2018 was a year filled with many moving parts as we experienced “fake news”, social media temper tantrums, and more political upheaval. The one thing about the past year that I particularly noticed was the rise in people using technology and machines to make their lives easier. Now when someone reads that last statement, one can say that that is all that we have ever done with technology is used it to make our lives easier, but last year was different.
Last year saw us start to leverage technology to deliver food for us, and do our routine shopping; not because we needed to, but because we could. I can now be anywhere, and order almost anything that I want from my phone and have it delivered pretty much on demand (mainly for food items).
I can now order all of my groceries online through various Apps, and if I shell out enough cash, my smart fridge will tell me what I need to order for the meal that I want to make. If I am hungry then I just use UberEats, or my Skip the Dishes App to order whatever food that I want delivered right to my door for a small fee.
The question that you might be asking yourselves is why are these things significant to us? They are extremely important to marketers as it shows a complete shift in buying trends, and how consumers search for products and services. Consumers want to now be able to shop from wherever they are, and whenever they want, to get what they need. This means a serious shift in buying and marketing trends for 2019, and here are my top five predictions for new trends in 2019.
5. Big Box stores will be pushing customers to order products online and then just come into the store to pick up orders. I think that they will start pushing this trend as it accommodates the customer’s desire to shop when they want, and the store still has the ability to upsell on impulse buy items when the customer comes to pick up their order. This trend also provides big box stores with the ability to have less staff working shifts which improves their bottom line through salary saving the exact same way that self check outs do.
4. Mobile Wallets on phones- I host international students, and my Chinese student Nora and I were working on a consulting proposal for a company that I wanted to approach. (She is an Economics Major who has had the month of December off school and I do not believe in wasting good if I can put her to work). One of the things that she enlighted me to was that people in China use their phone to pay for everything that they buy. They use an online wallet system where they transfer money out of their bank account into this wallet, and then top the wallet up as they need money. The thought behind it is one of security, in that you are not using your bank account or credit card to make transactions you are using your secure wallet. I have to say that I like the concept.
3. Mobile, social and text advertising- I have personally seen a marked rise in ads on YouTube. I am a huge music video and comedy watcher on YouTube. It used to be that I would be forced to watch an ad every 5-6 videos, but within the last couple of months, I have seen the ads on every 2-3 videos that I watch. The thing that I don’t like about this type of advertising is that I am sometimes forced to watch the 5 second ad. I find it like being in a taxi cab with a really talkative driver- you have no place to go, and no option of clicking next. I’ve also been getting more and more text ads delivered to my phone which I typically do not mind except when it is all from the same company several times over. Google please, I don’t want to update my free Google listing and have you try to upsell me on products that I don’t need, but you phone me from all over North America starting at 3:00 pm every day. I would like to buy a vowel and opt-out please.
2. Amazon will be King- I have friends who are making extremely decent incomes as delivery drivers for Amazon. These are educated people who could hold great jobs in the technology sector, but make more money faster by delivering what everyone else orders to make their lives more convenient. It is nuts! They fill up their cars everyday with the goods that we order online and live a great work/life balance by delivering the things that we order online because we have no time to go to the store. A complete supply and demand case study. Amazon continues to offer the convenience of getting whatever you want delivered right to your door as fast as they can get it to you. I no longer have to go to a brick and mortar store to buy anything ever again, and the return policies are so good that I am almost always guaranteed to get a better price and better return options than if I actually went shopping. Online shopping is here to stay, and it is only getting bigger. Marketers need to completely embrace it as an arrow in their quiver for every business.
1. The Uber Effect- Uber was more than just an idea to provide a better option to taxis, it is a new way of life for humans. Everyone with a vehicle and a valid driver’s licence is now able to make money, whenever they want, by delivering everything from people to food. It is an insanely brilliant concept that makes anyone an instant contractor. If a person wants to work delivery tonight all they do is activate the App on their phone and start accepting orders or fares. The consumer completely wins because companies like Uber, and Skip the Dishes leverage cutting edge GPS technology to delver people and food faster than traditional taxi’s and delivery services. The other benefit is a complete savings to the restaurants as they do not have to pay for drivers’, vehicles, upkeep, maintenance, insurance. All they do is pay Skip the dishes/ UberEats 25%, and Skip / UberEats does the rest. What company does not want to sell more, and pay less.
Well those are my top 5 predictable trends for 2019. I see it being a year that continues to leverage technology to continue to automate, and provide maximum convenience, for the things that we do every day. I know from talking with a local McDonald’s owner, he says that if the minimum wage continues to rise for his employees, he could automate his entire restaurant by 2021 and run it with 3 staff. Imagine the next Big Mac that I order could be prepared and served to me by a robot, and my payment could be through my phone?
Let’s see what you have in store 2019!