We’ve received some great feedback on our recent post “6 Mobile Trends to Watch;” so much so, we’ve decide to delve a little further into the mobile landscape. Here are a further five mobile trends to watch in 2014.
1. Mobile payment systems and virtual wallets
Payments via mobile card readers are already quite common place with 40% of SMBs accepting payments through them. This trend is expected to continue with another 16% planning to use them in the next 12 months.
However, the need for credit cards may actually be eliminated and instead replaced by mobile payment systems. Starbucks for example is at the forefront of this trend. Their mobile payment system allows their customers to pay via the Starbucks app on their mobile phone, no cash needed. They’re seeing impressive adoption rates too, with 10% of US in-store purchasers using the app.
The use of Near Field Communications (NFC) is also set to rise. NFC allows wireless data transmissions and works on the same principles as WiFi and Bluetooth. Put simply, it identifies the user and their bank account to a computer and then allows data to be transferred between the two devices when held just a few centimeters apart from each other.
By tapping your phone on a contactless pay terminal in a shop or cafe, your account will be identified, and you will be able to pay for items through your phone. Google Wallet uses NFC technology and is accepted at participating stores where there is a MasterCard PayPass terminal (e.g. Walgreens and American Apparel).
As well as bank payments, mobile devices are now being used as virtual wallets storing coupons, gift and loyalty cards as well as airline boarding passes and event tickets. Apple’s Passbook allows users to store all these in one app.
Large UK retailers Tesco and The Body Shop are also trialling Apple’s Passbook affiliate solution, which will enable them to follow up the delivery of vouchers or coupons on their iPhone after customers have left the original affiliate channel. This will enable them to send customers updated voucher codes when their codes expire and also encourage them to visit in-store via geo-targeting.
Apps such as Gyft let customers to buy gift cards and send them to their friends and allows them to upload any unused gift cards they may have, mobilizing the existing industry of plastic cards.
2. Geolocation check-in services
Geo-location check-in apps such as Foursquare are not new, however it’s likely that we are going to see an emergence of new geolocation services that have branched into niches and verticals. Here are a few of the trends we are seeing:
- Place discovery – Apps such as Now and Sidewalk allow you to find new places and discover fun things that are happening right now in your city.
- Geo-social – These apps allow users to share geotagged content with their friends (e.g Facebook Places). Highlight is an app that alerts people if their friend or someone interesting is nearby. You can see their name, photos of them, mutual friends and anything else they have chosen to share publicly.
- Geo and social travel apps – There are many of these types of apps aimed at people traveling. Gogobot gives travel recommendations from friends or people like you. Like a Local gives recommendations from locals so you can avoid tourist traps when visiting new places.
- Local social and mobile commerce – Shopkick allows you earn rewards or “kicks” by simply walking into a store. You earn more rewards if you buy something, which can then be redeemed at different retailers.
3. Mobile Device Management
With more people owning mobile devices, the habits of the workforce are changing. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is now common within the workplace as people want to use devices that suit them personally, rather than what their IT purchasing department dictates they should be using.
Consumer apps such as Dropbox, Evernote and Skype are often being used as an alternative to the tools their corporation has approved. This shift is known as the “Consumerization of IT.” However, with the increase of BYOD and the use of consumer apps comes other issues, mainly around data security.
With all the security issues surrounding BYOD there will be a greater trend toward Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. AirWatch best known for its enterprise mobile management solutions, recently launched a new product targeting small and medium-sized businesses that allows firms to get their mobile devices under control quickly and at low cost.
Codeproof provides a cloud based software-as-a-service security solution for mobile devices that includes antivirus protection, lost device detection, privacy protection and role-based admin management.
4. Mobile advertising
Since consumers are spending more time on their mobile device, this means a huge opportunity for mobile advertising. Mobile search advertising is expected to grow 76% this year and a further 52% next year, while mobile banner advertising is expected to grow 100% this year and 54% next year. There is good reason for this growth, it has been reported that mobile click through rates can be as high as 18%, while on the Web ad interaction rates are around 1%.
Although simply transferring Web ads to mobile won’t work and will provide a poor user experience. With mobile advertising evolving, you are likely to see a trend toward using click-to-call functionality in ads. Searches on mobile devices are 66% more likely to have local intent than a desktop search. This means that consumers searching on their mobile device are often looking for places near to them, directions or a phone number to call. Advertisers are also seeing a 6-8% lift in click-through rates on ads that have click-to-call functionality.
Currently only 10% of total mobile ad spend is on “push” marketing, the remaining 90% went to “pull” content, which relies on the mobile user actively pulling content from a mobile app or website. However, it is likely that the future that mobile marketing will lie in push marketing where marketers will integrate it with their CRM strategy.
5. Mobile video
Mobile video gained 15 million viewers from 2010 to 2012, and it is predicted that video will account for 66% of mobile traffic in 2017. SMBs may have traditionally stayed clear of video marketing due to fear of technology coupled with questionable ROI both financially and time-wise, however the rise of the microvideo may be set to change that.
Vine and Instagram both support microvideos, which tend to be around six seconds in length. With the emergence of these companies many of the technological barriers to entry for small businesses are removed. There is now no need for complex video editing software, as a smartphone is all that is needed. As these microvideos are so small, they can be created and uploaded quickly which may also remove any concerns around ROI.
There are many other advantages to SMBs of using video, firstly video is much more likely to be shared compared to links or text posts. They are also very quick to digest compared to, say, reading a blog post and are great to quickly show off a skill or the results of a process. Since microvideos are so cheap and quick to produce, the financial and time ROI is less of a concern. They can be produced as part of an awareness or PR campaign.
Tell us, have you embraced any of these mobile trends either as a consumer or with your small business? Have you made any payments using your smartphone or experimented with microvideos for your small business? Comment below to tell us how you got on.