I had the privilege of attending the Salesforce World Tour conference with some of my colleagues in Washington D.C. My expectations were to meet leaders in the tech industry and learn how they use Salesforce, see what Salesforce has planned for 2018 and, if I was lucky, score some free Salesforce merchandise by the end of the day. All three happened.
I did not expect the numerous references to "the Fourth Industrial Revolution" that we're currently experiencing as a society and this is just the beginning.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as blending the real world and the technological world together to the point where you may mistake one for the other in certain situations. The First Industrial Revolution focused on using water and steam powered machines for use of production. We've come a long way.
Warning: If you constantly tell your peers that you're opposed to the idea of a mobile centric world, I have bad news. It's too late.
I think it's fair to say that someone can make it pretty far without a laptop or a desktop computer these days. I mean hey, you can shop, bank, blog, and even file your taxes from your phone now (all of which I may or may not be doing at the moment). What is the point of all this? Who cares that I can do all these things from my phone? Retailers do.
Personalized Shopping Experience
Retail giants are investing more and more time and money to get into your pockets with the goal of emptying them. We are living in a world where it is standard for retailers to leverage machine learning and AI technology to make product recommendations for whenever your eyes meet a screen.
It doesn't end there. Retailers are going to platforms that consumers use on their phones (i.e. Instagram). Let's say you're scrolling through your feed and you see a post that displays a shirt you've been eyeing for a week. The retailer knows you're interested in that shirt and they are reaching you through social media. Most importantly, you can buy the shirt from the post itself, instead of having to click on a link to navigate to the store.
Do you have the discipline not to buy that shirt now? Probably not and this approach to selling is not going away.
Mobile First Architecture
Tech giants like Salesforce are racing to be able to provide retailers with mobile first architecture so they can connect with their customers on this level. For example, Commerce Cloud from Salesforce was built with the mobile first world in mind in order to optimize customers' shopping experience from their phone.
As the tech industry is striving to build software and technology to support the mobile first world, it's interesting to see the approach. What is the priority when framing the architecture for a pursuit in mobile commerce? Is it 'search as you type' functionality? Is it recommended products on the home page? Is it a faster checkout experience?
What about the human component associated with mobile phones? Are mobile experiences like fingerprints where no two are the same? How much of a personalized shopping experience is too personalized? The list of considerations is endless and how companies answer these questions is the beauty of innovation.
Mobile First (Second and Third)
Mobile is transforming many aspects of many industries; it's not just retail. We are submerging deeper and deeper into this mobile first centric world and how you feel about it is up to you.
I can guarantee you one thing - the FBI may not be watching you, but thousands of retailers are.