Karma To Go

22 06 2012

Everyone must want good karma these days. First there was the Karma app that launched in February (and was purchased by Facebook on 18th May). And now there’s the Karma mobile wifi hotspot. Later this year, folks will be able to purchase the Karma device for $69, and then share hotspot access for up to eight other users. It runs on the Clear backbone (i.e., Sprint), and the catch is that people who hop on can get a pay-as-you-go plan for only $14 per gigabyte.

Here’s how it works: Your Karma hotspot is basically a public access point. And users are not limited to a specific location or device…it can work if they hop on someone else’s Karma elsewhere. It also functions a lot like Dropbox.com’s model in that for every person you sign up, you get 100 megabytes of data. Sign up a hundred people, and you’ll be cruising along nicely.

On paper, this sounds like a great idea. It can be much cheaper than having monthly plans for similar services. Plus, it is a heck of a lot better than either not being able to find a public access point, or, worse yet, getting dinged for $15 a night at a hotel.

But it is not perfect. Yes, I suppose you can be building good karma by being that nice provider of wifi among total strangers in your proximity, but what if you decide, “Hey, gotta go!” Suddenly your karma account goes negative when you pull the plug on other people busy working.

Furthermore, it is dependent on you being in one of the 80 US cities in which Clear operates, and…and this is the most important part…it’s not much different from being an early mover in the fax business. You need others have to have this device. Lots of others. Otherwise, this is not going to work.You may have paid your $14, but if you are in Amarillo TX (one of the 80 cities) and no one else has the device, you are out of luck.

“Can anyone help this guy find a coffee shop?”

If the Karma device takes off, though, it could make public internet a reality for more and more Americans. Even still, though, there is an upper limit. It’s kind of like those crazy multilevel marketing gimmicks. If everyone is selling Shaklee, then no one is really making any money (or racking up megabytes of data). You will wind up paying your own $14/GB fee just like the folks you are supposedly banking karma with.

As for me, I am all to happy to keep my Sprint wifi hotspot. I know that it will work for me regardless, be it 4G or 3G. I do not need to worry about finding a public hotspot, or, more importantly, a karma capitalist. I am also willing to share my hotspot with my friends and colleagues (it supports up to five users).

And the best part is that I have no karma expectations. I mean, unless they want to take me to dinner or something. A bowl of karma sounds pretty good right now, to be honest.

“Here, let’s see what Triple-D places are nearby.”

Dr “Smother It In Chocolate Syrup” Gerlich

All Gone To Look For America

7 06 2012

I am a hopeless sentimentalist. As much as I proclaim to be this great futurist, I must be honest and say that I get a rash of warm fuzzies from pondering the past. If time travel were possible, I would want to go backward, not forward. Marty McFly may have spent most of his time back in the future, but I prefer the rear view mirror. I want to see life through the eyes of Ricky and Lucy. Experience the novelty of TV dinners once more. Open a beer can with an opener. See Buddy Holly (he died the day before I was born).

Not that I am not completely, head over heels in love with tomorrow myself. I love helping carve a path to the future. But tucked away in my zeal for the New is an insatiable desire to (re)live the Old. Which probably explains why I am totally into starting a writing project involving my 91-year-old Dad and his exploits with two pals in 1955 as they drove Rt 66 from Chicago to LA.

And it also goes a hell of a long way toward explaining why I was pumped to get an out-of-the-blue email yesterday from Katie Nelson, the girlfriend and partner-in-crime of Chris Robleski, author/photographer of Polaroid Photos From Route 66. Chris and Katie run Fading Nostalgia, a home-based business whose mission is to preserve our memories of yesterday. As urban photographers (and specializing in retro-chic Polaroids), they are fearless as they gaze through the viewfinder.

Ah yes, he found some of his own kind. You get it now.

I caught up with them while they were at a McDonald’s in Grants NM. Turns out Katie and Chris were traveling to eastern Arizona specifically to try to photograph the long-abandoned Painted Desert Trading Post (I have a nice shot of it as my Cover Pic). I had just visited this crown jewel of Rt 66 lore, and had to engage in a little risky behavior of my own (I think they might call it trespassing, but I digress).

They had heard of my accidental encounter with the Cow Boss on the ranch that is currently under lease along that stretch of abandoned highway, and how after 15 minutes of sweet-talking, I had gained an invite to return. To an open gate this time.

