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The extremely popular social messaging app LINE, set up its first pop-up store in North America, located at 1515 Broadway in New York. LINE’s pop-up store will be open from December 9th until December 31st, offering shoppers a variety of products, including stationery, stuffed toys, mugs and jewelry based on the original characters from the app. Shoppers also get a chance to take photos and interact with LINE’s official mascots.

LINE has been very successful in Asia thus far and is now making a leap into the Global market, especially North America where a number of messaging apps like WhatsApp, and KIK  have found their glory. The messaging app currently enables users to make calls and send messages for free, as well as offers in app purchases of stickers featuring LINE’s own original characters.

Very few mobile-first brands have become popular enough to support a real-world presence one of the rarities being the Angry Birds game, which spawned a wealth of licensed merchandise, including stuffed toys and apparel. Sep Seyedi, CEO of Plastic Mobile discussed LINE’s pop-up store strategy with Mobile Commerce Daily noting that “Mobile-first businesses have an advantage in a heightened level of engagement with their customers that strictly brick and mortar business can attain,”

“Pop-up shops lend themselves perfectly to this opportunity, but we’ll be seeing more mobile-first businesses make permanent fixtures of themselves in brick and mortar going forward” Sep said.

Sep went on further to say, “mobile users are now ready to take these intimate relationships, with the businesses that serve them on mobile, to the next level and experience them in a more tangible manner.”

 

Wearables: Beyond The Wrist

By on December 12, 2014

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The wearables market has quickly become one of the fastest growing mobile industries we’ve seen to date. From watches to fashionable bracelets it seems that everything needs to be smart in one way or another. Smart gear has been progressively moving beyond the wrist; check out the smart clothing line up for the new year:

Athos Apparel, founded by Dhananja Jayalath (DJ) and Christopher Wiebe, is a fitness shirt that monitors your biometrics in real-time then sends the stats from your workout to your smartphone. Using an EMG (electromyography) device that detects muscle effort, muscle building toning, overall training, and muscle fatigue. The device then relays this information to your smartphone companion app which translates it into readable data and training suggestions.

Another product that has been around for some time is the Nike+ shoe sensor. This little device was released in 2006 as an iPod accessory, a nugget sized device measures your pace, distance, time elapsed and calories burned, which is then transmitted to your iPhone or iPod via bluetooth. The data is then saved on the device which enables users to have easy access to their progress data.

Even Victoria Secret has dipped into the wearables market with their very own heart monitoring fitness bra which features Body-Wick fabric, paired with bonded, seamless technology for comfort. You would then detach the transmitter after use and connect it with your compatible device to retrieve the results.

These products now being dubbed Smart Clothing are changing the way we track our health by providing a comfortable and relatively accurate means of tracking our daily physical routines, and giving the term ‘self-awareness’ a whole new meaning.

The development of these new products is becoming more commonplace with just about anyone being able to create them with a basic technical skill set. A blogger named Kathryn Mcelroy wrote an in-depth tutorial on how to build your own interactive, RFID and LED messenger bag. The limitations of how far these technologies can advance are only set by the skill limitations of the creators!

 

Battle

Our President and COO Melody Adhami recently shared her expertise with Mobile Marketer’s  digital publication regarding Yahoo and how it is on it’s way to become the third largest mobile ad platform, and surpass Twitter. Data from eMarketer suggests that Yahoo’s new mobile ad business strategy may be paying off, Twitter is predicted to have 4.19 percent share of the mobile advertising market by 2016. The two platforms are very different in terms of audience and offerings; Yahoo’s mobile ad products include display, and native search whereas Twitter only offers native ad opportunities.

Twitter and Yahoo provide advertisers with vastly different opportunities for marketers planning their ad spend. “I would consider Yahoo to be a mass-media player with a broader reach of audience, and Twitter to be more of a niche player in the media space, the opportunities each company presents is vastly different. Marketers can expect to reach more users through Yahoo, but can expect more engagement from Twitter users.” Says Melody Adhami President and COO of Plastic Mobile.

