Planet of the Apps

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The Rise of the Planet of the Apps 09-06-2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current article from the Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research blog.

Four years from now, it is likely that globally there will be close to two billion (yes, billion) smart mobile devices, outselling computers, according to Yankee Group estimates.

Nielsen reports that over half of mobile phones being activated now in the U.S. are smartphones. IDC estimates 182 billion (yes, billion) annual app downloads by 2015.

Flurry estimates that smartphone owners spend more time on apps than PC owners spend on the internet from their computers.

Smartphones, tablets and the iPod Touch will create the mobile, app-enabled lifestyle. Why? Because mobile is not like a computer with a small screen; it is transformational. Apps provide needed simplicity for mobile web access by extracting the essence of a service and putting it right in front of the user in a way that fits perfectly within the screen limitations while adding a localized dimension.

If there is any life activity that is crying out to become appified, simplified, localized and mobilized on your smartphone, it is shopping. Furthermore, marketers want it too. Imagine you will be able to deliver messages and offers to a shopper as they stand right in front of your brand and its competitors that are customized from prior purchase activity. This is behavioral targeting and “recency,” two principles of media placement on steroids.

Look at this distribution of time spent on apps by category from Flurry; it appears that shopping aids have not yet taken off.

  • Games: 47 percent
  • Social: 32 percent
  • News: Nine percent
  • Entertainment: Seven percent
  • Other: Five percent

However, app developers are starting to work on this:

  • Modiv has been testing a mobile shopping solution called Scan It with Stop & Shop that is now about to be tested on iPhones. It links offers to your frequent shopper history and knows where you are in the store.
  • Ad Age reports Finish Line unveiled a new app that gives shoppers access to real-time inventory at the store nearest them. Users can check to see if an item is available in the style, size and color they’re looking for before coming to the store.
  • Amazon offers a price checking app so you can be in a Best Buy or Walmart, check the price of the same item at Amazon and decide if you want to order it from within the app.

Truly it is the “Rise of the Planet of the Apps.” As an increasing majority obtains smart mobility, as smartphones replace PCs as the number one way of accessing the internet, as life becomes app-enabled, people will insist, “Yeah, we want an app for that” — and they’ll get it.

Discussion questions:  How will the growing appeal of apps change the way brands and retailers connect with consumers? How will it change the way consumers interact with brands and retailers?

My post:

The biggest concern I have with app-driven shopping is the reliance on price to drive consumer behavior.  It is as though no one can learn the obvious:  using price as the single differentiator allows only one or two low-cost providers to survive the ensuing carnage.  In this model, Amazon and Wal-Mart will clearly prevail.  Anyone else?  Doubtful.  My hope is for the brands to drive unique app offerings that focus on experience over price.  However, except in the rarified world of luxury products and consumers, it is increasingly difficult to capture the consumer’s attention with anything other than price, and perhaps celebrity.

A reason for hope?  With the increase in influential bloggers, I can foresee a success formula that utilizes targeted ‘endorsements’ to drive consumers to shop at regular price for their favorite influencer’s recommendations.  This works particularly well in the beauty industry.  Let’s see who makes this move vs. the damaging price-only model.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  The Rise of the Planet of the Apps

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