Business evolution is fast becoming revolution.
All cycles - product, strategy and campaign - are being concertinaed by a staple diet of creativity and innovation.
The full and true measure of opportunity is being shortened. It is not yet a case of “the quick and the dead”, but it's getting there.
Casual visits to stores, complemented by the traditional of window shopping have given way to on-line visits – before the buying cycle has advanced beyond the early phases.
Look around. One readily identifies the trappings and consequences of further advances. A total of 23 million Australians own and operate some 25 million mobile phones, of which 14 million are classified as smart-phones.
The world is now fast going off-line, making obsolete personal computers, the internet and, yes, tablets.
A mobile world has arrived and with it new opportunities, as well as inevitable failures for those entities that are not restructuring and revolutionising their processes, practices and philosophies.
Three increasingly popular and utilised smart-phone applications are making huge impacts and are changing local, national and the global business landscapes.
Quick response coding is expediting the retrieval of information and the processing of transactions. There is less need for service providers with extensive product knowledge. All the information is readily available to the consumer via their smart-phone.
Processing of credit card transactions can be finalised without the necessity of signing, verification of signatures and confirmation of 3 and 4-digit codes numbers.
That is convenient and appealing.
Uniform Response Locators is an application which enables the intending purchaser to collate data about the availability of nominated and preferred products, the prevailing prices and the location of competitor premises instantly (within defined geographic parameters), all from within the first business visited.
It puts a whole new complexion and timeframe to the concept of comparison shopping.
Those businesses that aren't “wired” to and for the application are literally not in the race, or on the shopping list.
Near Field Communication enables retailers, manufacturers, distributors and consumers to interact and become actively engaged with prospective purchasers.
A walk down a supermarket aisle with a wired shopping trolley can generate a mine of information about displayed merchandise, special offers and joint promotions. The application informs, influences and directs consumers, empowering them with information, choice and seemingly limitless authority to buy or to ignore.
The one common dominant characteristic is mobility and the means is a hand-held piece of mobile telecommunication hardware.
FROM PASSIVE TO ENGAGING
One striking feature of the contemporary “mobile” economy and marketplace is the innate need for and advantages to engage with existing, prospective and past clients.
Some business leaders and innovators have been quick to embrace the principle of “joining the conversation”.
Reliance on passive mass-media-based advertising campaigns that are centred on discrete 30 and 60-second radio and television placements or in set-sized print and outdoor advertisements is waning. The consequences are evident in the stock-market values of traditional mass-media companies.
Previous “rivers of gold” revenue streams, particularly enjoyed by newspapers, in real estate, homebuilding, land development, motor vehicle sales and employment have migrated to on-line channels and are fast evolving to mobile application sources.
The content, context and style of communications are under constant review and refinement. New has become news – with strong underpinnings of value, worth and relevance.
FROM SCARCE TO PLENTIFUL
An integral aspect of the transition to the current “mobile” economy and marketplace is the obsolescence of the “dark art” of traditional economics.
The discipline of economics was founded on the allocation of scarce resources. That belief and the consequential economics business model are understandable, given their genesis during the mercantile era of centuries past.
Mercantilists dealt with the exchange and trading of “things”. In essence, if one had a “thing”, then by definition another didn't. The need or the want for such determined its monetary value. Economics assigned relative values and priorities for the determination of what resources would be allocated for the extraction, manufacture, development or growth of differing commodities (typically, things).
In the current “mobile” economies and marketplaces entities, consumers and governments have to contend with abundance, a seemingly endless supply of information, channels, sources and audiences.
Access to such is often just a click away. For many this is a daunting reality. For others it offers choice, power and influence. Arise, the informed, discerning, price sensitive and demanding consumers. These are individuals and subgroups who are not economical in the use of those options available to them.
Multichannel and omni-channel are phrases and concepts that are and will be essentials for competitiveness, relevance and to be capable of managing and fulfilling customer expectation.
Care must be taken to ensure that the focus is not on the process, but rather on its application. Success will be enjoyed by those who respect the need to be effective and efficient in which “How”, not “What” is applied to realise the apparent boundless scope for growth and development.
THE BIG CHALLENGE
Many of the global on-line leaders, including Facebook, have found it difficult to generate income and profits from the migration to mobile.
That is a storyline common to many local businesses which have recognised and then embraced the changing trends. Many have become bemused and frustrated by the marginal quantifiable returns.
Therein lies the big challenge. Adroit strategies, judicially applied and maintained will be rewarded and competitive advantages enjoyed. One fundamental will be the need to build effective bridges between in-store, on-line and by-mobile.