2012 will see further pushes in the way stores try to get us to buy stuff, but don't just be a passive consumer this year, expect appeals for you to fund or work on apps and games to become increasingly common.
Crowd Funding Getting Bigger
If you have an idea for a useful app or a cool game, particularly with the mobile market in mind, one of the booming areas of getting funding is via crowdsourcing or crowd funding. With projects easy to run virtually or from home, the likes of 8-bit Funding and GamesPlant are helping to get games and apps built at a rate of knots.
Or, if you have an idea for an app, but no coding skills, you can turn to the increasingly popular crowdsourcing communities (such as BlurGroup) who will find the right people to help you develop your app, design a project or help you in other ways.
It is easy enough to sign up to help work on, or fund one of these projects with just a few dollars or a more substantial amount (some titles have raised six figure sums). The rewards range from early access to the game or app, to some that offer money if the game is financially successful. With the number of ideas swamping the usual routes to development, expect a lot more of this sort of activity.
It will only take one project to reach even a fraction of the success of Angry Birds for larger investors to come running in. But for now, it's a fun way to engage with a community, and where you can learn to contribute by developing or using your own coding or creative skills. Remember to sign up to codeyear.com if you want to develop your own skills this year.
Working Through the Registry
Wedding registries or gift lists have long been a standard way for listing those much-needed or desired presents. Now, web stores are wholly embracing the registry concept and running with it for births, birthdays, Christmas, religious events and almost any other occasion they can think of to help you get what you want and for them to sell it.
One site, Myregistry.com (among others), takes an agnostic approach to the stores, allowing users to add items from any shop to their list and links in all kinds of social features. The site first launched in 2005, but has kept up with the times adding those apps and social features as they become popular.
For a start, users can scan in bar codes using an iPhone or Android app, as they do some hands-on shopping (getting fed up with term bricks-and-mortar) to add to the list. They can share the registry list on Facebook and Twitter, add discrete requests for cash while even non-profits can create registries for donations of much needed items.
What's on Your List?
Of course, registries have moved on with the times and now folk are more likely to ask for the latest in consumer electronics, gadgets, video games or a big-day-out experience over the traditional stuff like china services and rugs. Registry.com's sees the major growth services in 2012 including:
1. Gadget Registries — The tidal wave of technology isn’t going anywhere. With a new hot product out every season, America’s technology obsession is here to stay and that will be reflected in an increased number of gadget registries.
2. Digital add-ons — Whether it’s a wireless keyboard for the iPad or a tiny, powerful speaker that plugs into your phone, consumers have spent a ton of money on top technology products and are looking for a way to optimize their investments.
3. Hobby Registries — The spike in gadget registries marks a break with tradition that could lead in any direction. We will see more “out of the box” registries that express the registrant’s hobbies, unique interests and individual personality.
4. Shopping Apps — Although the online shopping process has already become extremely streamlined we see the mobile shopping experience becoming even stronger with new apps for easier and faster shopping.
5. More Universal Registries — The Universal gift list industry, which has grown significantly in recent years, will continue to develop as people add more and more diverse items to their registries and realize that they can expand the boundaries of what is considered to be acceptable registry fare.
With online shopping becoming evermore popular, expect the many stores and the Groupon-like services to start integrating, giving the latter group more of a stake in online services in 2012, as squeezed businesses start to gather around the brightest flames in search of a profit.