Posts Tagged ‘retail’

A Hyper-Local Black Friday Wrap

December 8th, 2011

Checking-in to Super Savings

One of the most hectic shopping days of the year has passed, and this year’s Black Friday marked an interesting development in the marketing efforts of major retailers. Although the typical Black Friday shopper battled the crowds with a purpose and a pre-determined route, location based mobile apps enabled retailers to access the discount-driven shoppers who just can’t resist a good deal. An increasing number of companies have turned to these services to offer customers exclusive deals via their mobile devices. Accessing customers through their mobile devices has become an attractive feature for retailers as it allows them to target the sales-crazy, on-the-go shoppers who just might trample down anyone who gets in their way of a sale.

Foursquare , which recently announced they had hit 14 million users has become an important app that many retailers have paired up with to offer discounts, which customers receive once they have ‘checked in’, or shared their location. Various stores are enticing customers into their retail store mayhem by offering special discounts only available through this app. These examples pictured from Foursquare’s blog are only a few examples of the retailers targeting the media-savvy shopper, with stores ranging from AT&T to UPS also offering check-in discounts. Foursquare is not alone in its location based advertising, as companies like SCVNGR, Facebook Places, and Yelp are also offering these types of deals to sales-hungry customers for checking in.

QR Codes – The Modern Catalogue

Aside from encouraging retail madness through discounts for mobile check-ins, retailers are also using QR codes to provide customers with an easier and faster shopping experience. With Black Friday being one of the biggest sales days of the year, QR codes are becoming increasingly prevalent in retail stores. While QR codes are not a new phenomenon to the advertising world, the upcoming holiday season has retailers embedding them into a variety of marketing displays to attract mobile users. Companies such as JC Penney and Macy’s are among the many retailers that have introduced QR codes into their stores this holiday season. Sears and Kmart have created ‘gift walls’ in their stores, placed in viewing sight of those waiting in the cash line, which are essentially walls filled with QR codes linking the customer to popular items for sale. With the increase in technological innovations, mobile phones are quickly becoming the best aid a shopper can have for finding the best deals.

The numbers are growing, but what’s next?

Recent stats from AdvertisingAge showed Foursquare checkins on Black Friday as a significant increase over last year.  And while Starbucks and Mcdonald’s topped the list, Wal-Mart with over 149,000 was the leading national retailer.  But it checkins and QR codes are just the start.  Expect to see these apps and more to further expand to include real-time product inventory, mobile wallets, and even virtual goods in the form of augmented reality.  eBay Mobile announced that shoppers in the U.S. purchased nearly two and a half times as many items via eBay Mobile this Black Friday when compared to 2010 and PayPal Mobile (another division of eBay) announced a six-fold (516%) increase in global mobile payment volume compared to 2010

Shoppers will increasingly choose the convenience of mobile to find the best deals from wherever they are while avoiding big crowds and long lines. The ability to simply pick up your phone or tablet and purchase what you want, when you want it, has become an attractive alternative to shoppers in record numbers this holiday season. The possibilities are endless.

Digication: The synergy between Digital Signage and Location

June 17th, 2011

Digital signs are polluting cities globally and the only thing consumers’ want is to see their faces and words hitting the big screen. Be it a childhood dream or an item off the bucket list, having yourself plastered in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus would have topped the list every time. But how can you make this happen? It is of common belief that those signs are saved for America’s Next Top Model, not ordinary folk like us.  Truth be told, America’s Next Top Model is you! Within the digital sign industry, it is becoming possible to broadcast yourself or items that are targeted toward you on the jazzy displays.

LocaModa  + Foursquare do Vegas

LocaModa wanted to bring visualizations to place based media. Their first effort was to team up with Foursquare at a specific location and whoever checks in will be displayed on the digital signage outside. The sign would also display photos of the mayor, check ins and comments about the location. Users could even upload photos of their experience within that location and potentially have it display on the big screen. In doing so, consumers can display what they’re doing, when they’re doing and how they’re doing it to their friends though Foursquare but to upwards of 100K strangers walking past the sign. Who would complain with those 15 seconds of fame?

AdCentricity does Consumer Sync

AdCentricity teamed up with Environics to develop a solution for DOOH media to target consumers based on their behaviours, psychographics and purchase intent. The Nielson Company develops the consumer profiles so that companies can target their consumers based on their preferences, media habits and lifestyles within their marketplaces. Consumer Sync will engage with customers through DOOH media in a more impactful and personal way than has been seen before. How does this impact location? Well, Consumer Sync allows companies to develop media based on the demographics within a given geographic region, which ultimately enables creative distribution and flighting.  AdCentricity is the first of its kind to utilize targeting analytics as a way of developing advertising campaigns. They have opened the doors to an avenue with great potential.

