Mary Meeker has once again taken stock of the state of the Internet. The largest surprise is that there’s not a word about cat videos this year, either. The study focuses on big trends, many of which are directly reflected in commerce, and consumers must be offered service that is easy and effortless to use.
One significant observation is that global growth has slowed and will continue to slow further. Growth has always been an intrinsic value of capitalism but easy profits have already been achieved. This means we have to work even harder in the future if we want to be amongst the winners (growers).
What should we do if we want to get ahead in the future? Some answers can be found in Meeker’s study.
1. Subscription boxes increase sales
Subscription boxes offer the ease of use that modern consumers require and were a growing trend last year. Until now subscription boxes have been used in specific categories such as fashion or cosmetics.
Thanks to an increase in data, large merchants, in particular, have plenty of information on customers’ preferences and favourite brands. The next logical step? Convert the data into a concrete catalyst for sales. For example, Kesko could make use of its solid expertise in the specialist trade and offer a useful subscription box for various product categories: clothes, sports accessories, shoes and interior design.
2. Voice control restocks your refrigerator
According to Meeker’s study, voice control is the next big trend and it’s easy to see why: Siri, Cortana, Alexa and others are becoming increasingly familiar. A growth in the popularity of Amazon Echo proves that our attitudes are changing. Ears that never stop listening pose more of an opportunity than a threat.
S-Group’s Foodie.fi is a handy service that allows you to order groceries with just a few (or in my family’s case, several dozen) clicks. The customer experience would achieve new heights if you could dictate your groceries onto a shopping list throughout the week. There’s no need to open the application, search, waste time inputting data with buttons; just speech control: ‘Foodie, 500g of tomatoes, please.’
3. Self-driving cars accelerate trade
The automotive industry has taken greater leaps in just a few years than it has in the previous few decades. The focus still lies on transporting people, but goods transportation will play a completely new role in the future.
The omnichannel model for online and brick-and-mortar stores has revolutionised the way we consume. Nevertheless, goods transportation remains a big stumbling block for trade: ordered goods have to be collected from somewhere, and meetings have to be cancelled if a home delivery is scheduled for the middle of the day.
Intelligent, self-driving cars are the solution to this problem. While you enjoy the complementary coffee and biscuits at a meeting, the car drives itself to the specified collection point at a loading bay and a customer service representative uses a single-use access code to load the goods into the car. And you can admire your new belt bag while you stop by after work to get the kids from day care.
Sounds too good to be true, right? But just a moment ago the idea of a device that fits in your pocket and contains the entire history of the world in a single, compact package seemed just as crazy.
We can compare current commerce to a person on the threshold of a dark room. We have a floor plan and know how the building is used, but have no idea of the content or function of the room itself.
Trend reports and other sources of data act as torches throwing a weak light over the surroundings. They provide us with courage to step into the unknown, but don’t reveal the route or right moment to take the first step. The brave are rewarded with treasures and new discoveries while the rest remain on the threshold gazing at missed opportunities. Shall we enter together?