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Archive for the ‘Mobile Commerce’ Category

Little Devices Generate Big Data and Big Bucks

June 27, 2012 in Analytics,Databases,Mobile Commerce,Mobility,Predictive analytics | Comments (0)

At Google’s 2012 Zeitgeist event this year company CEO Larry Page talked about the future, appropriately enough, while wearing the now famous Google Glasses. Among his observations was this prediction: “Everyone in the world is going to get a smartphone….For most people it will be their first computer.”

Now, you might say he’s being hyperbolic or overly optimistic. But trending data indicates he’s not necessarily exaggerating.

According to Alex Cocotas of BI Intelligence, smartphones are growing at a 30% annual rate. By 2016, he says, 1.5 billion smartphones will be sold, dwarfing PC sales, based on the 350 million PCs sold last year, even if that market grew at twice its current rate, which it won’t.

Meanwhile, at last month’s D10 conference, Mary Meeker and Liang Wu of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Silicon Valley’s storied venture capital firm, presented some compelling data that backs up Page’s assertion. For example, there were 953 million smartphones in the field as of the end of 2011, roughly 16% of the 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions. Like Cocotas, they see hundreds of millions of traditional mobile handset users adopting smartphones in the coming years.

No surprise, those smart devices generate a lot more data than older phones. In December 2009 mobile devices comprised a mere 1% of Internet traffic. A mere two and half years later, May 2012, they now comprise 10% of data on the Internet. And in April of this year mobile traffic on the Internet exceeded that from desktop systems in India.

Those little smart devices are not just creating noise on the Internet. They’re making big money for smart businesses.

Smartphones are increasingly being used by consumers for e-commerce. Data from comScore show that 8% of online purchases in the U.S. were conducted via a smartphone quadruple that two years ago. And the market for mobile apps alone soared to $12 billion in 2011 from barely $700 million in 2008.

This raises interesting analytics questions for companies serving online customers. First, is your Web presence designed for mobile users? (If not, you had better get it ready soon.) How different are you mobile users from your desktop users? What are the differences within your mobile user population? How many of your customers use both methods to connect with your business? Is there a difference in their behavior?

Answers to these and many other questions will differ from enterprise to enterprise. But they better be asked and answered quickly because understanding patterns among mobile data users is not just the future, it’s the present, too.

Analytics in Our iPad Era

May 1, 2012 in Analytics,Mobile Commerce,Mobility,Predictive analytics,Visualization | Comments (0)

Tablets are increasingly the tech tool of choice for CEOs. According to the 2012 CEO & Senior Business Executive survey by Gartner, 41% of CEOs polled said they use an iPad. Mark Raskino, an analyst with the research firm, says he expects that percentage to be at least 50% by now. And it’s growing.

Given this rapid adoption by executives, Raskino suggested during a webinar last month that CIOs should “put some cool app on the CEO’s iPad” to show off the innovation and capabilities of his or her IT department. Few apps, in my mind, would be more effective than one built around analytics, particularly one that showed how applying data to business issues can foster growth because, as the Gartner survey showed, it’s the top concern for CEOs across the globe.

Although there are some very interesting analytics apps on the iTunes App Store for iPad, as you can imagine, most are for entry-level analytics businesses. I don’t think CEOs at large organizations would be that impressed with most of them. (Plus, the App Store’s predilection toward consumers means that a search for “Analytics” in the Business section of Apple’s online marketplace yields numerous curious results, such as “PiPuzzle: Valentine’s Day Edition,” “Circus Challenge,” and “Palmistry—destiny in your hand,” among others. And, while palm reading could help some CIOs in reading their CEO’s views on IT, it’s probably not the best app with which to start.)

However, the Gartner survey does suggest what kind of app CEOs might appreciate for their tablet: a customer-centric one. According to the Gartner research, nearly 60% of CEOs see increasing their investment in their CRM infrastructure, more than any other IT area. The second item on a CEO’s IT wish list for 2012: data-driven management.

Could you ask for a better combination for making a CEO happy? Customers are the foundation for any business growth. CRM systems are rich with customer data about your business. Creating an app that delivers relevant, decision-focused data about your customers, then, should be a high priority for any IT team that has a CEO carrying an iPad.

Mobile Shopping Accelerates Slowly in U.S.

December 6, 2011 in Mobile Commerce,Mobility | Comments (0)

IBM surveyed 500 online retailers in the United States late last month when the traditional holiday shopping season began after Thanksgiving Day. The company said year-over-year sales increased 24% from the same holiday in 2010. That’s excellent news.

However, the news was less inspiring for retailers trying to lure consumers to use their mobile devices to make purchases. According to IBM’s numbers, sales via mobile units were to 9.8% of the total sales. That’s good, but not great news.

Given the ubiquity of mobile devices, you would expect the number to be higher. On the other hand, given other factors, it’s less surprising. One thing that is clear, there is a difference in maturity levels in both mCommerce infrastructure and consumer behavior across EMEA, Asia, and NAO. Asia is certainly leading the pack in terms of willingness to utilize their mobile devices to make a quick payment or subscribe to a new mobile service.

In contrast, consumers in the U.S. are much less likely to use their mobile devices for online transactions of any kind than, for example, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region. A KPMG study reveals that in 2010 61% of Asia-Pacific consumers say they used their bank’s mobile application to conduct business online, while a mere 13% of Americans said so.

One big reason for Americans’ reticence to use mobile tools for online shopping is their fear of losing personal information to data thieves. Not only do they have the usual anxiety about security, they also are concerned that their phone number may become available to spammers who will bombard them with text messages and calls that literally cost them money in terms of data and minutes charges.

But, let’s face it, there’s more than security at play here. Consumers wishing to buy products and services via their mobile devices are often using websites designed for PC-based consumers. The m-commerce buying experience is given less attention by retailers than e-commerce efforts. According to a Forrester survey earlier this year, less than half of the retailers queried have launched a mobile strategy. And most of those are refining their work or simply beginning their implementation.

One other key factor in why U.S. consumers still prefer to shop online with their PCs instead of their mobile devices is performance. The purchasing process is slower for mobile users in the U.S. Part of that bottleneck will always be beyond a retailers control. Different WiFi, 3G, and even 4G services will vary from carrier to carrier, place to place, and from time to time. However, retailers can do much more in terms of designing their mobile applications to be more streamlined, more responsive, and attuned to the vagaries of wireless connectivity. 

Mobile commerce will continue to accelerate, even in the U.S. But it will grow much faster for companies that build a specific m-commerce platform that satisfies consumers needs for security, experience, and performance. Companies that meet mobile consumer desires will be rewarded with loyal, paying customers as well as a better bottom line.