Plastic Mobile is on the move again! We’re heading to the The Customer Experience Strategies Summit in just 4 weeks. On November 13th and 14th, Plastic Mobile will be at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto to spread some sweet cheer with our Candy Shop booth, as well as spreading the word that mobile is the quintessential tool for bringing truly extraordinary customer experiences to your audience.
Join us and CX experts from across North America to discuss next-level steps in superior customer experience programs.
Also, attend the Interactive Delegate Workshop: Putting Your Customer Experience Strategies Into Practice to learn about:
· Designing the ideal experience
· Activating your culture
· Building an effective employee journey
And, find out what approaches your peers are taking to deliver their CX programs. Fill the gaps you may not know you had in your own customer experience agenda.
This will be moderated by Michael Mattalo, Managing Director, FifthP.
Register Today! More than 70% of our seats have already been reserved!
WHEN: November 13-14, 2012
WHERE: Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Tweet us if you’re going and we’ll make sure to save you a spot in line at the Candy Shop! @plasticmobile.
Nowadays, with smartphone image quality nearing that of most point-and-shoot cameras, along with the inherent convenience of mobile, more and more people are using their devices as their go-to camera.
As a result of this trend, we are seeing a constantly increasing amount of photography apps popping up. These apps offer users a variety of innovative features not found in native apps. One such app is creating somewhat of a buzz latley, by offering its users an opportunity to make money doing something that they are already doing for free.
Much like Instagram, Foap allows users to create profiles, upload photos, rate photos and follow other users. AND, remarkably similar to a stock photography site, Foap has created a marketplace where photographs can be bought and sold.
That’s right! Users can actually make money selling the digital photos taken with their iPhones – capitalism wins again!
However, it should be noted that uploaded photos must first be reviewed by someone, we assume a photography expert, at Foap. So, only the approved photos are uploaded to the Foap market and put on sale for $10, with all transactions processed through PayPal.
When a user’s photo is sold, the generated revenue is split 50/50 between Foap and the user. I know $5 doesn’t sound like much, but just consider what Instagram users get for uploading their photos (hint; the answer is nothing).
It’s not very clear exactly what Foap looks for when reviewing photos, but from what I have read in the app’s FAQ section, photos must be clear and of good quality, and of course free of any sexual or violent content.
I have also read elsewhere, that editing photos decreases the chance that they will be published. I, myself was unable to upload some cropped images. I received an error message stating that either the width or length of an image must be at least 1000 pixels.
Once photos are successfully uploade, reviewed and published, they are showcased in the app’s market section. Users can access the market through a tab menu found on the home screen. The home screen is very easy to learn and navigate, making for speedy discovery and exploration of the app.
Once in the market, users are able browse through published photos, leave comments and rate them out of a possibe five stars. Top rated and recently sold photos have their own dedicatd sections in the market, while the entire selection can be found under the “Explore” tab.
Users are not actually able to purchase photos directly from the app, but I predict that will change eventually. Until that time, however, anyone wishing to purchase a photo must do so through the company’s website.
However, while viewing a particular photo, users can tap an arrow icon loacated at top right of their screens, which gives them a few options. Selecting “View on Market” will launch Safari and take users to that particular picture’s page on the website.
I have been playing around with this app for a few days now, and I must admit that I have become a bit addicted. For the purpose of this review, I actually snapped this photo and uploaded it. Once it was approved and published, my picture quickly picked up a few five-star ratings and made its way onto the top-rated chart under the “Today” category. In fact, it made it all the way to #2!
Every since then, I have been snapping away, trying repeat my accomplishment. I have introduced a few friends to Foap who are now also hooked. We’ve even mafe a friendly bet between us as to who will be the first to actually sell a photo.
Even is you have little interest in selling your images, I would still recommend giving this app a try. Foap is well designed and easy to learn and use. It can also be alot of fun and can even possibly get you paid for your amateur photography! Yay!
This story begins at a business networking event that I attended a few weeks ago. It was being hosted by one of Canada’s largest retailers (who shall remain un-named for the purpose of this post).
