Can Mobile Save Retail?
Well Execs at Verizon certainly thinks so. As location-specific mobile targeting technology grows, marketers will continue to take advantage in order to lure shoppers through the doorway – even within indoor settings like the local mall. Anyone remember that scene from Back to the Future (yes I’m referencing that movie again…) where the ads in the town square literally jump out and bite you?
But the hinging factor here remains… how much data will consumers allow their smartphones and apps to gather and provide to outside parties? Privacy of the very personal device is still an issue barring relevant data collection in many cases. Ash Evans, Director of Corporate Strategy at Verizon said, “The ability to identify someone is important – brands know less than 7% of the people visiting their site.” – a sobering statistic, yet full of possibility.
So here’s a question for our readers… how much personal information would you be willing to provide in order to get that 40% off coupon from your favorite retailer?
Americans are Saving Trees, One eBook Download at a Time
eBook sales in Q1 of this year have finally surpassed hardcover books for the first time – EVER! With this announcement, Association of American Publishers reported an eBook sales increase of 28.4% from Q1 2011, which equated to $282.3 million in total sales in Q1 2012. Paperbacks is still just ahead of eReader sales with $299.8 million in sales for Q1, but the stage has been set for a hostile takeover if not by next quarter, then certainly by the post-holiday season. While these number does not include Children’s publications, the trend in eBook readership in that demographic would no doubt further support this latest announcement. Why just last week Amazon announced updates were made to Kindle for iOS, Kindle Cloud Reader and Kindle for Android apps to support comic and children’s books.
This is good old fashioned supply and demand spurred from the insane spike in tablet and eReader sales this past holiday season. But not to be overlooked, another mobile-friendly literary format – audio books – have shown a 37.7% increase year over year. And while audio book total revenue is just a fraction of the totals for paperback ($25 million), hardcover, and eBooks, the trending power of audio books, combined with the still climbing eBook sales will no doubt join forces to overtake paperback sales this year.
Apple’s New Passbook = Mobile Wallet Gateway Drug
Another big announcement of many to come out of Apple’s WWDC event last week is the launch of Passbook, Apple’s introduction to the mobile wallet game. As if this marketplace wasn’t already crowded enough – full of start-ups and juggernauts getting high off the still unrealized potential of mobile payments – Apple let the world know they may not have been the originators, but they are going to vie for the audience anyway. But as the mobile payment market waits for consumer acceptance, it may be gateway tools like Passbook that start to warm things up.
Apple’s Passbook combines coupons, loyalty cards, gift certificates, and even airline and movie tickets all in one place for easy access, while not including stored credit card information. This is where the pearly gates to mobile payments start to open up. Passbooks elements do not carry a high level of user identity if compromised, and they are all forms of payment or accompaniment to payments. Mobile consumers start to utilized the app, gain a sense of comfort with it, learn how best to protect their privacy in using these tools, etc. – and then a year or so from now Apple flips the switch on an upgrade that will allow for the secure storage and usage of credit card information. With Passbook, Apple will provide their built-in global audience with the baby steps it needs to fully adopt mobile payments – a possible checkmate for the likes of Google and Amazon.