Tag Archives: m-commerce

Privacy, mobile commerce, couponing…and my mobile will be a blood cell in future

Some interesting thoughts as a Q&A on the future of mobile from Russell Buckley…slightly angled towards m-commerce and mobile couponing (two areas which I believe in strongly) given his role as CMO at mobile commerce business Eagle Eye Solutions ;)….in future mobile will be like a blood cell – great, where do I plug the charger in?

How (if at all) do you think the mobile landscape is different in the UK/Europe versus in the US and why? How do you these differences will impact the development of each market?

Perhaps it’s best to look at the similarities to start with! In the history of advertising, it was all local markets, with really no global media of any scale. Then along came digital and now mobile, which means that campaigns can be planned and purchased on a local, regional and global scale. This is going to have an increasingly disruptive influence on how advertising is purchased, firstly as digital media grows at the expense of traditional media and then as mobile takes over from that.

That said, there are significant differences too. Europe can’t be treated as an homogeneous single market – the 500 million members consist of 27 countries, speaking 23 official languages and all with distinct cultures and mores. This makes Europe much more challenging for advertisers and planners.

Europe is also facing big legislative changes brought about by the E-Privacy Directive coming into force this year, with fines of up to £500,000 available to ensure compliance. Included in this legislation is a requirement for opt-in for cookies, which is promising to be very disruptive and the implications may also spill over into mobile.

What are three of the most important sectors you see emerging now in mobile advertising?

m-commerce is clearly taking off now, so not much more needs to be said about this.

The second big trend is mobile coupons, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. The most important feature of coupons is that they allow an advertiser to take the consumer from a digital environment into a physical one and then measure the result. Generally, bricks-and-mortar retailers and brands who sell via them have been slow to embrace digital marketing without the ability to drive store traffic, a purchase and trackability – on average less than 2% of their spend does via digital today compared to an average of 15%+. Mobile coupons solve this problem and as they become more widely available, considerable additional CPG advertising dollars are going to flood into the mobile channel.

The other important part of mobile couponing is the data that they generate – normally in real time. As marketing moves from the dark art of yesterday into the clean, data-driven science of the future, the ability to generate and use data will be central to constructing marketing, re-marketing and CRM campaigns. Smart retailers are realising this and starting to roll out coupon redemption facilities.

Coupons are part of another larger trend. Over 90% of products are still sold via physical stores and pioneering retailers are working out how the mobile can be used to support their stores – this is different from m-commerce, which is the online channel. So, as well as coupons, we’re seeing instore product reviews, cost comparison, instore entertainment, shopping lists, store navigation and peer opinion solicitations. I expect this “s-commerce” (or store-commerce) to be huge in the coming few years.

It wouldn’t be right to ignore in major trends the demand-side platform (DSP) startups and the real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Buying mobile advertising campaigns across networks and publishers is still a big challenge and I welcome anything that makes things markedly simpler.

What trends and practices will lead to optimizing mobile revenue and drawing spend from big brands?

As I wrote above, the major brake on spending has been the ability to drive purchase via stores and measure results. Coupons solve both problems, provided that redemption is digital and secure, so we’re starting to see this more widely adopted.

What is the importance of mobile commerce and mobile payment to the mobile industry as a whole? Who will emerge as leaders in this field and how will they take control?

I think the market is wide open in the payment sector. History does show that real innovation comes from outside the incumbents, so there’s always room for a scrappy startup. PayPal though – a halfway house between an incumbent and startup, seem well placed at this point.

One thing we can say for certain is that payments will join many other industries that mobile has already swallowed, from pagers, calculators and alarm clocks to music consumption, photography and handheld navigation.

What are your predictions for the connected, social, mobile future?

My first prediction is the end of the PC as a form factor. We’re increasingly getting better tools to use the mobile, so most of us will access the digital environment via our mobile most of the time within the next three years. We’ll also see the mobile morph into other form factors in the next 12 months, with HUD (heads-up displays) becoming available that allow us to live in a blend of augmented reality and pure digital all our waking lives – and maybe in our dreams. After that, contact lenses with the same functionality will be on the cards.

Ultimately, what are mobile devices today will be absorbed into our clothing and ultimately our bodies. If this sounds unlikely, based on technology progress in the last 25 years and projecting into the next, by 2037 our mobile will be about the size of a red blood cell and 1 billion times more powerful. With growth like that, predictions really go out of the window!

