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The Phone isn’t the Second Screen. It’s the First One.

When was the last time you paid attention to a TV commercial?

A while ago, right? Right. People just DON’T want to sit through those ads any more. But for me, there is a bigger lesson here, and a huge business tactic to be learned.

See, a lot of people have been talking about something called the “second screen”. They talk about people watching television with their phone out, and the funny thing is they refer to the phone as the second screen.

The problem?

They’re wrong. The phone is very much the first screen now. The TV has become the second screen.

Think about it. As soon as an ad comes on TV, people pick up their phones. And that’s assuming they’re even watching TV at all. It’s all about streaming online now, through Hulu or Netflix or HBO Go. But I’m guessing that even while streaming, when the ad comes on, people still pick up their phone.

So, people aren’t watching TV. They’re looking at their phones. But what if I told you it’s more than TV that’s being affected? Well, IT IS. The in-store experience is shifting as well.

A few months ago, I noticed someone in a supermarket go from one aisle to the other, while looking at their phone the whole time. They went around the endcap display and didn’t even look up. Brands play a crap load of money for those spots. It’s the best spot in the store. SUPPOSEDLY. Maybe not so much any more, huh?

Same goes in other places of the store. Think about those little gum racks on at checkout that are supposed to entice you make an impulse buy. They’re sitting there saying “Oooh maybe just one piece of chocolate as you leave the store!” Not anymore they’re not. Because what are people doing as they wait in line now? You know what I’m going to say.

All of this brings me to the amazing possibilities that smartphones bring to a retail situation. There are SO MANY apps now that will geolocate shoppers in the store and send them messaging promoting a coupon or a deal of the day. That’s “second screen” (ie first screen) shopping in real time, and I’m big on it. Sure, people might not want to be annoyed on their phone, but I’m sure plenty of people in Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or Target wouldn’t mind getting a quick notification offering them a sweet deal. Or maybe they’re in their Twitter stream, using the app, and they come across a promoted tweet from your brand that you pushed out at optimum shopping hours.

See what I’m getting at? Meet the people where they already are. Don’t try to bring them to you. This isn’t even getting into something like Apple Pay, and the future of that side of things. I’m thinking about all of this for Wine Library. As I get back into that world more, the thought of walking into the store and getting content is very exciting.

Second screen shopping is a very big deal. Although now that I think about it, shouldn’t we should really be calling it shopping?

You just can’t ignore the importance of the phone in consumer’s day-to-day lives. The smartphone as we know it isn’t going anywhere, so THAT’S where you need to meet your consumers and fans. People are paying attention to it more than anything else. Listen and learn. Understand their schedules. Make time to get to know what stresses them out, what they need. And then give them that. Use it. Get in there and sell your shit.

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