It’s a good question. It’s also a debatable question but here’s my take on it.
There has been huge advancements recently in how companies manage their on-line presences. The days of bespoke (and costly) systems are numbered. Even retailers that plummeted for giant platforms such as IBM Websphere and Oracle are having to re-think their strategy for 2016/17.
Customised package solutions are currently the most prevalent – over 70% of UK companies that generate revenues above £50 million on-line use custom solutions – but the total cost of ownership is now a great subject for debate. The number of technical staff needed to keep the systems ‘alive’ are the frowning look of many CFO’s.
With the advance of SaaS and DemandWare, the rationale for systems that don’t require an army of develops to keep them alive is getting stronger by the day. These systems are no longer ‘new technology’, they have matured.
I think this year will see a migration of larger companies onto more manageable platforms. Platforms that share updates in the cloud, that have 100% uptime, that can be customised without effecting core scripts, that don’t need an army of techs to keep them alive. It will take some time (this kind of decision is never rushed into lightly) but the financial advantages will create the convincing argument.
I believe the same will be true for device compatibility (see merging of device adaptive presence below).
Obviously I’m a fan of Big Data. The advancement of digital and capacity for data is hailing a new revolution in eCommerce. I believe that the early adopters of this technology will be akin to the early adopters of eCommerce. They will steal the march over the competition quickly. Why?
Using Big Data in advertising allows far more targeted marketing. If you sell dog food, you can specifically display your ads only to people who own dogs. You couldn’t say that 2 years ago. This will allow companies to trim their marketing spend to such a degree that they can maximise ROI and grow far more dominant in their sector.
Big data will also allow far greater personalisation of incentives (10% off today only! Only on those shoes that you have been looking at). Again, those that embrace will lead. There are hundreds of practical uses of big data but the current crop of technologies utilising this in marketing will dominate rapidly.
Gone are the days of ‘stalker’ digital marketing, we are now in a new age of genuine targeting.
There is a fine line between intrusive and acceptable marketing in retail stores. Some large luxury brands are leading the way – Burberry springs to mind – and their pioneering work will become the norm in 2016/2017. Take for instance the Burberry store in London. They have been trialling RFID and NFC chips in clothing. When you try on the garment, the mirror starts displaying the ‘catwalk version’ at the same time. Again, this technology can be used with big data. You have your favourite stores app on your phone. You visit the store and look at coffee machines. You get home and that evening receive an email ‘selling you’ that exact same coffee machine. Coincidence?
Merging of device adaptive presence
Those of us who work in the digital sector understand the Frankenstein-like nature of our ecosystem. It seems like only a few years ago that we actually discussed the rationale of mobile responsive web presences. Recently the debate has been about device adaptive over device responsive. Next will come the merging of this whole area into single platform code frameworks such as Meteor.
Imagine your platform was a single platform which could deploy ‘native’ apps without any scoping or agencies/techs. Imagine a platform that would broadcast your comms through traditional channels as well as push messaging and social. This is now. It can be done. It’s who gets there first that will dominate.