As the months go by, people seem to be thinking more and more about cellphones.
I have already written on the subject in my blog. Brands (and quite often, agencies as well) don’t know which end is up.
There is no denying that the cellphone may totally upset many business models because it can replace the camera, the GPS, the remote control, the wallet, the cash register and so many other things…
In this context, Forrester published 2 interesting articles (Mobile Trends for 2013 and The European Tablet Landscape) that establish some directions.
Where are we at?
1. How the cellphone can help reduce friction
The best way to look at the cellphone is to understand how this tool has the potential to make life easier on your customers, regarding the use of your goods and services.
What extras can you bring to the table for your current or potential customers? (No! Your catalogue or advertisement or a merchant mobile app that sells your products does not qualify.)
2. Mobile payment is making headway, slowly but surely
Payment via cellphone is still in its early stages. A study conducted by Brandalley reveals that 80% of all buying processes via cellphone are aborted at the “basket” stage (as opposed to 33% in real stores). Simple and reassuring solutions need to be found.
Paypal recently launched an iPad app that enables small retailers to accept credit cards without a payment terminal (this app already existed on iPhone).
Forrester believes that there will be lots of innovation in this area in 2013.
A good example is the birth of the start-up ScanPay, a company that proposes to scan/photograph your credit card in order to complete a specific transaction.
3. The cellphone should become a strategic priority
For the reasons mentioned above, everyone should urgently address the cellphone question within their business. Be like Nike and launch a new product.
Don’t underestimate the impact when huge corporations like Mondelez International (ex-Kraft Foods) announce that they are planning on allocating 10% of their global marketing budget to cellphones.
This implies building a plan that spans several years and assembles many variables (immediacy, privacy, knowledge of the customer, location…), so as to offer the fullest experience possible.
4. Tablets require a totally different approach
People tend to throw cellphones and tablets together because they are both “mobile devices”. In doing so, we lose sight of the simple fact that the two are used in very different ways. The tablet (even more so than the cellphone) is used mostly at home and is often shared by 2 or 3 people.
According to Forrester, tablets will be the first to change our habits, because although penetration is weaker than that of the cellphone, tablets tend to be used instead of the computer.
The study also points out that owning a tablet is age-related (a majority of upscale 18/34 year olds who already own smartphones).
5. Big data, now and forever
Thanks to the cellphone, we can dig deeper into data and into the quantified self (when one saves one’s own data on one’s cellphone). Nike Plus is the greatest example of this.
But data alone isn’t enough. You have to promise customers that you will make intelligent use of it. This in turn makes is possible to obtain even more data from them and to identify differentiating variables.
Nike FuelBand is another good example but there are many others (can you just imagine the database Nike is in the process of building?)
The cellphone should be heavily invested in. It can no longer be considered to be just another avenue; that sort of approach could turn against you in the long term.
Don’t forget that 80% of brand applications are downloaded less than 1000 times. This shows how easy it is to get It wrong and spend money uselessly.
Rather than handing the question over to a single agency for debate, a focus group should be created to brainstorm on this issue. People from different areas of activity within the company should be called upon. This would provide a strategic perspective on the whole picture and prohibit the launch of various conflicting projects.
Forrester calls for the creation of a “mobile manager” in the business structure. In my opinion, this is not necessarily suited for most structures. But it could definitely work for some.