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Archive for February, 2012

Product spotlight : Wireless Terminal Hypercom M4230

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

Antonio Romano, Product Development Manager at Evo Canada, talks about the Wireless Terminal Hypercom M4230.

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Retail Spotlight: window merchandising with a technology twist

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

“How much is that doggy in the window?”

An age-old adage to the somewhat lost art of window merchandising.

Retailers have come full-circle recently from the increasing pressure within the retail space, emergence of e-commerce, and mobile. What was once a staunch tradition has evolved into an engaging entry point to brick-and-mortar stores.
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Iconic UK-based clothiers Ben Sherman launched an innovative window display that allows for interaction with consumers from the outside in. A simple control button is housed in a casing just outside the window where customers can activate a pressurized system that sends clothing through a carousel and can be viewed one by one. The idea is to create the desire for customers to interact with the display due to the novelty, but actually stumble on a piece of clothing they may like and therefore enter the store.

Using a similar tactic, Starbucks launched an integrated window display that uses a touch screen to allow consumers to select a series of gold stars that then transform into information about their My Starbucks Rewards program. It was originally launched in select stores in Toronto and Vancouver to support the Tazo brand push.

The strategic use of technology, as demonstrated, can turn a once two-dimensional process into a complete immersive and interactive experience.

Clinique UK augments print ads to drive sales

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

In a bold move to continue supporting a 360-degree ad campaign, Clinique UK is deploying improved reality platforms to enhance current print ads and help drive sales. They invited users to interact through print and out-of-home ads via smart devices during the month of March.

Teaming up with the enhanced reality Blippar application, which can be easily downloaded for iOS and Android platforms for free, the print ads come to life by creating an interactive version of the ad viewed directly on a user’s mobile device screen. By interacting with the advertisements users can view more detailed info on the showcased product and even make a purchase if so inclined.
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Jessica Butcher, founding partner and marketing director for Blippar, notes that print is a stagnant medium that needs to continue to evolve, “Print is, by its nature, old news as soon as it comes off a printing press, and this technology enables it to be used as a trigger for real-time information updates, a digital bridge to mobile Web pages, content downloads or interactive touch screen experiences. Augmented reality is simply one of the forms of content delivery that can be facilitated by this technology.”

This augmented reality platform goes even further by allowing users to connect with a store locator through GPS, view products and brand related videos, connect to Clinique’s mobile site and share comments and view threads via Facebook to see what other people are saying about the product.

This level of interaction brings new meaning and value to print advertising, and when tied into a relevant mobile campaign, a brand can reach higher levels of engagement and drive sales.

Foresee Results: Apple and Amazon top the list for mobile shopping experience in 2011

Tuesday, 28 February, 2012

Foresee Results, an independent customer experience analytics firm, produces a 100-point study annually, measuring consumer experience across many types of retail platforms. Apple came in on top of their 2011 mobile shopping experience study with an 85 point score, followed closely by Amazon at 84 points. These high scores can be attributed to both company’s success at keeping their mobile sites as similar as possible to the standard website, both in terms of navigation, content and ergonomics.

Larry Freed, current president and CEO at Foresee Results, recognizes first-hand the rising trend in mobile commerce but also notes the challenges ahead. “There is a lot of room for improvement and there are a lot of complexities and variables with mobile commerce, from various operating systems to device and screen size,” he said. “It’s not as simple as the early days of the Web when everyone was building for Internet Explorer. Now you’ve got multiple OS’s, phones and tablets, and various screen sizes, all which affect the user experience. You need to apply the same concepts on mobile as you do on the Web, but it’s a very different platform.”

Navigation and functionality are at the heart of why some mobile shopping experiences fall short. It is the combination of driving device capable content, ease of use and high levels of security to turn mobile “spectators” into actual customers. Further, measuring usage habits and customer satisfaction closely will separate companies that truly want to maximize on this payment trend and those that may not realize the potential for mobile to become integrated into daily shopping habits of customers. According to Foresee Results, customers that are satisfied with their mobile shopping experience are 54% more likely to return to that very same mobile site and shop again.

Since customer perception and expectations for mobile experiences are largely based on traditional website navigation, functionality and content, companies need to recognize this link and increase efforts to tie-in both traditional and mobile site design.

Mcommerce Summit 2012 New York: Amazon, Zappos, Citi, Travelocity, GGP and Alon Brands set to discuss the rising trends in mobile commerce

Monday, 27 February, 2012

On May 3rd, 2012 and hosted by Mobile Commerce Daily, industry leaders will converge at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City to discuss the rapidly growing market segment of mobile commerce. Guest speakers from Amazon, Zappos, Citi, Travelocity, GGP and Alon Brands will discuss various topics involving mobile strategy. The event targets many businesses that can benefit from developing an integrated approach to mobile, including; ad agencies, media placement firms, brands and retailers.
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The Mcommerce Summit has been designed to complement the growing portfolio of seminars currently hosted by Mobile Commerce Daily, including Mobile FirstLook and Mobile Marketing Summit, both recognized as leading conferences in the mobile field.

Limited to only 200 delegates, registration is now open at a cost of $495 for the day, which includes all meals and refreshments. Please visit www.mcommercesummit.com for more information and to register.

