Plastic Mobile and The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) have recently launched the REALTOR.ca iPhone app 2.0.0, housing Canada’s largest collection of property listings with a new sleek design. Optimized for the iOS7, the revamped app provides homebuyers and sellers seamless navigation for property searching, complete with intuitive features.

The REALTOR.ca iPhone app encompasses the tools for finding the right property from start to finish, right in the palm of your hand. With fully customizable search options, a mortgage calculator, and a digitally guided tour, the completely redesigned app provides an enhanced user experience for REALTORS® and homebuyers.

Since its launch, the REALTOR.ca mobile app has seen expansive growth with over 1.2 million users. As mobile continues to change the property search and home buying process, Plastic Mobile and CREA are paving the way for mobile technology in Canadian real estate.

To check out what’s new in the REALTOR.ca iPhone app, watch the video above and download it in the App Store!

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The Internet Advertising Competition (IAC), produced by the Web Marketing Association (WMA), has honoured Plastic Mobile with two awards that recognize excellence in mobile applications.

Drum roll please..

Pizza Pizza for Best Restaurant Mobile Application

AIR MILES for best Shopping Mobile Application

The WMA, founded 17 years ago, is setting high standards for internet marketing and corporate web development on a global scale honouring excellence in online advertising. It recognizes individuals and organizations, and showcases the best in internet advertising.

Plastic Mobile’s mobile applications were selected out of nearly 1000 entries across 97 industries, and both won the top award in their respective categories. All entries submitted went tête-à-tête under sections of judging criteria including: creativity, innovation, impacts, design, copywriting, use of the medium, and memorability.

“We are honored to be recognized for industry-leading mobile apps as our mission is to help our clients become number one in the mobile space.” says our President and COO, Melody Adhami, “It takes more than just creativity to develop a mobile app. We focus on innovative concepts and inspired designs as pillars to enhance mobile user experiences.”

Thank you to the IAC for these prestigious awards and a big thank you to the Plastic Mobile team, Pizza Pizza, and AIR MILES for everyone’s hard work!

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If you haven’t already heard, Plastic Mobile’s Salome Sallehy and Parisa Durrani presented at Qual360 last week. The global conference brings leaders in the industry together to discuss qualitative research methods and best practices.

The seeming challenge with qualitative research is that it’s gaining a reputation for being, to put it frankly, “outdated”. Since Plastic Mobile happens to love a challenge, we wanted to present a perspective on rethinking qualitative research by providing applicable instances of its modern success and implementation.

At Qual360, the focus was to bring a fresh perspective to our usability testing methodologies. While contributing to the conference, we also noted some key themes in the contemporary qualitative research space.

Creativity

These days the bare minimum is no longer enough, and all presenters were enthusiastic about an environment that allows creativity and research methods to mingle with one another. By creating a conversation through creative engagement, the research will be received on a larger scale with a larger audience. Focus groups are no longer the standard, and the methods for measuring human behaviours need to be brought to life through richer user experiences. Most agreed that combining experiential and traditional qualitative elements will bring forth more powerful insights.

The Value of Emotions

Research indicates that 55% of messages pertaining to emotions are in facial expression, which means there is something to be said for usability testing and human behaviour. Qualitative researchers are beginning to recognize the value of facial coding to collect relevant data. Facial coding is essentially the art of reading emotions on one’s face. According to Sensory Logic, a market research firm focusing primarily on facial coding, It is decoding these emotions can help generate insights into marketing effectiveness.

Revival of Qual in Usability Testing

Qualitative research is a longstanding methodology that works, but this doesn’t mean it won’t need to evolve as the times change. We wanted more qualitative findings for usability testing, but knew the approach needed a fresh new method. Our curiosity for digging deep into user experiences as they utilized mobile apps lead to a study that blended neuroscience with biometrics. With the use of EEG headsets, we measured attention and engagement observed through eye tracking goggles. By coupling this with data collection, the results were insightful and unique.

With more innovation in usability testing while bearing the above three things in mind, there is no doubt that qualitative research will see its modern day glory come to fruition.

Thank you to Qual360 for hosting us at the event this year!

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At this year’s FFWD2014 Advertising and Marketing Week, the Royal Bank of Canada announced the launch of electronic money transfer through Facebook Canada’s messenger. RBC believes mobile commerce needs to be for all customers, on all phones, with all carriers and include value added solutions – with all the security they expect from a financial institution. We were excited to catch up with Head of Emerging Payments at RBC, Jeremy Bornstein to learn more about RBC’s plans for innovation today and moving forward.

Q. When it comes to innovation, what is the biggest area of focus for RBC?

We’re the first bank in the world that allows you to pay not only with credit, but also with domestic debit. Within seconds of opening RBC Mobile Banking for the first time, you can add your RBC debit and credit cards to ensure that you have that choice at point of sale. RBC Mobile Banking clients are able to purchase goods and services with either their RBC Interac Debit or Visa credit cards using their Bell Mobility Android smartphone.

