mobile_marketer_Banner2

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.

 

report-tsbmd

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!

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

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

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

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

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

luxury_daily_banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

EY Logo_Beam_Hrz_web

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

unnamed-1

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

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

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

 

unnamed

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to seeing you there!

luxury_daily_banner

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Google-IO-2014

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

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

1) Android L

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

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

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

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

2) Android Wear

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

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

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

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

3) Android TV

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

4) Android Auto

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

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

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

mobile_marketer_Banner_CI

No stranger to the challenges of adapting to a new country, Plastic’s very own “Queen of Apps” and COO, Melody Adhami chats with publication Canadian Immigrant and provides advice to newly emigrated individuals looking break into the mobile industry.

The interview discusses the challenges of looking for employment in a new country but also shines a beacon of hope for young and talented professionals looking to enter the mobile industry. It’s no shocker these days that the growth of mobile isn’t simply climbing, but racing to the top.

She also touches on the importance of having a culturally diverse workplace, and Plastic’s openness to diversity is one of the reasons for it’s success today. With a collaborative approach taken to implement ideas and solutions and with strong diversity, Plastic is able to tackle problem-solving with a multi-faceted approach.

Check out the rest of Melody’s interview here, and find out what advice she gives to young professionals from other countries to break into the industry in Canada.

firefly-is-one-of-the-most-innovative-features-on-the-fire-phone-press-and-hold-the-camera-button-on-the-side-of-the-phone-to-launch-firefly-which-can-recognize-over-100-million-items

Amazon’s new smartphone has definitely lit a ‘fire’ under the heels of brick-and-mortar stores. The question is: Are they basking in the hype or does Fire symbolize a game-changing shift in the retail space?

The fact is, this could be the push retailers needed to focus on evolving in-store experiences for mobile users.

Amazon Fire’s new feature, Firefly, is going to give rise to the (already) notoriously popular practice of showrooming. ‘Showrooming’ is a savvy shopper practice whereby smartphone users will enter a store to check out the merchandise and then conduct a quick search to find it online for less, and in some cases look up reviews. With Firefly, consumers can take a picture of the product of interest, and immediately purchase it on Amazon, where the best-price promise already resides.

In the mobile industry, we like to think about opportunity and solutions. That being said, retailers can leverage mCommerce to combat losing consumers to showrooming. Smartphones have changed the in-store experience, with 8 in 10 shoppers using their mobile devices while shopping in brick and mortar retail shops. It’s worth mentioning that shoppers who use mobile while in-store tend to spend 25% more than those who don’t (thinkwithGoogle).

By leveraging mobile apps to enhance in-store experiences retailers are starting a dialogue with their customers, which means that mobile can, ironically, be the solution to showrooming.

It’s a little too soon to tell whether or not Amazon Fire will live up to the hype, but one thing’s for sure, it will take showrooming to a new level-a level where retailers must choose quickly whether to play in or forfeit the transaction to Amazon. Fire may be the straw that broke the retailer’s back. The good news? Brick-and-mortar stores will become increasingly creative with their in-store offering, and there’s no denying that it will start with mobile.

mobile_marketer_Banner2

At Plastic, we’re no strangers to the real estate market, and with apps like Royal LePage and Realtor.ca, we’re right at the forefront of digital house hunting.

“There’s no question that the proliferation of mobile has drastically changed the way people shop for homes and property,” Plastic COO, Melody Adhami, tells Mobile Marketer.

Long gone are the days of patiently waiting to find out what listings are available in your selected areas, and waiting 4 hours for auto notifications to update. This is the time of real-time.

Since home buyers sometimes get anxious about getting their questions answered, mobile tends to put minds at ease with quick access to vital information anytime, anywhere.

Ms. Adhami closes saying, “At the end of the day, mobile technology in real estate provides consumers with added convenience to access information on-the-go and arms them with relevant information to help make their final purchase decision.”

Ultimately, the end goal on everyone’s mind is customer engagement and acquisition. With the marriage of mobile and real estate user experiences, the industry is changing with benefits on both sides of the deal; the seller and the buyer.

 

445618884_640

A lot of magical things happen in our innovation lab, but we also believe in creating magic outside of our offices as well. This is why we are so proud to be partnering with Pizza Pizza for the 5th annual charity golf tournament on June 9, 2014. Proceeds from this tournament will be going to the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit that raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals, 14 of which are Canadian.

