Nov 10

How retailers’ mobile shipping options can diminish Amazon’s looming shadow

By

September 28, 2015

Commerce options will be robust this holiday season

While Amazon’s Prime Now delivery service remains a top threat to retailers this holiday season, the key to maintaining sales stems from offering a multitude of shipping options on mobile applications and sites so that consumers can select the method best suited to their needs.

The proliferation of delivery services on mobile suggests that consumers’ desire for instant gratification is at an all-time high – one that could skyrocket even more as the holidays approach and shoppers stress over receiving purchases in time for family get-togethers. Amazon’s massive inventory and Prime Now service may overshadow some smaller retailers, but others may be able to fight off competition from the conglomerate by ensuring they are offering a slew of different shipping options, ranging from same-day delivery to buying online and picking up in-store.

“Same-day delivery gives some a clear advantage, especially if they are selling such items as food and diapers where time is more of the essence,” said Jeff Hasen, co-founder of Gotta Mobilize, Seattle. “But not everyone wants to pay for the convenience or a surcharge that could come, say, when a drone comes to your house.

“The wise retailers are providing choice, even rolling out same-day pickup and concierge service when someone pulls up to the brick and mortar,” he said. “Over 90 percent of sales still happen in-store.

“Making that bricks-and-mortar experience better is key to keeping that going.”

Catering to everyone
Mobile delivery will likely play an even larger role in holiday sales this year as opposed to last year. An increasing number of brands have cottoned on to the lucrative revenue potential that mobile offers, and have bolstered, if not perfected, their mcommerce apps and sites.

Bricks-and-mortar stores will still see plenty of customer traffic, as many individuals prefer to check out products in-person before engaging in showrooming to find the best price on digital channels. However, as specific holidays creep closer, time-strapped consumers will undoubtedly turn to brands with a plethora of delivery options on mobile.

“We’ve been able to transact via mobile for a long time but it’s finally beginning to resonate with consumers because of three driving forces: one) better experiences through bigger more powerful phone and better UI, two) emphasis by retailers on expedience – mobile Web is the ultimate ‘I want it now’ experience (way quicker than phone and thus combined with services like now that get product in your hand within minutes not days help reinforce this, and three) familiarity – we’ve finally gotten over our prejudice about shopping with a mobile and now we can’t get enough,” said Martin McNulty, CEO ofForward3D, London.

“Desktop feels, well, a drag.”

Amazon’s Prime Now service is one of the premier solutions to offer one-hour delivery in select cities if shoppers buy items via its mobile app or online site. Last year, Amazon’s fast shipping Prime service gained more than 10 million members worldwide while Amazon.com saw nearly 60 percent of its consumers shop for the holidays via mobile devices, cementing its status as the digital retailer to beat (see story).

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Consumers not wanting to brave the malls may settle for services such as Prime Now

The instant gratification that Amazon offers, along with the speediest shipping options, means that some retailers may lose out on impulse purchases made during the holiday season. Fewer shoppers may drop by a store and make an unscheduled transaction, due to the sheer amount of individuals who frequently browse gift ideas on their personal devices at their leisure.

The ability to follow through with that purchase on mobile and have the product in question waiting at a doorstep in less than an hour is certainly an attractive feature for some consumers.

Therefore, retailers must offer a variety of options to suit consumers’ needs and wallets. Not every shopper is able to afford rush or same-day shipping, leaving wide opportunity for marketers to leverage tactics such as buy on mobile, pick-up in-store.

If a brand does not combine bricks-and-mortar, mobile and online purchasing and shipping capabilities, it runs the risk of discriminating against a vast portion of customers.

Bricks-and-mortar solutions
To ensure that Amazon does not snatch a significant amount of holiday sales, retailers must offer in-store, online and mobile shopping components that are differentiable from others in the sector.

“The trick is to offer both options,” Mr. McNulty said. “Can’t make it in store?

“No problem…use our Web app and we’ll ‘Uber’ it to you by six. It’s about empathizing in that moment.

“It’s about having an alternative,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve hit tipping point yet for physical stores yet but it sends a clear differentiator to your clients if you can attempt to accommodate a model that works around them instead of them working around the store.”

ama other 420
Retailers such as Macy’s offer buy on mobile, pick-up in-store options

Another trick is to offer plenty of “in-store only” offers that require customers to visit bricks-and-mortar locations to receive discounts not found on other online sites or apps. Beacons and geotargeted messaging may be able to help with this tactic and send offers to passersby in crowded areas.

