In 2008, Anindya Ghose predicted the smartphone would ultimately be the most transformative consumer device – ever. Today, nearly a decade later, the foremost expert on mobile economics points to plenty of evidence proving his prediction is now reality.
In fact, as Ghose explained to Bloomberg last week, the technology is changing life and business even more rapidly than we might have guessed only a few years ago. “The future envisioned in such science fiction films as the ‘Minority Report’ isn’t 50 or even 10 years away; it’s only two or three years away.”
And it’s profoundly changing industries and economies.
Take retail. Mobile tech has turned the world around us into a virtual shopping mall, empowering consumers to “showroom,” or check every price tag in brick-and-mortars against online competitors. But what killed retail may now be able to save it, Ghose argues in his new book, “Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy” (MIT Press, April 2017).
In a recent MarketWatch interview, he talks about retailers’ experimenting with new ways to use the troves of data they have on their customers – e.g., using GPS beacons to send out just the right offers at just the right moment – to help boost sales at physical stores.
The key to understanding customers, and influencing them, is tracking their habits, says Ghose, a NYU Stern School of Business professor. “We think we are all very spontaneous, when in fact we are very predictable.”
Ghose believes the more mobile platforms know, the more they’ll learn to tailor to customers’ needs.