Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shift Again! Libraries in the Near Future - V

Let's take a minute now and look at some trends out there driving the consumer market. Later, we'll consider implications.

As a reminder, our typical in-person services are still valued by the consumer. They may approach us through different media or traditionally, but the experience is still valued.

Also, a trend is never an "either/or" a trend is always an "and." Eventually all things run their course. Trends are new things to be aware of and possibly pursue. They never replace the previous model immediately.

Much of this post will be mcsnippets from and its recent free reports.

“Consumers’ ingrained* lust for instant gratification is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences. Consumers are also feverishly contributing to the real-time content avalanche that’s building as we speak. As a result, expect your brand and company to have no choice but to finally mirror and join the ‘now’, in all its splendid chaos, realness and excitement.”

In an age of abundance, with a reduced need for non-stop securing of the basics, and physical goods so plentiful (and/or ecologically harmful) that the status derived from them is sometimes close to nil, only consumption of the experience* and thus the now, the thrill, remains.

In fact, many ‘fixed’ items run the risk of becoming synonymous with boredom, hassle (Maintenance! Theft! Going out of style! Repairs!), eco-unfriendliness, and sinking a large part of one’s budget into one object (which impedes spending on multiple experiences)."

"It’s about detachment, fractional ownership or no ownership at all, trying out new things, escaping commitment and obligations, dropping formality, and of course collecting endless new experiences.

This is not to say that in-person "owned" experiences are devalued. The travel industry has not been greatly impacted by the virtual "not owned" experience"

" more activities are being crammed into ever diminishing timeframes, how convenience is king, how products and services are literally becoming smaller or more fragmented so budget conscious and/or time-poor consumers can collect as many different experiences as possible

"The Checkout" report found that 28 percent of June 2009 shoppers describe themselves as "preferring to spend more if it saves them time." This was up from 23 percent in May. Additionally, the number of customers (28 percent) who responded that "saving money by shopping around" was their top preference fell from 33 percent the month prior. (Source: M/A/R/C Research and Integer, August 2009.)

More than 30 percent of the people who visit a business for service expect instant attention - in some cases even if they do not have an appointment. (Source: Beagle Research Group, August 2009.) "

Instant attention? Libraries have experienced this since day one!

"Called "Nowism on Steroids." Twitter is the poster child for this trend. Witness: Total number of tweets, in real-time . Find the current dominant virtual thought at Watch a trending topic take over your city, country, or the world at Trendsmap (still definitely in beta).

Not surprising to librarians, people are most likely to ask family and friends for information before coming to the library.

"Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally. The Nielsen survey shows that 90% of online consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust consumer opinions posted online.

There are many more research studies, findings, dissertations, and so on that confirm the same fact: reviewing is the new advertising. "


It's all about the mobile apps. here are some examples

"Shopsavvy, an Android app, allows the user to scan almost any barcode using the phone’s camera, and it will then search over 20,000 online and local retailers to find the best price. Once the best deal has been found, users can either purchase online, or use the phone’s built-in Google Maps feature to find their way to the store." Or, presumably, download the book to your mobile device"

"Californian SnapTell says half a million iPhone and Android users have downloaded its application (which, unlike Shopsavvy, allows users to photograph a product using cameras in their handsets, and then upload it to the website for reviews, recommendations and best prices), resulting in more than 1.5 million image queries so far. More than one in three buyers click through to an online retailer, earning SnapTell commissions. "


"The NOWISM trend is as big as they come, and we had serious challenges not letting this briefing balloon into dozens and dozens of pages.

The bottom line: while the appeal and influence of ‘now’ has been building for years, societal attitudes, sky-high consumer expectations and new technologies are currently converging in such a powerful way that brands truly have no choice but to go ‘real-time’: in their business intelligence processes, in their customer conversations, in their innovation labs, in their distribution, sales, marketing and branding departments...

The many examples above (from new ways to monitor the arena to how to engage customers to clever new products and services catering to infolusty, instant-gratification loving consumers), should provide you with enough ammunition."

What we have here is the tip of the iceberg. If Trendwatching had trouble narrowing it down to a few pages, you can imagine the trouble we had.

NEXT: How does this affect libraries?

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