“Recognizing mobile for what it offers – immediate gratification, location-aware marketing tools, and a pocketful of coupons, lists, and store locators – will make this a very mobile holiday season,” said Lewis Gersh, CEO of PebblePost, New York. “Retailers will pull out all the stops to make sure consumers remember to visit, from emails, to mobile push messages, to real mail in the home mailbox, to capitalize on what could be a promising retail season.”

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Mar 26

Forecast: Nearly Three-Quarters Of Digital Ad Spending To Be Mobile By 2019

Mobile display advertising to overtake search in new forecast.

mobile-smartphone-apps-ss-1920

Forecaster eMarketer has projected that this year mobile ad spending in the US will effectively reach parity with the desktop. By 2019, the company says, mobile advertising will represent 72 percent of all US digital ad spending.

If time spent and ad spend were in alignment, mobile advertising would already be worth more than spending on PC-based advertising. However that’s not the case.

Mobile vs. PC ad spending

According to eMarketer’s forecast mobile display spending will exceed search this year and continue to widen the gap throughout the forecast period. Here’s what the numbers look like in 2015 and 2019 according to the company’s estimates:

2015

  • Mobile display: $14.7 billion
  • Mobile search: $12.9 billion

2019

  • Mobile display: $34 billion
  • Mobile search: $28.4 billion

mobile advertising forecast

Ad spending within apps will outpace the mobile web by almost 3X according to the eMarketer projection. In 2015 the company expects almost $21 billion in in-app ad spending vs. just under $8 billion for the mobile web. At the end of the forecast period (2019), the gap is roughly the same: $30 billion (apps) compared with roughly $11 billion (mobile web).

App install ads will account for about 10 percent of US mobile ad spending with most of that coming in a mobile display context. Indeed, app-install ads are expected to account for roughly 20 percent of the overall mobile display ad spend in 2015.

While “directionally” the forecast is undoubtedly correct — more ad dollars will follow usage trends — I’m skeptical that nearly three-fourths of US digital ad spending will be mobile by 2019.

Attend MarTech and hear first-hand how brands like Coca-Cola, Aetna, Dell, EMC and Netflix are harnessing the power of technology to produce exceptional customer experiences that deliver business results. Visit with over 60 companies in expo hall. Don’t miss the only US-based MarTech conference this year.

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Mar 10

Apple Watch: Marketers must raise game in battle for wrist

By Michael Barris

Apple watch

Apple’s smartwatch will challenge marketers to find ways to deliver more concise, personal messages as consumers are drawn to a fashionable wearable with baked-in high-tech features that augers to jump-start the market.

Apple’s Spring Event included announcements about both a thinner MacBook and a lower-priced Apple TV, but the most anticipated news concerned the Apple Watch, a device with the potential to dramatically reshape marketing due to Apple’s huge following and the watch’s limited user interface. Expected demand for the watch, which lets users receive calls, communicate by tapping on the interface, and features mobile applications promoting and measuring the user’s health, is expected to drive Apple to the top of the smartwatch market with 55 percent of global market share, according to Strategy Analytics.

