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2015: Year of the mobile customer journey

By Dan Hodges

The dominant theme for 2015 will be the effect of mobile on the customer journey. Here are five predictions for 2015.

1. Smartphones will be the dominant platform to affect the customer journey: On a global basis, smartphone penetration is projected by the GSMA to grow to 45 percent in 2015 from 38 percent in 2014.

In the United States, smartphone penetration is projected to grow to 69 percent from 64.2 percent in 2014, per the GSMA. The rise of smartphones in the United States is on the ascension and is projected to grow to 73 percent by 2020.

2. The power of proximity: Proximity-powered applications and operating systems such as Samsung’s Proximity have the power to create a direct relationship between brands and consumers.

The power of mobile is in the relevancy of the message delivered to the consumer. Marketers who use this power will succeed in 2015.

3. The consumer behavior shift: The use of service apps has fundamentally changed consumer behavior and expectations.

Consumers use smartphones apps to get what they want, when they want it, forming a new behavior.

A shopper who goes into a department store with a certain product in mind to buy and finds it is not there quickly becomes enraged.

Smart retailers have invested in-store associate training and inventory systems to help ensure the customer need is met. Apps such as Uber, Open Table, Waze, Tripit raise the bar for every category in customer service and convenience, sooner or later.

4. More disruption: The emergence of Xiaomi from China in 2010, which has now become the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world, is another sign of a disruption at work. Xiaomi has replaced Samsung in China as the market leader.

5. Mobile payments gain traction: Walmart reported that 70 percent of sales for Cyber Monday were on smartphones. Starbucks pick-up-and-place-your-order is just the beginning the shift to how consumers use smartphones.

Brands that provide superior customer service, reduced purchase friction will be winners in the $142 billion mobile payment marketplace, according to Forrester Research.

Dan Hodges is managing director of Consumers in Motion Group, a New York-based strategic consultancy offering business, marketing, and technology services. Reach him at [email protected]