Digital trends round-up – June 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Digital Trends Round-Up – a summary of innovations, new technologies and the latest digital trends to help you navigate today’s fast-paced, tech-enabled world. This month we’re looking at Google’s driverless cars, a new feature which will let brands sell from within WeChat and retailers embracing Powatag technology.

How digital innovation has given rise to a new competitor in the automotive industry – Google’s driverless cars

Last week, Google launched a new prototype for its driverless car. The vehicle uses camera data, together with laser and radar sensor technology to navigate the roads, eliminating the need for a driver. Google has produced prototypes for driverless cars in the past. But what makes this one so significant is that it has been manufactured entirely by Google, rather than by modifying existing vehicles. By using digital to innovate its existing business model, Google has been able to enter an entirely new industry, threatening the dominance of long-established automotive brands. This has an important message for all brands, regardless of industry. Digital is spawning a new set of competitors and existing brands will have to innovate if they’re to survive.

Shop whilst you chat – brands can now sell goods from within WeChat

Chinese messaging app, WeChat, has launched a new feature, enabling users to sell goods through the platform. This has opened up an exciting opportunity for brands to set up shop within the app so that users can purchase goods without even having to leave WeChat. This move looks to be part of a growing trend as social networking sites are starting to work more closely with retailers to drive e-commerce. For example, last month saw the launch of AmazonBasket, a new service that’s enabling Amazon customers to purchase products through Twitter.

From an advert straight to the checkout – retailers embrace Powatag technology

Waitrose, Argos and Laura Ashley are the latest in a series of retailers to roll out Powatag technology, enabling consumers to buy directly from adverts. Powatag is an integrated marketing and mobile payment system that uses triggers embedded within adverts to direct shoppers to an app where they can make a purchase. Triggers include iBeacon signals in-store, QR codes embedded in print or on billboards and audio triggers in adverts. Linking up the various marketing touchpoints and giving shoppers the chance to buy everywhere, will Powatag help retailers get closer to providing a seamless, omni-channel experience?