Plastic’s contributions to the Children’s Miracle Network will create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves and improve the lives of more than 2.6 million Canadian children each year. In addition, our contributions will support research and training, purchase life-saving equipment, and ensure excellence in care, and support the Children’s Miracle Network’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.

At Plastic, making a positive impact in the communities we serve is a large part of how we operate. We believe that miracles do exist, it just takes the initiative and effort to make them happen.

 

 

Screen-Shot-2013-03-20-at-4.06.37-PM

The word “mobile” has a couple of meanings,  it’s defined as the ability to move around freely, but more importantly, it’s a well-known handheld device that connects the world with people, places, and brands anytime, anywhere.

Senior Director of Advertising at Walmart Canada, Toni Fanson not only recognizes this, but says that retailers with brick-and-mortar stores can no longer target their content at specific times. In the digital era, content has to be ready because consumers can be ready at any given time.

She says of mobile consumers, “They no longer have to be sitting within their homes and doing their research. They can be anywhere, they can be in your brick-and-mortar store, and they can even be in your competitor’s store. They’re actually able to research immediately, and when they’re in purchase mode they can make a decision on the spot. It’s no longer about touching them at the time you think they might be ready, you have to be ready all the time.”

Content Marketing allows retailers to continuously build relationships with their customers through content consumption on various channels. Notably, Fanson says that the relationship doesn’t necessarily have to be a two-way street right away, but with time that should be the goal.

So, how should brands focus on building that two-way relationship?

Fanson says, “The average consumer is exposed to thousands of ad messages within in a day. Any effort that you can make to ensure that your content is going to be sticky enough for them to pay attention to is going to benefit them, and their relationship with your brand. It’s important that when you’re in a two way relationship, that you’re responsive.”

Content that brands put out into the world will be consumed by many viewers, but the question is: how do brands build relationships through content?

Fanson says that “The key is to be present on all digital channels having tailored voices for each.”

“Customers are looking not just for products and prices, but also solutions. They are looking for a better way. It is very much focused on areas of your life and solutions that readers want to engage with, and then products become an ingredient of the solution rather than the solution itself.”

Fanson will be discussing content marketing at greater length in her speaking session, entitled “Live Better: From Idea to Implementation” at this year’s CMA Content Show on June 25.

For more information visit the CMA Content Show landing page and register for a spot at this exciting event.

Facebook-Pic

It wasn’t long after Facebook’s Q1 revenues of $1.3B came in that everyone’s ears perked up when they heard ‘mobile’. With 58% of their revenues coming from mobile ads, it’s safe to say that Facebook is a mobile-first company.

A big thanks to Mark Zuckerberg for all the mobile buzz this year!

The click-to-download (apps) model which was introduced by Facebook less than a year ago is now all the rage for mobile marketers. The CPA (cost per acquisition) is not only lower than other channels, but the value of the mobile user acquisition is in some cases double that of a web user. Mobile users spend a lot more time and money in apps than any other segment.

By bidding on a CPA model on Facebook, you can decide how much you’re willing to pay per install, and they will deliver ads to prompt the installs. However, as the number of installs goes up so does the cost. The rationale is that as you exhaust the low hanging fruit, Facebook has to reach higher and farther to acquire new users and more installs.

The upside? You’re not blowing your budget on blind ads or impressions, you’re paying for users acquired so if you know the value of each acquisition based on your LCV (lifetime customer value) then you’ll know where to cap the campaign.

Since the dawn of the App Stores there have been new mobile user acquisition and engagement models emerging every so often and while some have intriguing strategies, they’re all based on the same concept: build a community/network & incentivise them to download/review/test apps. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the biggest online/mobile community/network rises to the occasion and blows everyone out of the water with incredible yields.

Thanks to Facebook, the problem of acquiring users for our awesome apps is somewhat resolved. But all mobile marketers know that having a million users doesn’t mean anything unless they’re actually using the product regularly. That’s where the genius of mobile strategy and UX design prove their worth. If you can’t make a clear case for users to come back time after time at early planning stage, there’s no point in building it.

Jeremy high res (1)

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.

 

wireframe-mobile-blueprint

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.

RLP_iphone

With the Spring home buying season just around the corner, Plastic Mobile is excited to announce the launch of Royal LePage’s new mobile app. Homebuyers can now get a head start on the real estate rove with this easy-to-use iOS app that simplifies the property search process with a new and innovative Draw-and-Search feature.

The new Royal LePage app is the first of its kind with this new tool that lets users draw out a search area of interest with the swipe of a finger. Users can also save their search in one tap to get updates on new homes, open houses, and current listings within the geographic areas selected.

