How mobile is changing the world in 2013 and beyond
We asked industry leaders, movers and shakers, and founders of some of the most innovative mobile companies the question: “How is mobile technology changing the world?” The answers tell a story of innovation, disruption, and a whole new business model that unchains consumers and businesspeople alike from not just the desktop, but from the office entirely. Here are their answers.
Ajay Kapur, CEO
“We are living in a post-PC age. Consumers are demanding anytime, anywhere shopping and retailers are responding with a new generation of disruptive mobile experiences focused on intense personalization. This new phase of the Web is all about “many-to-one” and retailers that move quickly will have a huge advantage. But it’s still early days. The latest research suggests that growth rates of mobile shopping on smartphones is doubling every year and tablets represent an even bigger opportunity. And it’s not just about apps. In fact, most of the growth is happening through mobile optimized sites. Apps are great for customer loyalty, but mobile optimized sites are a must for capturing new customers.
“Research also shows that customers will abandon a mobile experience if the site or app is hard to use, so retailers need to focus on delivering amazing experiences to stay competitive. For these reasons, in 2013 (and beyond) retailers will invest heavily in adding mobile-specific features to their sites and creating amazing experiences that draw in consumers. Retailers will also look to unify their Web development efforts with a platform-oriented approach that speeds delivery and promotes business agility.”
“Ecommerce is the next great leap in technology, following the Internet and social media. It has been underdeveloped and underutilized for years, and we’re just now starting to see some great innovations in this space. At Revel Systems, we are working towards a world where cash and credit cards are obsolete, and consumer mobile apps integrate seamlessly with business POS software for automated checkout, customer loyalty, and an interactive commerce experience in person and online.
“Imagine using your phone to locate actual products you are looking for, or getting real-time recommendations based on your preferences, and then walking into a store, finding those items you want, ordering and shipping items that aren’t in stock directly to your house, and finally checking out
without having to scan any items or goods—all in one single, seamless shopping experience, without any cards or tender ever changing hands! This future is much closer than you think!”
Jake Weatherly, CEO and co-founder
“Apps are empowering mobile commerce to become much more targeted and relevant in the consumer shopping experience. Mobile technology can now allow vendors to integrate direct connections to social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest plus connect to their customer by affiliation and rich attribute discovery to enhance the appeal, relevance, and even increase brand loyalty. Apps will also bring new ways for shoppers to connect with up-and-coming vendors / designers and discover exclusive offers by providing recommendations and interactions with other shoppers.
“We are starting to see a number of new technologies being implemented to expedite checkout and securely verify eligibility for mobile shoppers. This trend will most certainly explode in 2013 and the coming years, as online retailers are looking for ways to facilitate secure transactions and boost mobile sales. Snapping a picture of your driver’s license that auto fills the fields for checkout and filling in basic information to have integrated software verify your affiliation with specific groups such as military, students or teachers to receive special discounts and cut down on fraud will become prevalent in the next few years.”
“It’s impossible to underestimate how much having data at your fingertips will change the caveat emptor relationship. Almost everything we come in contact with will come with a label. There will be nothing more liberating than having the ability to comparison shop globally up to the moment of sale.”I think we will be able to buy more of our goods and services the same way stocks are bought . You could set a ticker and time your purchase to make the optimum decision. The ease of convenience will be magnified when those with the latest information will be able to get an instant discount at the point of sale, not because of a coupon in a flyer but because the price of the item has dropped globally at that time. Stores will be advertising at up to the minute prices.”
Will von Bernuth, Founder
“There are multitudes of ways apps will change ecommerce. For one, location based shopping will be an opportunity for ecommerce and traditional retail to merge efforts. Imagine being able to serve up products and services based on where the user is – suncare products in Florida, coupons while walking through a grocery store or rental cars when stepping off a plane. But it will also bring about increased competition. We’re already seeing this with the phenomenon known as “show rooming” where consumers walk into a retail store to look at an item but check their phone for the cheapest prices. Best Buy’s price matching guarantee is a direct result of this. Pricing parity will only increase as traditional retail fights back. As a result, ecommerce will have to find ways to match the personal touch that a physical store offers. Or the simple fact that consumers will expect to be able to shop through their mobile devices. Having a mobile ready website and app will become a requirement, not merely a luxury.”
James Hilton, Global CEO
“The emergence of smartphone apps has had a positive effect through their convenience and the ability to include simple and secure payments in a way that’s very low friction. Last year, online and mobile retailer Fab! announced that 30% of its revenues came directly from mobile, and Citi Analyst Neil Doshi recently estimated that Amazon is generating between $3-$5 billion in annual sales from mobile devices. eBay’s mobile sales in 2012 his $10 billion.”2013 will be a continuation of these trends towards mobile: mobile app design is evolving making it more engaging and consumers are becoming increasingly hooked on shopping from their phones. Research recently showed that in the UK alone, 24% of consumers used a mobile device for Christmas shopping. We are at the point where retailers already have an ecommerce strategy that includes mobile, or else they need to wake up and smell the coffee. There’s absolutely no doubt in our mind that the future of retail includes mobile in a big way.”