“Apple focused on making a beautiful, fashionable watch, which happens to have high tech baked in, rather than position it as a computer that has been baked into a wrist-wearable,” said Linda Bustos, ecommerce analyst for ElasticPath Software in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“This is likely to have more appeal to consumers, and may propel smartwatches into mainstream.”
New dimension
With the watch, which can be pre-ordered starting April 10, the Cupertino, CA maker of the iPhone, iPad and iPod brings a new dimension to timekeeping, as CEO Tim Cook emphasized during a presentation at the Yerba Buena center in San Francisco.
Going after fashion-minded consumers.
The watch, which Apple unveiled in September when it also launched its new iPhones and Apple Pay, will have an 18-hour battery life and incorporate Apple Pay and Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. It communicates with the iPhone over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and can be connected to another Apple Watch. The user can draw a sketch and have it pop onto a friend’s watch, tap to get a friend’s attention, or even send a heart beat.
Apple clearly is out to win over fashion-minded consumers. It unveiled an array of finishes and bands priced from $349 for the Sport version, to $17,000 for the Edition, which comes with a solid-gold case. Mid-range watches will be priced at $549.
A projected boom in fashion-first wearables would impede short-term mobile marketing, research shows, turning up attention on the Apple Watch’s expected impact on tried-and-true marketing approaches.
As the wearables market grows to have annual value of about $80 billion by 2020, fashion-first wearables are expected to have far greater appeal than tech-centric devices, as they blend in with consumers’ lives more effectively.
Forty percent of online consumers in the United States say they are tired of pulling phones from their pockets and purses, suggesting that more mobile time will be spent in quick glances to the wrist as smartwatches catch on.
“With Apple Watch, mobile marketing and commerce will require very concise and personalized messages,” said Andrew Lau, product manager for ElasticPath. “The limited user interface and personal nature of these devices will challenge marketers who are used to inundating consumers with emails, ads and impressions.
“The watch itself is best used to provide contextual data to the underlying mobile app to further personalize interactions.”
Challenging marketers to raise their game.
Marketers will have to up their game to effectively use these touchpoints, otherwise users will be quick to turn off permissions to allow watch glance interactions, much more so than with the phone, since the watch is an even more intimate device.
“The need to enable experimentation across your mobile and marketing teams will be a struggle, as a lot of organizations aren’t set up to succeed in an Internet of Things world due to data and organizational silos,” Mr. Lau said.
The point is not to shrink the mobile app down for the watch.
“The watch is not for browsing or shopping an online catalog, though there is a case for geolocated push alerts and in-store experiences such as content and offers that pair with beacon technology, though a smartphone may be a better device for this content,” Ms. Bustos said.
Global smartwatch shipments are expected to grow 511 percent from 4.6 million units in 2014 to 28.1 million units in 2015, according to Strategy Analytics. Most of the smartwatch growth will come from the new Apple Watch.
Building momentum
To build momentum, Apple will have to show greater perseverance on the software side to finishing and bringing to market the aspects of the watch that will endear it to users.
CEO Tim Cook unveils Apple watch’s features.
“For every great 12-inch Macbook and iPhone 6 hardware device, Apple recently has had trouble unlocking the potential of their related software initiatives such as Passbook, Siri and Healthkit,” Mr. Lau said. “Now throwing in ResearchKit in the mix, it starts to look like a lack of focus.
“The watch, just like the iPhone, will live or die on the network effects that Apple leverages from their App Developer network,” he said. “That’s why I believe the Apple Watch will be much more effective than the independents and the fractured Android-based offerings.
“No one can touch the network effects and breadth of Apple,” he said
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Mar 05

Ticketmaster spotlights digital as mobile visitors outnumber desktop

By Alex Samuely

March 5, 2015

Experts predict mobile ticketing will rise

Ticketmaster’s focus shift to ticket management on mobile has paid off, as the brand saw more visitors to its mobile site than desktop in 2014’s fourth quarter, suggesting that mobile tickets have considerable traction behind them.

As part of parent company Live Nation’s earnings statement, Ticketmaster revealed its renewed spotlight on event discovery and purchase. With many consumers turning to mobile devices for both browsing and purchasing services and products, Ticketmaster is hoping to tap into the massive growth opportunities on mobile for traffic and conversion.

“Live events are inherently mobile,” said Daniel Laloggia, digital strategy manager at Walker Sands Communications, Chicago, IL. “People will be traveling to and from the event and if you need a desktop to access your tickets, or start times, or anything like that you’ll create a roadblock to your audience having a good experience.

“It’s also likely that people will be learning about events while away from a desktop,” he said. “They’ll be out with friends or passing a sign or poster for the event and if you don’t capture them then, you risk them forgetting or never getting around to actually purchasing a ticket.”

Rise of mobile tickets
Ticketmaster’s magnifying glass on mobile likely points to a rise in mobile ticketing in the near future. Sites such as Fandango and MovieTickets.com have already begun rolling out virtual movie tickets that can be displayed on smartphones and visually verified by cinema employees (see story).

Mobile tickets also save theatres and stadiums thousands of dollars in costly scanners. However, the biggest draw is the fact that consumers will no longer need to carry physical print tickets to live events, and will not need to worry about misplacing or losing them.
Ticketmaster’s app offers easy payment options

“Having to print out a physical ticket is going to go away,” Mr. Laloggia said. “It might always be an option for people, but e-tickets are going to become the standard because people always have their phones with them, but a lot of people don’t own a printer (and don’t want to have to worry about remembering the tickets and carrying them with them, and all of that).”

