Thoughts on “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet” and “Meet the Connected Consumer”

February 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

Here are musings on “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet” by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, which appeared in Wired September 2010 and here, as well as “Meet the Connected Consumer: How Tablets, Smartphones and Facebook are Changing the Way Consumers Shop Across Retail Categories”, a zmags-sponsored consumer survey which appeared in January 2012 and was summarized here.

As it turns out, I teach “Electronic Commerce” during Winter Quarter, so the readings are timely. We spent some time during our last session discussing what has made e-commerce not only possible, but spectacularly successful: the platform neutrality of the Web. Any website is accessible. Any computer—desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone—with a browser can reach any website. Any site can compete for visitors, subscribers, and customers by being searchable.

The app-driven future that Anderson and Wolff describe is one where the custom app maximizes the user experience. While the underlying platform—the Internet and TCP/IP—is different, the custom app seems to be a throwback to a mid-1980s client/server architecture approach. Client-side software was required to run any application package. Updates, not unlike new app releases, were required periodically. Also, not unlike new app releases, bugs in new releases would make the application unstable or changes in one software application could affect other applications.

I do not disagree that apps are useful. Apps do not interact with each other. I see apps as useful appliances.  A set of apps is a set of silos. The benefit is still in platform neutrality.

“Meet the Connected Consumer” does not try to predict the future, but describes consumer trends. PCs and laptops are used most heavily for browsing, researching, and purchasing across all categories and by a large margin. Even in tablets, browser-based shopping is preferred over app-based shopping.

The zmags survey suggests that retailers pay attention to Facebook-connected consumers. I do not disagree. With 845MM active users, Facebook is a retailer’s gateway to connected consumers. Over three-fourths of connected consumers are active Facebook users and at least 40 percent follow their favorite brands on Facebook. Tablet owners seem to favor shopping via Facebook pages.

A few key points that I will highlight at our next class session:

  • The smaller the device, the more appropriate for an app [smaller screen size, better use of resources]
  • E-commerce and all websites
    • must engage visitors, subscribers, and customers across a variety of platforms: desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone
    • must continue to watch how different categories of users, for example, simplifiers, surfers, bargainers, connectors, routiners, and sportsters may change their behavior and device of choice
    • must continue to explore different technologies

What do you think? Am I missing something? Please comment.

Entry filed under: New Media Faculty Seminar Spring 2012. Tags: , , , , , .

Thoughts on the New Media Faculty Seminar at Benedictine University Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, or Laggards?

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