Friday 7 January 2011

TCRM and the New Year

Happy New Year to all! And as we are already into the second week of the new year and things are starting to get back into some sort of order, I thought it was a good time to look back and reflect on the past year and what this one has in store for us. So let us down the last of the mince pies together before they go out of date and look with anticipation into 2011.

E-commerce looks like playing a big part for TCRM in the next twelve months. There are three reasons I think for this .Firstly, thanks to the rapid increase in online buying over the last few years, more and more people are seeing the benefits of shopping this way and feeling more comfortable about doing so. This creates an increasingly visible customer base which sellers see more and more potential in.

The second reason for the growth of smaller e-commerce sites is the recession. With increasing numbers of people out of work, or needing to generate a bit more income, people are looking to set up their own businesses and see an e-commerce site as the most efficient way of doing so without the need of the high overheads of physical retail premises.

Third is the range of goods and services on offer. While at first it was just primarily goods bought on line in digital versions of shops (ie putting books and CDs in an electronic shopping basket) the e-commerce sites are becoming increasingly varied. One of my favourites at the moment is the photo centre. Upload images from your camera into online albums, cut and rotate as you please, select your print types and pick up your photos next time you’re in store for a pint of milk and some cheeseburger components. It’s this variety which broadens the appeal of e-commerce and TCRM currently have a site in the works where you do not buy physical goods, but a service. A life changing service at that. Stay tuned to TCRM Facebook and Twitter pages over the next couple of weeks for details.

That brings us nicely on to social media, and regular readers will notice how unusually slick that link is for me. Social media is here to stay but I think there will be a less hyped up approach to social media and a maturing of the techniques used as it becomes an accepted part of personal and business life. It will be another box to tick when putting a site together rather than selling a site solely on the fact it is a social networking site.

But one area that does look to be growing is that of mobile computing. The uptake of smart phones such as the iPhone and the Android powered phones, as well as the new tablet market led by the iPad, means that more and more people are accessing the internet from a small mobile device rather than a traditional desktop computer or laptop. Web sites will need to be optimised for these devices, or at least be written with this sort of use in mind. The touch screens of these devices offer new challenges to web designers, and with touch screens looking to make an impact on desktop machines (the next version of Firefox will have multi-touch capabilities) it can not be ignored. Personally I am hoping that we skip the big touch screen phase and go straight to motion capture control like in Minority Report and, with the release of Microsoft’s Kinect, seems to be getting closer. See here and here.

So there’s my brief glimpse into the new year. Please feel free to comment on whether I’ve totally gone astray, missed some important things out or should change my name to Nostradamus. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and all the challenges it has in store for TCRM. At the very least it should make for an interesting read for you.