I was surprised to learn that this national chain is still very much a family business, with the son of the founder currently overseeing operations. We had a nice chat about their many successes over the past few years and I had to ask; “What are you doing in mobile?” To my horror, he replied: “Nothing. It’s not for us.”
I’m not going to recap the entire dialogue, though it did get rather interesting, especially when his “agency” representative added his two cents, stating: “this mobile fad is going to fade.” Instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to challenge this perspective – one that I think is too-commonly held by pure-play retailers.
One of the advantages of working in a somewhat conservative marketplace (read: the Canadian marketplace) is that you get to learn from the mistakes of your bolder neighbours in the South. When Amazon’s price comparison app was released, it shook the foundations of the traditional retail model. However, the consumer behaviour was already shifting long before that.
Consumers have stopped relying on retailers’ storefront employees to educate them, but are sourcing all kinds of information for themselves. Through online forums like product review sites or blogs, the consumer has taken charge of finding unbiased reviews and, ultimately, making smarter purchase decisions. Of course, price plays a big role in that.
It’s because of this ready access to information that online shopping exploded. Consumers demanded more choice and convenience at better prices, and buying power got a whole new meaning (emphasis on the “power”).
Fast forward to the current landscape. The smart retailers took note of how their customers’ needs and behaviours were changing and acted quickly to better cater to this change. Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Walmart took steps to shift from pure-play brick and mortar to a hybrid model, where they make their offerings available wherever their customers are; online, in store or on their mobile device (and potentially browsing in a competitor’s location).
Basically, they haven’t limited their services to a single shopping option, rather, they are letting the customer choose for his or herself.
Sears certainly learned their lesson after shutting down several stores and now are offering drive-through services, where customers can pick-up, return or exchange without having to get out of their car and not have to wait for it to arrive in the mail either. Wow. Good job, Sears.
If there’s anything we can all agree on its that happy customers yield loyalty, and loyalty yields revenue.
So, to look into the future of retail, we think you need to take a look at what customers are doing, and what you can do to make them happier. The average consumer today leads a busy life, relying heavily on technology to make them more efficient. They have options and tend to opt for convenience and simplicity as defined by themselves. Sometimes it’s convenient to have products delivered, and sometimes waiting is inconvenient, so the key is giving your customer the choice.
Enough of the players in the market are making changes towards a hybrid model that soon we will start to see online retailers set up brick and mortar shops. Those in the hybrid arc will thrive while the others will eventually go the way of the Dodo.
Tweet us @plasticmobile and share your thoughts on mobile in retail.
So far in 2012, Plastic has been a big hit in the awards circle. We have won 10 awards, and the year is only half over!
Most recently, we won a Gold award for Pizza Pizza’s iPhone ordering app at the Applied Arts Interactive awards.
And the Creativity International Media and Inteactive Awards liked us so much, they gave us four awards:
And the Horizon Interactive Awards toasted us three times for:
Pizza Pizza also brought in yet an additional two awards including a Silver from the Communicator Awards as well as an Official Honouree Award from the Webby’s this year.
We can’t wait to see what the second half of the year has in store for us, and we want to take a moment to send out a huge thanks to everyone involved in all our mobile solutions – we know it takes a village to raise a child, and we couldn’t have done it without you – you know who you are!
After reading this report on last year’s holiday shopping season, we began to wonder how many retailer’s would learn their lesson for 2012.
In November of 2011, mobile took the holiday shopping scene by storm, ravaging the purchasing stats and making a mess of retailer’s traditional approach to advertising and marketing opportunities.
The report, from JWT, is from the survey of 465 mobile shoppers and hopes to shed a little light on the potential impact of web-savvy mobile devices on retail environments, e- and m-commerce and consumer behaviour and mobile device use.
Four extremely interesting facts for retailer’s to consider when sitting down to do create their strategies for the 2012 holiday shopping season:
1. On average, 55% of consumers who shopped on mobile devices in the past year also took the same actions during the holiday season.
2. 55% used their smartphones to find price info, 46% to get more info and 38% to make a purchase.
3. Men and Millennials did the most mobile shopping during the 2011 holiday season.
4. Of those who shop on their mobile device, 69% say the mobile shopping experience is either “excellent” or “very good.”
