If there was any doubt that mobile devices are becoming the way to shop, then erase it from your mind. Statistics abound. According to Juniper Research, even some months ago, purchases via mobile devices will exceed $700 billion by 2018. As everyone becomes comfortable with mobile devices big and small, it is entirely possible that this number will need to be revised. Upwards.
One reason is that most of the stats cover the new phenomenon of webrooming, where customers can shop through their phones and either go and collect their purchases, or get them delivered. Another is that, as the familiarity of the channel increases (some wise man once said that technology takes 10 years to become ‘invisible) the value of purchase increases too.
Take cars. Almost 250 million will be connected by 2020, according to Gartner (and about 249 million drivers will be trying to find the ‘off’ switch). But customers are increasingly shopping for their cars ‘via’ their mobile devices. According to AutoTrader almost 40 percent of customers research cars, particularly used cars, using their mobile – and other – devices.
Whether customers would ever complete the transaction via their mobile device remains to be seen, but given the increasing pace at which mobile ‘technology’ is becoming invisible, one day it is sure to happen. Some time ago, a speaker at billing conferences used to use the example of a pink fluffy sofa and whether customers would ever put such big ticket items on their phone bill. Perhaps not on their phone bills, but as the security of mobiles become simpler and stronger, then using them as secure digital money transfer devices is inevitable.
Overall, this all points to a ‘mobile first’ world and the developers of interactive, intuitive self service applications, for example, will now be getting serious attention from established telecoms companies wondering how to alter their businesses from traditional post paid models to interactive, real time businesses.
And the opportunities are wide spread, from analytics to simplified security and the ability to manage money, pay bills and generally use the mobile device as a nexus of all the devices that we now use.
Soon, perhaps, the blurring will disappear and the mobile will become a clear window through which we look at and manage our entire world.