Q. How are you driving acquisition, engagement and loyalty through emerging payments?

There are different elements to consider here. It’s not about being first with certain capabilities to market, it’s about delivering the best solutions to our clients. Over time, we will continue to deliver the best capabilities and solutions for our clients. The RBC Wallet officially launched to the general public earlier this year but, has been in market since the fall of 2013 through the RBC Road Test, which involved providing a phone and access to services –real and future – to a cross section of customers, merchants, network operators, acquirers and RBC employees. Their engagement and feedback helped shape future capabilities of the RBC Wallet. In fact, the current solution has incorporated much of their feedback. The focus on innovation is about applying next generation capabilities in the most secure way possible. More broadly, we are trying to make it easier for clients to interact with RBC products and services.

Q. How are you using mobile channels as a differentiator?

The position that we’ve taken is security and we think it’s a big one; we take security very seriously. Also, choice; this is the message we are giving both to merchants as well as consumers that we’re standing behind. We are continually enhancing and refining our mobile commerce solution to meet our clients’ needs, while ensuring the safety and security of our clients’ personal and financial information.

Q. It seems that every bank in Canada is in the race to create a mobile wallet, particularly the telecommunication companies. Why do you think this is?

I think it’s exciting that there are a lot of players working on bringing mobile wallets to the hands of consumers. We have well over 25% penetration of contactless terminals in Canada and many of the largest merchants are enabled. We believe that the plastic card in your wallet is very efficient, very effective and very simple. We are working closely with a series of merchants to deliver clients their stores, to provide them with targeted offers and help clients increase their loyalty and get a really rewarding experience. Mobile is more than just a matter of taking your phone out and tapping it.

Q. How do you think banking behaviour in Canada specifically will be effected mobile in the next  5 years? Where do you see the industry headed?

A. That’s difficult to say, but if I were to wager at some point I’d say it’d all be centered on the mobile phone. One view, [let’s look 2 years out] is that roughly 50% of our clients will interact with us primarily through mobile and that number is going to dramatically grow. We will provide a very rich experience for clients to be able to not only interact with merchants effectively but also with their budgets, banking, and many of the traditional services that we would do today through a branch.

 

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How are Beacons going to have an effect on the future of in-store experiences?

That is the big question that Sep Seyedi, Plastic Mobile CEO, answers in his guest column for Mobile Marketer Daily.

“Now, more than ever, breaking the ice between consumers and retailers is becoming increasingly important.” he says. “Beacons have quickly become the new conversation starters, bringing technological innovation to the forefront of retail.”

See what he has to say about how Beacons will affect retailers, consumers, and ultimately, change the entire brick & mortar in-store experience. Read the the article here!

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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 digital marketing agency from the ground up.

Where to find the event?

Verity Club

111 Queen St. E

Toronto, ON

When?

Monday, April 14th

6:00-8:00 pm

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

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

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Plastic Mobile’s very own, Salome Sallehy and Parisa Durrani, will be speaking at this year’s Qual360 Global Conference taking place on April 3rd, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario.

The topics at Qual360, as the name suggests, are focused on varying discourses in qualitative research methods. Our speaking session will focus on usability testing and the importance of incorporating qualitative research tactics to deliver mobile products that best resonate with users.

Usability testing is an absolutely critical step for mobile product we develop. And it’s not just about conducting a single usability test; it’s about deploying several tests to ensure we’ve got all our bases covered, from the technical components of mobile, to the overall user experience.

But we wanted to dig deeper in our usability tests, and get a better understanding of how users felt as they used mobile apps. And that’s no easy feat, since research has shown that we don’t always say what we feel.

That’s why we developed The Science Behind Mobile Design: Neuromarketing Case Study.

The result? A fresh perspective on usability testing.

To learn more about our findings and our usability testing methodologies, be sure to check us out at Qual360 (and don’t forget to contact us, or tweet us, for a special discount code on tickets)!

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What happens when a luxury shoemaker goes mobile? A dash of old world modernity stirred with some digital elegance, topped off with a delightful click-through picture book.

Berluti shoemakers are taking part in the high-end retail mobile ad revolution. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago Prada used a similar strategy during New York Fashion Week, 2014 via The New York Times.

Berluti saw a need to appeal to its consumers on a larger scale and saw mobile as the right channel to do so. The revered French shoemakers created a unique and content-rich mobile ad that was launched with Vanity Fair.

Luxury Daily got in touch with Plastic Mobile President and COO, Melody Adhami, to comment on Berluti’s strategy. “It’s an awareness play which is what we typically see in the pre-mobile-commerce evolution of a brand. Mobile is a great tool to deepen a brand’s relationship with their customer.”

Melody goes further to say, “I think that their target audience, that likely relates to the content, will sign up and start their relationship with the brand that way. The Berluti brand’s digital strategy is very clearly focused on content rather than commerce. They’re depicting a lifestyle through their web content and cultivating an appreciation for the shoe craft.”