One of the best examples I’ve seen to date is the recent project by McDonald’s Sweden that put an interactive billboard in Stureplan, the main public square of Stockholm. Called “Pick n Play”, the concept was dead simple: For one week (May 7-14) consumers competed by completing a pong-like game in 30 seconds on the billboard. Winners received coupons sent immediately to their mobile device for free food in the nearest McDonald’s restaurant.  WATCH VIDEO HERE:  McDonald’s Pick n Play

The big news here is as the user you play right from their mobile web browser, with no app to download!

Digital signs aren’t just the flashy lights anymore. They are based on strategy, creativeness and location. Companies are able to make the messages on these screens personal with script written by passing by patrons or photos uploaded to social media sites. The LocaModa and Foursquare have taken checking in at locations from being something that you share with your friends to being broadcasted on the big screens for everyone to see. Now when a 4sq user becomes mayor they will feel a greater sense of elation as their picture will be in the posted beside Gap’s latest campaign. Furthermore, AdCentricity has removed the meaningless nature of visual displays and made them more personal. Any message on their screens is personalized and targeted to that demographic and most of the time it will apply to you. This only leaves one question: what’s next? Will digital displays pair with the geolocation software in phones and tablets to directly target those consumers as they walk by? Will campaigns use augmented reality so that you are the ad? Really at this point, anything is possible. Just make sure you hit the gym because rumor has it screens make you look 10 lbs heavier.

Mo Money In Mobile?

June 7th, 2011

Have you ever thought about how awkward first dates really are? You barely know the person, probably are going to be short for questions and comments, and chances are you are extremely nervous because you want to make a good impression. But we’ve all been there and gone to dinner with that guy from the accounting department or the girl from the coffee shop. I’m also sure we’ve all had to deal with the utter shock and dismay when you reach to offer to pay for the bill and the only thing in your back pocket is a note from your mother asking you to turn the lights off when you get home. You’ve just successfully eliminated all chances of a second date. Imagine how much perspiration would be saved if you could just pay for the meal with your cell phone. You would never “forget your wallet” again as your mobile device is likely glued to your left hand. Lucky for all you first daters, this is actually going to be a possibility. Lucky for the marketers, mobile payment systems are a whole new space to explore and new technology to utilize.

Google Mobile Wallet

Google has announced their NFC- based Google Wallet, which is a mobile payment system designed to allow users to pay for retail items with their phone just by tapping. Google has teamed up with giants such as Subway, Macy’s and MasterCard. The partnership with MasterCard in particular will allow Google Wallet users to pay at any PayPass contactless system already installed. Payment isn’t the only draw to this wallet; by tapping at locations consumers would receive offers and promotions directly to their mobile device otherwise known as Google Offers. While trials are underway in NYC and San Francisco, Google is hoping for a full release this summer. We can only imagine what’s next: boarding passes, SIN cards, gametes. Regardless what it is, I’m sure Google will make it happen.

Visa PayWave

Visa developed this contactless card to compete with MasterCard’s PayPass but has not teamed up with DeviceFidelity to apply a mobile twist. They applied the smart chip technology from the card into mobile devices so that users just need to select the icon and wave their device over the payment system. Their pilot project is taking place in LA and New York transit systems including taxis. Their objective is making Visa usage more efficient and secure while eliminating cash handling for transit operators. Furthermore, it saves transit riders from scavenging the streets for those additional pennies to make the accurate change to ride the rail.

 

Apple + Square

As Google Mobile Wallet and Visa Pay Wave are in the process of creating more efficient processing systems, Apple and others are keeping it creative with a temporary solution, Square.  This nifty device was developed to ease online payments for consumers purchasing with their iPad or iPhone or other mobile device. Merchants develop an account for a small few and users just buy the device for $10 allowing quick and easy credit card payments on-the-go. By pairing this with location based services, consumers will be able to walk by a retail store, receive an offer that blows them away and pay for it all through their handheld mobile device. Talk about handy.

Mobile payment systems not only make shopping easier for customers but more efficient and productive for merchants as transactions will be faster, safer and less fraudulent. Furthermore, it is developing a whole new customer experience as its cool, unique and fun to be spending money.  Google Mobile Wallet has broken ground with this technology and has created a space, which allows for almost anything to go mobile. As marketers, there are opportunities to target these customers into retail locations that are housing the contactless payment systems and offering them deals. Now that we know where payment systems are headed, you better go trade in your best goat for the newest iPhone.

To Be Realistic About Marketing Is To Augment Reality

May 17th, 2011

As a marketer, have you ever thought that your kismet is lying on the super imposed lines of any Sunday afternoon NFL football game? Probably not (especially if you’re not a sports fan). Well, these first-down lines, not only, provide a more accurate spatial orientation of games for home viewers but they are also the foundation of Augmented Reality (AR). To elaborate, AR directly takes physical real world images, modifies them using computer generated software and creates a whole new world. AR adds elements to the participant’s ordinary life to enhance their experience through means of enjoyment, intrigue and, recently, convenience.