Mobile commerce in the UK: stats round up

The importance of smartphone technology to the UK shopper experience has been hard to ignore this past month with an abundance of mobile commerce data being added to our Internet Statistics Compendium.

UK mobile owners are making more purchases from their devices and are also using them when visiting offline stores. The growth of the sector is certainly one to keep an eye on, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

Mobile commerce growth

Data published in October from a new tracking initiative by IMRG highlights the growth of the mobile commerce sector in the UK.

During Q2 2011 visits to e-commerce sites from mobile devices accounted for 7% of overall traffic, up from an average of 1.4% in Q1 2010.

The research also shows that UK mobile shoppers are buying more and are now making 3.3% of e-commerce purchases from mobile devices. This is an increase from 0.4% at the beginning of 2010.

Mobile shoppers

The recently launched Our Mobile Planet tool from Google and fresh data from Intersperience also goes into considerable depth concerning the buying habits of mobile owners.

According to Intersperience, 8% of UK adults buy through their mobile phones, while 21% intend to in the future. Comparatively, a smaller percentage (7%) of under-18s currently make purchases via mobile but 33% plan to in the future.

Our Mobile Planet data focuses specifically on smartphone users, with 28% of owners making purchases from their devices. Though, of those that do, 87% admit they do so infrequently.

Barriers to purchase on mobile

Both sources look into the numbers of people who are still hesitant when it comes to mobile commerce. The Intersperience research highlights that 37% of UK adults are not keen to buy via mobile, compared to just 11% who remain hesitant to purchase via PC.

Google’s stats have price as the biggest obstacle to purchase (69%) followed by ‘doesn’t feel secure’ (34%) and complexity (9%).

The mobile shopping assistant

Mobile is also clearly playing a big part on purchases made in shops. Our Mobile Planet data sees 24% of UK smartphone owners taking their phones shopping with them in order to compare prices and inform themselves about products.

Additionally, mobile devices are on the cusp of becoming more than an in-store information source, with the release of apps and features allowing users to make payments through their devices instead of using cash or card.

Despite 24% of UK adults being in agreement that mobile phones are more likely to be stolen than wallets, Intersperience data shows that 17% would be keen to use their devices for payments. Again, youngsters are more eager, with 25% of under-18s keen to replace their wallets with mobiles at the cash register.

From a marketing point of view, there is still a significant amount of catch-up to be done for mobile commerce to become as trusted as PC-based mobile commerce.

Also, many companies have yet to be convinced that they need a mobile strategy. Our recent Conversion Rate Optimization Report found that 70% of companies have yet to optimise their sites for mobile

But with the increased role of mobile when users are making purchases in shops, there is more scope to promote the positive connection between mobile and shopping, even before users are confident enough to actually make payments through their devices.

This is of particular significance to well-established bricks and mortar stores, especially those who will be seeing a good number of smartphone-using shoppers coming through their doors over the next couple of months.

Shopkick mobile app draws traditional retailers

A trip to the mall? No thanks. They’re too loud and too costly. Better to stay home and shop online.

What’s that? You’ll pay me to go to the mall? Well, that’s another story. Indeed, it’s the business model behind Shopkick, one of the most interesting shopping apps around. Available for free for Apple Inc.’s iPhones or for phones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, Shopkick is a different kind of shopping loyalty service. Lots of us carry a plastic loyalty card that earns extra discounts at a favorite supermarket. Shopkick uses smartphone technology to keep track of your visits to many different retailers. Through Shopkick, the store can offer you special discounts that flash on your smartphone screen. But Shopkick also tempts you with benefit points, called “kicks,’’ that you get just for visiting the store, even if you don’t spend a dime.

The idea is to retrain Internet-savvy shoppers to spend more time and money at brick-and-mortar stores. That’s a traditional retailer’s dream, which is why so many major companies have bought into the Shopkick system, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, Stop & Shop, and lots more.

One of Shopkick’s coolest features is based on some delightfully geeky technology. Drop in at Best Buy with the Shopkick app running on your phone. Walk through the door and wait for a few seconds. With a happy little jingle, the phone informs you that you’ve gotten 60 kicks just for crossing the threshold.

