26 December 2010

The Professors’ 2011 Predictions

Predictions for 2011

OK So it’s that time of the year again. Let’s peak into the Professor’s Goody bag and see what is going to be there next year?

The big change in my opinion is going to be very simple. Real time instant commerce. So iCommerce has nothing to do with Apple. It has everything to do with how the world REALLY works. The line between online and offline will start to really blur. Further the way that suppliers and intermediaries in travel will work together will become tighter bilaterally not via constraining third parties such as Legacy GDSs. (Of course you would expect me to say that).

And What About this iCommerce?

I1 – Instant – Instant Commerce is about realtime results that are trustworthy
I2 – Interactive – Interactive Commerce is bringing the engine of transaction into transaction as intuitive not as explicit type of things such as explicit search but implied transactions
I3 – And of course its all about me – I! However this is where its not just the usual me – its about my social web and how that inter-relates.

The world will change. Google Instant is going to continue to refine how online commerce is handled. Once the ITA acquisition goes through – then Google will roll out a raft of personalization services that will be hard to beat. However there will be a hard core of people who will develop solutions that will bypass or capitalize on the Instant part of this. Timeliness will be able to address certain issues that annoy consumers like the digital detritus that has been left over from things that you signed up for earlier but cannot get rid of.

OH PLEASE develop a way to remove crap off my weblife. I predict someone will create a Digital De-Detritus system. I can’t wait.

We are going to see Commerce enter our social web in a less brazen way than has occurred thus far. Facebook will become softer about it. However marketers will discover that Twitter feeds can contain real time information that can become a basis for how things can be promoted. The merging of Groupon and Twitter streams will bring an astonishing change to local and global offers. The real trick will be how well intermediaries adopt these tools. And that doesn’t mean forking out huge chunks of cash to Groupon.

PRIVACY. In 2011 there will be a strong push from non-US and older consumers to the abuse of privacy. Expect to see regulatory controls implemented as well as some other legal maneuvers that will tighten up the protection of consumers and their privacy

Mobile. OK Yes 2011 will be the year of Mobile. Finally this is where we are going to see Mobile will come into its own.

Service. We will see service make a comeback as a differentiator. Smarter next gen technologies will improve the customer experience. At least they will be competitive with the call centres in Asia! Self Service will make way for Good (notice I did not say Great) service.

Value Finding

For the past 15 years the focus on search and shopping has been on finding the lowest fares. However as we all know – this is an exceedingly complicated process and there is no easy way to address this. I have a view that there is a long way to go between the words the customer users and what he really wants. This discrepancy results in some rather terrible outcomes for sellers of travel online. Travel is a very complex process. Those of us who have been in the business a long time will undoubtedly find that this is normal behavior. If you have actually sold discretionary travel face to face or over the phone you know the trigger words to use and the better way to guide the customer through the process. That is not easy to do online.

With maturity now breaking out all over the web – the focus must turn to the overall user experience and the success of the “Search” process in meeting the needs of the consumer. This is a VERY hard thing to do and almost no one has done a good job in delivering a good solution here.

Therefore in my mind this needs to become a focus for everyone. Expressing the customer’s desires as a value and then matching the best results to that value. The people who crack this one will become successful. Those who wait, those who rely on legacy tools, those who don’t understand their customers, those who are lazy – will become road kill. If for no other reason than Google is going to go after this concept big time and will do a good job – of that you can be sure. But will it be a great job and will it be enough? Let’s revisit that question in December 2011.

True Innovation?

I love innovation. What will be the one thing that we cannot do without? I predict one thing. Apple will come out with an iPhone Nano. The Simple iPhone for the rest of us. This will come late 2011 or early 2012. Small light and with many of the services that we know and love. Apple will use an innovative approach to enhancing screen displays that will let the user interact with most of his life through the iPhoneNano.


With thanks to Duke University for the rather inspiring image.

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