Here at LaneTerralever we make it a point to keep an eye on emerging trends, and in recent months we’ve noticed a number of unique movements that point to an especially exciting market shift: The blend between the real and the digital. Sci-fi is now. And here’s what it means for your business.
What we’ve seen…
Watches that monitor your sleep patterns and exercise, necklaces that interact with a smartphone apps, and - of course - Google Glass. The wearable technology industry is still relatively new, and developers are busy exploring how it will function in the coming years. As Tim Moore puts it, “We’ve entered a whole new ‘what could we do?’ era,” and it’s only a small matter of time before wearables will be ubiquitous.
Showrooming and webrooming
Ever stop by a store to try out a product, only to go home and buy it online? If so, you’re not alone. Showrooming is a building trend that popped up a few years ago and still poses a challenge to brick-and-mortar brands. The Internet makes it easy for consumers to find the best price of a given product, even traditionally store-bought items such as food (Amazon sells groceries!). Some businesses have opted to embrace the bridge between digital and physical. One software company called Fits.me offers virtual fitting rooms for online clothing retailers to showcase their products. In Korea, for example, you can use your phone to select groceries from a virtual grocery store and have it delivered to your home that day. Check it out:
Webrooming is the opposite of showrooming – seeing a product online and buying it in-store, often for the sake of saving on shipping time and cost. At Sears, you can buy a product online and then pick it up curbside. An employee will bring it out to you using your provided car information. Many brands such as Wal-Mart and Costco Photo also have buy online, pick up in-store options.
Digital tools for interacting in person
“How about we…” is an app that allows singles to propose an event-oriented date idea (“How about we have a picnic in the park?”) to cut out excessive online conversation. Meetup.com is platform for like-minded individuals to form local groups around their interests, from hikers to professionals to foodies. At the heart of digital is connection, and users are looking for ways to interact beyond the screen.
Re-targeting on different screens
We’re not talking plain old cookies, folks. First, Twitter Amplify works on the basis that a user who tweets about a TV show likely saw the commercials that played while they watched. This allows the brands that advertised to then put their message back in front of the user – this time on their computer or mobile screen. You can expect sequential messaging, which puts several ads in a sequence for the sake of storytelling, to take off in the coming years as well. Ads’ limitation to a single screen will soon be a thing of the past as they begin to interact with users throughout their day.
The fight against the blurred lines
The trend of digital integration into physical life is largely legitimized by the fact that consumers are noticing and reacting to it. Many people feel a need to “unplug,” a sense that there is too much technology in their lives and they need to get back in sync with their communities (which we’ve also discussed at length here).
How decision makers should respond
The integration of digital into daily life poses endless opportunities. Regardless of your vertical, there are a number of changes in mentality that will poise your business on the cusp of these developments.
- Don’t limit yourself to “digital” and “traditional” marketing – the two are becoming almost interchangeable. Instead, first think in terms of how your targets interact with their world. Then explore how your business can fit into their daily interactions.
- Aim for practicality, and often digital will follow. The companies that are flexible and not afraid to bring their service to customers through this natural medium will hold the advantage over their competitors.
- Tune in. Try out these innovations for yourself, see how they work, how they’re used. Which of the above trends do you have the least knowledge of? Go explore it. Inspiration feeds off of knowledge; it’s time to discover how your business can make use of these shifts in the market.