Yahoo has been around from the early days of the internet, but has had a bit of a struggle remaining relevant, especially with the mobile space which has quickly taken off in the recent past. Yahoo’s biggest competitive advantage in the mobile space is it’s strong focus on digital content, this is due in part to the increasing popularity and convenience of mobile.

Although Twitter is much younger than Yahoo, it has been a mobile-first company since it burst onto the scene in 2006. It’s youth has also been a factor in the length and strength of the brand’s relationship with its users. “I think we can expect to see innovation from Twitter that will likely challenge the top 3 contenders sooner than later,” adds Melody Adhami. Which seems to be likely as Twitter has put a specific focus on building its mobile ad business.

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Mobile payments have finally begun to get the global attention they deserve thanks to the recent buzz created around the technology by Apple. Ernst & Young recently hosted a Breakfast Series at their Toronto office with many mobile payment industry experts present to shed light on past, current, and anticipated trends.

The all-star panel featured Almis Ledas, Sumit Oberoi, James McGuire, Christian Ali and was mediated by Aran Hamilton. All five panelist shared over 20 years of combined experience within the mobile industry and were unanimous on what the next steps were for mobile payments.

The panelist agreed that the mobile payment process must to be further integrated by retailers for users to feel like it’s worth the switch from physical cash or credit cards to mobile payments. Until then it could be a bit of a slow start, with the bolder user base ready and willing to switch right out of the gate, and the mass majority following thereafter once more retail chains have enabled the convenience, and people feel more comfortable with the security of their funds.  When questioned about whether or not the security of mobile payment would affect its adoption, Aran cited the first time he and his fellow panelists first used their Interac card and their skepticism around “Tap and Pay,”  and now there’s not even a second of hesitation.

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APIs, Application Programming Interface, is not a new technology, in fact they have been around for a couple of decades. They are a set of protocols which dictate how software components should interact with each other. A good API allows a developer to build functions into a program easily and maintain fluidity, without risking operational issues.

A poorly constructed API can cause technical issues which can have serious implications on the overall experience, and ultimately the success of a project. Improperly organized data is one such consequence of a poorly constructed API as information being relayed between the systems can be mismatched or even misinterpreted.

Mobile apps and backend software are frequently updated and maintained as more users pile on to the system or when new features are added. Thus any errors during the maintenance can affect the performance of the app or the backend servers. This causes a disconnect that results in one or both sides of the app unable to exchange information, inevitably resulting in crashes until the error is found and resolved.

In addition, app developers should also be aware of potential attacks on their API’s. A DDoS attack, or Distributed Denial of Service, occurs when a server is bombarded by multiple requests, which floods the system. Imagine five people trying to call you at the same time, none of the five people will be able to reach you due to the high call traffic. If an app has too many calls to the server like those in a DDoS attack it can drastically slow down the performance of the app and even crash it. The preventative measure against a DDoS is usually limiting the amount of calls an app can receive in each function and building the API’s to serve up the data required. This relates back to the point emphasized earlier about data organization.

A strong app strategy depends on the performance of an app. An app that crashes or has technical issues in its basic core functions can lead the user to quickly abandon and delete the app from their device. The strength of an app lies partially in its robust API’s and these should be among the first priorities being evaluated when building an app.

Mobile Cyber Monday

By on December 02, 2014

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Capping off what could be considered “Cyber Week” – Cyber Monday was the proverbial icing on the holiday shopping cake – becoming the biggest day in US online shopping history! According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark mobile devices held their own with 41.2 percent of all online traffic which makes it the first time mobile has driven almost half of all online traffic during the course of “Cyber Week” pandemonium. Retailers took advantage of mobile’s direct connection between consumer and retailer maximizing the 5 days of shopping discounts and deals to directly engage their customers via email marketing. By making deals and promotions more accessible through properly targeted emails, sending immediate email notifications for abandoned carts and pushing post checkout deals, retailers have gotten a tiny taste of the full power and potential of mobile.

