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.
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.
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.”
Taco Bell and Sony have released a mobile sweepstakes tied-in to the much anticipated product launch of Sony’s PlayStation Vita game console. This collaboration seeks to further engage Taco Bell consumers while highlighting both the PlayStation Vita release as well as key Taco Bell products from it’s “Unlock the box” campaign. Taco Bell’s lead digital brand experience manager, Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, had this to say about the collaboration: “Gaming is incredibly popular among our customers, so together with Sony, we are bringing a game-changing technology to fans before it launches and allowing these fans to have fun while winning.”
The contest platform is two-fold, on one level users can enter to win via participation in a mobile specific game, or simply text in special product codes found on Taco Bell’s “$5 buck box”. Supporting both the iPhone and Android OS, the mobile game will allow Sony’s core gaming demographic to connect with PlayStation Vita news, updates and pre-release information.
Collaboration between the two companies on a mobile marketing initiative points to the growing importance and recognition of how consumers are incorporating mobile into their daily lives. Ms. Zarate-Bayani has made this notion a focal point when developing digital campaigns and notes “Mobile is a priority for Taco Bell as we know that it is an important aspect to our consumers’ daily lives, especially when making decisions about where to eat. Our overall digital strategy involves engaging with our consumers in relevant ways, and leveraging new and exciting technology through mobile provides these experiences to our fans on a daily basis.”
By Evo Canada Merchant Services
It’s understandable that smaller businesses may be overwhelmed on how to utilize social media to capture the essence of designing and implementing content for these platforms and to capitalize on this low-cost marketing initiative.
Here a few simple steps that will start you in the right direction, and pave the way to savvy social media marketing for years to come.
Develop a cohesive plan: Like any project or business planning, detailed framework is necessary to keep your content organized, time appropriate, and platform appropriate. This plan will also allow you to focus on creating content that is more relevant to your consumers and social media blueprint.
Use social platforms independently: An effective technique that should not be overlooked is linking your content to all the various social media platforms. For example, a blog post on Tumblr can link to both Facebook and Twitter. Although this is a good start, each platform behaves and interacts with users differently. Your content needs to reflect this contrast in audience and social media channel.
Market research is your friend: You can seek out your target market by noting which pages users like and which blogs and tweets they follow/re-post. Posting content blindly in each platform can be exhaustive. Ease into it slowly, and tailor your marketing based on what generates the most response. The choice of platform and type of content becomes easier to select and develop once you’ve tapped into the attention of your consumers.
Measure, measure, measure: Analytics are powerful tools built into most social media platforms; they allow you to measure all kinds of data about your audience. The geographic location of your target market can be a powerful metric in your marketing.
Advertise: People need to find your social media pages and sites, begin this process by using services like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords; both are low cost and can grow your audience exponentially.
Consistency is king: Remain consistent with your content subject matter, tone, and timing of posts. Too much alternate material may confuse your audience. Define “character” traits, values and specific interests your target market is attuned to and always build your content using these same principals and influences.
Engage your users: Quality versus quantity. Indulge your audience; give them creative, thought-provoking yet easy-to-digest content and they will keep coming back while spreading the love of your brand.
Be smart about content: Sensational gossip will only provide an audience for a fleeting amount of time. Most groups of consumers form an interest in content that is relevant and interesting.
No matter how daunting it may seem, the operative rule is to ease into the process by starting with the go-to platforms of Facebook and Twitter. Take the time to look around, see what is happening within the various sectors of your market and fine-tune your content and messaging before the full blown launch. Good luck!
Lifestyle apparel retailer Guess has launched a program to bring innovative elements to their in-store shopping experience. Leveraging Verifone’s GlobalBay mobile retail platforms and software, Guess has set up rolling stands with iPads in approximately 12 stores across the USA. This is a test phase for the retailer, with plans to expand this program to their other locations based on the usage rates and overall functionality within their existing retail environment.
The iPad stations allow customers to shop for products in-store as usual but are seamlessly integrated into the shopping experience by exposing them to enhanced brand level content. The iPads come preloaded with GlobalBay’s Lookbook application which showcases videos, content, and an innovative product catalog function that ties to an e-commerce platform, all while integrating with current Guess POS and inventory systems. The software is stock with these backend functionality, allowing a brand to simultaneously maintain creative control over their layout and aesthetic design to properly showcase their features.
The stations are mounted on wheels, allowing employees the ability to move the mobile iPad freely in the store so they can, for example, assist further in changing rooms by suggesting alternate colors and styles to patrons who are actively trying on their products. Store managers are mandated to use the stations to help train new staff, give up-to-date product knowledge sessions, and help manage the Guess brand. Future plans for the system include the addition of a barcode scanner and credit and debit card mag stripe units to automate the checkout process, a similar trend that has taken hold in major department and grocery stores.
Will this be the end of the salesperson? Not likely, but it will modernize the way retail stores, their clerks, and their customers interact. The traditional retail shopping experience at Guess and other clothing stores alike are going to be become much more technology-driven and better equipped for enhanced service.