Pending its release later this year, the new Apple OS has once again managed to incorporate features that we didn’t know we needed…until we saw them. Among many, iOS 6 features include new vector based maps, the highly anticipated PassBook app and a very convenient Do Not Disturb mode for your iPhone. Less publicized however, is Guided Access, a feature that will make it both easier with those with a vision, hearing, learning and mobility disability and educators to incorporate iOS devices in their daily routine.
VoiceOver, a screen reader first introduced in Mac OS X is now integrated with more features including maps and zoom. This will allow the visually impaired greater access to content and generally, offer more ease of use. The feature serves different functions as you change devices – for example, with every Mac computer, you can connect a braille display and VoiceOver will program the keys for you.
What’s completely new is how Guided Access plans to expand to assist parents, teachers and administrators use iOS devices in their working environments. Whether it be at home, in a classroom or on the go, Guided Access provides the functionality to better educate.
The highlighted features include:
· the ability to selectively disable portions of the device from use
· disable hardware buttons
· disable certain portions of certain apps
· transition into single app mode
These features are useful in a number of ways and for many people. For instance, in classrooms it is commonly understood that technology is more of a distraction than an asset. But with Guided Access, devices in the classroom serve as an educational tool, where teachers are provided with control as to what students can access and – more importantly – can’t access. It’s hard to cheat when you’re locked into a test!
Also, Guided Access provides an opportunity for enhanced learning experiences for those with a disability. Students can focus on the task at hand without worry of hitting mistakes.
Guided Access has has functionalities that are excellent for outside of the education space. Consider iPad kiosks, menus at restaurants and satisfaction surveys, which can all now be conducted while the user is on the go.
As our co-founder, Melody Adhami, often says, technology should help and not hinder. As Apple continues to provide us with devices that we can virtually do anything with, they continue to also increase the ease with which we do all this anything.
Everything taken into consideration, kudos to Apple once again for their efforts in equal accessibility and their efforts in revolutionizing the education system.
Love Apple’s latest efforts? Tweet us @plasticmobile and tell us your thoughts.
Last week at Google I/O 2012, it was announced that Chrome, the popular internet browser, was coming to iOS. Hours later, it was available in the App Store for all iOS devices.
I’ve been using it for the last few days and have found it to be a very easy transition from Safari on my iPhone – though, I should mention that I use Chrome daily as my go-to browser on my Mac. In fact, with the exception of a few minor differences, the iOS version doesn’t look or feel much different.
Google Chrome on the iPhone
Upon launching the app, I was first greeted with a screen displaying the Google Chrome Terms of Service that I had to agree to before I could continue any further.
Once the formalities were out of the way, I was given given the option of signing in using my email address and password or continue without doing so.
I chose to sign in, as doing so gave me access to my open tabs, and bookmarks from my laptop. I found this feature to be very useful, as it allows for users to grab their phones and pick up right where they left off on their computer. Meaning that, in a sense, the Chrome application for iOS bridges the gap between the desktop and our mobile devices. Finally!
To access bookmarks and open tabs that exist on other devices, users select the corresponding tab near the bottom of the screen while in a new tab. Alternatively, they can tap the menu icon to the right of the address field and select the “Other Devices” option.
Another thing I like about Chrome is something called “incognito mode,” which is basically the equivalent to Safari’s private browsing. The main difference between the two is that Chrome makes switching between regular and incognito browsing easy and quick, while Safari users are forced to navigate away from the browser and make the change in Settings.
To enter incognito mode, users tap on the menu icon next to the address bar and select “New Incognito Tab.” This opens a new tab where users can browse without having their browsing history, searches and cookies saved.
Incognito tabs have a dark grey menu bar at the top of the screen, while regular tabs are light grey. This colour coding helps users keep track of which tabs are incognito and which are not. I really appreciated this feature since you’re probably broswing a la incognito for a reason, so confusing the two could result in bad news.
For me, it’s the simplicity of Chrome that makes it a good browser. Unlike Safari, which has two separate fields for URLs and searches, Chrome has one universal text field for both. Because Chrome can detect what it is you are trying to do, with the Google guess, there is no need for two separate fields. Chrome will either navigate to your desired site or provide Google search results for your query.