The push towards mobile ads is undoubtedly going to procure a larger following, allowing consumers inside the world of 21st Century shoemaking with an old school twist.

 

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While brands continue to revisit their mobile initiatives, IBM research shows that fewer than half of them have clear mobile strategies in place. In today’s overcrowded mobile app market, just having a presence isn’t enough. Every company caters to a different audience and the best way to ensure leadership among the masses is by honing your focus on the end-user, your customers.

A crucial and yet often overlooked aspect of mobile strategy is research; it is the one theme throughout strategy planning that will recur every step of the way. Basically, if you don’t do your homework – you won’t make the grade.

Five Tips for Mobile Strategy

1) Industry Analysis

The first step in a strong mobile strategy is researching the industry for which the app is being built. Strategists must go beyond mobile to understand the consumer needs prior to designing the app itself. At this stage, the main objective is to understand the business, such as their long-term goals and expectations when launching a mobile app. In addition to understanding short and long-term goals, it is essential to find out who the key players are and what they offer in terms of mobile.

The Question: What will this app offer my customer who already uses mobile & what would encourage them to keep using it?

2) Customer Behaviour

Now that you’ve done some homework about the industry, it’s time to think about customer behaviours in relation to mobile, and how people connect with their phones and specifically, apps. If customers are connecting through specific apps over others, find out why! Demographics will vary when it comes to app utilization. For instance, a business has to consider the types of customers that will value their products. What kind of buying choices would matter to this demographic and how do they utilize mobile in their daily buying activities? By researching previous trends and identifying mobile behaviours of targeted consumers, the app can be customized with a more personalized user experience.

The Question: How will this app improve customer and user experiences?

3) Customer Reviews & Data Tracking

It’s important to look at the reviews of other apps in the same genre. This will provide insights into pain points and opportunities. It may also be useful to do an audit of the current apps leading the app space in the specified field of interest. Moving further into this process, analytics will come in handy. With the advent of honing a plethora of data in real-time, the numbers can become overwhelmingly large. Understanding these numbers can unlock many valuable insights for ways to improve the app.

Don’t forget: not every customer is going to write a review or rate the app, and that’s why it’s so important to use data analytics. It will gauge the level to which customers are involved with the app, how they are liking it, what’s working, and what’s not working. With this wealth of knowledge, you can continue to refine the app.

4) Putting the Pieces Together

After compiling your research, it’s time to take the puzzle of information, and piece it together until the final picture emerges. This step will incorporate putting steps 1-3 together to find trends, analyze information, and think about the way you will utilize mobile in the best interest of customers. Think of the strategy as a holistic concept, each aspect will build on another to be integrated in the final plan. For instance, by taking industry analysis and coupling it with customer behaviour, trends can be identified. It’s time for creativity to come into play!

The New Challenge: Making the information gathered work for you while using a unique and colourful approach to personalize the app for the targeted audience.

5) Always Think a Few Steps Ahead

Whether it’s establishing a mobile payment option or using data to collect information, a company should prepare for the future by gauging consumer insights. Based on the fact that real-time data is readily available, it means that processes should be updated just as often to stay relevant. This can include implementation of different hardware devices such iPad or Tablets as well as smartphones. Additionally, it means integrating software with upcoming technologies (maybe BLE and Beacons).

Keep in mind: A mobile app is practically a means for the business to walk around with its consumers at all times, which is why planning ahead with strategy is a crucial step.

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Upon realizing that there were not enough seats for the keynote speaker address at DX3 2014, it was pretty evident that it would be an exciting two days. From brands and retailers to thought leaders and industry experts, the space was buzzing with the latest trends in the mobile and digital space.

Weren’t able to make it to the show? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

While retailers increasingly turn to mobile and digital to enhance their products and services, we couldn’t help but notice three common themes from the exhibition floor to show sessions.

In-Store Experience

Brands are looking to change the landscape of the in-store experience with new and emerging technologies. AR Door teamed up with TopShop to create a virtually augmented fitting room with Kinect capabilities. The touch-free virtual fitting room is one of many ways consumers can interact differently when in-store. Ultimately, the traditional in-store experience is no longer enough and consumers are connecting with products in a very different way.

Beacons

Since Apple announced iBeacons earlier this year, beacons have become one of the biggest trends of 2014. Beacons are becoming the 5th element of shopping experience and we’re seeing retailers beginning to explore the possibilities – recognizing the value of meeting consumers through mobile devices in-store. At DX3, The Mobile Innovation Store by Thirdshelf used iBeacons to show users how mobile devices could eventually change the way we shop.

Big Data

Data collection has proven time and time again that the best way to understand consumers is through analytics. Given that real-time data can be accumulated quickly, it gives businesses the insights to remain relevant in their space. Consumers have moved their way into the driver’s seat with the expectation that shopping experiences should be personalized and efficient. This leaves businesses with the challenge of collecting and interpreting an immense amount of data, used to build loyalty and profitability while moving toward the new era of retail.