Cloud based NFC payments being tested by McDonalds

Sunday, 26 February, 2012

Austrian mobile network operator A1 and Paybox Bank have enlisted McDonalds to launch a new, test NFC mobile payment system from now until mid-2012. Five hundred end-users have been selected to assess this new system dubbed Paybox NFC.

The system aims to deliver mobile payments utilizing NFC contactless technology, but unlike other recent digital wallet and mobile payment solutions all transactions will be handled in “the cloud” over the standard EMV point-of-sale terminals. The goal is to allow users to pay for transactions below the €25 mark without having to enter a PIN number.

A1 currently hosts numerous models of NFC phones including the Sony Xperia S, Blackberry Curve 9360, HTC One X and Blackberry Bold 9900. For those interested in usage outside of mobile devices, contactless stickers will also be tested as an alternative.
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As far as functionality goes, the process is quite similar to most digital wallets and contactless payment systems currently on the market, however Paybox NFC does not use Visa’s PayWave or Mastercard’s Paypass solutions. Paybox and A1 offer the service in tandem, and all transactions are handled directly through a designated bank. Users simply sign-up for a Paybox account then direct it to their bank of choice and then download the Paybox app, which is coupled with their current A1 mobile service. No important payment information is stored on neither the NFC enabled chip on the mobile device or on the supplemental NFC stickers.

“Cash is still the most popular means of payment, especially for amounts of up to €25. Searching for small change or waiting to be given money back is time consuming. With Paybox NFC, we can offer our customers a state-of-the-art alternative,” noted Bernd Hartweger, CEO of Paybox Bank.

Starbucks introduces mobile payments to the UK and Canada

Saturday, 25 February, 2012

Starbucks has expanded its mobile platform by bringing the company’s new Android app to the UK and Canada. Users will now be able to make payments with their mobile app, load their cards, check balances, and find any location by utilizing the store locator function. With the addition of these countries Starbucks mobile payments is now accessible at 14,000 locations.

My Starbucks Rewards has also been upgraded in the process. Users can now easily note when a free drink is available, keep a close eye on their balance, their star count, and the convenience of “touch to pay”.
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While these types of upgrades or expansions are not typically newsworthy, there are some interesting elements to this mix. Starbucks has refused to stand on the sidelines and wait for the mobile payments mass confusion to pass. They have instead delivered their own intricate system that has empowered them by  offering up an end-to-end solution with mobile apps, full POS integrations, barcode scanners, and loyalty programs which are all managed in-house. Ultimately, Starbucks is opening up the possibility of mobile payments to the mass consumer market, getting them ready for an inevitable payment reality.

Context taken from Tech Crunch 6/11/12

Release of Passbook reportedly being suspended

Friday, 24 February, 2012

Apple has decided to occupy a timid role in the mobile payment world, albeit for a temporary amount of time. This assumed plan is to allow competitors to compete over market share while Apple performs its own research and learns from its rivals’ initial mistakes. Their entry to the mobile payments world, the Passbook app, is comparatively basic by only storing digital loyalty cards, tickets, and boarding passes but omits the storage of credit card info. Little suggests that this will change in the future.

Apple engineers decided on the Passbook software because it allows the company to profit from each payment made through the service, much like their iTunes business model. By not utilizing a full-fledged wallet app Apple avoids the possibility of becoming a “bank”, which  the sheer complexity of project may have required.
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Regardless of their current position, it is unlikely that Apple will ignore the mobile payment market for much longer. With mobile sector projections hitting as high as $600 billion worldwide by 2016, it is clear that at some point, Apple will dive into the market head first.

Mobile POS readiness: Motorola exploratory research

Friday, 24 February, 2012

In recent weeks, many payment companies have looked to the marketplace in order to assess “readiness” from an infrastructure standpoint to be able to integrate mobile POS systems and payment processing.

Motorola Solutions Inc. rolled out an in-depth survey of North American and European retail, hospitality and field services merchants to determine the level of interest in mobile payments and POS systems. The results indicated that 66% of participant’s revealed high levels of awareness and interest in mobile POS solutions and 42% currently use or plan to use mobile POS solutions within the next three years.

When looking at actual application interest, merchants focused on inventory management (51.3%), pricing and labeling (47.8%), return management (42.2%) and lastly merchandising (36.1%).
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Merchants were also asked the key reasons for making the jump into mobile: improved customer service, saving sales and special order product management, custom order fulfillment, line busting, serving store locations where fixed POS was not an option, and customer relationship/loyalty program management.

Mobile payments market set to reach USD 80 Billion in China by 2016

Friday, 24 February, 2012

In a report released by research and consultancy company Kapronasia, China’s mobile payments market is expected to surpass USD 80 Billion by 2016 and sustain an active user base of 441 million users by 2015, with this number set to double annually. This is a significant finding for a rising trend and business opportunity for most mobile operators, merchants and banks.

Interestingly, the study also bills China as the number one smartphone market in the world, surpassing the US and driving the most technological advancement in the mobile payment sphere.
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Further statistics show the dramatic growth potential, citing year-end 2011 revenue posted at USD 7.6 Billion with 218 million active users and projecting growth by 2016 to be at USD 84 billion and over 400 million active users. Surprisingly enough, despite China’s dominance in smartphone usage, less than 10 percent of the 900 million mobile device users have adopted smartphones, demonstrating even further growth potential for this market.

This growth may be hindered over the short-term, as Chinese officials and government bodies continue to develop mobile payment regulations, which could delay quicker implementation.