It seems as though mobile has erupted into our lives in mere moments – from a playground for the early adopter a few years ago to being everywhere and on everyone’s mind today. For most of us, the novelty of mobile is just that, a novelty, something we use to pass the time while waiting in line or for a friend to arrive. But the innovation happening today around the world is setting the scene for a massive upheaval that will have tremendous impact on our day-to-day lives in the not so distant future.
Some of the changes closest to a tipping point are obvious – anything that uses location and anything that saves some money – so let’s take a step back and see what is coming after these current trends take hold.
The start of fluid pricing
When was the last time you paid full price for anything except natural resources? Mobile brings with it the ability to almost name your own price. The incredible number of companies already offering massive discounts for checking in on a smartphone near or in their place of business will eventually put an end to store-wide sales – even discount racks. Add to this the ability to use these devices as a means to check price and inventory from other stores nearby or on the internet puts the power of pricing in the hands of the consumer. Companies will have no alternative but to match their prices with worldwide pricing or differentiate through service or enhanced offerings.
The deepening impact of the influence economy
Everywhere you spend money in the future will be influenced by the accessibility of your social graph – those people who’s opinions you value – from your smartphone. If you are contemplating the purchase of a product, you’ll scan the barcode while in a store and get opinions from your Facebook friends (or a subset of them who have identified their expertise about that type of product). If you are trying to decide on a service you will again ask your social influencers to help you decide based on their experiences interacting with that service or brand.
With mobile, you have the opinions of those that matter to you within reach all the time. Businesses need to now shift their focus from emphasizing product or service to servicing their customers.
The great brand erosion
With mobile influencing what we buy and how much we pay, there comes the likelihood of an exodus from the mid-tier brands and a shift to price-focused or convenience-focused buying habits. Larger, more established luxury brands will continue to thrive (think of brands such as Audi or Apple) where their customers are willing to pay a premium for their product or service. Other, less influential brands whose offerings compete on a commodity such as price will be lost where convenience and the lowest price win over loyalty.
We are only just starting to understand the impact that mobile is going to have on how we will live but all you need to do is look at the influence the internet has had on the way we make purchasing decisions and what we pay for products. The impact we’ve witnessed of having a research tool on the desktop is one thing but to have access to it from your pocket will make the impact of the Internet and PC eras seem insignificant by comparison.