An Innovator’s take on NRF’s Mobile Retail Blueprint – Part 2 – The Mobile Context


The Mobile Retailing Blueprint covers the interdependence of Mobile Retail and Social Media very well. However, I hope that some of you will agree when I say that Social is only one (although extremely important) of several elements of the mobile context. Context is a broad term and deals with surroundings, circumstances, and settings in which events occur. In a mobile world, context is built around elements such as location, time, device capabilities, connectivity status, mood, comfort, intent, personal preferences, social influences, etc. Retailers need to understand that for their mobility initiatives to be successfully adopted by consumers their mobile apps need to be context-aware in more ways than one.

Let me spend some more time explaining context, this time with a hypothetical example. Using context, a simple multi-player Solitaire mobile game can serve as a hook to a dating service. How you ask? Consider this . . . A 20-something guy is playing Solitaire on his mobile phone as he is bored (mood) one evening at about 6 pm (time). He switches to 2-player mode on his mobile phone (device capability). The Solitaire service starts up his GPS receiver (location) and is able to recognize his dating interests (personal preferences) and more since he has signed in through his Facebook account’s single sign-on service (social context). The server (connectivity) looks for players in his vicinity (location context) that match his preferences. While playing with an opponent, he is able to see her photograph and interests from her Facebook profile and chat with her as well. They hit it off, and decide to meet socially. He hits the “meet” button (intent), which seeks her permission as well (comfort) and upon her acceptance, the app suggests restaurants open for dinner (time context) which are mid-way between their respective locations.

Imagine now, the convergence of multiple contexts in various different ways. A whole new way of interacting with humans, will open up its doors for you.

A good resource for understanding the Mobile Context can be found on C. Enrique Ortiz’s blog post for those who would like a deeper understanding of the subject.

Copyright Notice: This post has references to the “Mobile Retailing Blueprint – A Comprehensive Guide for Navigating the Mobile Landscape”, Version 2.0.0. The following is the mandatory copyright notice that needs to be preserved with works such as this.

Copyright © National Retail Federation 20102011. All rights reserved.
This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the NRF, ARTS, or its committees, except as needed for the purpose of developing ARTS standards using procedures approved by the NRF, or as required to translate the document into languages other than English.

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About Gev Satarawalla

Gev Satarawalla is a well respected strategic executive who has a reputation of spearheading growth & long-term value creation through innovation in the Technology space with a penchant for the Retail Industry. A Visionary, Thought Leader and Tech Evangelist with proven abilities to spot emerging trends and carry them into the mainstream, he has a unique take on Retail insights with fresh, thought provoking perspectives. With a life split between Washington DC and Mumbai, Gev enjoys creating and growing new ventures and initiatives in the Technology space. His day job is that of a CTO across both these geographies for Criti, a company that takes Retail Business Transformation through Technology very seriously
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