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Trends are, well, trendy. So who blame companies for jumping on one? 

At this year’s Mobile World Congress “app stores” were the talk of the town. As Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher told a panel at Mobile Entertainment Market ‘09 in London: “Every man and his dog is launching an app store.”  This reminds me of everyone wanting Web portals circa 1999. As if portals would solve all problems. Mimicry didn’t work then and it won’t work for the app store fad of today.

 

Dog App Store

Companies need to ask the right questions before launching into a trendy product such as “Do I need an app store?” or “How can I differentiate my app experience and be profitable”? 

App stores need to provide something unique to their end-users. A company who can nail this will surely see a profit spike. Here are a  few ideas : 

  • Gifting – Users can purchase content to give away to a friend, relative, colleague, etc.  
  • Storefronts and content could be personalized with different holidays (New Year, Fourth of July), events (Superbowl, Academy Awards) and celebrations (Birthdays, Anniversaries). 
  • Users would get immediate recommendations for similarly purchased content (Amazon has this feature as “people who bought this product also bought that”)
  • Rewards for users who recommend content to others via digital points or similar virtual economy systems. Points could be used to purchase additional content or special upgrades. 

App stores themselves could also use an upgrade. Some ideas include: 

  • Discovery could be streamlined to locate content faster and easier. 
  • Voice searching technology could be integrated as it advances.  
  • More intelligent searching could be enabled by adapting to common searches. For example:  When a summer blockbuster is released, add dictionaries with actor names and film language. Those searches could be linked to merchandise available, additional content, etc.  
  • There’s really no reason for every person to see the same mobile UI. Device user interfaces could be adapted based on user preferences. The user interface itself could be ordered by demographic profiles or past behavior that adapt intelligently when patterns shift. Users who like productivity would get those apps featured more prominently while entertainment fans would have entertainment apps showcased. If their buying patterns changed, the user interface would again adapt intelligently.

So here’s a challenge, look at your app store and instead of thinking “me too” think “innovation.”

Source: mocoNews article

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