But Chris wanted to shoot the PDTP under the light of the full moon, and all they needed were specific driving directions to the gate and advice on how to get down to the trading post on foot. We all presumed that only cattle would be roaming the range in the middle of the night. So I talked while they noted, and by 3am, the photoshoot was done. See it. Frame it. Shoot It. And get the hell out of there.

I have been an admirer of Fading Nostalgia for a couple of months now, and have an autographed copy of the book on my shelf. I am in love with this on so many levels…shared interest, urban (and desert!) adventure, photography, home-based business. Oh, and from my lofty perch in the halls of academe, I applaud their use of everything new to promote the “everything old” that they do.

In fact, it was through their use of social media that I found out about them in the first place, which then led me to their website and blogs. While I spend the bulk of my time in my Evolutionary Marketing class extolling the virtues of everything fast-forward and future tense, the fact is that there are plenty of opportunities for new businesses that embrace both the old and the new. And Fading Nostalgia is the perfect marriage of the two. I only wish I had thought of it sooner (insert applause for Chris and Katie!).

For my students, the message is clear: Follow your passions, whatever they are. And never forget that what goes around, comes around. Even Polaroid cameras. Use the latest tools of your trade, whether you are peddling widgets or whatchamacallits, or trying to develop the Next Killer App that Facebook would want to fork over a billion dollars to call its own. See it. Frame it. Shoot it.

The lens of opportunity has never been clearer.

Dr “Be Careful. His Bowtie Is Really A Camera!” Gerlich

Tell Me, Tell Me

7 06 2012

It was about a year ago that I had lunch with one of my colleagues, Dr. Pradeep Racherla. After about an hour of bantering about social media, he sat back and asked the $64,000 question: “So, Dr. Gerlich, what do you think is next?”

I, too, sat back. I scratched my chin (I do that when I am nervous). My gaze shifted top-left. And with all the wisdom I could muster as a senior faculty member, I responded: “I don’t know.”

So much for experience.

The fact of the matter is, this is a question I am asked many times by students. And it is a very good question. But if I knew the answer, I would probably ditch this job and head to California to start a company.

It is also a question that has been dealt with in a slightly different way by one analysts asking whether Facebook will be in existence in 2020. His answer: No.

He went on to show how Yahoo has failed to evolve from a 1st-generation internet company to 2nd-gen (social media), and how Google has likewise stumbled at the same level (Google+ is its third…and hopefully last…attempt at social media). As for Facebook, he sees the 900-million-pound elephant in the living room as having no ability whatsoever to evolve into a 3rd-gen company, which is mobile.

And I don’t mean mobile apps, although that is a part of it. He argues convincingly that FB has failed miserably on the mobile graph, and I concur. Yes, FB has paid lip service to the fact that, while about one-half of all visits are via mobile devices, there are no ads placed for those moving eyeballs. But so far, nothing. It was three months ago that FB announced it would start placing ads on our phones and tablets, but they must be waiting for something more significant than just a near-perfect annular eclipse or Venus transit.

To say that Facebook has fallen flat since its 18th May debut is an understatement. I saw it coming, and refused to buy in. The revenue model is still very weak. And although they have increased the number of ads running down the right pane (there were once three ads, and now sometimes as many as eight), as well as ad placements along with our photos, they have allowed the mobile area to remain an ad-free zone.

It’s kind of like allowing patrons to eat for free at your restaurant. But the shareholders won’t tolerate such silliness for long.

So what will the future hold? The analyst thinks that Facebook’s inability to evolve is the crux of the matter, but I think that something bigger and better will come along that will cause us all to think, “Man, Facebook sure is lame. How did we live for so long with it?” Remember, innovations come along overnight in this business, as evidenced by FB’s purchase of Karma, which was only launched three months ago.

No, we are going to be amazed by something new. Something of which we haven’t the slightest inkling. Something that will conjure up that old saw about sliced bread.

Think about Yahoo. Consider the venerable software giant Microsoft. Heck, let’s go real old school and think about Kodak. Yahoo is well on its way to becoming an internet ghost town. Microsoft’s lunch is being eaten by Apple daily, and it has no horse in the social media race (unless you count its so.cl research project). And Kodak…well, let’s just say it was nice knowing you. Companies, like the seasons, change with regularity.

I really do wish I could have answered Dr. Racherla’s question, but he was drawing blanks as much as I that day. It is hard to envision a world without Facebook, but then again, we felt the same way about MySpace. It is hard to believe that the company was once purchased for $580 million by Murdoch in 2005, and then sold six years later for $35 million. These things happen. Facebook had a better product.

And someone else will, too, sometime between now and 2020. Just be ready to embrace it. And if you are really smart, you will be among the first to figure out how businesses can leverage it. That’s where the money is…knowing how to use the platform.

And maybe, just maybe, it will have an IPO worth buying into. Now keep your fingerprints off my crystal ball.

Dr “Future Perfect” Gerlich

Karma Chameleon

7 06 2012

Most of the major world religions have some tenet regarding the doing of good things. This “do unto others” idea is intended to promote social good, and possibly benefit the doer in the long run. What goes around, comes around. Do good things, and good things will happen to you. Do bad things, and bad things will happen to you…now or later. A non-sectarian views this as the ethic of responsibility. Christians call it The Golden Rule. And Buddhists call it karma, which can accumulate over multiple reincarnations.

Which is why I was intrigued when Facebook, under cover of its much-hyped IPO on 18th May, quietly purchased Karma the same day. Karma is a social gift-giving app, and follows hot on the heels of FB’s previous purchases of Instagram and Gowalla. I had to wonder if this one would come back to haunt them…or would good things prevail?

Karma greatly simplifies buying gifts to the point that all one need lift is a thumb. I know…all that tapping can wear one out, but it sure beats having to actually go online, or, worse yet, go to the store. Gifts can be given via SMS, email or Facebook.

At the surface, this really does sound like a winner for Facebook, as well as lazy shoppers, he says as he stands in front of the mirror pointing. Never mind all the inconvenience of shopping. This just makes good sense, because all of our friends are already on Facebook, right? How easy could it possibly be to weigh them down in gifts?

While FB’s IPO weighed in the gazillions of dollars, Karma was a mere $80 million purchase. And while FB announced its intentions to keep the February 2012 start-up running as a separate entity, you can bet your bottom friend request that it will soon be integrated into every last sponsored story.

About the only folks who do not stand to benefit from Karma are those of us with family and friends who…ahem…have not joined the social graph yet. Like my aging parents. Can you believe this? I had to actually go online to purchase Mother’s Day flowers! Heck, I may as well have driven to Florida and delivered them myself.

If you read that with the voice of Louis CK running inside your head, it will be funnier.

I think you get my point. And naturally, Facebook/Karma, as intermediary of all this gift-giving, is going to rake a tidy margin for its own coffers.

But the part I like best is that, once you have loaded the app to your phone or tablet, Karma searches your friends’ and family members’ Facebook accounts to glean their likes. It then makes suggestions. “Hey Nick, your brother will love the Three Stooges movie on DVD when it comes out.” Or, “Might I suggest the Gewurtztraminer?”

And if you happen to be shopping for a gift for your ever-loving professor, a six-pack of anything from New Belgium Brewing Co will make me happy. Hint, hint.

The idea of social gifting is a new one, and probably one that is going to take some time. We’ll also have to screen the suggestions, because a person’s mere mentions of a product do not necessarily imply liking. It could, in fact, be loathing dripping with sarcasm.

Whether Facebook’s purchase will be seen as good karmic activity remains to be seen. So far, the shareholders are not a happy lot, given the tumultuous slide since the 18th. But hey, Father’s Day is coming up. There’s hope that this Karma could change the color of Facebook and keep everyone happy.

Dr “Fat Tire Is My Favorite” Gerlich

A Step Back In Time

1 05 2012

For all the many success stories Walmart has had the last 50 years, it still cannot figure out how e-commerce works. Amazon continues to give it fits simply because it knows its customers…how we think, and how we shop.

So when I read today that Walmart is now the first major retailer to offer online customers the option of paying by cash, I nearly fell off my chair. I envisioned home computers with a reverse ATM mounted to the side of the monitor, happy customers busily shoving crumpled tens and twenties into a slot. Cha-ching!

But alas, it is not quite this elegant. In fact, as ridiculous as an in-home ATM sounds, it is actually a better idea than what Walmart is unveiling.

Get this. Walmart assumes that, since only 15% of its current customers pay by credit card (really?), then offering a cash option at the point of online checkout would appeal to the remaining 85%. Simply take the cash option, print out the receipt, and run over to your nearest Walmart within 48 hours to pay your bill. Customers then have the choice of having the merchandise sent to the store for free, or to a different location for a shipping charge.

Now stop laughing.

Let me get this straight: you place the order online, drive somewhere, pay within 48 hours, and then still have to wait for your stuff? Is Walmart crazy?

Walmart certainly has more than its fair share of economically-challenged customers, but I wonder if these shoppers are best served in this manner. In fact, are they even going to be shopping online at all? And what is the convenience of all that waiting and driving to the store?

Oh, and here’s one more thought: if certain shoppers do not have credit, I’d say there is a fair shot they probably don’t need to be buying things online anyway.

Walmart may think it is doing something innovative and perhaps even supportive of those with credit crises, but this just pours salt on the wound. Imagine the ignominy of standing in line at the cash register and having to say, “I’m here to pay my e-commerce bill, since I don’t have a credit card.” Yeah, that’s going to make shoppers feel good about themselves. Why doesn’t Walmart just stencil a bright red “CR” on their foreheads? Those credit risks…we just can’t trust them, ya know.

Without really thinking about things, Walmart just set e-commerce back a few years. Maybe that’s why Amazon continues to sweep them away. The river runs deep, the river runs wide. And there’s not a dam thing Walmart can seem to do about it.

Dr “Cash Or Credit” Gerlich

Coming Home To Roozt

26 04 2012

After 15 years of teaching e-commerce and developing websites, it takes a lot these days to get my attention. After all, nearly everything has been done before. Some good. Plenty of bad. And a lot in-between. Anything and everything that could possibly be sold has been programmed (literally) to fit into a 2-dimensional space.

But when I read about Roozt, I knew I was on to something different. Roozt is to social goods as Etsy is to crafts, essentially an online bazaar of all things and entrepreneurs seeking to do good things for the world.

For consumers with a conscience, often finding out a company, and then locating the products, are the hardest steps in making one’s dollars go where the needs are. Sure, you could hop in a car and drive to the nearest Big College Town, where you will likely find a shop or two selling fair trade products. But this is inefficient at best, and horribly time-consuming and expensive at worst.

But what I like most about Roozt is that it inexplicably ties social media into the equation. The more you post and share your purchases, the more you are rewarded with credits and badges. OK, the badges may be ephemeral, kind of like the ones I have earned on the Untappd app by drinking exotic microbrews, but they are bragging rights. With frequent and judicious social shopping, you could wind up king or queen of all that is good.

Roozt is a perfect fit for Generation Y, the oft-misunderstood (or simply not understood at all) cohort also known as the Millennials. Born between 1982 and 2000, Millennials have demonstrated a much higher social consciousness than other generations. It helps explain their fascinations with TOMS shoes and its BOGO program, as well as a host of other brands built around the idea of doing unto others (Project 7 comes to mind).

And I like it.

I will be the first to say that I do not always seek out such products. I will also go on record as stating that I am not always willing to possibly pay more for something just because I have been guilted into it. I would rather donate directly to a cause rather than by virtue of buying a product that, at least perceptually, costs more. But if someone wants to participate voluntarily in helping others via the product vehicle, then I will not stand in the way. I am more of a classical economist, preferring to let the market settle on its own prices, and charities operating separately.

But I may just be getting old. This marriage of commerce and charity is innovative, and speaks to the desires of an entire generation. For that I give Roozt high praise. By tying brands to specific causes, and aggregating an enormous selection, Roozt helps make it fashionable to be caring. It’s a new way of looking at an old problem, and if the greater good is served, then who am I to complain?

Score one point for getting this old guy’s attention.

Dr “The Tire Tread Sandals Do Look Pretty Cool” Gerlich

Second-Hand News

12 04 2012

In its quest to be all things to all people, and further cement its runaway lead in the e-commerce realm, Amazon.com is intensifying its efforts to keep us coming back for more by buying back our used CDs.

Really? You mean people still buy tangible audio recordings?

Apparently so. In fact, it’s a business model used with great fanfare by Amarillo-based Hastings Entertainment, whom I have derided for being extremely late to wake up in the digital age. But now both Hastings and Amazon think there’s gold to be mined in used goods.

The only difference is that Amazon has a lot of other stuff to sell to customers.

The Amazon model hinges on givings gift cards to those sending in their old, unwanted music. While Hastings uses a similar model, its in-store purchases are limited to audio, video and games. Amazon, though, has the entire world for sale.

And this has to be problematic for a chain like Hastings, with fewer than 150 stores primarily in the deep south and intermountain west.

To be sure, there are some assumptions and hurdles to recognize. Trading in used items often means the target customer is at or below middle income status, but these same people are least likely to utilize e-commerce as a means of shopping. In other words, for Amazon to make this a success, they will need to help sway a customer class that might not yet have completely made the switch to online purchasing.

Furthermore, what in the world is Amazon going to do with all of these used CDs? Who, I ask, is going to buy them?

Perhaps some of the same customers. But I really doubt that their better-heeled customers are going to want to touch them. If I am already shopping online, that means I am only a click or two away from purchasing digital tunes either directly from Amazon, or at iTunes.

Which is another way of saying that whoever agrees to buy back these dusty relics from a bygone era had better be ready to one day write off a bunch of unsellable inventory. Unless, of course, they suddenly become retro-chic as collectibles.

I am not one to question the wisdom of Amazon, for nearly everything it touches turns to retail gold. Still, this one befuddles me a great deal, because the world is slowly but surely running away from recordings it can hold. The upshot, though, is that for serious music listeners (and one-time heavy CD purchasers) like yours truly, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get rid of those CDs (I have over 1500). Trade them in while the getting is good. Take the gift cards and run. If I could get $2.50 for each one, I could buy that new Canon 5D Mark III camera body I am drooling over.

And that, my friends, is a tune I could sing all night long. Now excuse me while I go look for some boxes.

Dr “Photo Finish” Gerlich

Spanning The Gender Divide

12 04 2012

There is no better way to stir up a party than to start talking about politics, religion or gender differences. Especially the latter. It’s the “Tastes great, less filling” debate of Miller Lite fame writ large. Why can’t there be just one way to do things?

Of course, our lives would be pretty boring if we were all alike. Our country is a better place precisely because we have Republicans and Democrats (not to mention Independents and Libertarians). We are more the richer because of our religious diversity (regardless of what your preacher, rabbi or imam tells you). And, for better or worse, there’s no shortage of discussion fodder when the gender wars heat up.

From a marketing perspective, there are many companies that would give anything to figure out how to get the “other half” to purchase their products. There are many consumer products that are gender-based. By and large, men do not use make-up. Women prefer feminine fragrances, while men opt for WD-40. Guys like bold, primary colors, while women choose pastels.

I know, I know. Stereotypes can get you in trouble, but they can also earn you a good solid return on investment. Now if marketers of goods aimed at one sex could just figure out how to get the other one to also buy.

And that, of course, is the ultimate challenge. Figure out how to double sales just by appealing to the other sex is a sure fire way to keep the stockholders happy.

Except, of course, if you fall flat on your face.

So my eyebrows raised this morning when I read that Birchbox is launching a monthly subscriber program to men. Birchbox has been wildly successful in attracting female consumers willing to pay $10 a month to receive a box of personal care product samples of items they have probably never encountered before. The goal is to put these products in consumers’ hands at little risk to the user, in hopes that they will return to buy the regular-sized product at full price.

Birchbox, though, is making the assumption that men shop like women. And therein lies the big mistake.

In terms of consumer behavior, women are more likely to shop in exploratory or discovery mode, whereas men shop more decisively and goal-driven. That’s not to say there exceptions on either side of the gender divide, but these traits have been observed through the years. Women thrive on the thrill of stumbling into that perfect product; men, on the other hand, treat shopping as a surgical strike, a bombing run intended to be completed in 15 minutes.

Or less.

And that’s why I am skeptical of their new service for men. Never mind that they are charging men $20, a full twice as much as for the comparable women’s package. If men are already proven to be less than conciliatory shoppers, then why charge them twice as much for the privilege? I’m thinking that maybe $5 would be a better enticement.

Furthermore, we are dealing in personal care items, not tools. While men are not necessarily aloof to hygiene and personal care, let’s just say that it’s probably not at the top of our shopping list. If we even have one.

Sometimes we are all just better off to let the difference fall where they may. Protestants and Catholics (and all other religions). Liberals and conservatives. Men and women. Admire and honor the differences, but keep your distance. Because trying to resolve them may be a waste of energy and money.

And the perfect way to ruin an otherwise good party.

Dr “No Sale” Gerlich

Alphabet Soup

2 03 2012

When I was a kid, it was always fun to eat hearty bowl of alphabet soup. It was not the kind of soup you ate when you were sick; no, this was strictly for grins. It was like Scrabble comes to dinner.

In many regards, I feel like we consumers are swimming in a different bowl of soup, one with what seems as many letters, yet all involve shopping and gadgets.

Over 15 years ago we were introduced to the idea of e-commerce (in spite of the fact that nearly 30 years prior, futurists envisioned a day in which we would shop from our then-to-be-invented home computers). Everyone and their brother co-opted the use of the letter “e,” and even to this day, it is used with nearly reckless abandon (think: ebooks and e-readers…you decide whether the hyphen is required).