Live Nation saw ticket sales on mobile grow by 35 percent in 2014, resulting in 18 percent of total ticket sales.

Ticketmaster also believes that the increased focus on mobile will help link fans with events and drive more mobile app installations.

Apps versus mobile sites
However, event marketers must be cognizant of the size of their audience and their consumers’ needs before throwing their support wholeheartedly behind mobile applications.

Mobile sites are typically a better fit for driving impulse buys, and attract a wider audience of consumers. However, if an event marketer has a significant following, offering in-app loyalty rewards can also help retain consumers.
Live Nation also offers simple browsing on mobile

“If you’ll be providing a significant amount of content or functionality that your Web site doesn’t offer, an app can be a good way to go, but there are a lot of challenges with an app,” Mr. Laloggia said. “You have to ensure that it runs across operating systems and versions of operating systems.

“The maintenance and updating of apps can quickly become too costly or time consuming for a company,” he said. “A mobile-optimized Web site that meets all the needs of both the audience and the event marketer only needs to be updated when a change needs to be made.

“It will work across devices, operating systems, and versions and hopefully provide everything the audience needs.”

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Nov 26

Mobile FirstLook 2015 New York Jan. 14-15: Coca-Cola, GE, Time, Forrester, HSN, Twitter, NYT, Deloitte, eBay’s StubHub

Registration is open for the fourth annual Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference Jan. 14-15 featuring speakers from Coca-Cola, GE, Time Inc., Forrester Research, GrubHub, HSN, eBay’s StubHub, Silver Airways, Twitter, Yahoo’s Tumblr, Deloitte and The New York Times. This two-day New York event is a must-attend for brands, retailers, ad agencies and publishers looking to develop and implement mobile-surround strategies and tactics in 2015, a year where mobile integration into other channels and mediums will question orthodoxies in marketing and retail.
At this exclusive summit organized by this publication at the Time & Life Building in Midtown Manhattan, attendees will get to listen and meet with key executives moving the needle for mobile advertising, marketing, media and commerce. The conference, whose agenda is below, will be limited to only 200 delegates and is divided into brand- and retailer-led keynotes as well as concurrent deep-dive panel discussions with marketers, ad agencies and market researchers on various mobile verticals and disciplines.
“The discussions around mobile next year will focus on integration and making mobile the common DNA that runs through all marketers’ marketing and retail efforts,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief ofMobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. “Consumers now expect a level of sophistication in their interactions with brands that recognizes and rewards past behavior and anticipates future actions.
“That said, the issues of privacy, device upgrade fatigue, slowing tablet sales and growing complication in technology, execution and media measurement will require safe hands to handle mobile marketing and mobile commerce pushes,” he said.
Key analysis and insight 


Completely editorially led, Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 will offer enough insight and analysis for attendees to make informed opinions in a year where the fight for the consumer’s attention and wallet will be more intense than ever.
In addition to research on mobile marketing and mobile commerce, the summit will also focus on the issues, opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in mobile advertising, banking and payments, content and publishing, database/CRM, email, legal/privacy, mobile commerce, search and social media.
Also under discussion will be the role of advertising agencies as mobile redefines their role as brand custodians as well as a recap of holiday 2014 from the mobile standpoint.
Attendees will get access to all presentations made at the event.
The event is priced at $695 for two days, which includes breakfast, lunch and cocktails on day one and breakfast and lunch on day two. Refunds will not be given 72 hours before the event or for no-shows on the day of the conference.
For sponsorships including tables, lunch keynotes, moderating slots, seat drops, charging station, breakfast and cocktail hour, please contact Jodie Solomon at ads@mobilemarketer.com.
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Oct 17

United Airlines boosts in-flight use of mobile on regional jets

united

United Airlines will outfit more than 200 United Express regional jets with Wi-Fi as the airline boosts opportunities for in-flight use of mobile.