What is interesting about these last 5 days of shopping mayhem?  There is an obvious shift in consumer behaviour, with easily accessible information from multiple channels, shoppers are making more calculated shopping choices.  There is no longer pressure to succumb to rushing the shopping experience, cramming it all into one day of deal hunting. Places like the UK where 50 percent of retailers embraced Black Friday deals – compared to last years 15 percent – and Canada, where an estimated average of 2 million people took vacation days surrounding the American shopping bonanza, have welcomed Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditions in order to get their piece of the pie. This past November China famously celebrated its “Cyber Monday” with Singles Day, the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba saw a jaw-dropping $9 billion in sales in one day, this in turn has translated to conscious shoppers aware of their options, making strategic purchases, equipped with the right tools to source the best deals, and biggest discounts.

Three years ago only 17 percent of purchases were touched or influenced by digital platforms, now that amount has skyrocketed to 50 percent. What we are seeing now is a constant growing demand from consumers to have multi-channel retail access of both online and traditional brick and mortar stores to get what they need when they need it. This will mean that as more and more retailers find a happy medium between physical and online stores, the demand for appealing user-centric web design and responsive web will surely follow.

 

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It’s not quite Christmas yet, however Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are giving Christmas a run for it’s money when it comes to the battle of the holiday shopping experience.  This year saw a decent increase in revenue for retailers in contrast to 2013, especially online mobile and tablet shopping.  According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report for the annual shopping mayhem event, Thanksgiving and Black Friday mobile and tablet traffic accounted for about 52.1 percent of all online browsing.  What was once thought to be an idle pastime, is now disrupting the market, quickly being adopted by a vast majority of consumers, 1 in 4 of all online purchases were made with a mobile device with most of those devices being Apple, a whopping 76.8 percent to be exact, and only 22.7 percent from Android users.

The shift in mobile browsing and sales can partly be attributed to convenience, the IBM Benchmark report indicates that shoppers are spending slightly less per order than last year, thanks to mobile shopping’s advantages.  Customers use their mobile devices to comparison shop and source out the best possible deals, using a combination of coupons and extra promotions; Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers definitely brought their A game this year and demonstrated just how savvy they are, with a little help from their mobile friend of course.  Even though mobile sales contributed a decent chunk of revenue to Black Friday with 28 percent of total online sales, the tablet is not to be forgotten. While more people definitely browse on mobile for it’s obvious convenience factor, the report suggests that people purchase more through their tablet with the average tablet shopper spending $126.50 per order versus mobile’s $107.55 per order.

The IBM report goes on to say that the most effective tool for retailers when it comes to driving Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales home, is less frequent, well targeted, email marketing.  In order to not turn off customers with spam, a bombardment of advertisements and promotions, retailers need to learn their customers well using indicative data, and properly channel their yearly ad spend to work more efficiently for them and return their investment.

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There’s no denying the impact mobile has had on the customer journey. What was once a linear journey with clear start and end points, is now cyclical. Mobile has blurred the lines between the pre- and post-shopping stages and is giving brands the opportunity to constantly stay connected with their customers, and vice versa.

While most brands are understanding the importance of going mobile, by way of web and/or apps, there is still a gap between how mobile technology can be leveraged at each point in the customer journey (the pre-, in-store, and post-shopping stages) to drive brand engagement and in-store traffic.

Pre-Shopping Stage

Ask yourself: Have you ever researched a product on your mobile device? Whether it’s through a mobile site or app, chances are you have. And you’re not alone: Almost 60 percent of mobile users use their devices to research a product before purchasing. That’s one of the beauties about mobile: it has empowered customers to take control of their shopping experience by giving them the ability to research and discover the products available to them.

That’s why the pre-shopping stage is so critical to brands; it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with customers and stay top-of-mind. One key way of achieving this is via push notifications. Push notifications are a great vehicle to generate awareness in regards to promotions, coupons, new product releases, and even marketing campaigns. A recent study by Urban Airship has found that when used correctly, push notifications can increase response rate by over 300 percent.

With push notifications, brands can get the user’s attention even if they were not thinking about shopping. However, having a push notification strategy doesn’t mean quantifying the number of messages you send, rather it should focus on delivering quality notifications.

In-Store Stage

More and more mobile users are utilizing their devices in-store to access pertinent information that can help them with their purchase decisions. Need proof? Nearly 85% of mobile users use their device in-store to do everything from price comparisons, to reading reviews. That’s why it is critical that brands stay one step ahead of customers by providing the key information that customers will be looking for when in-store.

