male-hand-holding-iPhone-5-PSD-Mockup-1024x1024

With summer slowly coming to an end, it’s no doubt students have back to school shopping on their minds. These Digital Natives have high expectations when it comes to technology and are without a doubt very active smartphone users. So it only makes sense for SPC, Canada’s largest student loyalty program, to team up Plastic to be meeting their users where they are, and make sure they are delivering the most relevant experience possible.

And after only a few short months, we are excited to announce that you can now download the revitalized mobile app with features like weekly push notifications, locked offers, mobile exclusive deals along with SPC’s traditional savings and deals. These savvy consumers (and their parents!) will now have their smartphone and savings needs combined and fulfilled.

Along with these new mobile features, students can enjoy deals from more than 120 retailers to buy supplies and fresh new looks. Easily find all the stores in your area that accept the SPC Card, check store offers on-the-go and even build a member profile for offers just for you.

While we may not be able to hang and be hip with this crowd, give them the latest fashion advice, know which way wearing your backpack is cool, or the latest slang, we at least know one thing that hasn’t gone out of style; discounts and mobile. Good-luck this year students!

luxury_daily_banner

Net-A-Porter, an online based luxury retailer, recently ventured into high-end sports wear. While in the past, fashion and sportswear have merely flirted, Net-A-Sporter brings the two together for what seems to be a long-lasting relationship.

Promoted through online banners on The Cut – Net-A-Porter is hoping to reach a demographic it believes is highly relevant. The ad prompts users to download or open the brands mobile app. Plastic COO, Melody Adhami commented on this strategy in Luxury Daily saying “Since both brands have a target audience overlap, the click-to-download of the Net-A-Porter app is a great way to captivate an inherently interested audience.”

By directing users to download the app, Net-A-Porter is increasing their chance of success. “Our research has proven that users spend more time in app than any other mobile function,” says Melody Adhami, “This strategy to influence readers to download or open the app is a great way to predispose Net-A-Porter users to becoming more engaged with the brand.”

Mobile users are excellent candidates for retailers to introduce new products. Net-A-Sporter is also using a video to showcase the line. Having the video offered on the app significantly increases the chances of it being viewed, as mobile and tablet shoppers are 300% more likely to view a video vs. laptop or desktop users.

While we can’t be sure sportswear and luxury is a match made in heaven, we can definitely say Net-A-Sporter is making all the right moves. Sweat on in style my friends!

adaptive-responsive-design-elements

Did you know that if it takes more than 500 milliseconds to load a page there is a 20% drop in traffic? And that 80% of page that load time is because of front end images, styles, HTML, fonts, etc?

Slow loading time invokes frustration and usually its because there’s either too much content to load, or the content isn’t optimized for some mobile devices. Responsive web design has streamlined this by making web pages more adaptive to smaller and larger screens.

However responsive web design can only be so fast and sometimes there’s only so much fat you can trim. This is why there are still some mobile only websites and desktop only websites, because it allows the best experience without the extra loading time.

So what’s the difference? Responsive web design takes place on the users device so when a smart phone accesses a responsive website it downloads everything. Whereas adaptive delivery is a server side function that grabs the device information and modifies the webpage to best deliver the content. The result is a smaller webpage that can be downloaded and displayed much faster.

That means if you open a website that uses this adaptive, the page you will see would have been custom made for your device. Where as responsive would have modified the content to fit. Adaptive delivery essentially brings all the joys of responsive web design without long loading times that can annoy your visitors.

Adaptive is a god send if you have a wide range of media on your website that may not be need for some mobile devices. Take lower end smart phones with smaller screens, is it really necessary that a large hi-res image take up half their screen? Why not an use an optimized image that can be displayed properly and quickly on their device? or no image at all? This is what adaptive delivery is meant to solve, so users can get to your content faster and presented just for their device.

luxury_daily_banner

Summer in the Hampton’s is a highly coveted weekend affair, and for some it can be a getaway wrought with traffic and time spent in transit. Well, it didn’t take long to find a mobile solution and now there’s an app for those less inclined to to wait in dense weekend gridlock.

Similar to Uber, the Fly Blade app provides a helicopter service to New Yorkers heading to the Hamptons, with just three taps of a finger. Since helicopter availability can sometimes be unpredictable, there is always the option of using the app to have a chauffeured Maserati escort you to the beach.

Plastic COO, Melody Adhami commented on the app in Luxury Daily saying, “The affluent demographics that Blade is targeting has a much higher smartphone penetration than the average populace, and all of our user research of the past 3 consecutive years has revealed that the urban affluent demographic doesn’t put a limit on the size of the transaction they will comfortably complete on their smartphones.”

