Strangeloop, an interesting value-add website optimizer for high volume e-merchants, reduces web page load times in order to drive more turnover and consequently increase transactions.
Located on the landing page of Strangeloop.com, visitors can toggle a slider and position it at a specific level of monthly sales revenue. As a result, the application highlights how the optimizer can directly correlate to added revenue simply by increasing page load times.
The results are staggering.
Large multinational corporations such as Visa, Sodexo, Petco and Auto Anything have already turned to Strangeloop’s intuitive site optimizer for both Web and mobile sites. Using an “advanced set of acceleration treatments,” Strangeloop streamlines and simplifies web pages in real-time by customizing them to the unique parameters of each browsing platform.
Not an out-of-the-box standardized liquid ciali software platform by any means, Strangeloop prides itself on customization and boasts that the technology is more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Considered a tailored experience mechanism, the optimizer allows for monitoring and modification of page loads based on web traffic of a specific moment, ever changing to the usage trends and needs of a given website at specific times. The site optimizer also builds in a clever tracking mechanism to predict a given users’ viewing patterns to pre-load pages and create an illusion of faster load times.
Offered as both an appliance to a company’s own datacenter or as a cloud-based service, Strangeloop can work with any IT infrastructure currently in place and lead to increased conversion rates, higher revenues, improved search engine results and most importantly, happier customers!
Recognized major US department store Macy’s has recently launched a new mobile campaign highlighting its latest spring 2012 product collections at rock bottom prices.
The initiative has been launched through Us Magazine’s mobile site, and aims to get attention from Macy’s on-the-go customers and to drive a new direct to consumer discount channel.
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Mobile ads are placed in favorable locations at the top of the Us Magazine’s mobile site landing page, demonstrating a clear call-to-action for consumers to click through to another mobile site showcasing Macy’s “Spring Spectacular” sildenafil pills sale items. Users can also browse the retailers’ entire product inventory and benefit from free shipping.
Not a newcomer to mobile ad campaigns, Macy’s sees this component as crucial to move sales in new directions and continue to develop their mobile component. Having already launched augmented reality platforms to SMS marketing, Macy’s has tapped into the emerging mobile space in a big way.
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, 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.
As major credit card companies Visa and MasterCard continue to develop and deploy mobile payment applications for smartphones equipped with NFC technology, payment processing between merchants and consumers will continue to evolve.
Many traditional brick and mortar retailers may not necessarily see the need to update their current POS terminals to accept mobile payments, as this emerging technology seems more suited to e-commerce. That said, the idea behind the “digital wallet” as a payment method may dramatically shift how sensitive client information is handled during a transaction.
Consumers are increasingly concerned with identity theft and likewise merchants worry about being sued for information leaks in their POS systems. Mobile payment applications change this very dynamic by giving the ability to consumers to keep all important payment information contained in their “digital wallet,” linking only to their respective banking institutions and cloud data management service, the two safest places to store this information.
Digital wallets will effectively turn the mobile payment enabled smartphone into a Personal Point of Sale (PPoS) device, which includes all the current features and capabilities of a standard retail POS terminal but with added levels of information security and less transfer of info between payment terminals.
Initially set-up for online shopping cart transactions, these new mobile payment applications will no longer require consumers to give out sensitive payment information during the checkout process, rather a transaction number will be pasted into the PPoS. This new PPoS system gives consumers the added ability to keep control over sensitive payment information and merchants no longer need to handle sensitive information and keep it secure.
Online merchants will also benefit from the added element of the mobile payment transaction being considered a “card-present” sale, reducing discount rates, limiting charge-back incidents and decreasing opportunities for fraudulent payment activity.
Mobile commerce is certainly on the rise and 2012 should be a banner year for e-commerce company eBay. According to CEO John Donahoe during a speech in Las Vegas at the CES Conference in early January, the company is forecasting $8 billion in total mobile commerce, with $7 billion attributed to mobile payments. Donahoe also noted PayPal’s above expected 2011 mobile payment results of $4 billion, all pointing to the rising importance of mobile payments for the company as a whole.
According to PayPal’s (a subsidiary of eBay) Senior Director of Global Communications and Experiential Marketing Amanda Pires, their mobile payment numbers can be attributed to an achieved level of trust for both the PayPal and eBay brands. “Consumers are increasingly choosing eBay mobile and PayPal mobile because we provide a great shopping experience and a fast, highly secure way to pay,” she said. ”With millions of customers globally, the brands are already trusted online so it makes sense consumers would choose eBay and PayPal on their mobile phones.”