Igor Faletski, CEO
“The future of e-commerce isn’t in apps at all, it’s in responsive and adaptive sites that not only work on smartphones and tablets, but also on the desktop, on 90″ web-enabled televisions, and on devices we haven’t invented yet. Companies are beginning to realize that few apps achieve broad success, that users regularly only use a handful of apps and, because of operating systems and device versions, any one app only reaches a subset of users. When a business builds and launches an app, they’re competing with Facebook, Instagram and Angry Birds, both in the app stores and on users’ devices.”With the exception of games, 2013 will mark the year that companies turn away from apps as a source of revenue and back to the web, where they can reach all of their customers, whether they’re on smartphones, desktop computers or giant TVs.”
Adam Grunwerg, Director
“The mobile app revolution will bring significant changes and improvements to the ecommerce marketplace over the next couple of years. Innovative features such as one-click pay have already made buying things on your mobile extremely easy. Meanwhile, electronic fingerprint identification has been suggested as a means of replacing 3rd part cookies (which can’t be used in apps) for re-targeting customers and improving mobile ecommerce. Finally, a new feature launched by Amazon now means that users in retail stores can simple take a picture or scan the bar code of a product to automatically compare the lowest prices online. This could massively shift the high-street retail industry in favors of mobile apps and online purchases.”
Peter Daley, CEO
“Mobile app adoption in the enterprise is accelerating rapidly, and
ecommerce is a particular area of interest for both customers and vendors.
We are seeing a significant movement of purchasing activity from
phone/email/web to mobile apps where shared business processes can be
coordinated more quickly and easily. For 2013 and beyond, the world of B2B
ecommerce will fundamentally change as non-deskbound workers can now
participate in – if not drive – B2B ecommerce purchasing activities. Sales
organizations in turn are “going mobile”; B2B industries will see even
face-to-face selling consummated via electronic transactions. This is very
different than traditional ecommerce that was often cumbersome and rather
nameless and faceless.”
Dan Merns, Founder
“I think the more pertinent question is how mobile apps will change the
world of retail in 2013 and beyond. Mobile apps will have a much larger
impact on brick and mortar business than on ecommerce businesses. For
ecommerce, mobile is just a different channel through which to shop, and it
does not change too much for either buyer or seller relative to web based
ecommerce.”For brick and mortar mobile apps have huge potential to impact the shopping
experience and the way that retailers track shoppers. In the summer of
2012 Walmart released a shopping app that was meant to be used throughout
the shopping process. The app allowed consumers to scan products with
their phone while shopping and then pay at a self-checkout counter. While
the company marketed this as something to increase convenience, in reality
it is a tool that enables them to collect lots of data about individual
Olivia Dunn, Innovation Strategist and Business Analyst
“Mobile apps have opened up a new world of opportunities in ecommerce.”The fact that Apple skipped using Near Field Communication (NFC) in the latest iPhone release, opting instead to use QR codes in their Passbook app, indicates that the industry hasn’t settled on one mobile payment solution yet.
“Instead, the field is still wide open for mobile apps to prove their dominance in 2013 and beyond. If an app can provide a compelling experience that sways public favor towards one experience or another (whether NFC, QR codes or other) that could mold the ecommerce industry for years to come. Right now, ecommerce leaders are waiting for a mobile payment solution to emerge as an industry leader before they begin investing too many resources into that field. An app that moves to the forefront of the industry can end up dictating the hardware and software that ecommerce, as well as brick and mortar businesses, use for years to come.”
Ayo Omojola, Founder & CEO
“Looking out at ecommerce in 2013, I see a few major trends coming together:”1. Mobile shopping will continue to grow faster than e-commerce in general: Expect to see the last of the big retailers go mobile in a big way in 2013, with full fledged mobile apps. Holiday season 2012 saw 2 – 10% of ecommerce coming from mobile<http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/branding-brand-mobile-commerce-index-shows-holiday-sales-up-171-conversion-up-30-187038641.html>. In 2013, mobile retail will at least double.
2. Blended experiences (including showrooming) will continue unabated: Big box retailers will finally fight showrooming with in-store discounts matching what customers can get online. More retailers will create exceptional blended mobile-to-offline experiences the way retailers such as Sephora and Nine West have done.
3. Personalization will rule the day: Companies like Fab.com and Gilt.com already entice users with brands they will enjoy. More retailers will do this, and go with even greater personalization. My company, <http://www.hipmob.com/ target=”_blank”>Hipmob , will help in this trend, as more companies use our real-time helpdesk to provide
4. Mobile will start to provide an advantage to those who invest. Some large brands with massive followings have yet to release a mobile app, and many of them went mobile for the first time in 2012. Those who lag will be left behind.”