Simplifying the mobile experience
There are an increasing number of mobile apps that allow us to join the off and online worlds.
For some years now, shopping apps have allowed us to walk into our local retailer, scan a barcode and then see how much cheaper we could buy it elsewhere, albeit missing out on the instant gratification of something new.
Providing additional content and information to consumers is now common place. Walk into your local supermarket and you can find out the life history of your organic chicken or stand in front of the latest Harry Potter (HP7) poster to see the characters come to life.
The challenge today is that each of these pieces of added content needs a custom reader such as QR code or an augmented reality app (like Zappar or Blippar) before they can be consumed. Over time we will no doubt see QR code readers becoming the norm on all mobile devices (or everything will have an RDID/NFC tag) but as has been seen many times before, trying to develop a standard in the online world is once again going to be a challenge.
Just as Microsoft have their own interpretation of HTML and Apple feel that Flash isn’t a universal standard, I doubt that we’ll find agreement between iOS, Android and Windows Mobile in the short term but to truly set these opportunities free, agreement must be found.
The possibilities of bringing offline advertising and products to life with extended information online are almost limitless.
Rather than replacing the physical shopping experience, they have the ability to enrich them. Nobody wants to see their high streets completely empty (the number of shop closures at the start of the recession was a stark reminder) but the experience must be enjoyable…..and simple. Online driving footfall into store and retail enjoying an enhanced consumer experience through digital.
Driving these standards forward will increase consumer usage, providing mobile networks and content providers with many new monetisation opportunities. And it means more people will get to see some of the amazing things that are now possible. Like watching a giant rabbit come to life.