2009.13 | iPhone 3.0 | Eco-Logical | Zappos

iPhone 3.0 – If you follow technology, and mobile technology in particular, you would have to have been under a rock not to know about the new release of iPhone software announced today. While there are some impressive upgrades to the software, like copy/paste, enabling APIs for turn by turn directions, and tethering, (all things you can do with a jailbroken iPhone today) a most interesting sidepoint is the fact that developers can now charge users within an app instead of just on the app store. This presents some potential for some interesting business models within apps, and potentially for related services depending on apple’s rules, though, of course, developers will inevitably have to show apple some love on each purchase for the privilege.

Eco-Logical – Given today’s difficulties in the markets, it may seem prudent to prune organizations, however downturns also represent times for catching up or passing your competition. The green revolution presents an tremendous opportunity for getting costs in line and showing your customers new ideas. The notion of green cars is an example known to all, but beyond these there a lots of ideas for re-purposing the technology of today to show value to clients and make an effort to change the world for the better. This month’s trendwatching article on “Eco-Bounty” has some great examples – solar mobile phones, electrical smart metering in Ontario (I’m getting one in my home), Worn Again Virgin Bags. There are always examples of green-washing, but people are really buying into this, and why not? The world is changing.

ZapposTalk about embracing technology. Check out this presentation by Zappos‘ CEO Tony Hseih. Refreshing.

2009.10 | Multichannel Strategy | 3Rs

Multichannel Strategy – The term is overused, but I still haven’t seen anyone do this at the level it could be done as of yet. A few years ago it was okay to be bricks and mortar only, or web only, but the wisdom of staying completely put on one channel should be questioned today. No matter what the industry, customers want to do business on their terms, and they can afford to be increasingly selective as new options continue to arise in the channels through which they can do business (read: web / email / sms / twitter / online chat ). While customers will use the web, many people feel the need to hold a product in their hands before they buy it [Thanks, Paul!]. This necessitates some different thinking like free shipping for returns, leveraging brick and mortar sites and more.

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle – While there are obviously green undertones to my title, I’m actually referring to the process of leveraging technology and infrastructure in place to enable another solution. In tight buying cycles what better plan to assist retailers? They may spend less, but they are getting a value in return.

A good example of this is the ReadyPing table solution. Instead of buzzing coasters, the solution texts peoples’ mobile phones when their table is ready. Less hardware investment, less maintenance, and a service fulfilled at greater convenience to customers.

Another solution of this ilk is NCR’s Advanced Marketing Solution. Customers can leverage their current POS / Self-checkout / Gas Pump / Kiosk for customized messaging. Better yet, they can use customers’ email and mobile phones for personalized messages. An investment can be made in some back office infrastructure to leverage thousands of touchpoints already in place for the cost of one or two direct mail campaigns.

Forget cutting down endless trees and sending unwanted messages to strangers – build an infrastructure for a targeted and relevant relationship. This solution enables the multi-channel relationship discussed above and provides an interface to manage it. With an increasing number of channels and tangled offers, it is key to stay on top of what the clients see to keep the brand message consistent, and meet customer brand expectations of quality and service that brought them to a retailer in the first place.

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