Mobile technology has made it so the user interface can change, depending on a user’s location. For example, once in-store, the features and functionalities that are more relevant and timely for users can be displayed to encourage fast access to information. One great example of a brand deploying such a tactic is Apple.

Mobile apps are also a great channel to provide customers with added conveniences. Time-saving features such as mobile coupons, digital cards and wallets has not only made shopping a faster and more efficient process, but can improve a customer’s experience with the brand. You need to look no further than Starbucks for an example of a brand that has mastered this from start to finish. The ease at which users can purchase Starbucks products in-store is a testament to their mobile strategy aimed at giving users a convenient experience.

Post-Shopping Stage

The customer’s journey no longer ends when a user completes a purchase; in some ways, it’s the start of a re-engagement strategy that has brands continuing the conversation with customers to drive them back to the brand.

One such strategy that can be leveraged via mobile technology are time-based offers. Time-based offers are a great way to give users with a sense of urgency to come back and make a purchase. Rewards strategies are also efficient in driving engagement with brands. For example, giving users a credit off their next purchase (ie. percent off, or dollars off) is a great tactic to encourage customers to re-engage with a brand.

Final Word..

There are a multitude of opportunities and technologies that retailers can take advantage of through mobile. The key is to understand customers shopping behaviours in order to continue engaging with shoppers even after the purchase has been made.

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Every so often you see those pesky red circles clinging on to the corners of the apps on your mobile device that remind you of the pending app updates designed to introduce changes and enhance your mobile experience so you keep coming back for more. Between short attention spans and an overabundance of stimuli brands are fighting to continuously engage their mobile app users. Hence, the ever-present red circles silently promising improvements in usability, speed, and performance. I won’t even mention bug-fixes. I mean, it’s almost 2015…bugs are the unmentionables. With QA flags flying high who has bugs any more?

Speaking of ‘almost 2015’…Most brands, even our beloved mobile laggard dinosaur brands, are on their second – if not fourth or fifth – iterations of apps. While the reconstructing and redesigning process begs the inclusion of new features and functions, it’s equally important to analyse users’ behaviour, based on all those prioritized metrics and data points that you obviously built into the app to measure right at the outset, to adjust the user experience and deliver more of what the users actually want and less of what they don’t.

With innovative practices pushing the boundaries of what’s possible at an unprecedented rate, and new technologies and applications being introduced at an equally astounding rate, one must pause…and plan. For example, beacons and Bluetooth Low Energy paired with some of Apple’s new features in iOS as well as Android’s new Lollipop OS can provide brands with new opportunities to introduce a more personalized interactive experience with their customers.

When creating the new versions of their apps, brands may often find themselves in technical debt by focusing primarily on getting a product to the App Stores rather than developing a user-worthy product. By sacrificing functionality and user experience, the product then requires revisions that ultimately cost more time and money by extending the product development cycle.

In addition to technical considerations while developing the next generation of a mobile app experience, the users’ level of comfort with, and preferences for types of feature must also be considered for alternate options, validated by AB testing. If the current version of the app houses dated features that a small portion of the user base is interacting with it, it may prove worthwhile to eliminate the feature as a whole.

Technology is providing new ways for brands to interact with consumers. As new device capabilities are introduced, users’ are adopting new behaviours more readily. But staying on top of technology is no longer sufficient to keep brands ahead of the curve. The current rate of change requires technologists to anticipate behaviour, needs and wants of users in order to let brands retain that coveted spot on customers’ mobile device.

 

The world of Android just got a little bit sweeter. The OS previously dubbed “Android L” now has a full name and full list of features and a brand new design for the popular Android platform.  Android Lollipop boasts a whole new set of features previously unseen on mobile devices all aimed at enhancing the user experience. A full list of them can be found on the official page, but here some of the key ones that stood out to us.

