Windows Phone 8 – What Does It Mean For eCommerce Professionals?
I attended the Windows Phone media event in San Francisco today. The filter I put on was, "What does this mean for the eBusiness professional?" VERY few of the executives we have surveyed are building experiences or applications for the Windows platform today (and yes, you could argue that in part that is because they knew Windows Phone 8 was coming and wouldn't be backwards-compatible, but, honestly, mostly it is because there are so few Windows phones in the US relative to Android and iOS). Only 21% of the executives we surveyed a year ago were using Windows with another 27% planning to do so (see this report).
There is a lot of talk – mostly at a high level – about how you have to define different experiences for iOS and Android because expectations are different, consumers use the devices differently, etc. The most interesting aspect of the Windows Phone 8 event today was the "live" tiles. I have seen similar in the past with Nokia devices – streaming Facebook updates, news, etc. to "live" tiles on my home screen.
What I haven't seen yet is a good use case for "live tiles" for eBusiness professionals. Everyone is chatting about push-based notifications – they are contextual, they deep-link into the application, they drive usage of the application, etc. These "live" tiles with streaming content or media could be even more interesting. Microsoft today showed examples with Groupon and other discount/deal providers. As a bank, you don't want to display someone's balance. As an insurance provider, you don't want to post "a bill is due" or "we're not paying out your claim." You might want to post content around hurricanes and the potential danger. Retailers and travel companies can post deals.
As an eBusiness professional, can you imagine if you could not only get someone to download your app, but also get them to put you as a tile on their home screen? This could be even better than push-based notifications. This wouldn't be an idle or static icon with a "number of notices" circle. What would it take for that to happen? And then . . . the content should be personalized, but not private. The content would need to change frequently – otherwise, I don't need it on my home screen. OR, if it doesn't change frequently, I want to know immediately when it does. This could be more powerful than getting someone to opt in for push-based notifications or email. And, yes, I know – a lot more consumers would need to buy a Windows Phone 8 device. Could happen faster internationally. I think it's worth a conversation around "What could we do?" even if you don't build it yet.