Six of the Best – Predictions for 2012
Mobile payments to take hold in 2012
While we firmly believe that mobile payments will replace cash and credit cards at some point, it's certainly not going to happen in 2012. However, 2012 will be the year that the trend really starts to take hold. Some serious moves by some big players, as well as start-ups, will make this area one to watch next year.
More retailers to integrate mobile with in-store experience
Rather than using mobile as just part of their comms strategy, we’re already seeing retailers position mobile as an integral part of the overall shopping experience, both in store and through digital channels. In 2012, we will see more mobile at the heart of retailers’ product offerings, with the likes of gift vouchers and loyalty cards as part of their in-store engagement programme. The rollout of in-store wi-fi networks will accelerate this growth, with retailers becoming savvy enough to invest in order to reap the rewards.
High street retailers to compete with mobile price comparison services
Already, 30 per cent of smartphone users are using their mobiles to check and compare prices while they are in store. This is a serious change in consumer behaviour, which means that retailers must compete in their own stores for the very first time. It’s no great shock to predict that this will be big next year, but we do expect to see at least one company try and prevent it happening by, for instance, jamming mobile signals or deliberately hiding barcodes on products. The only thing to remember, though, is what history teaches - prohibition never works.
2012 to be a big year for mobile coupons
We've cheated a little on this one, as we have some inside knowledge of our own forthcoming announcements! 2012 will be a big year for mobile coupons, with at least 10 major retail chains starting to use mobile coupons. Mobile has a unique property, as a marketing channel, of being able to connect the digital world with the physical. So, running an ad on a mobile, and issuing a digital coupon which then drives the consumer into a store to make a purchase, is a very powerful tool for retailers to employ.
More experimentation with augmented reality
Some major brands have already experimented with AR to enhance products or to provide consumers with more information. 2012 will see more experimentation, but it's too early to say whether this is starting to go mainstream yet.
More retailers will embrace mCommerce
Many retailers have successfully jumped on the mobile app bandwagon, but too many companies still haven't covered off the first base by providing their customers with a website optimised for mobile. Take a look at your website stats and around 15 - 20 per cent of the traffic will already be via mobile - which is costing real money if customers can't use the site and go to a competitor instead. This doesn't just apply to transactional sites, but to everyone. 2012 will see retailers flock to mobilise their websites as their marketing departments realise that this is a core requirement and no longer an optional extra.
Russell Buckley is chief marketing office at Eagle Eye Solutions