November 30, 2010

Mobile tsunami, opportunities and challenges

As a follow on to information I have gathered at Web Summit 2.0. In this post I’m trying to put in perspective what the mobile tsunami means for brands and products to tap its potential. This is definitely a question that should keep you awake at night, look at my previous post for more information.

Mobile Retail Holy trinity : Smartphone + Social + Context Aware

Mobile and commerce are an explosive combination, see this panel at web 2.0. The mobile allows you to do so much more because it knows where you are and because it allows you to tap your social graph at all time. This will allow one to buy from one the nearest store at the best price the products your friend have ‘liked’.

The biggest challenge of retail is getting foot traffic, Mobile is a great way to do help. As an aside, conversion rate of people buying while in the brick and mortar store, vs people buying while browsing online is about 8 to 1. This means as customer of toys r us, your much more likely to buy while in the brick and mortar store than on the web, 8 times to 1.

In addition to foot traffic, retail’s challenge is doubled by the fact they have no way to personalize the experience of shopping until you swipe your card when you leave. It’s clear to me that being able to customize the experience of retail as much as the web experience is a great opportunity.

A question every consumer product or brand must have front and center is: What if anything can my product or brand leverage from the offline world (my store) through mobile? The idea in my mind is how can your organisation make use of the fact the phone and your products/brand can interact. This interaction has to be about enriching the customer experience. The experience has to become a two way street, a richer user experience through

  1. bringing contextual offline information to the online world,
  2. and pushing online information to the offline world within that context.

From the same panel again, an example by waving your mobile on top of a DVD, it would be a cool feature to have the trailer start playing on your mobile, and to know what your friends thought about it. The message is with  mobile context aware applications, the products in the store can speak to you as to why they would be good for you or the birthday of your mom because her friends liked it!

It also about because of your location getting access to flash sales, or even better because of your location and your social graph, and the presence of your friends you getting a group buying power deal.

Mobile + Social + Context awarness is big business. Mobile and retail is a good example of innovation that can take place and serving us better. The smartphone holy trinity has many more use cases, and it’s an unchartered world, buckle up!

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