This iOS app is the latest addition to Royal LePage’s suite of digital real estate solutions with Plastic Mobile. Just last year, the launch of the new mobile website provided more than double the number of home-sale listings thanks to innovative Google cloud-based services.

To find out more about this app, watch a video of it here and download it on your iPhone from the App Store.

Blog Pic - mobilepayments 2

Since the introduction of mobile wallets, such as Google Wallet, ISIS, Roger’s Suretap Wallet and TD’s Ugo, there has been a lot of media buzz, but not enough consumer interest and adoption. Currently, only 31% of consumers who own a smartphone are interested in using a mobile wallet, with 11% actually using one. It seems that consumers are perfectly happy and accustomed to pulling out their credit or debit card and swiping at the cashier. So if wallet providers want to see a significant increase in the adoption, the benefits of mobile wallets will have to outweigh existing payment methods in order for them to fully replace physical wallets.

A big problem that third-party mobile wallets are experiencing at this early stage is low and fragmented merchant adoption. For example, Google Wallet payment services are only offered at “select” retailers, which leads to a very inconsistent shopping experience for consumers. On top of that, wireless carrier cooperation is difficult to obtain as they are also in the running to compete in the wallet space, as seen through the introduction of ISIS, backed by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and suretap wallet by Rogers and Mastercard. Combined, mobile wallet’s limited availability from carriers and consumer uncertainty in retailer acceptance creates little incentive right now for consumers to switch over completely. So what will have better traction in 2014? The answer: branded mobile wallets.

Currently, brands have the perfect recipe for mobile wallet success: a strong brand presence, an established customer base, and app-savvy users. Branded mobile wallets make it easy for consumers to use because it flows into all stages of the purchase journey. From offering loyal consumers deals and discounts pre-purchase to in-store mobile payments and customer reviews, brands can leverage mobile wallets to enhance the entire shopping experience. A prime example of this is the international coffee giant, Starbucks. The seamlessly integrated loyalty program is the main incentive for Starbucks consumers to use the app. Processing more than 3 million transactions per week from the Starbucks Card Mobile App, their branded mobile wallet has proved to be a trailblazer in the mobile payments industry.

As more and more brands follow Starbuck’s path, branded mobile wallets will take the reins in 2014, putting third-party mobile wallets in the back seat.

Deloitte_TMTpredictions_2014_1200×627

Every year in January, the Deloitte Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference 2014 makes a bunch of predictions about what will happen this year in tech. The theme of the conference this year was mass niches, which is a large group of people that have a select taste.

Here’s a recap of Deloitte’s 10 predictions:

Prediction 1: The converged living room: Less about hardware, more about software

Combined sales of tablets, TVs, PCs, gaming consoles and smartphones will exceed $750 billion, but this trend will not continue! Deloitte predicts the “converged living room” will not exceed the $800 billion mark and the market will plateau. While consumers will likely spend less on hardware, their entertainment dollars will move towards software. “The Next Big Thing” in hardware market is not visible yet: 3D printers and wearable technology will likely be big, but not enough to ‘move the needle’ in an $800-billion market. As a result, consumers will put more focus on software, services and content.

Prediction 2: Wearables: To wear or not to wear?

Deloitte predicts consumers will be wearing more than $3 billion worth of newly purchased wearable technology. While smart glasses will sell millions of units at a whopping $500/unit, totalling about $2 billion in 2014, sales for the rest of the wearables market- watches, wristbands, clothing- will amount to about half of the head mounted gear, in dollar terms. The tipping point for wearable technology is nowhere in sight. However, we can expect to see greater adoption in smart-work settings ie. law enforcement, factory work and other precision skill trades.

Prediction 3: e-Doctor: The Virtual Visit

Deloitte predicts eVisits are going mainstream with a 25% share of the potential market in North America and could save the healthcare system $5 billion. eVisits are part of a booming global telehealth market, which will reach an estimated $25 billion in 2015. Annual eVisits in Canada are growing by 50% a year. The healthcare industry can service 30% of in-person visits virtually.

Prediction 4: MOOCs will NOT jeopardize post-secondary education enrolment…YET

Deloitte predicts enrolment in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will be up 100% over 2012 to more than 10 million courses. While that seems to capture a great deal of the student audience, only 3% are actually graduating. We can expect more interest in MOOCs for short courses and specific curriculum.