GPS signals usually won’t penetrate buildings, so how does it know where you are? Shopkick has persuaded Best Buy and other merchants to install a network of small speakers that broadcast high-frequency sound, the kind that’s too high-pitched for human ears. I don’t know whether dogs can hear it, but the microphone in a smartphone can pick it up. The sound tells the Shopkick app that you’re inside the local Best Buy, and so you get your reward. You can collect kicks this way once a day, so Shopkick gives users a reason for return visits.

The app uses the same location technology to reward you for wandering the aisles. For example, if you walk to the Best Buy video game department, you get 20 kicks, and 20 more for strolling over to digital imaging. The ultrasonic system is precise enough to track you as you go.

I learned about Shopkick from a local tech executive who confidently told me that its ultrasonic location technology wouldn’t work. Actually, it does, though not perfectly. On one visit, a stroll to the imaging department produced no points. But overall, it’s surprisingly effective.

You can get more kicks with help from the phone’s camera. Just scan the bar codes of certain items. Sometimes getting rewards this way requires making a purchase. For instance, at the 16 Simon Malls in Massachusetts, such as the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, you can get 200 kicks by purchasing an American Express gift card, then scanning its bar code.

But many such offers cost nothing. For instance, at Best Buy I picked up 10 kicks just for scanning the bar code on a Hewlett-Packard Co. inkjet printer; at Target, I got a bunch more by scanning the new Lego Pirates of the Caribbean video game. Such offers are designed to turn shopping into a sort of treasure hunt, where you enter stores you might otherwise never visit, and check out items you didn’t think you’d want.

Again, the technology can stumble; Shopkick requires a decent cellphone signal, and that can sometimes be a problem in malls. The Target at South Shore Plaza is in the basement; after scanning an item, I had to run to the front door to collect kicks.

Collect enough kicks, and you can turn them in for a variety of goodies. I’m still trying to get up to 400; that will entitle me to a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com. Other offers include gift cards from various retailers, movie tickets, or my favorite: a round-the-world cruise for a mere 6,250,000 kicks.

Shopkick’s not quite tempting enough to turn me into a mall rat. But I could see firing it up during my routine visits to Stop & Shop, where I picked up a few kicks just by scanning a package of string cheese. And if you’re already a habitual shopper, now you can get paid for it.

Source: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/06/30/shopkick_app_draws_traditional_retailers/

Best Buy expands location-based walk-in rewards to 1,300 locations nationwide

Shopkick- Best BuyBest Buy drives in-store traffic via shopkick app

Best Buy is ramping up its mobile game by expanding shopkick walk-in rewards to all of its 1,300 locations nationwide.

The company is rewarding consumers and offering consumers exclusive deals just for stepping inside almost any of its locations. Best Buy originally unveiled shopkick in 257 stores and the nationwide launch will now place shopkick in all 1,296 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile United States locations.

“This is basically what we’ve been waiting for since we’ve been launched,” said Cyriac Roeding, cofounder/CEO of shopkick, Palo Alto, CA. “The roll out is the ultimate proof that shopkick is working for retailers.

“After 9 months of testing, Best Buy went nationwide,” he said. “It was much sooner than planned.”

The Best Buy family of brands and partnerships collectively generates more than $50 billion in annual revenue and includes brands such as Best Buy, Audiovisions, Best Buy Mobile, The Carphone Warehouse, Five Star, Future Shop, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Napster, Pacific Sales, and The Phone House.

Last year, shopkick launched its mobile application that hands consumers high-value rewards, offers and exclusive deals at shopkick’s national retail partners simply for walking into stores and malls. Even more rewards can be earned for scanning partner brand products at over 250,000 stores nationwide.

Mobile rewards
Previously, Best Buy was awarding shopkick users when they shopped in its store locations.

Now, the company is simply rewarding consumers just for walking into a store.

Best Buy ran tests that show incremental lift in traffic when they increased rewards for walking in.

Smartphone shoppers can download the shopkick mobile application to take advantage of the initiative.

According to Best Buy, the rollout will make the company the first of shopkick’s launch partners and first consumer electronics retailer to provide the mobile shopping experience to customers.

How it works
The shopkick app, combined with the shopkick Signal – an inaudible sound emitted from a patent-pending device located in each participating retailer – verifies a user is in-store, and then rewards them for visiting in the form of a currency called “kicks.”

Best Buy originally unveiled shopkick in 257 stores and the nationwide launch will now place shopkick in all 1,296 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile United States locations.