  • Users can create multiple users for a device, allowing users to share a device without sharing their files and apps as well. Google claims that this is a great feature for devices that are shared among family members.
  • Screen pinning allows users to pin a screen so another user can access just that content without messing with other apps or files.
  • ART, a new runtime that improves a user’s apps performance.
  • “Tap & Go Setup”  Users can set up a new Android device by simply tapping it to their old one (requires NFC which most devices are equipped with).
  • Better battery life management adds an estimated 90 minutes of life to your device.

And of course all the features are wrapped up in Material Design, Google’s new design methodology for their operating systems and applications. Material design is centered around building clean interfaces that are stylish, intuitive, and responsive to the user. Some Google apps have already made the switch to material design and the first batch of reviews cast a positive light on the mobile OS. Android Lollipop brings a whole new look and feel for Android, one that aims to unite the user with the device. Nice work Google!

Apple Reveals More

By on October 17, 2014

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Yesterday Apple unveiled some details about their products for the coming year. First on the agenda; iPhone 6 & 6 Plus release statistics. We’re not surprised to find that Apple has pulled off the biggest launch of their phones this year making record sales and deliveries worldwide. Speaking of world wide, 32 countries are iPhone enabled with China set to get the next batch of fresh iPhones. Overall Apple said that the response and demand was surprising and they’re glad their frontline employees handled the demand extremely well.

CEO Tim Cook proceeded to talk about Apple Pay next saying that the anticipated contactless mobile payment service will be available in the upcoming iOS 8.1 update scheduled to land on Monday, the 20th of October. Tim also revealed an additional 500 banks have signed on to Apple Pay in addition to all the US banks and credit card providers. And in one last surprise, Apple Pay can be used in-app and online on the web effectively enabling a one stop payment function to any mobile purchase. This will certainly be a pay-game changer!

Another reveal was the release of OS X Yosemite, a new Mac and iPad mini 3 with retina display-the usual things we’ve come to expect from the smart device giant. Yosemite features a whole new design that matches iOS 8, and comes with the ability to make SMS and regular phone calls. This might annoy some of the telecoms, just a bit. Craig Federighi, the VP of Software Engineering showed off the calling feature with a conversation with Stephen Colbert who before hanging up told Craig to get back to work on Apple Watch because “You know what I see when I look at my wrist?…My wrist!” Before signing off Craig said that Yosemite is now available for download, and it’s 100% free.

Overall the event served as an in-depth look at their new releases and upcoming products. Although the announcements of the new iPads felt a little flat the promise of Apple Pay and new features for the ever growing family of devices Apple has begun to offer show that they’re still able to offer a wide range of services across an even wider range of devices.

PS: If you missed out on the live keynote you can find the recorded version on Apple’s website.

Beacon Etiquette

By on October 16, 2014

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With great power comes great responsibility. As cliche as that sounds its very accurate when it comes to beacons. Beacons have the ability to target a wide range of mobile devices within its proximity as well as provide marketers with a great deal of consumer information and interaction. However depending on how well they use this technology, they can end up making users feel bombarded by advertisements.

In a recent study by InMarket, users that were aggressively targeted with notifications stopped using the app. The research then shifted to targeting with notifications that aimed to engage users in more informative ways. Rather than message the user when they enter, they sent messages to them in specific contexts and delivered helpful messages to them. By delivering more contextually appropriate notifications relevant to the mobile moment which can be defined as the time and places a customer pulls out a mobile device to access vital information in context to the task at hand. Beacons proved to be more effective and achieved an increase of approximately 5 times more interactions.

The landscape of beacons right now can be compared easily to that of the early days of internet advertising. There’s a lot of experimentation and it is taking brands time to zero in on effective strategies as well as the software and hardware pairing that will yield the best results. Thus far the research has shown that beacons are better suited as an informational platform rather than the overused shopping messenger that has quickly become infamous. Yet the data-mining tools and capabilities within the beacon world have been underutilized.

 

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A few short weeks ago, the team at Apple reached out to Plastic in hopes of securing an iOS 8 Launch Partner for Touch ID integration – and we’re thrilled to announce that our client and world’s largest coalition loyalty program, AIR MILES, made the cut. As an official partner, the latest AIR MILES iPhone app allows users with an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus running on iOS 8 to sign-in to the loyalty program via Touch ID.