Prediction 5: Extreme TV 2014

Deloitte predicts Canadians will watch more than 55 billion minutes of traditional TV per day. The average traditional TV viewing hours remain constant. The least voracious viewers will watch half an hour of TV a day, down an hour from 2004. But the top 20% of viewers are watching more than 8 hours a day. This opens the door for targeted ads for those 20% of the population who are watching that much TV. The challenge then becomes finding new channels to reach the remainder of the population.

Prediction 6: Doubling up on pay TV

Deloitte predicts that by the end of 2014, 100 million homes worldwide will be paying for two or more baskets of TV-like content. By the end of 2015, households subscribing to three or more content packages will amount to 20% of consumers in selected markets. We’re not quite ready to engage in cord-cutting, but more Canadians will engage in cord-stacking by adding other services to their existing cable service.

Prediction 7: Sports on TV = $$$

Deloitte predicts the global value of premium sports video rights will increase by 14% led by North American sports leagues and European soccer. While we’re not consuming TV the way we have previously, TV and cable audiences seem to be opting for sports.

Prediction 8: Voice usage: Mobile

Although no one really knows with any accuracy how Canadians are using their phones (Voice, Text, IM) Deloitte predicts about 20% of Canadian cellular customers will spend only three minutes per day talking. Voice minutes are marginally rising in Canada, but falling in the US and UK. And Americans use three-quarters of their total smartphone time – about one hour a day – on non-voice apps. What we do know about Canadians 18-34 is that they believe they’ll be talking, texting, and IMing more than any other age group in 2014.

Prediction 9: Rise of Phablets

Deloitte predicts that shipments of phablets – smartphones with screen sizes between 5.0” & 6.9″ – will represent 25% of the global market, or 300 million units. East Asian markets (minus Japan) will have a greater demand for the larger screen sizes due to the characters, but Canadian sales will likely be lower in the range of 15-20% of the $125 billion category. About ⅔ of phablet sales in 2014 will just barely meet the definition at 5.1” or less. Only 10% will measure more than 6.0”. This is an example of a mass niche. Although phablets represent only a portion of the wider market, it is still worth a lot of money and hundreds of millions of units will be purchased.

Prediction 10: Narrowing the gap

Deloitte predicts smartphone adoption will grow fastest among the 65+ crowd with 50% year-over-year-growth and over 40% market penetration. However, seniors are buying smartphones but using them like feature phones.

Blog Pic - CES Fitbit 001

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may long be over, but for mobile enthusiasts around the world, the party is just getting started.

With a theme of connectivity, the technology and products presented at CES gave consumers a glimpse into what their lives may look like in the not-too-distant future, with mobile devices playing a central role.

Here are 3 things that caught our eye from CES 2014:

1) If you can wear it, connect it

Wearable technology continues to captivate the imagination of brands and marketers alike. At this year’s show, manufacturers presented the next generation of wearable technology with an enhanced range of capabilities, such as ‘lifestyle trackers.’

For example, Sony wants to track activity and emotion through its products like Core. Reebok is also vying for position in this highly coveted market, introducing wearable technology, called CHECKLIGHT, that can help prevent injury to athletes in contact sports.

And you no longer have to worry about some of these devices clashing with your outfit. Designer Tory Burch has partnered with Fitbit to develop a line of necklace and wristband accessories to hold the Fitbit Flex, a fitness tracker device.

2) Tech-up your home

Home automation products were all the rage at this year’s show. Connectivity device maker Belkin presented an impressive collection of WiFi-enabled products called WeMo. From light bulbs to garage door openers and even sprinkler systems, consumers will be able to control these devices using their smartphone or tablet. Many of Belkin’s products are scheduled to be released this year.

3) Automobile Apps

Ever walk into a mall only to stop and wonder if you closed all the windows of your car?

Well, BMW feels your pain.

The premium car maker announced an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The iRemote App will allow BMW i3 drivers to check vital car functions, check if windows are open or closed and even turn on the AC via the smartwatch.

 

A customer uses his new iPhone 4S after making the purchase at Apple's flagship retail store in San Francisco

It’s that time of the year folks, retailers are in a full-on battle for the consumers’ holiday spending dollars. Mobile is playing a crucial role in the shopping process these holidays. Many retailers are focusing their efforts on m-commerce, attempting to win-over customers through loyalty programs and mobile coupons. The significance of m-coupons & geo-fencing is seen in our mobile trends section of the Fall Report.

