Assuming the Mayans Were Wrong: 5 Technology Predictions for 2012
A couple of weeks ago, we suggested a few things that we think are going to be important to think about for your business over the coming year. This week, we have a few predictions to make about what we’re going to see more or less of as 2012 progresses. And before you even ask, we don’t belong to the psychic friends network and we cannot hook you up with some lottery numbers. We just keep our eyes peeled for the new hotness so we can bring you the 411! Also, if the Mayans were right, none of this will matter; so let’s just assume they ran out of stone to chisel on.
Brands creating content
We’ve said it a few times before that frequently updated content is really important. This year, brands are going to start realizing that having something like a company blog or an e-newsletter is very valuable when it comes to getting their message out to their customers.
Say buh-bye to punch cards and hello to digital coupons!
Remember your Captain Wilfred’s Scrod of the Month Club card? Every time you made a purchase you’d get a hole punched in it, and after ten holes, you’d get a free scrod? Those days are over! Or almost, anyway. We’re sure there will be a few hold outs whose demographic is still going punch card speed, so they’ll continue to have their place in the universe. But for businesses whose customers are joining the quickly growing mobile market, those loyalty reward programs are going to transfer into the digital space. Small businesses are also going to want to offer their loyal customers deals without having to get involved with things like daily deal sites. Speaking of Groupon…
Not that we don’t love us some Groupon and LivingSocial or what have you. We do love daily deal sites—a lot. However, if you’re a small business owner, sometimes it’s not worth it to run daily deals. When you’re dealing with low margins, you have to be incredibly careful. A great daily deal can bring scads of customers into your place, but most of them probably won’t come back. So, we think that many businesses that have experienced mixed success with daily deal sites are going to start experimenting with their own stuff. See above re: creating content and digital coupons.
Mobile, mobile, mobile!
Not to beat a dead horse here (that’s a horrible expression, isn’t it?) but if mobile isn’t on your radar, you’re going to be begging us to create a mobile friendly site for you by this time next year. BEGGING. We’ve said it a thousand times: make your website mobile friendly because Smartphone and tablet use is on the rise. If you don’t believe it, you need to look at your numbers (or we can look at them for you) to find out where your website traffic is coming from. You’ll most likely see a big rise in the number of people connecting from mobile devices. Analytics can also tell you what type of devices they’re using so that when you do finally give in and go mobile, you’ll choose the best thing for your customers. And since we’re on the topic of mobile, we should talk about mobile payments.
Did you know that you can turn your smartphone into a credit card terminal? Oh yes, GLAD WORKS friends! You can! This started in 2011, but it’s going to start spreading rapidly this year. More people are going to start using their phones to pay for stuff, and more businesses are going to be able to process payments on their phones or tablets wherever, whenever. We think this is pretty cool because it opens up a whole new land of possibilities for your business. You can literally do business anywhere.
We’re looking forward to seeing how all of this pans out and to find out what else 2012 has in store for us, you know, assuming the world isn’t going to end or anything.