In 2013, Apple first introduced its Touch ID feature with the release of iPhone 5S and iOS 7. Touch ID is a personal fingerprint sensor which (until iOS 8) only allowed users to authenticate to unlock an iPhone. Now with iOS 8 available, Apple has opened up the Touch ID API’s, so that everything from passwords to mobile apps can be authenticated with a fingerprint.

The new addition to the AIR MILES app was received with much anticipation, topping the “Best New App” chart on the App Store as well as the topping the trending searches all weekend!

Be sure to check out the new AIR MILES app and tweet us your thoughts on iOS 8!

 

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It’s been an exciting few months in the industry, and we were excited to have the opportunity to attend this year’s Deloitte 360 conference in Toronto, Ontario just last week. Exploring the exponential growth in technology and its impact on brands and consumers alike, as well as the latest developments in mobile shopping and digital payments – the conference covered it all.

We were particularly intrigued by the morning session, “Power Shifts, Digitalization, & Exponential Technologies,” which analyzed the growing shift happening in the retail industry. Did you know, there has been a 41% (up from 21% last year) rise in manufacturers becoming more retail based? As consumers are increasingly becoming digital and ecommerce continues evolving – so are manufacturers. Up until now, the supply chain has included manufacturing, retail, consumer; however recent trends show manufacturers creating their own online retail spaces, by-passing the middle-man retailer. For example Home Depot is closing physical locations and putting the saved cost of operations into its online assets as it tries to compete with only online competitor Builddirect. Doing so cuts down their shipping costs and allows for more control of price and profits.

Deloitte’s Director of Tech, Media & Telecom Research Duncan Stewart also walked us through early predictions. And despite what you may think about desktop computers, they’ll be sticking around for a little while longer. PC sales and usage may be falling, however according to Deloitte, usage remains high. The explanation is simply ease of use, students and young professionals may be attached to their mobile devices, but only a desktop computer can make writing a 1500 word essay easy.

And who can forget about wearables? Deloitte called the entire shift into question. As a whole, they are comparatively the January gym membership, overtime usage decreases overtime to the point that eventually they are not used at all. In general, devices like Google Glass are better suited for the health sector or an industrial market as they can provide real time information easily to the wearer.

Overall the conference was very relevant and insightful, and we will no doubt start to see predictions unfold in the next year.

Android For Everyone

By on September 17, 2014

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Android is quickly becoming the mobile operating system of choice in the North American market and with the latest release from Google, the OS is set to dominate India as well. India has seen 189% growth of Android mobile devices since 2013 but only 1 in 4 people own a smartphone.

Android One is Google’s vehicle into this market of low budget users. Tuesday it introduced to the Indian market three handsets featuring the same basic hardware. You wont find anything special in these phones, but thats not their main selling point. The phones will retail for around 6,499 rupees ($116 USD) for the lowest model. In addition to being inexpensive and well built, they will also be first to receive Android L, the next anticipated version of Android.

The devices feature the best hardware for the best prices. Build material is also kept at low cost while at the same time not sacrificing durability. By comparison they are similar to the Moto G smartphone that was released last year. It too featured low cost hardware and was quickly hailed at the best budget smartphone on the market.

Why is Google doing this? The aim could simply be mass adoption, as a normally high price for handsets and accessories keep those with a tight budget using other operating systems, like Symbian. Likewise those with a more spendable income will likely vouch for an iPhone, Samsung or Microsoft. Asian markets are also likely to benefit from Android One as mobile devices are widely popular and a low entry point will only fuel the market.

 

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If you’re on Twitter you might soon notice new ads with “buy” buttons tagged; they’re Twitter’s new m-commerce advertisements. While the program only operates in the U.S. and can be seen by a “small percentage” of users, but it represents what could become a fundamental shift in the way we have come to know social networks.

With this new feature users can buy products that are advertised in their Twitter feed depending on what or who they follow. Using Stripe, an online payments provider, users will be able to pair their Twitter account to their Stripe account so that they only need to click the button without entering any personal information while on the social media platform. Twitter’s end goal is to create a more robust social network while generating sales, and they are not the only ones trying it out

Facebook has also started similar initiatives and Instagram has also made progress into this area as well. As these experiments slowly become features of each network, users will be able to purchase just about anything using only their feed and a single tap.

