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man_holding_tablet466261651As mobile becomes the dominant platform for communications globally and contactless payment figures soar, 2016’s consumers will demand instant gratification and ever more frictionless experiences.

2015 was the year in which Google confirmed that more searches take place on smartphones than on desktops, laptops and tablets combined in at least 10 countries, including the US and Japan. This mobility has fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments, which Google characterizes as: ‘I want to know’; ‘I want to go’; ‘I want to do’; ‘I want to buy’.

In these moments, consumers are turning to their smartphones for real time help with information, choices and decisions, providing marketers with an open invitation to engage if they can provide the answers we need at these critical touchpoints. According to Google, 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store, and 91% of them turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task.

Seizing the Moment

Brands and organisations will need to be there at the moment of interest with timely information, opportunities and interactions as expectations of immediacy and relevance forever change the landscape.

Cosmetics company M·A·C is a great example, meeting popular need-to-know searches with its range of how-to beauty content and a YouTube gadget that allows viewers to shop directly from its “Instant Artistry” video series on its local e-commerce platforms.

Location-based technology and discovery apps will play a critical role in connecting people to relevant facts, advice and offers in real time. Beacons – which allow marketers to push content to mobile devices in specific physical locations – are now being used in everything from retail and transport to events and museums. An estimated 46% of retailers launched beacon programs in 2015 and in 2016 they could drive more than $40bn in sales, according to a Tech Insider report.

Audible discovery app Shazam – used by more than 100 million people a month to find out what song is playing – is starting to partner with retailers and restaurants to recognise a specific piece of music or tone as a user walks past and unlock an appropriate offer without them needing to download a specialised app.

Meanwhile visual browsing app, Blippar is working with companies across all sectors to help them unlock engaging digital experiences from their marketing collateral and events. From the Taj Hotel’s blippable wine labels to the Financial Time’s blippable poster for coverage of the World Economic Forum and the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal newspaper mastheads unlocking video stories and driving on the spot donations, we can expect to see blipping go truly mainstream in the coming year.

Increasingly, consumers will also be buying via Blippar as the ‘Buy Now’ button changes the face of retail on and offline.

Alongside a rise in shoppable billboards, delivery vehicles and windows, social media is fast turning commercial as the major platforms rush to cover their sites with virtual shops and buy buttons. Facebook’s new shopping tab, YouTube’s shopping ads and Pinterest’s 60 million shoppable pins will be vying for attention with the Buy buttons popping up on Google’s search ads and giving dedicated online retail sites a run for their money.

Deep understanding of the target audience and how their wants and needs intersect with search and discovery behaviors will be key to success. So will continuous experimentation and iteration as technology rapidly evolves new opportunities for immediacy.

Ultimately it’s all about giving consumers what they want or need in the most intuitive and frictionless way possible and being there at every stage of the journey where you have a right to play and something worthwhile to offer. Those that fail to deliver instant gratification and to seize interaction and transaction opportunities in the moment will be quickly left behind in 2016.

As mobile becomes the dominant platform for communications globally and contactless payment figures soar, 2016’s consumers will demand instant gratification and ever more frictionless experiences.