Tag Archives: android

Mobile: The Tip of the Spear for Electronic Commerce

I was speaking at MobileCON 2012 in San Diego a week ago and it was amazing how many people were talking about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and how prevalent smartphones have become.

Palm VIIMy first wireless device was the Palm VII in 2001 and while it was very cutting edge for the time, using it to perform more than basic functions like reading e-mail or news updates was arduous. I did it because it was ‘cool’ and I didn’t mind spending three times as long to do something like order movie tickets than it would take through traditional methods. My wife, however, would never think of paying a premium for technology just for the sake of being cool in a nerdy sort of way and that’s what ‘smartphones’ were up until 2007.

When Apple released the original iPhone all that changed. All of the sudden the use of a ‘smartphone’ was so easy and so intuitive that it’s use no longer slowed us but now made us more efficient. The massive adoption of iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices has finally given rise to the possibility of real-time personalized, location-based marketing and commerce experiences because we have become fully committed to our mobile phones.

Today we are so intrinsically tied to our mobile devices and we are loathe to part with them. There are over a billion smartphones in use today and 84% of us say we couldn’t go a single day without our smartphone. 65% of us would rather leave our lunch at home versus our smartphone and half of us would rather leave our (real) wallet at home instead of our smartphone.

Mobiles have truly become a part of us and retailers and marketers needs to take advantage of that in new and innovative ways. New approaches to making the shopping experience easier and providing more suitable offers for the consumer; ways that increase their efficiency and make their lives simpler.

Augmented Reality for In-Store OffersIdeas like geo-fencing like BestBuy to provide real-time contextual offers to customers who are in the proximity of a location at a certain time. Or providing the ability to create shopping lists online at the desktop or mobile and then being directed through in-store mapping to efficiently pick up those items. Or going beyond bar code scanning to ARISTO (augmented reality for in-store offers) like Wal-Mart providing real-time product updates and pricing in a visual manner within the store.

How about gathering sentiment and consumer data directly from your customers, their tendencies and habits as well as their opinions and choices? A plan for big data and real-time  analytics to gather insight about the customer helps deliver more precise offers that have more meaning and are more likely to be accepted.

How is your company using the mobile devices of your customers as the ‘tip of the spear’ for your personalized commerce initiatives?

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Are Enterprise App Stores like AT&Ts Going To Thrive?

This week as CES in Las Vegas AT&T unveiled a new, HTML5 driven app development environment to encourage developers to write ‘apps’ that really aren’t.

“It’s essentially a rich set of APIs and tools aimed at furthering the HTML5 appeal as an app development choice,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T. “Why are we focusing on HTML5? We think it has the potential to address fragmentation.”

Most current iOS and Android (and others) apps are written in proprietary code and require recompiling and tweaking to switch platforms. Programs written in HTML5 circumvent this because they run in code delivered via the web. Most people don’t remember that these ‘web apps’ if you will were the original offerings on the iPhone.

The bigger question is ‘why’? With millions of apps available across the iOS and Android platforms why would anyone now start developing in the AT&T ‘app’ center as well?

The answer is going to lie in the real value that AT&T can provide – which is not an HTML5 development environment. Cross-platform solutions like PhoneGap have been around for a while now so AT&T is bringing nothing really new to the development front.

What they are bringing new is access to their vast network and the other devices and content participating on it. This could be huge for them and it’s using the model that Apple developed and Google copied, both of which have been wildly successful.

Give access to registered developers ($99 – just like Apple) and turn them loose to come up with creative and profitable ways to extend the value of the AT&T network to it’s customers. Simple.

With the new API offerings, developers will be able to take in-app payments charged directly to a user’s AT&T bill, will be able to control SMS and MMS, find device location, integrate with AT&T’s U-Verse TV, and access unique mobile device capabilities, said David Christopher, AT&T’s chief marketing officer.

This is not a new concept and the idea of telco APIs have been bandied about for years – most often with the discussion of how to make money with them – but this a big deal. It will be interesting to see whether or not other CSPs in North America, Europe and Asia begin offering this as well.

 

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