Could Twitter’s entry into mcommerce disrupt its social experience? Tweet us @Plasticmobile

Apple Watch

After a lot of speculation during the build up to the Sept 9th event, Apple didn’t disappoint with the launch of its first ever wearable device, the Apple Watch. Tim Cook did the honours of unveiling Apple’s new product, which was received with loud cheers and a standing ovation. Tim Cook raised his fist in jubilation, sporting a pure white band Apple Watch.

The Apple CEO emphasized how they “didn’t want to shrink the user interface” of the iPhone and “strap it on your wrist.” They aimed to create an iconic way to utilise the device like they had done with all their other breakthrough products, this time it was with a digital crown. The crown allows the user to navigate through the watch, within apps to zoom in and out, and even acts as the home button. The addition of the Digital Crown means the screen won’t be obstructed by a user’s fingers and navigation is more intuitive.

Kevin Lynch, VP of Technology, put the Watch through its paces and led the product demo. The integration of Apple Pay with the Apple Watch was applauded the loudest amongst all the Watch’s features. The Watch will be available with 3 different bands – durable elastic, leather, and stainless steel; as well as have different buckles. However, it will only be available for sale early 2015.

What was your highlight for today’s announcement? Tweet us at @PlasticMobile

Apple Pay

Apple introduced today its very own mobile payment product, Apple Pay. Eddie Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, introduced the much discussed payment feature. Apple Pay will be accessible through Passbook.

Users can add their credit cards to Passbook and make secure payments with the TouchID on the phone. The process reduces the threat of the user’s information being stolen since none of the user’s private information is stored on Apple Pay.

Each transaction has a unique number instead of the user’s credit card details. The feature will be available for use in October at select retailers, primarily with Walgreens, Macy’s, Duane Reade, Staples, Subway, and McDonald’s.

Be sure to check us out @PlasticMobile for live updates on the Apple launch event

 

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The much anticipated event was kicked of by Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, who emphasised Apple’s vision with the iPhone 6 and how far the iPhone has come both in design and functionality since its introduction in 2007. He called iPhone 6 “the biggest advancement in the iPhone’s history” prior to introducing the iPhone 6 and its larger twin the  iPhone 6 Plus to the world.

Apple’s Phil Schiller, VP of Marketing, followed Tim Cook by breaking down every aspect of the new phone, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 specs:

  • Retina HD display with ultra thin backlight

  • 4.7” screen size iPhone 6, 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus

  • 1334 x 7506 pixels iPhone 6, 1920 x 1080 pixels iPhone 6 Plus

  • 1 million pixels iPhone 6, over 2 million pixels iPhone 6 Plus

  • New 64-bit processor, the A8

  • Longer battery life – up to 80 hours of audio

  • 8MP iSight camera, with Focus Pixels which help stabilize your photo

One of the newest iPhone 6 features is the ability to make calls through Wifi if they have poor network connection. This means owners will no longer dread the dead zones in their home or offices as the iPhone will seamlessly transfer between connection types.

Prices for the iPhone 6 will begin at $199 on a two year contract, while iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299 on a two year contract

Be sure to check us out @PlasticMobile for live updates on the Apple launch event.

 

 

In preparation for their Kenzo loves Printemps pop-up store, Parisian fashion label, Kenzo, released an interactive mobile application to accompany the chic pop-up. Paired with beacon technology, the app allows users to take part in a competition for a chance to win a coveted Kenzo sweatshirt.

Plastic Mobile’s President & COO, Melody Adhami shared her thoughts with Luxury Daily on Kenzo’s viral growth initiative. “While enhancing the customer’s experience within their pop-up store, Kenzo is also successfully creating a sense of urgency with the high value incentive app and gamifying the shopping experience – a great strategy,” she said.

When asked about the likeliness of consumers to download the app, Melody identified the clear early adopters. “The contest definitely provides enough of an incentive and draw for existing Kenzo customers to download the app and engage with the brand” she said.