With the rise of trust in mobile banking, it is not surprising that higher amounts in transactions don’t scare people away. Many mobile users are comfortable making payments or transactions using their smartphones since the highest priority is time and convenience.

As for the Maserati, Melody says, “It adds value by reassuring clients that they will arrive at their destination without any additional effort on their part. Not only are they guaranteed arrival, they don’t have to sacrifice on luxury.”

So, if you don’t feel like waiting in weekend traffic to get to the Hamptons this Summer, at least you know there are luxurious alternatives.

EY Logo_Beam_Hrz_web

One fine Summer morning, members of the Plastic Marketing Team headed to the EY Wearables Breakfast Series hosted by Ernst & Young to hear the latest from the wearables industry in Canada.

 The Panel discussion was lead by the Google Glass man of Toronto and friend of Plastic Mobile, Tom Emrich and featured Dr. Martin Karl of Bionym, Stephen Lake of Thalmic Labs, Jason George, VP of Sales & Partnerships at Interaxon, and Matthew Milan of Normative Designs.

Breakfast was a delightful array of pastries and parfaits but our sights were set on the future of the wearables industry. A subject of debate since the beginning of 2014, this emerging technology has its share of supporters and naysayers. That being said, one thing’s for sure, its gonna take more support from the investor community as well as consumers for wearables to realize their potential.

While Canadians are opening up to the world of wearables, the industry does face some challenges, namely around privacy and social acceptance. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since speaking out loud to a wearable device such as ‘watch’ or ‘glass’ in public still hasn’t really become the norm.

Even though there’s some skepticism the audience pretty unanimously agreed that wearables are not going to be a short-lived trend or fad, and that we can expect implementations of wearable in the health and sports industries.

Major players in technology are well on their way to refining the usability of their wearable devices, but we still have a long way to go to creating seamless user-experiences with respect to an ever-dynamic context and in consideration of all sensory involvement.

We look forward to seeing continuous growth in the wearables industry. See you at the next EY Breakfast Series Event!

 

unnamed-1

What happens when you bring your mobile expertise to Canadian retailers? At Plastic it means being recognized by Apple as a Canadian app favourite, three times.

On July 1st the Apple App Store did a “Made in Canada” feature, showcasing the best of the best. Our mobile apps for clients Realtor.ca made it to the No. 1 spot in Lifestyle & Travel, Beyond the Rack at No. 5 in Lifestyle & Travel, and Pizza Pizza featured at No. 7 in Cookbooks, Food & Wine.

We want to thank all of our Canadian clients for allowing us to continue pushing the mobile space forward, as well as Canadian mobile app users! We love bringing your favourite brands to the tip of your finger, and it’s great to know the feeling is mutual.

 

unnamed

Have you heard? Plastic COO, Melody Adhami, will be speaking at the next Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Senior Executive Strategy Event, presented by KPMG.

The WCT, based out of Ottawa, is an association committed to providing networking and industry support to advance women’s careers in communications, digital media and technology. With partnerships with the Information Communications Technology Council, Information Technology Alliance of Canada and Wired Women, the WCT continues to provide a network of over 2500 women with mentoring, leadership and and skills development.

The WCT has recognized Melody as a leader in the field for thought leadership and innovation. Based on her experiences, she is able to provide insight to women in the tech space about how to rethink strategy and business development.

In her talk,  “Back to the Future:  Looking Back at Starting a Future Forward Company”, Melody will be discussing what it takes to be a female entrepreneur and the gumption needed to build a mobile marketing agency from the ground up.

In Toronto on July 15th, 2014 6:30-8:30 pm

Register soon, word has it that space is pretty limited.

We look forward to seeing you there!

luxury_daily_banner

Nothing says Summer like a glass of cold champagne, especially if it’s poured out of a limited edition bottle. In celebration of the fourth of July weekend (Happy Belated America!), this luxury brand went patriotic with mobile.

LVMH-owned Domaine Chandon has recently launched a mobile ad banner on New York magazine’s The Cut that will feature a hashtag and click through leads navigating mobile consumers to a microsite with information about the special edition bottle, videos, social media links, recipes, and more.

Plastic COO, Melody Adhami a regular Luxury Daily contributor, applauded this mobile effort saying, “Ensuring that the Chandon’s advertisement is front and center on the mobile stage of on-the-go New Yorkers gives the company access to their primary audience for this red, white and blue campaign.”

Melody also comments that Chandon has chosen it’s ad placement thoughtfully to reach the demographic of consumers this content would be most relevant to. She says, “The Cut has set a standard of expectation with its consumers of luxury, which aligns with the Chandon brand.”

