- Half of holiday sales will be influenced by digital interactions
- 84 percent of shoppers use digital tools before or while shopping, and convert at a 40 percent higher rate
- 101.7 million US consumers will purchase on their mobile devices
- 86 percent of retailers expect their 2014 online holiday sales to increase
Has 2014 been the ‘year of mobile’? There has definitely been significant growth in mobile usage, app growth and technologies like beacons and geofences — but don’t expect to see any of these slow down in the next few years. At the beginning of 2014, 9 in 10 Americans owned a mobile phone, 60 percent owned a smartphone and mobile usage surpassed the PC. According to Nielsen, the average U.S. consumer spends 34 hours every month on mobile devices and owns four “smart” devices (smartphone, tablet, HDTV, PC, gaming console). We are connected 24/7.
With the plethora of data being produced and gathered across all these connected devices, businesses are just beginning to process the endless possibilities for creating more relevant content, products and information for mobile users. Smartphones are used for everything from shopping, messaging, booking travel, checking-in and consuming news and content. And whatever is not done on a smartphone is likely done on another connected device. The phase of making things “mobile” is over. The next phase? Understanding the data to create more relevant and personalized experiences.
1. Location and proximity targeting
With the growing popularity and usage of beacons, location is becoming a huge part of mobile strategies. Companies have been using geofencing for quite a few years to trigger certain actions on mobile. Beacons allow businesses to produce even more targeted content based on indoor locations. Getting ready to check into your flight? You might receive a notification telling you when to get your boarding pass and ID out.
2. Context and personalization
With accounts connected across a number of devices, businesses will be able to use data and technology to produce more personalized and context-aware content. Imagine walking into a retailer and receiving a message that the shirt you were saw online the night before is on sale and available in store. Smart devices and apps will be able to understand individual habits based on your device usage and data. Matched with location capabilities, consumers will be served not just relevant content but information relevant to that exact time.
3. Higher app engagement and more conversions
According to Flurry, smartphone owners are using app 86 percent of the time compared to mobile browsers. Most major retailers, airlines and brands have already released their own apps. Matching those with location-aware and personalized content will produce higher engagement and conversion rates. Providing coupons based on shopping lists, or events in an area based on travel plans will make apps more useful to consumers. For iPhone users, iOS 8 will suggest apps on the lock screen based on location. This will not only help consumers more easily open apps they need but will also increase awareness of apps and potentially increase downloads.
4. NFC takes hold
Near field communication (NFC) continues to grow in the market mostly due to payments. If Apple releases an NFC-compatible iPhone 6 this fall, there will likely be an increase in mobile payments and innovative uses for NFC in marketing campaigns, advertising, business cards, connected products and travel experiences.
What other trends do you expect to take off in the next year?
NFC is not a new technology but it has been gaining traction in the market over the last few years due to NFC-enabled credit cards and mobile phones. There is speculation that Apple will finally adopt NFC in the iPhone 6 — at which point, NFC might reach widespread adoption among consumers. However, the NFC rumor mill hits every time a new iPhone is about to be released. Nonetheless, the number of NFC-enabled Android and Windows phones is growing, and with that, we have seen an increase in the ways brands and consumers are experimenting with the technology.
How does NFC work?
Getting down to basics, NFC, or near field communication, transmits data wirelessly between two objects equipped with NFC chips. The two objects have to be brought within close range, usually within four inches, in order to communicate and can transmit any information.
How can I use NFC?
As we mentioned, iPhones aren’t NFC compatible. However, the number of other smartphones with NFC capabilities is growing. (You can see a full list of compatible devices here.) Payments, through services like Google Wallet, have made it possible to simply tap or wave your phone over a payments system (or laptop) to make a purchase.
Is NFC just for payments?
No! Technically, you can use NFC as long as you have two NFC compatible objects. Brands have used NFC for ticketing at events or while traveling, opening car doors with NFC-enabled security badges and car keys, tracking healthcare information, and in marketing and advertising campaigns. It can be as simple as placed an NFC-enabled sticker within a retail area that links to coupons, rewards, ads or movie trailers, social media pages, mobile apps and more. NFC extends to personal use, too. Place an NFC sticker near your front door, wave or tap with it your phone and turn the air conditioning on. Trend Blog put together a great list of 18 creative ways to use NFC.
Will NFC keep growing?
Yes. The number of NFC compatible devices increased 128% from 2012 to 2013. IHS Technology predicts that two in three devices will be NFC compatible by 2018. Plus, VISA Europe saw their contactless payments increase four fold in 2013. While brands are starting to experiment with beacons, NFC still has its own specific use and purpose. It’s cheaper and works within a much more specific location than beacons.
What’s the security like?
NFC only works within a close range — usually four inches or less — and the signals are very specific. In order for a hacker to get a hold of your information, they would have to be extremely close to your phone or credit card. In addition, any data stored on your phone like credit card information is encrypted and usually has a number of added security features like pins and passwords. Get a full explanation of NFC security here.
Bottom line, NFC is here to stay but there are a multitude of other technologies disrupting the space. When it comes to designing a marketing or advertising campaign, make sure to consider your goals, budget and customers when deciding which one to use.
Photo Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns