What's hot for 2013

It’s the right time of the year for looking to the future, and I thought I’d summarise some of things people would be getting excited about in the world of digital media.
They’re not predictions as such because there’s nothing new about any of the things I’m talking about here. But here’s a list of the things I think will be hot topics this year.
In no particular order.

Click and collect

Click and Collect
Supermarkets are taking Click and Collect seriously

Click and Collect is ecommerce without the hassle. It dates back to a time before Amazon, when paying for things over the web wasn’t the done thing. In fact it dates back to before the internet, but back then it wasn’t called click an collect, it was called ‘I’ll-pick-it-up-when-I’m-next-in-town’.
It is, of course, a system whereby you order something from a website and instead of paying for it and arranging for delivery, you simply ‘reserve’ it. It’s gaining traction and it looks like lots of smaller businesses will find that C&C is being promoted heavily as a cost-effective sales strategy.
Not very exciting, not very ‘next-big-thing’ but it does three things well. It saves a business heaps on not implementing a full ecommerce system, it makes the web a safer place for the 0.0001% who are still too scared to pay for something online, and importantly it encourages ‘errant’ shoppers to spend their money locally.
Those three things may not be enough to keep it going long-term, but it’s not a dead-end street, there’s always grown-up ecommerce to move onto.

3D printing

Even ink can have a thickness and keep printing thickness upon thickness and soon you’ll have a three-dimensional object made of ink.
Not quite, but the same concept using a special printer and ‘plastic’ ink will make a big noise this year.
3D printing can ‘print’ your three-dimensional designs into objects you can hold in your hand.
It’s not cheap, but it’s happening right now, and this is one new technology that WILL be revolutionary.
It will be a revolution that ‘grows up’ faster than any before it, purely because of the incredible advances it brings to industries needing plastic 3D objects on demand.
Is it digital media? Hell yes! Plastic is a medium isn’t it? But we will see lots of tangental industries making remote printing possible, whereby you send your design to be printed and it is posted to you in a box, and also a whole mass of ready-to-print downloadable 3D ‘blueprints’.
Operators of self-storage facilities should have their marketing material ready this year!

QR codes and barcodes

We use QR codes like this one, to make it easy for mobile users to access our contact details at events.
Barcodes could tap straight into an online database more efficiently than QR codes

QR codes will continue their rocky road to ubiquity, but savvy retailers will turn their attentions to the barcodes already printed on packaging for two reasons.
QR codes are great, but where they are used to reference products, it seems futile to develop a whole new scanning system when there is already one in place that identifies products in place.
Tesco demonstrated this earlier in the year with it’s virtual store in the lounge of Gatwick Airport. An idea which it has already tried with QR codes in Korea.
However, in the west, even jetsetters aren’t quite ready for QR codes, and once the download of Tesco’s mobile app reached critical mass, they knew it would be easier to get shoppers to use an app they already had, instead of coercing them to download a QR scanner.

Live blogging

“Everybody’s doing it” or so the song goes, but I don’t think they were singing about blogging.
But in 2012, everybody, or nearly everybody was doing it… blogging that is.
Blogging has become one of the most important parts of a business’s online marketing, and if you’re not doing it, you’re business is probably missing out on a share of trade your blogging competitor is getting.
But what’s next? 3D blogging? Blog and collect? Everything has to evolve right? Well blogging IS evolving right under our noses and this year, expect to see blogging go ‘real-time’ as live blogging starts to make it’s mark in the delivery of information right from the heart of the action.
Live blogging tools have been about for ages, and we’ve seen live blogs coming out of major events for several years, but I’m convinced that live blogging will be a viable tool for smaller businesses this year, especially those that hold regular events.

What do you think is going to be hot this year? Do you have your own ideas? Do you think I’m way off the mark? Leave your comment below.

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