Here we are, almost a full third of the way into 2015 already! Now is a good time to talk about some of the latest market predictions and the concepts we’ve seen recently at top conferences. Ideas pop up all the time in our space, but only some will become market leaders. Here are our top tips for the rest of 2015 so you can stay ahead of the pack.
1. Email has made the switch to an m-commerce commodity
For a long time email marketing has suffered an identity crisis, exacerbated by a public image of scam artists and Viagra from the Czech Republic. This year it seems that at last email is catching up, adapting to be part of a holistic approach to marketing rather than a lone gun fired in the dark. For example, did you know that an email with a social sharing widget increases CTR by 158%? That’s not a typo, it really is that high according to a Social Fresh survey conducted last year. So, what does this mean for us? Social sharing is one aspect of the integration of email with the wider Internet marketing world, but email really comes into its own for us when we consider that by the end of this year, most emails will be opened on mobile. According to Forbes, 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices (2014 figures), yet only 11% of emails are optimised for mobile. Not surprisingly, 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimised for mobile. 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.
The trend is showing slowly increasing CTR from emails opened on mobile, but still relatively low optimization. The clear parallel is that there is a positive consumer base response to emails received on mobile platforms, and slowly growing response from business to meet this need. Get optimized, get ahead!
Take the initiative: It is clear that the business that optimises its emails for mobile will have the advantage when talking to people who have the power to allocate resources. Is 2015 finally the year for mobile?
2. M-commerce to take more of pie
Continuing on the above point, we’ve been told for what seems like twenty years that mobile is the Future with a capital F. I think we’re finally going to see the industry get on board with this prediction this year with mobile centred design becoming less of a scary idea. With Magento backed by eBay and breaking down the walls between e and m-commerce design, it’s now time to ramp up your stake in a market that will be worth $120 billion by end of year. You’re probably hearing words like Omnichannel and phrases like screen swapping already, but did you know that we’re looking at 50% of all retail queries being directed through mobile this year? Add in the push towards contactless payments across every platform, and we’re shaping up to see a very different marketplace by this time in 2016.
Google has essentially forced our hands here. The clunkily nicknamed mobilegeddon algorithym was rolled out on April 21. What this addition to the Googlebot does is rank search results based on how mobile friendly the website is; avoiding flash, text that is readable without the use of zoom, and so on. As we see from the following table, across the board businesses are still adapting to doing business on mobile.
The rules have already been set out, and the market is clearly ready and willing to make more purchases on mobile platforms. The question remains: will business respond fast enough and smart enough to capitalize?
Take the initiative: Check your website now to check how mobile ready you are with Google’s test. Optimizing for mobile is going to be a key aspect of successful business practice in the last half of this year and into 2016.
3. Wearable tech to start making inroads in m-commerce
Now that the initial hubbub has died down about the Google Glass seems to have tailed off into obscurity, you might be thinking that wearable tech has gone with it – this is not the case. Google Glass maybe repurposed to be a B2B gadget, and Apple Watch has already sold more than 1 million units just in pre-sale and figures to become another major m-commerce platform. M-commerce apps for Apple Watch are coming out soon from major players like eBay, Fandango, OpenTable and Target. This will kick off a new wave of wearable app development for online merchants. The key will be functionality and integration with the real world. The Target app for example merges the offline and online experience well. It will sense when you are in the Target store, and alert you to items on your shopping list as you shop. If the implementation is smooth and refrains from bombarding the user with sales offers, this could be the start of a real world retail revolution.
While the Apple Watch is expected to be the hot platform for late 2015 and account for a quarter of all wearable tech sales (one analyst from JP Morgan predicts 30 million units to sell in first release year), it’s not the only player. The Skully Smart Helmet is already back ordered for the foreseeable future, and will no doubt revolutionize motorcycle safety. Pebble and FitBit are both bringing out new watches, and of course there’s the much anticipated Oculus Rift pencilled in for a holiday season release. This is the beginning of a fertile new era for developers. Until we get our hands on the tech itself we’re not going to be fully aware of the capabilities of these devices, but the smart money is on a wearable revolution beginning at the end of this year. The knock on effect on markets of gadgets like the Apple Watch that blend m-commerce and reality into one could be truly staggering.
Take the initiative: wearable tech apps have to intergrate with the lives of the user. If the apps we develop do not enhance reality and only distract our customers, we have failed.
4. Flat UI and mobile apps to synergise this year
As we’ve talked about already, m-commerce is booming. The recent statistics tell us that the free app market is slowing, and the paid app market now accounts for just 10% of the total. Why is this? Well, if we look at the improvements that can and are being made to websites to make them mobile friendly, we see that many websites are incorporating app design techniques into their online presences. For example, flat UI/UX improves user experience and keeps customers on platforms for longer periods of time (which, in most cases, translates into more money for you). Make sure your m-commerce design incorporates these features to optimise the user’s experience.
Fast 4G and ever more powerful handsets allowed m-commerce to consolidate a business into one virtual location. Subsequently there’s less management of multiple spaces required, and less time in development. There will always be the big apps like Uber and such that buck the trend, but the signals are clear: the sole hegemony of apps on mobile devices is at an end. This is not to say that apps are dead in the water, not by a long chalk.
What we predict will happen is there will be a streamlining of the market. For many years, the market has been flooded with apps that quite frankly are substandard. With competition comes excellence, and the app companies who seek great advice and guidance for their quality products will succeed. The junk apps will slowly fade away. As William Gibson said, “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
Take the initiative: The app market is still massively lucrative, but more competitive than ever. Get in touch with the experts at Venture Aviator to avoid the pitfalls and ensure you make the most of your ideas.
5. Data, data and more data
Big data is already here and is changing how smart companies market themselves. With the volume of data available to companies about our customers still increasing while adhering to privacy regulations, market segmentation will only increase. E-commerce and m-commerce interests will only benefit from your ability to refine your marketing based on the intelligence available to you. The customer leaves you information every time they visit your site; it’s time we started using it to the benefit of our e-commerce spaces.
By the end of year, we recommend that you are seriously implementing a combined strategy characterized by targeted advertising with product suggestions, shopping cart abandonment mitigation and client nurturing strategies to form a truly 360 degree service. Innovation has not been a necessary aspect of e-commerce so far. E-commerce works because selling online is a good idea. Year on year growth as a sector is all well and good, but unless we adapt to new developments and nail the fundamentals, what looks to be a never ending road can turn into a short pier. We’ll talk more about some tricks to mitigate shopping cart abandonment in another article, which will be posted up soon.
Of course, these 5 topics are just our thoughts based on new developments and water cooler chats. Have you heard about something that’s going to change the game for us in 2015? Do you think mobile payments will be where the big bucks are? Maybe social targeting will be the hot market.
Let’s talk about it in the comments below.