changes happen with haste, if you’re not already, start to deliver content specific to devices. Tablets are used differently and at variant times to phones and desktop, they can deliver better cut through if treated as a separate device.
HTML5, CSS3, responsive design, yesterday’s must have, has already progressed into individualizing a user experience for tablet separate to phone. Tablets drive more traffic than smartphones and people are more than likely to buy on them, so create for them.
While tablets may get more traction with purchasing, smartphones are “every” Australian’s appendage. According to research by Google, marketing firm, Ipsos and Our Mobile Planet, 2013 report. “Nearly two-thirds of the Australian population now own a smartphone, more time is being spent online using them, driven by a slew of new models, slicker operating systems, better software and improving networks.
Just over 70% now regularly watch videos on their devices, with 19% doing so every day. The average user is now said to have 33 apps installed and 49% use smartphones to access newspaper or magazine services. A further 29% said they’d rather give up television than their smartphone.”
The year of the mobile has been and gone so don’t lose control of it. Mobile is everyday, everywhere, so understand where it’s heading and recognise the importance of being on the smartphone train, pick the right partners and strive to be fluid across the new exciting landscape of devices.
It’s a challenging time to be working in the digital space, but it’s also the most exciting time to really distinguish yourself and your business through smart application of the available (and emerging) technologies.