We have first heard of companies being disruptive in driving local businesses during the online classified –age companies, then we are already seeing hyperlocal companies evolving into marketplaces driving business and we shall be soon seeing nanolocal TM companies driving innovation to the next level.
A bit of Background: The way people embrace technology and the way it contributes to a person’s digital lifestyle is now synonymous with Gen Y & Z. Technology may not always be the answer to change but surely it’s an enabler. We are often thinking about the line between digital & physical worlds (online/offline) as new –age businesses strive to create an omnichannel experience – where people are used to experiencing sales/service whenever they want and wherever they want – taking advantage of the online-offline bridge driving consumer behavior.
We have already been used to the android OS and Google’s alerts on how long it takes us to reach a destination. For example, based on the data it gathers from all users, Google proactively tells us when it’s time to leave for the airport (as it has clear data patterns of traffic density and your flight information). Apple’s proactive assistant is a aimed at competing with Google Now and both concentrate on understanding the user’s intent at any given time and with some context. Apple believes that it does not need personal data as compared to Google. There might be few others whom we did not know who already tried this or might come across new ones altogether with small spins around the same story.
Data, Information & Context:
World’s mobile platform space is almost shared between Apple & Google and they are now upping the ante to a new sphere of influence that is aimed at collecting data that will in turn understand users as much as their family or friends know of them. Companies will be able to proactively target customers either to be helpful in delivering information or to target them for contextual marketing. User devices become proxy users and the contextual patterns will furnish all the allied data around a user’s behavior. Both Apple & Google (may be Facebook & may be countless others) will be looking to deliver context and information that prompts users to take action.
Privacy vs. Personalization :
The Annenberg study found that Americans are unclear about the cost-benefit analysis of giving data in exchange for perks. For instance, 91% of respondents said it isn’t a fair exchange if a company provides a discount for collecting information without their knowledge.
Forrester Research found that 63% of U.S. smartphone users are concerned about privacy and security. “No matter how quickly wearables and connected objects emerge in the next 10 years, mobility has already introduced a paradigm shift — the ability to collect and use data about individuals in the physical world,” Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said in a blog post.
For now, the debate rests with users: The privacy argument is about not willing to share any data related to us and receive none back as well. For instance, in a ioT future, imagine a user being private about his personally identifiable information talking to his car, phone, computer or his washing machine at home none of which can talk back as they do not know/understand you. It’s less compelling if you have to actually describe everything you want in detail to get what you want.
We have all been using browsers for yeomen years now and how hard was it that we let cookies know about our online browsing patterns. Similarly we use Google for search (majority do not even know DuckDuckGo) and what if every search takes time in terms of you giving details. Clearly, the cost benefit analysis of privacy is not that big a deterrent going by historical trends but then consumers are evolving too and they would be having smarter options too in the future.
Emergence of nanolocalTM commerce!
Based on these developments of contextual information and personalization, there is a new breed of commerce emerging, which adds another feature of real-time of near-real-time to your personalization and context.
Nanolocal commerce is about information that is proactive based on your needs, knowing your intent , is contextual and is in real-time or is in near real-time. Getting you information that is needed when you really need it and enabling you to do what you want is nanolocal commerce. Predominant dimensions are being proactive and being (near) real-time knowing the user intent . For instance, Google search is very reactive in nature whereas Google Now is more proactive. We will see nanolocal commerce being more on the proactive side with user intent as a core sphere around which context and other dimensions are weaved around and is different from hyperlocal companies. ‘Hyperlocal’ connotes information oriented around a well-defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of the population in that community (Source:Wiki) .
Impact of nanolocal TM on businesses!
Physical world (so called offline) businesses may become the biggest beneficiaries of this technology driving commerce. It could become a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses –Consumers are prompted to do some action that they would be wanting to do based on their intent provided the intelligence exists and is spam-free whereas allowing businesses to acquire, retain and manage their customers in (near) real-time, may be even driving overall impulse purchase too.
Owing to the omnichannel needs of a consumer experience is driven by mobile devices (includes wearables as well) as it has the power to know the physical location as well as a digital screen for a far richer content that is interactive as well as personal. Hence click and mortar is the new way of shopping driving nano local commerce where there is no distinction of online shopping or offline shopping but one integrated shopping experience combining the power of both. So, how exactly does it work?
Let’s see some use cases driven through nano localTM commerce : I will use the word interface to signify a digital interface that the user communicates with be it an app, wearable device, ioT etc.
- You play a song on Spotify and while in the music app, you talk to the phone asking – “What’s this band’s latest album?”. With nanolocal, the phone would directly play out the latest album and also prompt an automatic purchase in case you liked the song.
- It can remind you to call your childhood friend to congratulate on his/her achievement by knowing about your friendship and reading your friend’s post on a social network.
Food & Dining:
- You go to a restaurant, the interface suggests what you might like and can place an order for you and once you finish the main course, the interface knows that you would typically take X mins to complete a meal in this restaurant and can suggest a dessert you might like which is available in that restaurant or book a cab for you to get back home.
- You would combine the comfort of physical shopping with the convenience of online purchase. You would probably see, touch, feel and try out clothing whereas you open the app within the store to buy it. It’s delivered to your home address with the right size. You do not bother about queues, payment methods , rewards etc as all of them are automatically taken care of.
- Digitally capturing shopping sessions across various stores can show what’s trending and merchandise can be altered both online and instore based on this information – let’s say linen is selling in Bangalore, they can get nanolocal with their marketing, change displays, manage categories etc.
Brands need to personalize offers, services and experience to suit a consumer starting with courting the customer and getting to know them better and tailoring communication to suit them. The universe is going to be centered around the “Consumer” not the “Store/Restaurant” or the “Online Platform”.
Finally with nanolocal commerce, context, user intent, relevance & real-time influence decisions and sway consumers towards brands – a new way of proactive intent driven commerce is shaping up!