The holiday fun is over, but when it comes to mobile, there’s never a dull moment.

 

 

Box

Up until Google I/O last week nothing seemed to be more buzzworthy than iOS 8.

 Of course the new question on everyone’s mind comes from the latest announcement for Android at Google I/O: Which new operating system will be the favourite?

Android L vs. iOS 8

iOS 8 is continuing to blend less skeuomorphism with flat design, while Android L seems to have professed it’s allegiance to flat design exclusively. Although there are notable hints borrowed from iOS as explicitly stated at the big conference. Android L’s UI attempts to provide a sense of realism in its design, and there’s nothing wrong with doing a little idea-sharing if it means the end product will be well received by its users.

That being said, it’s not about who does it first, it’s about who does it best.

Android “L” – as it stands – is taking flat design a step further with something they’ve named, “material design”, which will use layers of flat design characterized by jolts of colour, shadows to add depth, and animated transitions to provide fluidity.

While it’s becoming pretty clear that Android’s material design is the new trending topic of the design world for the next little while, Apple has set the stage for a tough battle with a few notable features that will give iOS 8 the excitement iOS 7 was lacking in.

Here’s the thing: it’s possible that skeuomorphism may be slowly fading out, but we shouldn’t completely disregard it’s power that made Apple the gargantuan success it has been out of the gates.  The spirit of the Steve-Jobsien punditism that suggested computers should be so easy to use that a novice would know exactly how to operate its primary functions still looms over each new direction with design that Apple takes.

While there haven’t been any major design changes between iOS 7 and 8, there are still notes of skeuomorphism, and Android L is not totally dismissing the use of realism in its design either.

Now it’s out, and we’ve now become privy to the exciting new plans from each OS, but what approach will brands take with rejigging their mobile presence with this new(ish) direction?

 

 

Google-IO-2014

It was a big week for Google with the announcement of new Android products that are going to enhance user experiences from typing on a touchscreen to driving and watching TV.

At the Google I/O conference, there was a lot to take in, but there were definitely four things that stood out as important changes to the Android we’ve been accustomed to until now-and we’re not just talking about the 36% longer battery life. After attending the conference in San Francisco, here’s Plastic’s recap of the key highlights we can expect from the new Android OS.

1) Android L

Two words, material design. Ok, where did that come from? Android’s new design is flat and colourful providing emotive responses when a user interacts with their Android smartphone. Material design highlights imagery and motion to provide a new (and improved) UI that will change user experiences.

The apps will also be seeing new design features, but aren’t shying too far away from the look in KitKat. With a cool new look to UI, there are also going to be enhanced notifications. The notifications feature called, “Heads Up” allows notifications pop up over an active app without disturbing the activity itself.

In addition to these features, Android L will aggregate both recently opened apps as well as chrome tabs. This way, the user does not have to open the chrome browser to revisit a previously opened page.

Lastly, the yet to be fully named “L” boasts improved battery life.

2) Android Wear

The SmartWatch available through LG and Samsung directly links to your Android device allowing auto-unlock capabilities within close proximity. In terms of battery life, the Samsung smart watch needs to be charged in cycles similar to a smartphone.

The voice commands are impressively accurate, and some of the best compared to others on the market. Android Wear is an understated piece of equipment that’s designed for on-the-go user experiences and streamline several popular use-cases.

The most used function of Android Wear will be voice-command capabilities, and it’s worth noting that Google has designed a specific OS just for wearables.

Another discernable feature will be Google Now cards, which allow you to find out the weather, news and traffic instantly. Additionally you can access sports, movies, events, and even set reminders to yourself for later in the day. Android Wear has blended this UI with its wearables letting users interact with it via voice-commands.

3) Android TV

The basic concept? Simple apps for a simple box. By creating super simple apps for the television, users won’t get lost in the static. There will be apps and games for users to interact with, and it will support voice input and notifications. It will also include channel guides that users can invoke from various Android devices including the smart watch.

4) Android Auto

No, we’re not going to have self-driving cars just yet but this is a step in the right direction. Android’s new OS will help drivers by syncing the mobile interface with dashboard displays inside a vehicle to prevent interaction with smart devices that cause distractions while driving and still allowing access to mobile utility.

It will keep drivers safe by allowing for voice exchange communication. Essentially, you can check your notifications or receive driving directions by way of auditory feedback rather than visual. This prevents a driver from averting their eyes to look down at the display or to look no further than the car’s dashboard for visual information.

Google I/O made some big announcements, but there is one overarching theme that stands out, all roads lead to mobile connecting people with places and things. Android’s new OS is going to bring some changes to everyday devices like cars and TVs by way of smartphones.