Mobile shopping is playing an important role in regions getting hit with the coldest temperatures & heaviest snow. The ability to go from search to purchase stage in a matter of a few taps on mobile is becoming an expectation for customers now. For regions with these harsher climates, mobile shopping presents a much more appealing alternative to brick & mortar locations particularly during the busy holiday season. The onus is on retailers to create a mobile shopping process that is on par with the in-store retail experience.

MobileX_retail

With mobile commerce on everyones mind, we set out to outline mobile usability practices in the fashion retail industry and what they mean to mid-market fashion retailers. The study examines the challenges and opportunities that 10 fashion retail apps are facing in the mobile shopping space.

A team of mobile experts from different disciplines including strategy, design, UX architecture, technical engineering, and marketing, examined the mobile apps of 10 leading mid-market fashion retailers and tested them in various use cases. Each app was then rated against a vigorous set of predetermined criteria, essential to the fashion retail mobile space, and ranked from 1 to 10 based on the qualitative and quantitative data collected.

This report aims to provide recommendations for fashion retailers to truly harness the potential of connecting with customers through a mobile app. From the research and data collected, the main areas of opportunity identified for brands were the integration of social media, customer service, in-store experiences, and loyalty programs in their mobile apps.

Check out the Mobile X Retail App Report here!

FallreportPlastic’s research team continues to explore the latest trends and developments in the ever evolving world of mobile. In the latest Mobile X Monthly Report, the Fall Report, we highlight crucial emerging themes in the mobile space and explore strategies used by top tier brands to understand what’s working and opportunities for growth.

Our Fall Report wastes no time on pleasantries and dives head first into the mobile landscape. From local to the global marketplace, we review changes in the mobile market share and the second screen phenomena which sheds light on the necessity of an “all-screen” strategy and how to capitalize on a customer’s frequent switching between devices.

In addition, the report reviews mobile trends such as mobile payments, mobile wallets and digital couponing within specific industries including retail, travel, hospitality and banking.

This report cuts out the fluff to give you the raw statistics and insights. Please click here for a copy of the report. 

Although Canada and the US often feel like extensions of one another, there are many other differentiating characteristics between the two cultures, leading to disparate behavior patterns particularly when it comes to our consumption of goods and services. These different behavioral patterns affect what we produce, how we consume, and ultimately what we expect from the retailers we know and love.

We wanted to explore some of these differences in consumer behavior between Canadians and Americans, so we took it upon ourselves to get perspectives from both sides of the border and peek past the seemingly similar surface.

It’s very common for cross-over retailers to use a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for both Canadian and American customers. However the differences in cultural and behavioral factors result in disparate and sometimes ineffective messaging. One consideration that we’re faced with in the mobile marketing space is mobile adoption behavior discrepancies that ultimately affect how consumers shop on mobile devices on either side of the border.

To learn more about what keeps U.S. retailers up at night when they’re looking to enter into the Canadian market, check out the report below. We explore some of the key differences in consumer culture between and venture to make recommendations for retailers contemplating cross-over presence. Then we further explore the role of loyalty programs in retail and how cultural considerations vary and impact loyalty behavior.

Check out the report here!

 

Just a few months ago, investors were concerned about Google’s ability to maintain mobile ad rates, in the face of Facebook’s mobile ads generating 30% of ad revenues.

Google’s recent announcement of joining ad forces with Facebook to create a monster ad exchange has certainly calmed the nerves of the concerned. The search company’s advertising clients now have access to FBX, Facebook’s real-time bidding exchange, in addition to the current offering on DoubleClick Bid Manager.

In spite of going head-to-head in the mobile ad competitive landscape, both digital giants realized that advertisers wanted the best of both worlds, social ads along with search ads, and now DoubleClick is well on its way to be the go-to exchange for advertisers everywhere.

This recent move sent investors swarming, bumping up stock prices by a whopping 14%, and pushing Google’s stock price over $1000USD for the first time! While it is a significant milestone, it’s got us wondering what next move is gonna keep those stock prices afloat.

If you’re like most people, you probably carry your mobile device with you where ever yo go. In fact, some people (you know who you are!) might even say their smartphone is like an extension of themselves.

This is because your mobile devices are more than simple communication devices. They give you access to countless apps that can make your life easier and more productive. And on that note, read on to find out what the Plastic Mobile Team considers our top three must-have productivity apps.

(Note: These apps are available for both iOS and Android. They’re also free, although most offer added functionalities to paying subscribers. Just sayin’.)

Evernote

Evernote is an information storage tool that you can use across different platforms. Did you meet a potential client? Snap a pic of their business card with your Evernote app. Need to record a memo? