“You contain information. I need to know how to get at it.” – John Anderton, Pre-Crime Officer; Minority Report
Therein lies the essential question of mobile commerce. In 2002, a movie called Minority Report hit the box office. The premise of the movie was that the Pre-Crime unit was able to “see crime” before it happened, thereby preventing the act before it even occurs. “There hasn’t been a murder in six years. The system, it is perfect.” The key to mobile commerce is just that concept, but applied in reverse. We want to know what the consumer is likely to do and encourage them to do it. We analyze mobile behaviors, locational data, shopping activity, status updates, friendship requests and any other bit of data that can help predict consumer behavior and then develop applications that can help to enable that behavior. I recall watching that movie in the theater and watching John Anderton (the main character) walk through the mall while personalized advertisements vied for his attention.
It was an interesting scene, one that hearkened to the idea of “big brother,” though in a not entirely threatening way. It seemed to introduce the idea of personalized advertisement in way that could enhance the consumer experience. Seen in this futuristic example, the idea seemed far off. But look at what we’re doing now with mobile commerce. We can now link our social networks to our payment methods to get personalized, extremely targeted advertising and messaging.
What’s interesting to note is that consumers have a sort of sliding scale of “acceptable privacy.” The “Consumers and Convergence” report by KPMG demonstrate that consumers are willing to share their online and behavioral data, provided they get something of value in return – discounts or services. If they don’t see a quid pro quo, consumers are more likely to see behavioral tracking as an infringment on their privacy. Fortunately, this seems to be a place in which the need of retailer and service providers to encourage adoption merges nicely with the self-interest of consumers seeking greater value.