Well, it’s over. Or almost. Everything you think you know about the next five years at least is over. Decisions have been made — in reality a mini-revolution has occurred — and yes, it includes you and that little palm-sized gadget you’re married to. This revolution is all about you, requires your participation, and will fundamentally shift everything about your life. It’s happening — the train has left the station — and you’re an unwitting passenger.
Now that we’re on the cusp of a majority of Americans owning a smartphone, the sleeping giant of big business is starting to wake up and realize that their future profits rely on generating revenue from the little devices. Have they been slow to figure out how to monetize them? Yes. But now they have a few years of data on how you use your device, what you want from it, what you expect from it, and what you may be willing to do with it.
This mini-revolution revolves around what is called social commerce. ‘Cause what we definitely need is another term with the word “social” in it. But listen closely — social commerce is important — both for the web and the mobile marketplace. Social commerce is being ushered in by smart, one-tap types of companies: Open Table, Uber, Solo, First Dibs, and to some extent even the grand-daddies like Twitter. Social commerce is all about providing you a service that is defined by simplicity — the greatest, most successful apps are the simplest to use — and the data shows you are willing to pay for ease of use. Those that turn your smartphone into a remote control for your life are the ones that succeed: with Uber, tap a button and a car comes to take you away — are we living in nirvana? Your mobile behavior has told the marketplace that you will engage in social commerce with apps that add value to your lifestyle — your credit card is on file.
What does this say? It says that as businesses transition from the desktop/PC era to mobile, they should have both a short-term and long-term goal: in the short-term they should focus on developing a compelling user experience to gain and retain a diverse user base. Long-term they must monetize their service: once you’re hooked into their user experience, and you’ve made it a part of your life, you’ll pay for it. Simple. However, monetization must be more than just jamming ads into the feed. Ads alone will carry a company in their transition to mobile for 2-3 years, but there’s a tipping point when too many ads will degrade the user experience. The bottom line for the long-term view is there needs to be a reason to pay for the service.
The device in your hand is altering your life. And once companies transition to full-on mobile services, you will have more options to add one-tap experiences that enrich your life. You’re on the train, so hold on — it will be a bumpy ride — but you’re the central focus. It’s gonna work for you one way or another. That’s been decided.