The airline’s first Wi-Fi enabled flights will begin later this year, featuring Gogo’s ATG-4 advanced air-to-ground Wi-Fi on E170, E175 and CRJ700 aircraft. The move comes as airlines strive to match the ability of buses and trains to let customers use mobile in-transit.
“Two-cabin regional jets play an important role in our network, particularly supporting our effort to offer the right levels of capacity and frequency in key business markets,” said Karen May, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United. “Wi-Fi access is increasingly important to customers who fly these markets.
“Additionally, we’re already installing Wi-Fi on our mainline fleet,” she said. “By outfitting our regional jets with Wi-Fi, we’re continuing to invest in in-flight connectivity and also expanding our customers’ ability to stay connected when they travel with us.”
Long haul
Starting early next year, United regional-jet passengers will be able to view a range of movies and television shows on their Wi-Fi-enabled iOS and Android devices using United’s mobile app, as well as on laptop computers.
More than 340 United jets offer Wi-Fi.
The launch of regional jet Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment is United’s latest investment in its customers’ in-flight connectivity.
More than 340 United aircraft now offer Wi-Fi.
Mobile use has remained flat on planes as travelers prefer to use the extra time slower modes of transportation afford to perform tasks on mobile devices, according to a study released this summer by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.
The study found that the ability to stay connected has significantly boosted the growth of intercity bus and train travel. Airline passengers have generally given up on intensive in-flight mobile use, suggesting that U.S. regulators’ recent easing of a ban on personal electronic devices has had little effect, the study said.
Titled “The Personal Tech Tidal Wave: The Rising Use of Electronic Devices on Intercity Bus, Planes & Trains,” the institute’s fifth annual study of personal electronic device use among passengers on intercity buses, planes, and trains sampled 7,034 passengers on 106 departures.
It found that discount city-to-city buses services such as Megabus experienced the fastest increase in technology use. More than 59 percent of bus passengers powered up – an increase from 46.4 percent a year earlier – and outdistanced Amtrak trains, conventional buses and air travel by a wide margin.
Wi-Fi expected
“Business travelers now expect Wi-Fi and can be resentful if they are forced to stay offline for extended periods of time,” said Joe Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.
Business travelers expect Wi-Fi.
“Discount carriers are now providing Wi-Fi so it looks really poor for a big network airline to make passengers play the guessing game as to whether Wi-Fi will be available.
“The cost of putting Wi-Fi on regional jets has become low enough that it will soon be the industry standard. United doesn’t want to be last in line to offer it,” he said.
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Oct 17

