August 10, 2010

The iPad & Mobile

Last week, I purchased an iPad.

This week, I view the world in a different way. I read books via the Kindle App, a better experience than reading a physical book ... heck, I can see areas in the book where other readers highlighted important facts. The Weather Channel App is fantastic. I can search any radio station in America that is playing a certain song using the TuneIn App, hop on, and listen to that song, or I can play my entire music library on the device. I can use the device as a mobile GPS platform with the 3G connection. I can listen to my hometown radio station while traveling. I can watch a streaming movie with the Netflix App.

Of course, it's the user interface that makes the iPad and the coming onslaught of competitors different. As if a page was taken out of the movie Minority Report, your finger becomes the mouse. The "app" fuses a computer program with easy website navigation.

Many of you are reading this and saying "duh" ... you've owned an iPhone for years, you know all about this.

Many of you are reading this and saying "boring ... the iPad is a clumsy laptop, I can do all of that online right now, the iPad is an expensive and functionless toy."

I will say this. If you perceive the device to be different, then the device is different. And that's all that matters. Folks who view the device as being different create apps for the device that are different, or use apps in a way that is different from the traditional web experience.

As Ben Stiller said in "Night at the Museum", "... there's a storm comin', buddy."

A whole chunk of the e-commerce / online channel is getting ready to break off, sort of like the giant iceberg that broke off of Greenland this week.

There are ramifications.

If you are an e-commerce brand, how do you decide which of your 12,000 skus deserves to be featured in an app? Or does the app even bother focusing on the best 1% of skus, instead seeking to solve a customer problem over selling the customer merchandise?

If you are a publisher that makes money from selling ads, what do you do when you lose 30% of your homepage traffic to an app that does not monetize ads as effectively?

If you are Barnes & Noble, what do you do with debt-ridden stores that house paper books when a third of your former store customer base is using the Kindle or a Kindle app on the iPad? Even if you have your own device or you have your own app, you still have to cover the costs of your debt-ridden stores ... right? How do you do that?

If you are a web analyst, do you try hard to be an expert at analyzing what happens at http://www.weather.com, do you become an expert at a new generation of software that will inevitably appear to analyze mobile transactions, or do you become an expert at analyzing how all online and offline channels fit together? It's a relevant question, one I hope you are spending time pondering.

If you are an e-mail marketer, do you optimize a channel that is in slow decay? Or do you jump into mobile and be the "conduit" between old-school marketing tactics and apps?

If you are a catalog marketer, do you focus on harvesting every last penny out of the 64 year old Upstate New York customer who loves to shop via paper in the mailbox? Do you spend the 15 free minutes you have each day fussing over whether the model on the back cover of the catalog is 'brand appropriate', or do you lead your company into the future by creating the most innovative publishing/magazine app that conveys all of the subtleties of merchandising/creative that are utterly absent from modern e-commerce?

I have no idea how all of this will turn out. I can only see, from my experiences, that I've changed ... and I've had the device for a week. What happens when 40 million households have a similar and far more affordable device?

As Ben Stiller said in "Night at the Museum", "... there's a storm comin', buddy."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:44 AM

    Hi Kevin,
    It's typically the type of questions we are facing of,
    We 're the #1 B2C website in France with a numerous number of channel (paper, phone, website, iphone, sms, android, ipad)
    We have the feelings that something is going fast on Mcommerce but it's difficult to know how to get there fast and do business

    ReplyDelete