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It was a great year for ecommerce and all signs point to an even bigger, even better year come January 1. What’s on the docket? Plenty.

Building on the success of the last 12 months, 2014 will likely signal a comprehensive integration of mobile with traditional brick-and-mortar along with a boom in gamification, personalization and more comprehensive and accessible methods to test and track.

It’s time to raise a glass to what’s going to be a game-changing year.

Mobile goes brick-and-mortar

Mobile drives massive retail engagement and ecommerce sales. In August, online retail purchases made from smartphones and tablets topped 13%, five percentage points higher than the year before.

While mobile has long been seen as a threat to the traditional shopping experience, in 2014 the two will likely start looking less 'foe' and more 'friend'.

One company leading the charge is Hointer, which connects QR codes to apparel hangtags. Consumers scan tags and add items to an in-app shopping cart and, when they’re ready to hit the fitting room, those items will be waiting for them in a pre-determined stall.

Estimote is also making waves, with its soon-to-be-released line of beacons that deliver contextually relevant information based on proximity to products, departments, etc.

Think special offers on dairy as you’re strolling through the milk aisle, or a how-to video on the cordless drill you’re eyeing, delivered in real time.

Get in the game

It’s the buzzword of buzzwords this year and, in 2014, gamification will explode. This relatively new tactic has been touted as the “it” way to increase activity and drive massive engagement, all through competition, rewards and narratives.

Plain and simple, gaming is more popular than ever, crossing every demographic line and social platform, and brands that tap into it are reporting engagement pickups of 100-150 percent across uniques, page views, activities and time spent.

In 2014, gamification will move from the nice-to-have to need-to-have bucket. It’s expected that 70% of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will be tapping into gamified experiences by end-of-year.

But the challenge for marketers will be that these experiential extensions will need to pay off, the same goes for the host of apps and social experiences that emerged in 2013. All will need to monetize come next year, and move from experimental to revenue-driving buckets.

Getting to know you

Automation and personalization are on the rise and, paired with the now-ubiquitous nature of testing, 2014 will no doubt be the year of the consumer. A host of new tools are making testing and optimization easier and more results-driven than ever, and are eliminating the need for complicated code or custom builds.

Virtually anyone can run A/B and multivariate tests, determine best offers and create custom visitor segments.

Next year, though, best-in-class systems will make it possible to use automated behavioral targeting and personalized product recommendations to engage consumers and take advantage of cross-sell opportunities even more.

Think automating content to specific shoppers, connecting relevant information and products to consumers based on historical and affinity data and offer delivery that is virtually guaranteed to convert.

If you wear it…

Tomorrow’s connectivity will literally be an arm (or eyelash) distance away. From Google Glass to a breed of 'smartwatches,' true integration with wearable technologies will begin to emerge in 2014, taking connectivity to the next level.

You’ll speak to send a message, pontificate and actually get a response and capture moments from the glasses resting directly on your face. You’ll view text messages, social media alerts, monitor calls and control smartphone music directly from your wrist.

And with increasingly lower buy-in points (Pebble—the $10.2 million Kickstarter darling—is just $150), it’s only a matter of time before this technology takes off.

The New Year is near and, with it, comes tremendous opportunities for growth, success and game-changing techniques for all areas of industry. Cheers to a great year that was and a great and consumer-focused year ahead. 

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Published 13 December, 2013 by Kevin Lindsay

Kevin Lindsay is the director of Conversion Product Marketing for Adobe and a contributor to Econsultancy.

1 more post from this author

Comments (4)

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Augie Ray

You had me until the gamification part. Each year, I hear how this is the year for gamification, and each year you read of a few successes but hear of a great deal of failed efforts. The problem is that your headline about satisfying consumer cravings is at odds with the idea of gamification.

Most people may play games, but when it comes to social or buying behaviors, they don't care about "points" and "badges" but price, product and functionality. A few years ago I recall a startup trying to pitch the idea that they could "gamify" the grocery shopping experience, driving mothers to specific products on the store shelves with the lure of points. It was rubbish, because if you watch any mother shop in the grocery store, you'd know they are there for speed and function--the idea of doubling shopping time to earn some branded points is and was ridiculous.

That's the problem with most gamification strategies. If they support things people would already be doing and merely create a layer of recognition, it can help to motivate more competitive people (while stlil leaving many cold). But too many bad strategies are being "gamified" with the idea this will put lipstick on the pig. It won't work, and I agree with Gartner's prediction that 80 percent of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives.

My prediction: Gamification will no more explode this year than it did any other year.

over 2 years ago

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binhang

Hi Kevin Lindsay, I really love this post. Love the way you write your posts. The information in this article is really unique and useful for me. After reading this article, I think I have some ideas for myself. I do follow your articles recently. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more interesting information from you. Have a nice day.

over 2 years ago

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Rob Parker

This will be a huge year for mobile and the continuation of interweaving the online environment with our "real world" environment. Businesses who embrace these changes will experience huge successes with new revenue streams and ways to reach your customer that were previously unthinkable.

over 2 years ago

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Michael Ng

It is about how fast people finds you, and how you build lasting relationship with your consumers and the perception of consumers towards you. It is about branding as well.

I wonder whether you would agree with me, where there is improvement and advancement in technology, the attention span of consumers will be lesser or shorter.

Hence it takes a lot of effort and innovation to look at what consumers need, and what they are looking at. At the end of the day it is still about what your consumers need and how you can make their life easier.

Let us use this technology wisely and take your campaigns greater level. Soon one day we will not need to type to comment, perhaps there will not be any keyboard, everyone can speak and mobile device capture information.

Awesome year ahead.

over 2 years ago

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