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News  30, Dec 2011

Bye 2011, hello 2012!

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As the year 2011 draw its curtain, we march towards 2012 with higher and greater expectations. The end of the world aside, there are a few trend predictions that I came across the past few days.

2012 – The year of Online to Offline (O2O)?

Recently, I came across this article on Technode which defines O2O as attracting users online and directing them to physical stores in the offline realm. According to the article, the group buying model has been the most recent successful example of how the O2O can work. The article identifies “the next trend of O2O will focus on service and value”. In 2011, we see the rise of online social media and mobile, and in 2012, will it be the year of O2O, where there will be more offline interactions ? Of course, this O2O model introduces new aspects to the business that has to be taken care about, such as the quality of the offline service. Not only the online user experience is important, but now more than ever, the offline/real life experience also comes into the picture and plays a major role. Thus if O2O goes mainstream, value chain managers and customer service managers will have an increasing demand. Startups would not only need technical guys, but increasingly business development guys and customer relations management (CRM) guys would also be needed.

So how legitimate is this model? Heard of Getaround, AirBnB and Groupon? What do they have in common? They are making a lot of money, and are all O2O models.

2012 – The year of SoLoMo?

2011 has seen an amazing mobile penetration throughout the world and there is absolutely no sign of that slowing down in 2012. SoLoMo was also brought up during the recent BlackBerry DevCon Asia by Strategy Analyst of Global Wireless Practice, Thomas Kang. For those who do not know what the acronym means, SoLoMo is a short form for Social, Local and Mobile. With the growing importance of mobile, as well as high social media penetration, there will definitely be (if not already) more and more startups creating innovative solutions around mobile apps. SoLoMo is not a product in itself, but rather, it’s a way to access and interact with all the contents that are increasingly generated and curated by users. Even Apple is going SoLoMo this year, where it integrated Twitter into its iOS 5(So), going local(Lo) with its different versions of Siri (hopefully we have a Singapore version of Siri soon), and mobile. So if you are thinking of your startup business model, do consider integrating social elements into it like everyone else if you have not already do so, and optimize your startup so that its local content is easily viewed on mobile, or build a mobile app for it.

2012 – The year of Gamification?

Gamification was brought mainstream by none other than Foursquare. For those of you who do not know, Gamification is based on the idea that rewarding the user is fundamental in creating an engaging digital media experience. Of course, that’s Online Gamification. Gamification could also be used as a marketing strategy that could create a viral marketing effect in real life if executed properly (plus a bit of luck). In real life, Gamification is used to change human behavior by making it fun to perform certain task. An amazing example of Gamification in real life is the piano staircase which you should definitely check it out if you have not already done so. So will we see more application of real life Gamification in 2012? Well, you bet. With the founding of Gamification Singapore which had their first meetup recently, things are certainly going to be exciting in Singapore in 2012.

2012: The year of blog?

I have also came across this article which states that blogs are coming back. “As brands embraced social media, many have started to realize an essential part of being successful with social media is having content as the engine to drive it. This explains why content marketing is all the rage. Not surprisingly, blogs are playing a key role within content marketing because they are vehicles that brands can use to provide value-added information and insight.” Nowadays everyone is blogging, companies blog to keep their employees and customers engaged in conversations, developers of a startup blogs to document their progress, and Michael blogs.

We blog too, and 2012 will be a better year for e27.

What other trends do you think we will see in 2012?

Jacky Yap

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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