Apple is working on shifting our attention away from phone screens. Google is working on shifting our attention away from phone screens. Facebook is working on shifting our attention away from our phone screen. At the same time, a company called Magic Leap is working to deliver technology that will shift our attention away from phone screens using a combination of augmented reality glasses, signal receivers, and digital controllers. Magic Leap has yet to ship a single working product. It is valued at over 4 Billion USD.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that Magic Leap style devices will begin to replace cell phones as early as 2020. These first devices will provide a completely mobile, interactive “mixed reality” that allows us to personalize how we relate to the physical world by projecting a custom experience onto objects around us. With their release, the sharpest and fastest smartphones could be rendered obsolete. So might our best mobile strategy.
Technologists describe this impending shift as a transition away from accessing the internet and toward living in the internet. The Center for the Digital Future predicts that the transition won’t end there. They foresee personal area networks (PANs) that leverage clusters of small technical devices, potentially looking like jewelry, projecting an enhanced experience onto objects all around us – without glasses. Beyond that, Elon Musk is building a company, Neuralink, focused on developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. It is assumed that this solution will involve an implant.
So, in terms of your eCommerce Brand, what are the practical implications of this shift, and why is an eCommerce Logistics company writing about it? The implication is that, as early as 2020, access to information about brands will begin to shift significantly away from 5.8″ screens and onto objects in the physical world. We have already begun to identify our current small digital access points as constraining and unhealthy. Slang terms such as nomophobia have evolved into legitimate diagnoses. New eCommerce technologies will free our hands and raise our heads.
Those in and around digital marketing will need to adopt eCommerce technologies that celebrate this shift away from catalogs, forms, and digital storefronts and lean toward immersive real-world experiences that prospective customers find attractive. We do not anticipate an environment where people gladly wander around with pop-up ads invasively displayed on museum artwork and monuments, but rather one where customers seek to engage with those brands that provide them with exciting interactive adventures, useful information about their surroundings, and personalized stories. To do this, brands will need to voluntarily bring customers “back” to the real world -back to physical experiences. This will require a return to physical spaces, albeit spaces designed for optimal mixed-reality interactions.
All retail-focused providers, including logistics providers, need to prepare for this shift. Those with multi-channel distribution and multi-channel distribution capabilities will need to build upon them. This personalized adventure environment will require the ability to service permanent and pop-up experience centers with the same responsiveness provided to direct-to-consumer fulfillment. The shift from passive viewing to immersive buying experiences will become the sole focus for many brands. Organizations that provide services to these brands will need to invest in the requisite agility to keep up. For example, we see this change affecting eCommerce logistics providers, near and dear to us, in the following ways:
From the eCommerce fulfillment provider perspective, it’s easy to see that infrastructure investments into technologies that support chaotic-by-design retail networks will be a defining characteristic of those that succeed. Those with multi-channel and omnichannel experience could have an edge, provided their systems can move away from an EDI priority to one that is more focused on CRM and the needs of the experience center.
While many are still working on refining their mobile strategy, forward-thinking brands and their partners are figuring out how to replace it.
If you have more questions about how a fulfillment provider can help you rethink the future of your mobile strategy, click here to contact us.