It was around the turn of the century that folks starting talking about m-commerce, a day in which we would purchase things from our phones. Of course, this was all pretty much Dick Tracy kind of stuff, with all manner of speculation as to what kind of devices we would one day have, and whether we would wear it on our wrists. but they were certain about one thing: we would eventually be able to shop from anywhere.

It was not too long before Accenture published a white paper predicting devices much like the Palm Pilots of the day that could literally scan a person walking toward you, and then pop up with opportunities to purchase the very clothes they were wearing. Thankfully, we haven’t quite gotten there yet.

During this same time, Apple came along and claimed the letter “i” for what would one day be a enormous product line of devices that played well together. Apple apparently has no problem with after-market companies using the i-letter, and as such we have been inundated with a plethora of cases and doo-dads that work with our iPods, iPhoens and iPads.

More recently, though, m-commerce has gained significant traction, in the form of in-app purchases and interactive “magalogs” created for tablet devices. It’s probably not exactly how people envisioned this a decade ago, but it’s taking off…just like the e-commerce that eventually came about in the 1990s was not the same as predicted three decades earlier.

Other aspects of m-commerce revolve around mobile payments like Google is developing. Essentially, our smartphones will become our wallets. I have been using an early effort with mobile payments with Starbucks. My SBUX app has a unique QR code tethered to my credit card, so I never have to bring money (or plastic) when I want coffee. They just scan the QR and I am on my way to becoming caffeinated.

Now imagine using something like this everywhere you go shopping. Oh yeah…and think about how Apple’s i-products are in the middle of all this.

The big question mark, though, concerns social shopping (or, as some like to call it, f-shopping, for Facebook). Twitter has recently joined the game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pinterest finds a way to start selling to all those happy pinners.

Facebook was all the rage the last two years as major retailers built social shopping sites, but recently, many have been shuttered for lack of sales. Best Western hotels just added in-Facebook room reservations, but it is too early to tell if it is working. Earlier this week, Facebook teamed up with several wireless carriers to handle mobile payments, but these are aimed primarily at those who use gaming apps.

Missing from the discussion thus far, though, are three letters used together: BAM, as in brick-and-mortar. Where do these folks fit in among all this emphasis on out-of-store shopping?

Simple. They still exist. And they will continue to exist. The only difference is that their bottom lines will either be padded by their e-, m- and s-sales, or deflated by the lack thereof.

Which means that for the winners, there will be alphabet soup…and for the losers, perhaps chicken soup. Because the soul of their business is going to need it.

Dr “iDeclare” Gerlich

Mobile Mall

2 03 2012

Marketers have a way of following people around. They count rooftops when it comes to deciding where to put brick-and-mortar stores. They built websites once enough people had computers and internet. And now they are placing high hopes on in-app purchase capabilities, as well as e-magazines to make the sale. Within the last year, offerings from Gilt and Google Boutiques offered consumers a magazine-like shopping experience that was optimized for the iPad (side note: Boutiques has since closed, and has been replaced by Google Catalogs and Google Shopper). And now the latest to join the fray is Zmags, with what they promise will blend “the physical store experience with that of flipping through a magazine or catalog.”

And Zmags does not try to hide the fact that its user interface works rather nicely on iPads. Sure, it will also work on phones and computers, but the emphasis these days is clearly on mobile, and specifically, tablets.

The question, though, as Google has apparently had to reconsider, is whether people will actually purchase from an iPad. To be sure, I use my iPad to purchase e-books and magazines all the time through Amazon, as well as to watch streaming movies. But I admit to having never purchased anything else.

The presentation, though, of Zmags is compelling and very user friendly. And when you consider that iPad3’s resolution will be double that of iPad2, then you can probably picture the most stunning piece of marketing material ever produced.

Since tablets have become the new de facto metaphor of everything print, it stands to reason why marketers would be willing to bet the farm on it. Yes, there are wrinkly spots to be ironed out, but with tablets standing in for so many things we once did on laptops and desktops, it is a necessary step to put the stores where the people are.

Kind of like counting rooftops.

Tablet owners are a lucrative target market, because they are proven leaders in technology adoption, and also able to afford the sometimes hefty price of acquisition ($200-800). I have no reason to doubt that we will overcome whatever apprehensions or uncertainties may exist regarding mobile commerce of this sort, because we definitely overcame it with regard to e-commerce.

And that, my friend, is something I think you can count on.

Dr “With Apologies For Ending In A Preposition” Gerlich