SoLoMoAccording to industry analysts, there will be 7.4 billion wireless devices worldwide by 2015, with more than a billion smartphones entering the global market over the next half decade. Bright prospects for SoLoMo, I believe, that will bring new momentum to the online as well as offline markets by opening up entire new business models.

The mobile Internet makes the user more of a local consumer and the more it spreads the more interesting it gets for the small retailers and service providers who have been neglected it so far. It can be expected that many new players will enter the scene that are able to meet the specific needs of SoLoMo users better and faster, as those around like now. Anyway, SoLoMo will for sure trigger a boom in new online as well as offline business models.

On one hand it creates space for new online services, which make the social and physical environment more comprehensive by using mobile devices. On the other hand, companies must verify, adjust and revise their business model due to the new conditions that come along with the SoLoMo spread and the shifting consumer behavior. Furthermore, these transformation processes will produce start-ups that will conquer this new business field or establish themselves in those niches, which are currently dominated by the sedate large corporations that are often too slow to react.

Since SoLoM is an Internet-based movement, despite all merging with the offline world, factors such as freedom and transparency will be important arguments for users to decide for or against a company’s’ offerings. The integration of customer feedback, the interaction between companies and consumers, comes here into place as well, as already seen in social media, but SoLoMo will reinforce this trend further.

In particular, the possibility to be able to compare with mobile devices the internet prices while in the local stores seems to have significant growth potential. The mobile price comparison in real time illustrates how with SoLoMo the offline shopping behavior can be influenced by online resources. Although offline merchants always had to compete with their online rivals, SoLoMo is now opening the offline and online trading platforms the chance to make the competition transparent.

Larger market transparency is generated by SoLoMo in the sense that customers are now getting more opportunities at hand to be sufficiently informed about a product. For example, ingredients, country of origin or environmental impact can be purchase-related information for the customer. Companies can and should take advantage of this consumer interest and produce more in-depth information and transparency for their brand and products.

Due to its online origin, SoLoMo isn’t a unilateral move in the direction of "local", but rather allows that the local is at the same time global. Fact is that only those will be successful in the long term that deliver local deals but are active and competitive globally.

The hard-core SoLoMo providers are still providing predominantly platforms that serve localization or social media services or a mixture of both. But in the long term, the Social-Local-Mobile movement will have no limits. In the 1980s, the proliferation of personal computers has been able to create new major corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Apple. In the 1990s, the massive expansion of Internet use created new winners such as Google, eBay and Amazon. And with the upcoming burst of growth s in the SoLoMo movement, again new players will probably establish themselves in the market. The suspense continues and therefore MediaBUZZ has made SoLoMo one of the topics to discuss next month at its exclusive 8byEight event.

By Daniela La Marca