by Katharina Familia Almonte
Infographic, Mobile, NFC, Technology, trends
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Check out this great infographic by NFC Rumors. They tried to give an overall picture of the huge potential and possibilities of NFC covering the most important topics like the “mobile wallet”, NFC marketing, or NFC food! Looking at all the details you realize that NFC is not just about mobile payment… I am looking forward to having the first NFC-enabled phone myself and hope that the industry and commerce adopt the technology quickly too!
Last week the famous SXSW conference took place in Austin, Texas, causing a big buzz in the tech and startup scene. Prior to the conference, many tech blogs took a guess on the one new app that would break out, like Twitter or Foursquare did in the years before. But it seems as if nobody really made it that far. Life in Texas is probably back to normal, the elite of the startup scene went back home and since there is no new Facebook or Twitter, women will probably still have problems to decide whether they should use the bathroom or rather update there status. .
However, some of the apps presented seem to have a great potential. So let’s take a look at the most promising ideas!
The most popular trend this year was group messaging. One example for this new hype is Yobongo, an app that wants to compete with the good old telephone rather than with Facebook. Even nowadays, it still takes up to one minute for a SMS to be sent, and reducing this delay was the main purpose for the team of Yobongo. They developed an iPhone app that localizes where you are and places you in a real-time chat room with people around you. You can just see what others talk about, or hop into the conversation yourself. However, since the service is based on the app and mobile web access, to be able to chat with others they have to download it too. I installed Yobongo to try it out myself, but up to now you can only use it in New York, San Francisco or Austin. Probably it will still take a little while till they introduce their service out here in Paris. I am really curious to find out, how successful this real-time chatroom with strangers around you will be.
GroupMe is another group messaging service, but based on actual SMS. It can be used on every phone that can send or receive text messages. With so called “command” text messages to GroupMe you can set up messaging groups and add your friends. You can then send text messages to everybody in your group, or make a conference call. Moreover, it allows you to share your current location with your friends or share photos. I think this app is a great tool to communicate with friends, for example when you want to hang out together, invite them to a party, get everybody to the right spot, and afterwards share your party pix. Beluga is an app with the very same idea, that was taken over by Facebook just a few weeks ago.
My favorite among the apps presented at the SXSW conference is Hashable, a check-in for people. “Location is to Foursquare what people are to Hashable,” CEO Michael Yavonditte explains. The service allows users to share with others who they had lunch with, they ran into, talked to in a call and much more. To do so, you choose the activity from a list of tags (e.g. #raninto, #lunch, #beer) and then connect it to a user (you can import contacts from Twitter or your email account). You can also make introductions between connections or exchange digital business cards. What makes this app so interesting for me, is the database created by keeping record of all your relationships. It follows the development I described in a recent blog post, towards a more structured way of sharing with others what you are up to.
Zaarly is a very interesting app that creates a localized market place by connecting people looking for something and others who can provide it. Let’s say you decide spontaneously to watch a movie tonight but you don’t have the movie yourself. Post your wish on Zaarly and let people around you know how much you would pay to have it in a certain amount of time. Somebody standing at a DVD rental in your neighborhood might see it and get you what you want. The app also allows you to communicate with your potential vendor via an anonymous phone number, and soon both sides will be able to rate each other after the deal took place.
by Katharina Familia Almonte
commerce, ecommerce, multichannel, organization, trends
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A report of Brian Walker, Analyst at Forrester Research, brings up an interesting discussion about the future of commerce for brick and mortar businesses and their “traditional” multichannel approach. According to Brian, multichannel commerce is dead and the time for a new approach has come, the era of “agile commerce”.
The traditional multichannel perspective no longer makes sense; it has become obsolete for customers, Brian found out in his researches. They increasingly interact through, what he calls, “touchpoints”, without distinguishing brands or businesses.
Touchpoints can be stores, branches, call centers, websites, apps, presence in social networks, mobile websites, SMS messages, QR codes, sales associates or advertising – independent from what we used to see as “channels” and independent from the devices used to interact with an organization (smartphones, tablets, computer, TV, gaming consoles, car, or even appliances).
“The customer is now at the center, and delivering relevant content, commerce, and service is the key to delivering on the new reality”, Brian says. Commerce organizations have to optimize their people, processes and technology to serve today’s ever-connected customer across these rapidly evolving touchpoints. “It is time for organizations to leave their channel-oriented ways behind and enter the era of agile commerce.”
However, the transition from a “traditional” multichannel approach towards agile commerce cannot happen overnight. Agile commerce will not work unless channel-focused teams come together and say “hey, we’re all talking to the same customer – how can we work together?”, ecommerce blog “Get Elastic” predicts. The transition likely requires rethinking your organizational chart, restructure reporting systems, work flows and maybe even change your company culture.