For years, marketing and advertising agencies have strained themselves trying to isolate the most effective, meaningful and lasting image to sell their product. Now, brands are able to visually and audibly foster experiences to which their consumers can be a part of. As AR is within its infancy stage, there are no limitations to form of communication it embodies. Whether it’s an experience like walking around the top of Toronto’s CN tower or a product like a Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! giftcard. Through its dynamism, AR has already showcased services, goods and entertainment, which have shifted reality from relatively normal to bigger, cooler and more fake.

Services

By employing GPS software in mobile devices, companies are able to target exact locations to specify their message to that geographic region.

eBay Classified

eBay partnered with AR platform Junaio to launch an app that displays all nearby classified ads. The app allows you to filter the listings with keywords to avoid clutter in busy areas. The ads appear on your screen as you change your phones direction and take it one step further to dial the number posted to set up an appointment. Something as daunting as apartment hunting is made simple by this app, all you do is hold your phone to the building of your dreams and then sign a lease!

Wikitude World Browser

This app scans your surroundings using the camera and GPS sensors in your mobile device to provide all points of interest nearby and tags them on your screen for easy navigation. The app goes one step further to provide you with the Wikipedia information you need to know about those locations. Therefore with World Browser, you have the capacity to know anything about everything anywhere in the world.

Goods

Product advertisements are becoming invisible to consumers as they are blocked by clutter. By experimenting with AR, brands are able to bring their product to the consumer and allow them to sample the product in their own space.

Ray-Ban Virtual Mirror

Ray-Ban collaborated with FittingBox to develop the technology behind the virtual mirror. They use landmarks like nose, ears and eyes to place the products in real time. This takes online shopping to a new level allowing customers to virtually try the product on before deciding to purchase it. Another great opportunity to determine if the black Wayfarers are too Risky Business with your hair cut.

Hallmark Gift Cards

Nothing says ‘cheesy’ like a Hallmark gift card. But Hallmark is making the recipients of their gift cards say ‘cheese’ by bringing their cards to life through AR.  After the purchase of a gift card, the recipient can log on to the website display the card on webcam and become part of the animated party. This adds an interactive element to gift cards that has never been seen before. Hallmark identified that most people enjoy a party, especially those receiving condolences cards, so they are hosting one and invited everyone to it through AR.

Entertainment

Companies have been using forms of AR for years now to make games and simulations feel more realistic. Previously, they have brought the users into their games, but now they are incorporating games into real life.

Disney MotionBeam

The MotionBeam project is developing new character interaction through projection controlled by gesturing of hand held devices. The projections can be applied by linking them to physical attributes in the environment that become part of the game. Although this project is still in the works, Disney has identified that they would like to incorporate this projector into cell phones to turn the real world into a playground. As if life isn’t already crazy enough without Captain Hook.

Augmented Reality is field that should be considered by marketers globally as consumers are actively seeking brands and, in some cases, trying them on. As for being location based, AR will add a digital overlay to real world experiences and give a different perspective on life as the consumer relocates. It may add background information about places like Times Square or Union Station, or give customer reviews on products during shopping trips through WalMart or even act as a distraction from a boring keynote speaker. Whatever its uses will be, AR has the ability to change the world as we see it. Or, in the least, will add computer-generated pieces to it.

Retail LBS: From Check-in to Checkout, and Beyond

September 10th, 2010

Retailers and brands everywhere are experimenting with the onslaught of location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt to deliver coupons and other offers to their customers.

The big challenge however, is that most of the leading providers in the space are treating all customers the same.  People visiting a store are given the same reward that long-time, loyal fans are.

Two recent studies have pegged adoption rates of location-based services as relatively low.

One released earlier this week from Myxer suggests 11% of folks are using LBS, while that’s up from the 4% reported by Forrester in July, the numbers are still indicative of early adopters only.

Perhaps these low adoption rates stem from a mis-understanding of the market demand.  Customers don’t just want coupons and deals – they want Value and Relevance.

Technology providers targeting these retailers should give consideration to the old mantra of service first.  Get them there with a deal, make the deal valuable and relevant, and then provide support and service after they leave so that they come back again.

It’s experiential marketing 101.  A good example of this is the recent investment by Pepsi in TableTop Media.  The company uses a ZioskÔseven-inch wireless touch screen device (think smaller iPad) to provide restaurant guest with interactive and convenient ordering and checkout experience.

The next phase of location-based marketing and greater relevance will come from the use past histories of web traffic to serve up ads. In an article called, Seeing that Ad on Every Site? You’re Right. It’s Tracking You, we can begin to see how brands might start to use past check-ins as a way to offer specials based on where you’ve been.

For example, if you have been at a bar on Friday night, you could be served an ad or pushed an SMS telling you there is a Wednesday night happy hour or no cover as a new club next week.  Simply by knowing where you’ve been, brands can serve you the ad the minute they believe it will be the most impactful.