Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Marc Horne. Marc is a co-founder of DailyDealBuilder.com, provider of daily deal software, solutions, and sales training to help companies run coupon and daily deal promotions.
A good indicator of future behavior can be found by viewing past history. In the grand scheme of capitalism, the daily deal industry is in its infancy; however, behavior over the past few years can give us insight into what will be happening over the next couple years.
This article discusses 8 predictions for the eCommerce, coupon, and daily deal industries in 2014.
2013 saw some major tech news…
- Apple updated its mobile operating system, iOS 7, which got new features and a fresh look. The company also released two new iPhones and two speedier iPads.
- After a long quiet period, two of the three major game-machine makers released new versions of their popular game consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One continue to battle for consumers’ dollars.
- Microsoft made some major moves this year as it attempted to break into the mobile market. In addition to updates for its desktop, tablet and mobile operating systems, the company bought Nokia’s phone division and announced the departure of longtime CEO Steve Ballmer.
- The age of wearable technology is not fully here yet, but in 2013 a batch of prototypes took their first steps towards common use. Google spread its Glass eyewear to thousands of early testers, while other companies launched various smart watches and fitness trackers.
- Virtual currency Bitcoin has been around since 2009, but in 2013 it picked up serious momentum. It rocketed in price and popularity while fighting for mainstream acceptance and against regulation. Is it just a bubble? We’ll see, but I do believe more and more merchants will begin accepting Bitcoin in 2014.
Without a doubt, the largest tech event of 2013 was when Edward Snowden released 1.7 million documents to Glen Greenwald of the Guardian that detailed the NSA spying Programs that track cell phone and internet data. This news affects nearly every citizen in the United States and beyond.
The major tech companies denied involvement, though it seems far-stretched that no one knew what was happening.
We have only just scratched the surface of what the NSA is doing with their massive data centers… But if there is one thing I’ve learned about human nature and business, it is that people will push the limits of what’s possible.
Can the NSA record video directly from your webcam and phone camera? The technology exists. Is the NSA collecting every bit of data imaginable from our internet and phone activities? Probably.
These NSA Files have opened up a large scale discussion about privacy issues in the 21st century and this story must continue to have a major impact on America and abroad in 2014.
The NSA Files being released leads me to prediction #1.
1. The “Hacking War” Builds Momentum
Privacy / Security Issues and high-profile hacks grew like wildfire in 2013 and I’m predicting 2014 to be much worse.
A series of hacks launched by groups like the Syrian Electronic Army, Anonymous, and possibly the Chinese military made headlines throughout 2013. News organizations like the New York Times and Washington Post were targets as well as major tech companies including Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, and Apple.
As more innovative technology is continually released, the “Hacking War” will almost certainly continue on, and even increase.
Secure your sites, protect your customer’s data and privacy, and do everything in your power to maintain website security and password security.
2. Continued consolidation, investments, and buyouts in the Tech World
In 2013, Twitter’s initial public offering was the most anticipated tech IPO since Facebook’s debut in 2012. It created a new crop of tech millionaires and billionaires, but continues to raise questions about the profitability of the social media company’s ad business.
In 2014 I am predicting that many of the larger tech companies (Microsoft, Apple, Groupon, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, etc) will continue investing huge sums of money to buy up smaller competitors and start-ups entering the marketplace.
I predict that funding and VC in the daily deal industry, social media world, and tech industry as a whole will continue to see growth.
3. Micro Videos will change communication and everyday interaction
First Twitter released Vine, a new social app for sharing six-second videos. Then Facebook bought Instagram, which they quickly followed by allowing videos up to 15 seconds long.
The new medium has already taken off with clips of breaking news, artsy creations and a new kind of “selfie.” These micro-videos are not going anywhere and it’s important for businesses to realize and capitalize from this new media-scape.
Snapchat momentarily leads the rise of messaging apps. It was dismissed as a simple app for sexting teens, but Snapchat, like other upstart messaging apps, has a fast-growing user base. It is seen as a threat to traditional social media like Facebook, as well as old-fashioned SMS text messaging. Users are beginning to value their privacy more and SnapChat allegedly deletes data after the user views it.
2014 short micro-videos will become a more integral part of life and the way we consume information, connect with friends, and make buying decisions.
How can your company capitalize from micro videos?
4. Smart Phones and Tablet Internet Traffic Overtakes Web Traffic
I’m predicting that in late 2014, mobile traffic from smartphone and tablet users will exceed web traffic. That may be a bit of a far stretch, but regardless if my prediction comes to fruition, the reality is that your business must prepare for mobile traffic in 2014 because the line graphs are seeing a steady increase of mobile and tablet users and traffic.
Whether or not you create native apps, HTML5 apps, or simply make your website mobile optimized… You can expect more and more of your website traffic to be from devices.
5. Importance of Value Added Upsells
It will be more important than ever to work out arrangements that cause a win for the merchant, a win for the employees offering the deal, a win for the customer, and a win for the daily deal site.
We have seen merchants burned time and time again because of improper planning. We have also witnessed what happens when the customers are upset about a poor daily deal.
It will also be important for daily deal sites to not only focus on making the merchant and customer happy; but also work with the merchants and businesses to ensure employees don’t get the wrong end of the deal.
There is a reason the larger companies are acquiring smaller ones… To be able to instantly provide value added upsells and additional services to their user base and customers.
6. Smaller, niche-specific sites will continue upward growth and expansion.
Being the “first mover” in nearly any industry definitely has upsides. It has its own set of downsides too, but in the daily deal industry the first mover companies who got a jump on their competition have had huge advantages and have been growing and gaining traction very quickly.
Low barrier to entry in the ecommerce and daily deal worlds leads me to predict that we will see a continuation of successful, smaller ecommerce players.
Niche specific sites and smaller geographic based players will not only continue to launch, but I predict that many will continue to see growth and a profitable 2014 year.
People appreciate supporting local companies and enjoy hobnobbing with like-minded individuals.
7. Lawsuits and patent trolls will continue filing suits and causing trouble.
As new, innovative technology continues to be released, it opens the door for patent trolls to claim they own the rights to said technology.
The faster we roll out technology, the more often we’ll see lawsuits. 2014 will see some major lawsuits from companies claiming they patented certain ideas years before they were implemented.
8. Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Explodes
I believe that in 2014, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding will become an integral part of the way smaller (and even some larger) companies and individuals acquire funding and get tasks accomplished for the best price.
Crowdsourcing and funding gained a lot of press in 2013, and I personally believe they will be a game changer in 2014.
We’ll see what happens as the year progresses. Download the PDF of the slides from slideshare here
Happy New Year.