As for new users, Melody doesn’t believe that the competition provides enough of an incentive for customers not familiar with the brand to download the app.

What do you think? Check out the new Kenzo app and tweet us your comments @plasticmobile

 

Luxury fashion label Diane von Frustenberg has taken to developing video content in an effort to drive mobile engagement by way of video ads on tablets – which the user can swipe to view without having to exit the website. Luxury Daily asked our very own COO & President, Melody Adhami, for her thoughts on the brand’s strategy to engage more customers.

Melody agreed with the approach saying “Customers are ultimately looking for an interactive, quality experience from the brands they shop with. When it comes to smartphones vs. tablet experience, tablet often wins because brands have been able to best mimic this user journey,”

She rationalized the strategy saying “Given device behaviors and the video length of 30 seconds, it makes sense that DVF choose to incorporate the ad on tablet and a more actionable banner on smartphone.”

Melody also addressed the question of using video ads for mobile; stating that it requires a different approach and to not repurpose traditional television and desktop ads.

Thoughts? Head over to our twitter page and join in on the conversation @plasticmobile

 

It’s no doubt that we all spend a lot of time on our smartphones and in apps – from the time we wake up until we’re back in bed – and everything that happens in between. They are our source for everything, literally. So it comes to no surprise that recent comScore research reveals that the majority of time spent in digital media is now in mobile apps.

So, what do you need to know?

  • Mobile usage for accessing digital media (including apps and mobile web) combine for 60% of time spent, whereas desktop devices comprise of 40%

  • Amongst mobile usage, mobile apps are the major drivers for digital media. The report claims that users spend 7 out of 8 minutes on media consumption via mobile apps, which accounts to a grand total of 52%

  • Mobile app usage on smartphone is significantly higher at 88%, with the number one most popular app being Facebook, followed by Youtube

  • Last but not least, but nearly 60% of smartphone users use an app every single day

So, which apps can you not live without? Let us know on Twitter @plasticmobile

 

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Just recently Zillow acquired Trulia, turning this industries two biggest online real estate databases into a mega-player. Up until now, this industry has yet to join the revolution in digital ad sales, despite the popularity and success other industries have found.

Plastic COO, Melody Adhami, tells Mobile Marketer  “The ideology and acceptance of ad sales on mobile and web haven’t quite reached mass acceptance. This is especially true with real estate since it is a very traditional business that’s been later to adapt to the digital and mobile game,” However, Melody also mentions that “Having a cross-brand reach creates better value driven and smart ads. Zillow and Trulia will also have a better control on the market, streamlining web experiences and creating higher standards.”

This acquisition could speed up and increase the popularity in ad sales. As well, create more meaningful advertisements. “Since both websites have target audiences that are consistent, it not only enables ads to reach a broader audience, but it also encourages more user experience and interactivity,”

At Plastic Mobile we’ve been intentionally steering clear of mobile ads in our client’s mobile and responsive properties. Since most ads don’t contribute to the content and context of a mobile experience. That said, Melody believes “ads do have a place in the digital realm, as long as brands know how their consumers are using and engaging with them, they can effectively reach them with meaningful ads.”

Click here to read the original article.

 

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Last November, we released a study on Neuromarketing called The Science Behind Mobile Design – where our research team partnered with neuromarketing firm True Impact and went beyond customer feedback and surveys to show exactly how the brain responds during mobile user experiences. Not even a year later, the groundbreaking research is still making its way around the web,  even appearing in different languages. From brands to consumers – people have reference our findings to continue to prove the importance of mobile design.

We are definitely pleased to see these findings being used to back up the importance of designing a mobile winning initiative. That being said, feel free to get the full experience and read our original study which provides a comprehensive summary of the results and insights from studying the mobile purchase journeys of the Best Buy, Hyatt and Pizza Pizza apps.

Our team has presented these findings all across North America at events such as Qual360, OPS New York IV, MRIA Conference 2014, and MRMW.

Not only do we have the awards to prove we know what we are doing, but we also have science behind us. Thank you for all the circulation and appreciation!

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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 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!

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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.

 

 

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