Predicting the Next 5 Years in Retail
Joel cited Charmin's Sit or Squat app, which provides users with the cleanest bathrooms closest to their location, as a great example of a utilitarian app. Users can update the app with their own opinions and ratings to make it an interactive experience. Other companies Joel cited for their utilitarian apps were Skullcandy, which provides geo-located destinations for surf, skateboarding and snowboarding with up-to-the-second reports; streaming music and video; and a full suite of content; as well as Nationwide, whose app walks users through the steps that need to be taken at an accident scene (and includes a built-in flashlight). A square with your app on a consumer's smartphone is prime real estate, Joel noted.
4. Passive vs. active. At a core level, people are passive about media, with TV being the prime example. The more work you make them do (e.g., click on a link, answer a survey, read a print advertisement), the less likely they are to do it. Break up your media by whether it's passive or active, Joel advised. Twitter and Facebook are very active media. Are you in an active media acting passively - e.g., letting a significant amount of time pass before responding to a customer's Facebook post - or in a passive media acting actively? Retailers are going to have to take an active media approach in order to get consumers to react, Joel said.
5. Adapt to living in a one-screen world. Retailers have heard over and over again about the three-screen environment, but Joel argued that's not will matter going forward. There's only one screen that matters, and that's the screen in front of the consumer at that particular moment in time, he said. Increasingly that screen is becoming an e-commerce website, but it also can be a mobile tablet, in-store kiosk, TV screen, among other technologies.