Digital Predictions for 2016

In 2016 B2C companies that want to survive and thrive are going to have to be more concerned with meeting the needs of consumers. So rather than predicting what I think companies will do, I’ll stick to the point: the consumer. Because the consumer is going to drive change up the corporate ladder! The consumer is going to keep demanding a whole lot more change and we are all going to become less shy about pointing out when things don’t make sense or service is poor.

Reviews should be easier to find. We place increasingly more importance on what other people think about products and services more than we do on what brands say about themselves. Particularly in the world of B2C make it easy for people to comment about your products on your site, curate reviews and make easier for other buyers to find. If your product has a lot of bad reviews, fix it before we calmly sidestep to your competitor who has better reviews.

Gimmicky ads or content of any kind will build mistrust. You’re the best? Well since my best friend and I don’t agree on what the best ice cream is and my husband and I agree not to argue about which mineral water is better – it’s safe to say I won’t believe you if you say you are the best. Nor will a lot of other people. In fact most will immediate think you’re making it up just to make a sale. If you won an award for having the Best of something, make that easy to find. I’ll Google that and make up my mind.

Pricing v Quality better make sense. Don’t believe me? Look at the big shifts amongst retailers. High end stores aren’t so busy but the lower costs stores like the fast fashion strutting Primark which recently landed in Boston: winning! And buying online even internationally is becoming much cheaper. Have you looked at prices on  

Customer Service expectations will define brands. People will expect resolution from just about any company in digital channels whether social media, online chat or email. The population of people willing to phone customer service is dwindling. Sharing opinion on Twitter and going to efforts to shame companies who fail to deliver good service will become more common place in 2016. Companies will learn in 2016 that ignoring customer customers and not engaging can be catastrophic.

Mobile back-up batteries will become the most popular swag. (Just saying!)

Mobile TV will further explode. Our attention spans seem to have shortened. We’re easily distracted. But in 2016 more people will look to watch TV from wherever they want, which of course will make back-up batteries even more popular. Television accessed via the internet will expand with new channels and shows toward the end of 2016 as companies like Ooyala have helped improve the viewing experience.

Advertisers will need to get smarter. Consumers will get better at blocking advertising, from banners, pop-ups, retargeting, etc. You know those content sites which ‘list’ things like the 32 worst celebrity nose jobs? Well the reason the content is in carousels (which people hate) is to drive up page views and ultimately advertising revenue. People are going to abandon them more often – except for punking friends on Facebook with fake news. While up to 2015 we seemed to have a fairly high tolerance for conducting navigation gymnastics, in 2016 we’ll name and shame or just abandon entirely.

It’s really the way we use our mobile phones and tablets that will drive the most change in 2016

Actually the interesting thing about the fake news sites, and all the crazy random articles we read (even though most probably aren’t true) is that we’re trying to occupy ourselves, have some downtime, bide time, but mostly we’ve come to rely on our mobile phones as mobile entertainment centers. So with greater bandwidth, more wifi, faster phones and better video streaming technology – I predict we will be watching even more video before the end of 2016.