For my inaugural post as the resident Plastic Mobile intern, I’d like to focus on the eTail event we attended last week where I learned a number of interesting facts and stats about m-commerce.
First, and this one made my jaw-drop, a stat reported in late april by the eTailing Group in their annual merchant study, Making the Right Choices in a Connected World: Customer Experience Escalation: 85 percent of merchants say mobile commerce is a focus in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2011.
With nearly four out of five respondents suggesting that m-commerce is in their strategies, the mobile retail arena is about to get a lot more competitive. With so many merchants now simultaneously making the move to mobile, they will have to quickly develop effective mobile strategies that will also help engage their customers and bring their brands into the new world of mobile retail. I for one hope that the need for speed won’t hinder the need for quality initiatives.
Second, the Interactive Bureau reports in their study, Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries May 2012, that 73 percent of consumers say they have used their mobile phones in a store and that 40 percent of respondents said they want mobile ads to allow them to browse the brand’s broader product offering. This is interesting because it suggests that retailers can look to in-store mobile solutions and other alternatives to just mobile websites.
For instance, earlier this month Sephora went through a complete Digital Makeover. Their new and exciting cross-channel initiative includes a new mobile app with improved UX, sharper search capabilities, m-commerce enabled shopping and all the social network bells and whistles. Some of Sephora’s stores are seeing iOS devices being launched in-store to allow sales agents to speed up checkout times with mobile POSs. Other stores are implementing in-store iPads that provide extensive product information, style tips that customers can send to themselves via email and, of course, more social media integration.
There are definitely other brands implementing some fantastic m-commerce initiatives, but Sephora stood out to me as a leader because of the grand scale and quality of this mobile initiative.
Last, a recent study by Juniper Research estimates that mobile transaction volume will grow to $670 billion by 2015! I can’t wait to see which brands will follow Sephora’s fantastic example and make that prediction a reality.
So there you have it, a few interesting m-commerce stats and one very extensive and exciting new initiative to enhance consumers retail experiences.
Do you have your own mobile insights or thoughts on other great initiatives? Tweet us at @plasticmobile and let us know!
For more recent information on m-commerce, and to learn about the initiatives of other brands, I recommend some of the following articles:
A couple of weeks ago, we covered the success story of the Instagram app, which allows users to snap photos, add various filters and share over a plethora of social networks – including one of its own.
As Instagram gained momentum, climbing the App Store ladder all the way to the top, I started to see the magnitude of its potential. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I saw similar apps for sharing video. What I didn’t expect, however, was the incredible speed at which this new style of app-only social network would fully catch on.
Enter Viddy, a multi-celeb backed, Instagram-style app for sharing video that climbed to #1 in the App Store’s Top Free list in no time flat.
How it Works
The entire process, as well as the interface is very similar to that of Instagram. Users can shoot a video (or import from their camera roll), add a filter and then share the video with their friends over a number of social networks. Also like Instagram, Viddy is its own social network. Users can follow friends’ videos as well as popular and trending ones from across the entire Viddy network.
Unlike Instagram, Viddy gives users the ability to adjust how heavily a filter is applied to a video. Also, users are not limited to the pre-loaded filters. They can download additional filters within the app for free.
Moreover, filters come with their own corresponding soundtracks and users are given the ability to adjust the balance between those soundtracks and the audio in their recordings (so cool!).
15 Seconds of Fame
One downside to Viddy is that it limits the length of videos you can record to 15 seconds. Also, any imported video has to be trimmed using the in-app trimming tool.
Having to trim imported videos in Viddy reminds me of having to crop imported photos in Instagram. I can’t help but wonder if this is mainly done to minimize file size for quicker uploading, or to keep things more uniform and consistent?
Nobody likes to wait!
Users can watch their videos instantly before applying a filter, but have to wait for the filters to be applied. As users don’t like to wait, especially on a smartphone, wait times should be minimized. Failing to do so will negatively impact user experience.
SO, to make the wait a little less noticeable and annoying to its users, Viddy encodes the video in the background and allows users to navigate elsewhere by tapping the minimize button. Users can always keep track of the encoding progress, as it will be displayed in the iPhone’s status bar.
While being able to complete other tasks helped, I never truly forgot that I was still waiting for something.
Viddy’s interface is polished and aesthetically appealing, but can sometimes feel a bit cluttered – especially when compared to Instagram’s interface. Although very similar in layout, Instagram’s interface feels less cluttered and distracting.
We all know that a simple, uncluttered and intuitive interface is extremely important to providing an overall great user-experience, particularly for new users trying to explore and learn an app.
You Heard it From Plastic:
An Israeli based company has created an app called Mobli, which allows users to share a combination of photos and videos. Mobli is gaining popularity and is building a substantial user base at a rate of 10,000 new users daily. Look for Mobli to be one of the next up-and-comers in this space.
All you have to do is take a look around you to see that mobile is fast becoming a ubiquitous part of our society. Mobile is everywhere, but especially retail locations.
Specifically, the proliferation of mobile in relation to retail has left marketers scrambling in a frenzy to re-evaluate their audience and understand how consumers are interacting with mobile – and how to take advantage of this new relationship.
In order to do this successfully, brands need to better comprehend how current trends are shaping the mobile environment, who this new audience is and how to best interact with them.
This is no easy task. As a brand, where do you start? For me, I think there is an expanding dichotomy between retailers and the mobile + social spaces, which marketers should be conscience of for 2012.
Let me explain.
Many 2011 reports, like comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus, identify various mobile users demographics. Still, retail marketers seem to glaze over the 20- to 30-something GenY-ers (or, as this Mashable article calls them, “Generation C,” the C standing for “connected.” A bit cliche, but probably accurate), who I tend to think are the ideal demographic for brands as they use both mobile and social media for commerce.
Sure, the stats say that moms are the decision makers and dads are the money makers, but the “young influencers” are a generation of digital-hungry consumers who covet cutting-edge tech and are spending on everything from the latest tablet to Vegas vacations and chic urban condos.
Perhaps this demographic is so often neglected because, as Shane Smith of Vice Media pointed out at the Young Influencers Conference in Toronto last week, most brands don’t really “get” that generation. And, as he suggested, there’s absolutely no point focusing on that demographic just because you think you should – they’ll see through that kind of fake like a bad boob job.
Regardless, to me it seems obvious to focus efforts on a group that’s poised to shop and who’s lives are hinged on mobile, as well as social media – an area that has seen significant growth on mobile, with its overall popularity in accessing social networking sites on mobile devices becoming nearly common place last year. Basically, it’s the same people who are using their mobile devices for social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. who will then flip to a new browser window or app to research or buy that great item they just read about in a tweet or post.
I foresee this super trifecta of young influencers + mobile + social making an impact for brands in 2012 as marketers recognize this spectacular opportunity to increase customer conversation and conversion by tapping into the young influencers through the device that houses their entire life.