Apple wows with Pay launch but disappoints with new iPads

By Michael Barris

ipad
Apple, signaling its intention to own the mobile-wallet space, said its Apple Pay mobile payments system would begin Monday in time for holiday shopping, while unveiling the iPad Air 2 with high-tech camera features and the iPad mini 3.
The Cupertino, CA-based maker of the iPhone announced the Apple Pay start date as a feature of its new iOS8.1 operating system. iPad Air 2 is a more powerful and thinner version of the iPad Air with new iSight and FaceTime cameras, faster wireless and Touch ID.
With millions of consumers’ credit card information already on file through iTunes, Apple Pay is set to become a force in mobile payments, just as the more than 675,000 iPad-supporting mobile applications in Apple’s App store set the stage for the new iPads to make an impact this shopping season.
“Leading up to this event there has been an overwhelming amount of pressure on Apple to come out with a very strong product that will reinstate them as the market leader in the tablet space,” said Scott Hirsch, CEO of Appsbar, a free mobile-application development platform.
“We saw incremental updates to both the next-gen iPad and iPad mini, comparing the thinness of the iPad Air2 to a pencil is a great visual, and speaks to the technological prowess of their engineering, but from a marketing perspective the real updates that matter to marketers are with iOS8.1.”
Personalizing marketing
The proceedings at Apple’s headquarters included the announcement that 500 banks and many big-brand retailers have signed off on Apple Pay.
Introducing the iPad Air 2.
“We see the true effort and resources Apple is dedicating to owning the mobile wallet space,” Mr. Hirsch said. “Once Apple Pay becomes fully integrated with Apple’s iBeacons there will be an unprecedented ability to personalize marketing and advertising efforts.”
Apple has a history of holding their announcements just prior to the holiday shopping season and with Apple Pay becoming available on Monday it ties in nicely to their overall strategy of dominating the mobile payment ecosystem, he said.
“However, we have yet to find out whether or not consumers will be willing to use a 9.6-inch device to make their payments.”
Apple Pay removes the act of actually entering one’s credit card number when making a mobile purchase, which most times equates to time for consumers to rethink the purchase and change their minds.
“With mobile payments already showing growth in 2014, heavyweights like AmEX, Mastercard, and Visa already on board, and removing the time it takes for consumers to think out their purchases, we’re looking at a formula for a surge in mobile commerce through the end of 2014,” Mr. Hirsch said.
The timing of Apple’s presentation, coming just weeks before the biggest retail season of the year, was in itself significant.
“This was really an opportunity for Apple to showcase why consumers should be buying new tablets for the holiday season,” said Julian Zehetmayr, founder of MobFox. “The time Apple spent on their improved photography capabilities, combined with a lower price point for both products, is proof that they’re trying to push iPad purchases hard for holiday season.”
Tablet sales have been cooling faster than expected as cost-conscious consumers hang on to them longer and put money into lower-priced smartphones, laptops and wearables.
Last month, International Data Corp. cut its 2014 global outlook for tablet shipments after a second straight quarter of weaker-than-expected demand while forecasting strong growth in smartphone shipments. The contrasting results underscored a perception that smartphones are must-have items while tablets are luxury items, especially as phone screens get larger.
Apple’s upgrades to the iPad, including better graphic performance, will be attractive to game developers and to attracting gaming users.
Apple also made it easier to make app store and in app purchases, and possible other ecommerce purchases, with the new tablets by integrating Touch ID, but fell short of adding capabilities to the new iPads that will enable them to be used in store.
The iPad Air 2 is just 6.1 millimeters thick, or 18 percent thinner than its predecessor. It also can take pictures in burst mode and slow-motion HD video. Both the iPad Air 2 and the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3 will be available for pre-order today.
The 16GB Wi-Fi versions of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 start at $499 and $399, respectively. Both will feature Apple Pay.
Apple Pay was expected to become a huge force as more and more merchants who signed on as consumers adopted the new iPhones.
Despite an increasingly crowded mobile payments playing field that includes PayPal, the current leader, Google Wallet and Isis, Apple Pay’s advantage is that it already has millions of consumers’ credit card information on file through iTunes, making enrollment and use easy for consumers.
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Aug 13

Restaurant chains eat up mobile for more personal, timely relationships – Mobile Marketer

By Staff reports
August 11, 2014

Restaurant chains eat up mobile for more personal, timely relationships
While each industry vertical has its own pace of technology innovation and risk-versus-reward criteria in regard to adoption, restaurant chains are experimenting heavily with mobile at present due to many customers using search, reviews and ordering from restaurants via smartphones. Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel taps Fruit Ninja app in “More Fruit” campaign
Pillsbury Toaster Strudel is leveraging the popularity of the Fruit Ninja mobile application with flying-fruit video games and a live show by a fruit-slicing swordsman in support of its “More Fruit” campaign.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Hasbro modernizes family game night with Monopoly app
Hasbro is addressing a threat to traditional board games from popular video games by updating its iconic Monopoly with a mobile application that links to users’ Facebook profiles, intending to entice families that are all-around more tech-savvy than ever before.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Graceland updates visitor experience with iBeacon-enabled iPad tour
Graceland recently unveiled a new multimedia iPad tour using iBeacon technology to enhance the experience for guests touring the former home of Elvis Presley.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Philadelphia group’s map highlights lesser-known points for mobile tourists
Philadelphia’s Historic Neighborhood Commission is highlighting some of the less well-traveled points of interest in the City of Brotherly Love with an interactive map that complements a separate mobile application.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Hempfest app seeks to enhance the festival experience
The 2014 Seattle Hempfest is hoping that its attendees will not get lost in the fog now that they have a new mobile application to help them find their way.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

Maritz Travel targets mobile users with Moxie email implementation
A subsidiary of Philadelphia-based travel agency Maritz called Maritz Travel Meetings and Incentives hopes to offer a mobile-optimized and frustration-free experience for its guests through email client Moxie in an effort to drive more online engagement.
Please click here to read the entire story on Mobile Marketer

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Jul 01

Mobile to Account for a Third of UK Digital Ad Spend in 2016

By  | on April 28, 2014

 

Banner Ad 600pxAdvertising spend in the UK will pass £20bn for the first time in 2015, according to forecasts from Warc and the Advertising Association, driven primarily by a meteoric rise in mobile spend.

As previously reported in the IAB’s figures, ad spend on mobile broke £1bn for the first time in 2013, accounting for 16.4 per cent of all digital ad spend in the UK.

In 2014, Warc forecasts that figure will grow 73 per cent, to £1.8bn – 25 per cent of all digital spend.

By 2015, it will grow a further 45.4 per cent, to £2.6bn. That’s 32.7 per cent of digital ad spend, and a remarkable 5.8 per cent of the amount spent on advertising in the UK overall.

Over the same period, spend on desktop will remain largely static, with a yearly growth of less than one per cent.

“Another set of positive indicators to support the growth story – every pound spent on advertising returns six to GDP,”said Advertising Association CEO Tim Lefroy. “The forecast explosion in mobile advertising and digital formats points to UK advertising at the centre of a global revolution in consumer information, service and choice.”

Industry reaction

Pierre Naggar, managing director EMEA of marketing insights and analytics company Turn:

“As mobile ad spend continues to grow and more companies take up advertising on mobile, there will be increased competition to deliver a more personalised advertising experience to on-the-go consumers on the device they are engaging with at that moment. If they are to avoid being hit by rising ad costs, brands will need to look at the habits of their competitors by measuring trends in advertiser share of voice in order to realise the best opportunities to communicate with consumers – the impetus is on modern-day marketers to showcase ROI in new ways.

“Many marketers are making their digital advertising offerings more innovative and efficient, using programmatic, real-time systems and algorithms to automate data-driven, targeted communications with consumers. However, when millions of advertisers, both big and small, are contending for the attention of increasingly distracted consumers in this evolving advertising market, success will hinge on building digital advertising campaigns which deliver quality and relevant ads to your target audience as they move across screens.”

Cameron Hulett, executive director, EMEA, at digital advertising company Undertone:

“It comes as no surprise that mobile is growing so fast. The UK is an early adopter and brand advertisers have finally woken up to the benefits mobile can provide. This will speed up the much-needed change within agency structures, where they will move from having mobile-only planning and buying divisions to integrating mobile into all campaigns with a cross-screen approach.”

Andrew Goode, chief operating officer at content verification firm Project Sunblock:

“It’s clear that brands are adapting to the digital age by funnelling more advertising spend onto mobile platforms, but putting more emphasis on mobile isn’t enough to ensure your ads have an impact. The fact is that advertisers still don’t have enough insight into where their ads are appearing online, let alone on mobile. As it stands, thousands of ad impressions are wasted every day because advertisers have no insight into where their display ads end up.

“Automated buying cycles have made tracking where digital ads are seen incredibly difficult and the same goes for mobile. With RTB, transactions are made in a matter of milliseconds, so unless advertisers have real-time insight into where their ads appear it is impossible to keep track, meaning that they can end up anywhere on the internet. This not only poses a significant risk to brand reputation, but also means that advertisers are wasting money on impressions that are either not seen at all, or are in entirely inappropriate places. Only the most proactive and forward-thinking digital strategies will succeed in the mobile landscape. So advertisers will need to adapt to this mobile trend by enhancing their ability to monitor their ads on multiple devices, ensuring that their ROI isn’t being hindered by wasting budget on ads that aren’t being seen.”

 

 

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Mar 12

Staples rapidly iterates in mobile to address online shift

By Chantal Tode

March 12, 2014

StaplesStaples’ mobile Web site

As Staples intensifies its online focus in the face of floundering bricks-and-mortar sales, the office supplies giant is planning rapid iterations of its mobile applications and Web sites to quickly build a best-in-class mobile retail strategy.

Staples recently announced that with almost half of its sales coming from online, the retailer will close up to 225 physical stores. At the same time, it introducing a new iPhone app this year, its first iPad app and has put the resources in place to upgrade these as well as its mobile Web site on a frequent basis in order to better meet shoppers’ needs.

“We just submitted our iPhone app and we will probably go through dozens of changes in the next 12 months,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce at Staples, Framingham, MA. “We have not done that in the past.

“Our iPad app also goes out in a couple of months,” he said.

“Mobile Web is also going to be sharing the same architecture for our apps and everything to do with mobile will be shared architecture across the board. In some ways, that would be as close to responsive in the mobile environment [as we are going to get].”

