This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
Christina Smedley, Vice President of Global Brand and Communications at PayPal
One of last year's hottest themes in mobile apps and consumer startups has been not just the need, but the growth in consumer demand for convenience. Need a ride ASAP and don't have any cash? Order and pay for a car through a ride-sharing app. Don't have time to go grocery shopping? Services like RedMart specialise in bringing everything on your shopping list to your doorstep. What if you want to listen to your favorite band's new album in its entirety? The Spotify app can do that.
While these types of technologies and services are brilliant, convenience has become crucial. So what's next for these brands and others that seek to become game changers in 2015?
I see a world that works for the people and they are thirsty for the next level of convenience, which we predict will be the "seamless experience." According to PayPal's People Economy global survey, 70 percent of the world thinks technology should make transactions simpler, connected and faster, with more choices and opportunities. The technologies behind these seamless experiences are all beneficial, but more importantly is the impact that this has in bringing all of us closer together. Technology will continue to drop down barriers in the coming year ensuring that all across the globe are able to achieve their goals and desires in a seamless way.
This year, I expect to see brands embrace "seamlessness" in the following three ways:
1. Device ubiquity -- Consumers have thousands of device choices, so brands can no longer expect to get away with only working on a single operating platform or device. While iOS tends to be the predominant operating systems developers start with, 71% in Singapore use Android smartphones according to a survey conducted by PayPal in 2014. It's time for brands to start addressing their entire audience and giving everyone access at the time of launch, rather than settling for iOS only.
2. Deeper integration -- Global brands will have to create partnerships with other retailers and services to give consumers a completely integrated experience. For example, Etsy works with PayPal and Pinterest to make buying and sharing easier than ever. Every Etsy product listing features a "Pin It" button and Etsy accepts PayPal from customers all around the world. The more interconnected services can be, the more impactful they will be to consumers.
3. Global strategy -- In the same way that consumers now expect to see an app available on all platforms right away, they also want instant access to the product or service from anywhere in the world. Consumers are aware of worldwide news from well-known brands thanks to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and their expectation is that it has global availability. They want to feel included and be valued members of the community. For brands to really engage with consumers they need to cater to their global audience at all times.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.