What the next 10 years will likely look like for smartphones
No one (except perhaps Steve Jobs) could have predicted the impact of the iPhone when it was introduced in 2007. Countless other smartphones have since been released with exquisite hardware features such as advanced cameras, 4K resolution and huge screens. But it’s not these features that have driven people to early adoption of smartphones – it’s the experiences these devices provide, such as global social networking, music streaming, online shopping and more.
Thanks to the evolution of technology, smartphones will enable even more revolutionary mobile experiences over the next decade, experiences that we could not even have imagined when the iPhone was first introduced.
Our ability to create exceptional mobile experiences has grown by leaps and bounds, but we haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential. Here are my thoughts on the future of the mobile customer experience and its impact on the evolution of smartphones.
1. Voice and text engagement will become the new norm.
There is currently not enough convenience built into the mobile customer experience. We ask smartphone users to browse too many screens to order food or buy an item of clothing.
In the very near future, I expect more brands to take advantage of text and push notifications and easier ways for customers to use voice commands in their apps. Before long, thanks to geolocation and artificial intelligence (AI) activity tracking, an app like Starbucks will use machine learning to send a notification asking a customer if they want their regular coffee order to start before even open the app.
2. The digital and physical customer experience will merge into one.
Brands are already using beacon technology to improve their customers’ in-store experience (think: tiny sensors that send discount codes to customers who use their app when they visit its location).
In the future, beacons will be used even more to create an ultra-unified physical and digital experience. Amusement parks, for example, will be able to identify a loyal member stuck in line for a ride and offer them a fast-track pass in a timely manner. This is just one example of how companies will use first-party and third-party data to make informed decisions about people, step into their shoes, and deliver more personalized experiences.
3. Companies will reorganize their operations to be technology companies first, then data services companies.
Peloton may be known as an exercise equipment company. I see them as a tech-driven company with advanced software and a highly developed digital ecosystem that sells workout equipment. Over the next decade, more and more companies will prioritize digital in their research and development to create the best customer experiences.
Additionally, many companies will spend the entire next decade becoming data services companies that provide goods and services. Forward-thinking companies will save years of effort and cost by adding data science teams to all layers of the results-driven business.
4. Brands will partner to create more engaging experiences.
Sooner or later, brands will realize that they can create greater value for their customers by working together when it comes to data sharing. Data held by one brand can be extremely valuable to another and vice versa, which is why I predict more companies will enter into multi-company data sharing partnerships.
For example, gas station convenience stores are often operated by a third party, not a gas company. Therefore, they collect data separately (for example, store customer app data is separate from data collected by gas station pump tracking sensors). However, more gas stations and convenience stores are already sharing data to create exceptional customer experiences that are mutually beneficial and to drive purchases. So a customer using a convenience store app could receive a discount code for their favorite drink the next time they buy gas, or get a discount on gas if they buy a slice. of pizza at the store.
The next 10 years of mobile customer experience will be full of innovation with human-centered design at its core. Just as we look back at how far we’ve come since the first iPhone, we look back at today’s smartphone adoption in the same way. We can even check this view from our virtual skyscraper in the metaverse. This next evolution of the Internet will usher in immersive environments with new digital interactions that we are only beginning to imagine. Buckle up, the best is yet to come.