“We recently released shopkick 2.0, which allows you to select your favorite stores and you can select them and they are always with you in a sleek user interface where you can see their deals anytime, and swipe them and see them at any point,” Mr. Roeding said.

“In the next step we’re going to show initial cool features and that’s a big step forward because consumers love to interact with their most favorite places and no one has offered you only your favorite places in one screen, on one app in top deals only,” he said.

Source: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/10010.html

Mothercare launches a mobile commerce site

Retailer Mothercare launched its first mobile commerce site this week. 

The user interface was designed in-house, while the site was developed by Usablenet, which has also worked on mobile sites for John Lewis and M&S.

Site search and navigation

Mothercare has opted for a simple mobile site design, and one which has been optimised for smartphones. Visitors to the site from other devices will see a more basic version.

As well as a prominent search box, the site has very clear navigational options, represented by 12 ‘buttons’:

This is a good approach for a site which will be accessed by people on touchscreen phones, as it avoid the problem of clicking on the wrong link.

As users navigate through the various sections of the site, filtering options allow them to narrow the available product range, and make the remaining results more relevant:

Product pages

Research suggests that people want the user experience on mobile commerce sites to match that of desktop sites, meaning the same level of detail, product information and functionality that helps them decide on and make a purchase.

Mothercare achieves this with its product pages. There is a good amount of detail (product specs, suitable ages, dimensions etc) for items such as prams and car seats, as well as multiple product photos:

Any product reviews from the main website are shown on mobile, and calls to action are nice and clear:

Checkout process

The checkout has been optimised for mobile users, and also avoids making new customers go through a registration process before checkout, only asking for an email.

The checkout is well-designed and works well, but it is split over several pages, which means more page loads for users who may be on less than perfect 3G connections.

The more page loads, the slower the process is for users, so having things like selecting delivery options on a separate page should perhaps be avoided.


Mobile commerce is growing, with 10m UK consumers conducting a transaction by mobile last year, but unfortunately, 83% experienced some kind of problem when making a purchase.

This means that retailers need to ensure that mobile commerce sites are usable and designed to make payments as easy as possible, and Mothercare’s site fits the bill.

Source: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7550-mothercare-launches-a-mobile-commerce-site?utm_medium=email&utm_source=topic

M-commerce – coming soon to a location near you

Coming to a shop, restaurant, cinema, carwash, hair salon….the rise and rise of hyper local, m-commerce consumer offerings….

New York – A Carrabba’s Italian Grill executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2011 conference said that offering a mobile incentive via an SMS or location-based services campaign is key to engage new and exisiting consumers.

The Italian concept restaurant chain is using mobile Web sites, SMS messaging and location-based social media to help drive acquisition, engagement and activation. During the “Carrabba’s Italian Grill: How mobile enhances the restaurant retail experience” keynote, the executive discussed how the company is exploring mobile display and search, as well as customer relationship management.

The conference was organized by Mobile Commerce Daily.

“For me to ask someone to give me their email address requires a certain amount of trust,” said Jamie Miller, brand marketing manager of Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Tampa, FL.”

“To turn around ask someone for their telephone number requires a heck of a lot more trust,” he said.

Leveraging that trust to communicate with customers in a meaningful way is a central focus of the chain’s mobile strategy.

In addition to the personal nature of mobile, other reasons for its attractiveness to Carrabba’s is the number of tools mobile offers as well as its immediate, hyperlocal and addictive nature.

Loyalty tie-in
“If our Staten Island location wants to address peak hours, we can deploy mobile tactics to specifically drive this,” Mr. Miller said. “That hyperlocal nature is very important to us.”

To drive customer acquisition, Carrabba’s uses any real estate it has, including check presenter inserts and banners in restaurants to communicate about its mobile program.

It is also leveraging its loyalty program, which has more than one million members, to send emails inviting members to experience Carrabba’s mobile Web site.

The company polled its loyalty program members about what components of a mobile Web site are most important to them.

Location information was the number one response, followed by menu information and mobile ordering.

The mobile Web site serves as the hub of Carrabba’s mobile activity.

The chain focuses on ways to provide users a reason to visit the site and then provide content that will motivate them to visit a restaurant.

“I wanted to enhance our user experience with our mobile Web site, making it quick and easy for customers to get the information they want,” Mr. Miller said.