With more than 17 million users currently using PayPal mobile payment services, up from 8 million posted in June 2011, the company is well positioned to capitalize on the mobile payment trend. This coupled with an increasing line-up of top retailers, including Starbucks and Fandango, has enabled the company to further develop its POS scan applications for smart devices along with other mobile payment options, including a pilot project launched in Sweden using NFC technology. There are lots more to come from both eBay and PayPal, stay tuned.
New technology can often be hard for people to adopt and learn, and even though the mobile world is showing definitive signs of high growth many of its users are still not too sure of themselves when it comes to apps in general. Many them are apprehensive of learning how apps work, their usefulness, and ultimately if they’re a good investment.
myPhoneMD has come up with an ingenious concept to bring apps out of
the digital world and into the real world by creating a retail environment that
entices customers to physically shop for apps. “The goal of the store is to
reduce buyer’s remorse,” said Shaun Walker, creative director at HERO|farm, New Orleans.
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The concept is quite simple: a café-style retail space that showcases removable boxes on shelving units that customers can pick-up, demo, and use to learn about a particular app. Using barcodes, each app can be downloaded as a trial or directly purchased through the use of barcode scanners. With a large open space and comfortable seating, patrons can take their time to peruse the various apps and ask sales associates one-on-one questions and advice.
The store is an extension of the MyPhoneMD retail chain, a client of Hero Farm, and only makes sense as an add-on to their current operation. As Walker puts it, “The goal of the store is to reduce buyer’s remorse, this gives them an opportunity to try out an app and make sure they like it before having to put up their money. People also tend to be scared of learning new things or of using the apps, so this removes a lot of the fear as well.”
MyPhoneMD is looking to rollout this concept in all of their current locations as they see this as an opportunity to reach out to customers in a whole new way. By creating a traditional retail shopping experience, both avid app users and newbies alike will feel comfortable with this new technology.
Start-up company Jumio, specializing in mobile and online payments, has secured $25.5 million USD in a recent funding round. Investment firms have yet to be disclosed but this is a huge statement for the upstart company who in March 2011, secured $6.5 million USD in Series-A financing led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin.
As current CEO and founder Daniel Mattes’ second successful start-up, Jumio aims to simplify online and mobile payments. Daniel is no stranger to the world of venture capital finance as he was behind the VoIP success Jajah, selling in 2009 for $207 million USD to Telefonica in an all cash deal.
Jumio’s lead product is Netswipe, with many options from basic processing to a mobile application and even a wordpress blog payment plug-in. For more information on Jumio, please visit www.jumio.com.
By Evo Canada Merchant Services
Founded in late 2009 by media maven Sarah Prevette, Sprouter was built on the notion of creating an online community to give start-ups and small-business owners access to professional guidance from experienced industry veterans.
Entrepreneurs log into the portal and are lead through a series of information pages where they can ask specific questions, browse topics, comment in discussion forums and share info with other networks. Sprouter by no means uses crowdsourcing to answer questions, as all answers are gathered from the panel of proven experts and their associates. This panel of experts is carefully chosen to provide real-world advice on various topics such as business law, marketing and funding.
Taking their initiative offline, Sprouter also hosts a series of events called “Sprout Up” allowing users to connect in a live conference format with other entrepreneurs, business owners and panel experts. Hosted monthly, over 600 entrepreneurs meet and greet at each event and gain insightful information to help build up their respective businesses. Complementing these events is a periodical magazine called the “Sprouter Weekly” which aggregates common questions on the site and outlines useful information for start-ups.
Allowing access to business minds such as Aaron Patzer of Mint.com fame and Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, Sprouter provides an instant connection to a wealth of information, potential investors and expert knowledge instantly, all in an easy to use web based platform.
It is estimated that 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have access to standard financial products and services. Traditional money transfers and pre-paid credit cards are helping to bridge this gap and offer consumers convenient, low-cost options for financial services.
Western Union and MasterCard have recognized this need and see an opportunity to develop a crossover network between both companies’ electronic payment networks. Over the last year, both companies have been collaborating to develop a partnership that would see MasterCard become the pre-paid card of choice for Western Union and Western Union the preferred money transfer solution for MasterCard. As such, cardholders will be able to access these global networks to reload funds at any MasterCard rePower location as well as selected Western Union Agent locations. Consumers using the Western Union money transfer service will also now be able to send funds directly to eligible MasterCard holders, offering a viable, non-cash solution to these financially underserved clients.
According to Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, “This agreement sets the stage to globalize prepaid services. We’re opening up more options for consumers around the world by combining Western Union’s global network of money movement solutions with MasterCard’s world class global electronic payments network.”
“The primary focus of our global partnership is to enable greater financial inclusion for consumers and provide additional electronic payment options that create efficiencies in their daily lives,” said MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga. “We look forward to all of the benefits that our partnership will bring to consumers around the world.”