Staples, which is the second largest Internet retailer behind Amazon.com, is also moving toward having the same architecture for its offerings across the mobile Web and apps but does not currently see responsive Web design as providing a strong enough user experience on mobile. Responsive Web design, a process promising the ability to write code once and deliver content across desktop, tablets and mobile, has been adopted by many businesses but also has holdouts.

Here, Mr. Masud discusses what is and is not working on mobile, why Staples is not sold on responsive Web design yet and why store locators do not have a lot of value on mobile.

Where is Staples’ focus in mobile this year?
First, we want to get our apps out the door and also continue to see the progress on our m.dot sites.

On our dot.com site, we’ve gone through four different iterations over the last six to eight months and we are seeing pretty spectacular results.

We took the approach of less is more.

Back six to eight months ago, our sites looked a lot more like the previous value proposition for our customers. We were the dominant office supplies retailer. Since we are now much more dominant now in business products and a service provider to all of our businesses, we took the approach, let the businesses decide what they want to buy. We are going to put our half a million SKU’s in front of them and they are going to pick and choose what they want. Rather than letting them see what we have, we let them discover what we have on their own.

There was a lot more focus on ink and toner and paper and supplies in the past iterations of what we had on the mobile Web. If you go today to m.staples.com, you will see that our customers have been voting for facilities in the break room, electronics and other more relevant items for them. In fact, we are seeing a much larger propensity of customers to buy those products on mobile.

We’ve made the design very simple. There is a lot of white space and we’ve tried to keep it as lightweight as possible so the customer can come in and leave with what they need very quickly rather than have a very heavy site.

How has Staples’ mobile experience changed in the past eight months?
It has been more about reducing the number of clicks for a customer to purchase on mobile.

Our previous focus was much more on, let’s tell them where to go to find the store. What we found very quickly, when they want that, they are usually going to Google to find where the store is, so the value of doing that, it is not that huge.

So, changes were made to incorporate what is most relevant to the customer who is looking to be in and out of that store on the mobile Web.

For propagating your address, we are actually hooked in with Google where we can predict your address the moment you start typing the first number or letter because we know where you are when you are firing up the app or on the Web. We make it very easy for the customer, if they are a first time customer, to checkout during that process and give us their address and their credentials.

The other component that was not there on mobile maybe six to eight months ago – it was not a fast experience. It is now probably at par with everybody else or faster.

What changes had to be made from an operational standpoint to enable the rapid iteration on mobile?
We had to deploy a separate team to get this done. It is more about resourcing, which was a constraint earlier. How do we make sure we have the resources available to make mobile a big deal.

The Velocity Lab [Staples’ innovation lab that was launched in late 2012] is what lead to the beginning of how do we make sure that we have a dedicated team that can deploy this.

In the past, it was a proxy site scrap for our mobile Web, which was super slow. The experience was not that great.

We’ve built APIs now so that has made it a lot more easy and convenient and faster for load times for us. That’s been one of the big successes for us. None of that would come without allocating resources specifically for mobile, which today represents about 30 percent of our traffic.

How is the content pushed out to the mobile Web?
We are using the same content that is available on desktop but we are manipulating the way the content is delivered on mobile because of the fact that the real estate is so different.

All of our services are catered to all of our properties – there is no separate thing being built just for mobile.

We pick and choose what content and specific assets to deliver to each device.

From every change that we’ve made, and we’ve made multiple changes, if not dozens, we look at the entire journey end to end, and figure out where the latency exists, where the bounces are happening and where are we not improving the experience overall.

Our focus is on our key inputs, being can we create and deliver the content that users are looking for and is that being delivered with incremental benefit to the customer.

When it comes to channel agnostic delivery of a responsive type environment, when do we see that happening? I feel we will probably go down that path at some point. I just don’t see why we have to focus on the specific methodology rather than the customer itself at this stage.

Why is responsive Web design not the right answer for Staples?
For us, it is more wait and see. First, we are sort in a state right now where we have to address the needs on our hands today. Second, is responsive really the right way to go or not? There are multiple theories out there about what is right for the customer.

I think while it is impressive that you can have the same experience across all platforms, for a retailer like Staples, I think we want to be a little bit more personalized.

Also with responsive there is a latency that is added to the overall experience because a phone is a lot smaller than a desktop. We feel at this stage that because of our legacy code, where are right now and how fast our mobile is growing already with its own unique experience, that it is ok to wait and see until later. There is no big rush to do that first.

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