We’re in the midst of another revolution in online commerce. Much like the first round of dot-com innovation from 1997-2000, another societal shift is happening related to devices, portability, and mobile commerce. Here are five major trends I am seeing, with memes or catchphrase I’ve named. Unlike the dot-com bubble of last decade, these trends are highly unlikely to ever burst.
Trend #1: Mobipersonal
The mass revolution we’re experiencing everywhere of constant connectivity could be coined a “mobile personal” experience. Devices are portable, go where we go, and provide what we want at any time. Googler Lisa Gevelber wrote recently, “In a constantly connected world we have screens at our service.” A recent Mobile Search Moments study showed 77% of mobile searches are in a location where people likely have a PC available to them. This is the essence of mobipersonal gadget addiction where we’re constantly connected — yes, including in the bathroom!
Trend #2: Portaswitching
This term means “portable switching” or perhaps is better described as second (or third!) screen. With devices readily available and our connectivity appetite insatiable, we spend our day moving between PC, tablet and phone and using multiple screens, multiple browsers and applications. Five years ago, this wasn’t even possible. Smart marketers see this as a societal revolution. For example, the development of multiple shopping cart platforms and checkout processes now includes persistent cart architecture, which allows consumers to shop cross-platform and complete checkout on whatever device – and whenever — they like. Real-time viewing by device, such as watching a television show and then researching a fact via Wikipedia on a tablet, engages viewing and second-screen discussions.
Trend #3: Amazonian
As in Amazon, who is clearly the 800-lb ecommerce gorilla, driving everything from pricing schemas, product content, niche sites, shipping models, content delivery and checkout architecture (1 click payment). Like it or not, consumers are conditioned to expect your ecommerce UX to perform at Amazon’s level of functionality. In corporate boardrooms, brands like Target, Walmart, Sears and Best Buy are trying everything in their power to stop Amazon’s massive online assault. Internet Retailer reports that for the 10-year period ending 2011, Amazon experienced a massive 31.4% compound annual growth versus Walmart growing 8.9%. If that’s not staggering growth, remember that Amazon only became a public company in 1995, growing 70% in 16 years to $50 billion in online sales. Walmart, on the other hand, has been public for 42 years and their online sales are a mere $10 billion!
Trend #4: Atomization
No other time in history can content be spread so fast, so far than today. Details of news events such as Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombings and countless others have been disseminated via the use of social media and content sharing. Content is captured at enormous rates of speed via photograph or video and spread via Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other networks. It’s this self-created and self-powered social phenomena that retail ecommerce is in love with, and still trying to figure out, known as “user generated content.” Pinterest further pioneered this visually. There’s an element of novelty involved as this evolves, but it will certainly stabilize with more signals and less noise occurring.
Trend #5: Digiwallet
I call this P.O.D., or payment on demand, while the common term is “digital wallet.” With the portability of services like Square and other mobile payment services, we find ourselves carrying less and less cash and fewer bank cards as consumers, replacing them with mobile devices that allow payment transactions to occur. Apple already lets you pay for Apple Store purchases using an app linked to your stored credit card; Uber lets you get a ride from a private car without having to sign anything; Square lets you pay for Starbucks without having to access your purse. The wallet and purse are quickly going the way of the landline phone. You can now literally pay for anything, anytime, and anywhere using your digital device.