Since the launch of the mobile Web site, Carrabba’s has seen a 22 percent increase in overall Web site traffic, including 76.3 percent new visitors to mobile site.

The chain’s SMS program started with 12 restaurants.

The company sent a text message with an offer once a week to those in its mobile database.

This was done to engage with these customers and learn from them.

“I really wanted to learn things like what offers drove them and what time to end out messages,” Mr. Miller said.

There was a 68 percent redemption rate of deployed offers.

Carrabba’s built a mobile database for each of its locations.

This enabled the company to create offers that address the needs of specific locations, whether it is to drive Sunday sales, bar sales, off-peak sales or catering.

The program was then expanded to include engagement messaging in addition to offer messages, with offers going out once a week.

The offers are sent to recipients weekly messages and asks them what their favorite dishes are.

One of the goals of these efforts was gain insight into whether it was discounting people who are already coming into a location or bringing in incremental visits.

Respondents to a poll asking customers about this indicated 73 percent a mobile offer drove an incremental visit.

“This shows we’re providing value to customers as well as to each one of our locations,” Mr. Miller said.

Foursquare builds relationships
Carrabba’s mobile efforts also include a partnership with Foursquare, which was introduced last year.

According to Mr. Miller, the goal with Foursquare is to reward silent, but regular customers.

The company introduced an offer providing a complimentary dessert offer to each Carrabba’s “Mayor.”

This resulted in 22,401 check-ins.

The offer was later changed to a loyalty special offer, giving customers a complimentary appetizer on every fifth check-in with the purchase of an entrée. There were 28,956 check-ins with the new offer.

“Foursquare is a conversation starter and relationship builder,” Mr. Miller said.

Source: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/9940.html

Visa Advances Toward a Digital Wallet

Visa hopes its technology will lead to mobile device apps that create digital wallets.VisaVisa hopes its technology will lead to mobile device apps that create digital wallets. Visa is taking another big step in its continuing efforts to create a universal digital wallet. On Wednesday, the company announced plans to introduce a one-click payment system that will allow Visa customers to sign up for a set of credentials that will allow them to pay for items online with a single click. Jim McCarthy, the head of global products at Visa, said that the company was trying to simplify the process of buying items online or on a mobile site, which can be cumbersome for people who have to re-enter their card numbers and personal information each time they want to make a purchase online. “E-commerce is our fastest growing channel,” said Mr. McCarthy. “We know we can do a lot to improve the experience in the e-commerce environment.” People can buy things with one click at a particular site, say Amazon.com. But they can’t yet do it across the Web.

Visa’s new feature reduces the multitude of ways a consumer might want to pay for an item — whether with a Visa check card, a PayPal account or some other means — into a single log-in and password. All of the information is stored in Visa’s secured servers so that users only have to sign in to pay for their purchase. Mr. McCarthy said the service would be introduced to consumers in the United States and Canada by the year-end holiday shopping season. Visa has also been testing a system that lets users pay for items with an application that uses “near-field communication” technology on a mobile device to process a payment. This one-click system will also be wrapped into that service when it is introduced more broadly, the company said.

The company says that a customer’s entire financial history could be securely stored in one spot, along with frequent-flier accounts, medical benefits, even appliance warranty information from Best Buy, replacing the jumble of account information that most people have stored in different locations — on and offline. The first users of the service will probably be online gamers. The service will be introduced in social and online games, allowing Visa customers to buy virtual goods. Eventually, Mr. McCarthy said, the company will introduce it “broadly to e-commerce merchants, mobile and social commerce developers who will allow consumers to check out of a site with a single click.” Visa even plans to make the underlying code, or A.P.I., available to third-party developers who want to install the features on their payment Web sites. Visa executives said the plan was the result of two strategic acquisitions that the company made over the last several months — PlaySpan, a start-up that lets people pay for virtual goods in games, and CyberSource, an e-payments company.

Representatives at Visa said it was working with several banking partners, but did not specify which ones. Visa faces stiff competition as it ramps up its online and mobile offerings. American Express and other credit card issuers are fast at work developing and adopting their own solutions. Mobile carriers have also struggled to bring their own solutions to market, but it is not yet clear when or if, they will debut. “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve here,” said Mr. McCarthy.

Source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/visa-takes-another-step-towards-building-a-mobile-wallet/