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After last week’s smattering of seasonal storms, “change” is a term likely to remain closely associated with the climate. That is until next month, when Google is expected to release its highly anticipated Google Wallet application, one in a series of apps from commerce and media outlets rumored to be coming soon to a smartphone near you. Smartphone use and m-commerce continue to grow rapidly; recent numbers from Forrester Research suggest U.S. m-commerce will reach $31 billion by 2016 (that’s quite an increase from the $2.2 billion Americans spent on m-commerce in 2010). For brands and marketers, the only thing more exciting than this projected growth is m-commerce’s imminent makeover, as Google, Isis (a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) and even Visa prepare to unveil platforms that will allow consumers to abandon cash, plastic and coupons completely, in favor of their trusty smartphones. In its early stages, m-commerce was an alternative to home computer and in-store shopping, allowing smartphone consumers to browse and make purchases by either surfing the web or using site-specific applications, such as those from eBay and Fandango. But this new wave of technology, and the new face of mobile money — which will allow consumers to do all that, and more — promises to redefine the ways in which consumers spend forever. And while the effects on marketers remain to be seen, one thing is certain: change is taking us all by storm, and smart brands and marketers should get prepared.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems as if mobile money enables brands to shine and consumers to spend in new and exciting ways. Tech-savvy marketers should make the most of changing technologies.
The fact that much of that change has yet to be seen hasn’t stopped my Vertical Marketing Network coworkers and I from buzzing with anticipation. When Google revealed its Wallet app in the spring, it merely promised the service was coming soon; rumors have pinned “soon” as September. Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola certainly seems a relevant precursor to the company’s ambitious mobile technology rollout. In addition to buying Motorola Mobility, which runs Google’s Android operating system, Google plans to manage Motorola Mobility separately and keep Android open for use by competing mobile brands. This, no doubt, was part of what inspired the Isis venture, which will launch in Austin and Salt Lake City in early 2012. Like Google Wallet, Isis technology will allow consumers to pay for goods using their smartphones; abandon their cash, cards and coupons; set up alerts for online deals; and track their spending. In addition, Google Wallet plans to offer businesses various types of purchase data, and plans to incorporate location-based advertising and personalized promotional content. And Google’s not just stopping there. Two weeks ago, the company announced the expansion of its Google+ social network to include gaming applications, which drum up interest as well as dollars. No doubt this onslaught of change will redefine the landscape, be it mobile, monetary, online or otherwise.
Finally, change to be excited about.