Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Mobile Everyday

Black Friday has come and gone. And what images did we see on the news? We saw mobs of people flooding stores. We saw people getting trampled. We saw battles for the last toy on the shelf. We saw lines, lines, and more lines. We saw exasperated mall workers who have been working since 3am.

And amid all this chaos, we miss the real story. The real story this year is mobile shopping. PayPal saw a 190% increase in mobile device transactions from this time last year. By the end of 2012, global mobile shopping will reach $254 billion, and as customers begin to trust mobile transactions, mobile shopping is predicted to reach $730 billion in the next 5 years.

Retailers who don’t make the transition to mobile offerings will lose today, and those who don’t leverage the mobile wave as a whole will lose tomorrow. Yes, as a retailer, you must create a mobile billing system, a mobile catalog, a social-mobile application that allows for gifting and viral couponing and sharing and everything else social. But that is only the first step. That is business survival now. Making your business mobile is the short-term call to action. The fact that brick-and-mortar stores were hijacked by Amazon is old news; these stores will largely die. An Interactive Advertising Bureau study recently reported that 53% of consumers who have stopped to make an in-store purchase have done so as a result of browsing on their mobile phones while in the store. Once again, old news.

The big picture here is the amount of data being generated from the Mobile Wave. Look at the numbers. There are 1.1 billion global mobile subscribers; worldwide mobile transactions will surpass $171.5 billion this year; 30% of all time spent on mobile devices is on social networking applications, and there are 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every month. We should all benefit from this exponential growth of data.

At my company, we are aiming to leverage today’s mobile, social, cloud, and big data trends. I think every customer database on Earth is now obsolete. People just don’t know it yet. If the people that operate your customer relationship management  (CRM) system don’t know it’s obsolete, then they’re either stubborn or out of touch.

People have been collecting customer comment cards for 30 years. They’re tracking in-store behavior. For corporate executives, your customer view is largely limited to when they’re in your store, or using your service, or in your bank. You don’t know anything about them outside of those experiences. Yet you can now gather ten to a hundred times as much data out of the Facebook cloud as you collected from your traditional sources. And you can synchronize it every hour and access it via your mobile device in seconds connecting to the cloud.

The examples of sample behavior are endless. When a woman gets engaged, within two minutes, she tells her friends. We have, via Facebook, a nearly perfect registry of everyone getting married, everyone graduating, everybody changing their name, everybody traveling on vacation. When someone decides he likes a new musical act, he tells his friends within a minute.  There are currently 540 million monthly active mobile Facebook users with the ability and willingness to update personal data instantly. Anyone who still thinks that his or her CRM systems are up to date after looking at this real-time database is living under a rock.

I understand that there are privacy concerns when it comes to Facebook, and I’ll be addressing those concerns in a future blog post. But my point today is that companies should be looking to synchronize all of their customer data with Facebook. Once those permissions are granted, you’ll have a complete 360-degree view of your customers. And twelve months ago, you couldn’t have done it at all. The opportunity here is to turbocharge your CRM systems while gaining deep insight into your customers and your fans.

This infographic serves as a gift guide for consumers. The insights are based on data derived from more than 17 million Facebook users’ “likes” across a number of gift-related categories.

That’s the idea behind our Wisdom product. Look, there are 20 million organizations that have customer analytic systems. They have 20 million different databases. We created a system for all 20 million of them. We built a universal customer data warehouse pulling out of the Facebook cloud, enriching with Wikipedia, with Google, with Apple, and with government data sources, such as the Census. Our idea is to provide this actionable insight to every company on Earth.

So here we go. This is wisdom. It contains more than 17-million profiles in its database. There’s a 20-terabyte database that’s updated every hour and accessible via the Cloud. Who are our Wisdom users? They live in 143,660 cities. Among them, they like 1.7 billion things. So now I’ve got a pretty statistically interesting sample of the world. I mean this puts any survey or poll to shame.

I can apply all the power I’d have in  $100 million worth of polling, but with Wisdom I can apply it to my local diner and to other places where my friends hang out. So we’re bringing it to everybody, small business and big business a like, and to the individual consumer and Facebook user, in seconds to their mobile devices.

The Holiday Shopping Guide infographic, right, shows consumers most “liked” gifts for the year. This is a simple example of the power of Wisdom. This data was derived from analyzing more than 17-million consumers and their preferences.  Using demographic data, we’re able to segment by gender and age and location and education level.

In conclusion, we should be thinking about the bigger implications of the mobile shopping trend. Cyber Monday will soon be referred to as Mobile Monday, and now is the time for companies to take advantage of the Mobile Wave.