Users can also speak to Chrome to tell it where to go or what to search. Just by tapping a small microphone icon in the far right of the URL/search field, then dictating either a URL or keywords, Chrome will produce your results just like that.
Make the switch?
Overall, I enjoyed Chrome and believe it to be a fairly good alternative to Safari. Particularly for users who are already using it on their desktops.
But in the end, it ultimately comes down to preference. Users know what they value and what they like. For example, it has been reported that Chrome is the slower of the two browsers, making Safari a better choice for those who value speed. However, I’m sure any difference in page loading times is minimal, as I did not even notice it.
The biggest problem with Chrome for iOS is that there is no way to set is as the default browser, which means that links from messages, emails and other apps will continue to be opened in Safari. Leaving Chrome secondary browser. Boo.
What do you think of the Chrome app? Love it? Hate it? Tweet us @plasticmobile and share your thoughts.
A few weeks back, Plastic’s CEO, Sep Seyedi, was attending WWDC 2012 and sent an email to us here at the office recommending we checkout a specific application. Right away, I knew it was going to be something great because Sep wouldn’t waste our time with anything less than fantastic.
National Geo’s Parks in an App
National Parks has all the elements of a great app. It is beautifully designed, easy to learn and use, and the attention to detail is impeccable. It also offers substantial amounts of functionality for those want it. However, what impressed me most about this app was its clean, intuitive and uncluttered UI, coupled with its cool transitions and animations. Not to mention the stunning photos that utilize the iPhone’s retina display.
This app is perfect for those who want to plan their next great camping trip. Users are given all the basic park info that is necessary to plan a getaway to any of the 20 most visited national parks in the United States.
This includes information on how to get there, when to go, entrance fees, special advisories and of course the parks contact info. Users are also given weather conditions (current and a five-day forecast), stats about the park (number of annual visitors and park size) and some amazing photos of the scenery.
Additional information is available in the form of park guides, which users can purchase in app. The first guide is free of charge and subsequent guides cost anywhere from $0.99 – $1.99. With the guides users get additional photos, park secrets, suggestions of what to see, what to do and photo tips.
Photo tips are a great feature of this app. The National Geographic Society is known for amazing photography and now, with this app, users get all the information they need to snap their own masterpieces.
With the photo tips, users get the location (GPS coordinates), time of day, camera details and difficulty levels for each individual photo. They also get an overview and some fairly detailed instructions from the actual photographer who took that particular photo.
All in all, National Parks delivers a great mobile app experience. It offers a bunch of features wrapped in a very pretty package and believe it has a little something for everyone.
Granted, not all people are into camping and the outdoors. However, most people do appreciate the beauty of nature, and some people, myself included, value the beauty of a great app.
I have discussed this app with some colleagues and, as people who truly appreciate great design, attention to detail and great usability, we know that those elements are extremely important to producing a great experience for the end user and we all agree that the Apple Design Award was well deserved
Yesterday, Plastic’s management and creative teams got up early to hit the links for a day of fun in the sun (and a bit of rain) at the 4th annual IAB Golf Tournament.
We brought one our amazing artists with us to hole six North. He spent the day creating custom illustrations of the teams that came through the hole.
These amazing drawings were then printed out after the tournament for the groups to pick up and display proudly in their homes or offices!
To anyone who didn’t get their illustration, please feel free to tweet us @plasticmobile and we’ll be happy to mail you your copy.
A big thanks to everyone who participated and to iab Canada for yet another successful event.
The latest in Android anti-virus, called Sophos Mobile Security, has produced a report identifying the top five most frequently encountered scary problems on the platform. The first, PJApps-C, is Android’s most significant chaos causer. See the chat above and the list below for more on Android’s scariest viruses.
Read more in depth about each of them HERE
While many people may not give a second thought to the mobile computing threats emerging as the mobile industry continues to grow and expand, there is some cause for concern. Thankfully, the company Veracode has got our backs. They’ve recently released a free ebook about mobile security that offers 10 simple ways to ramp up the company protection against a very real growing mobile threat. Get the free ebook HERE.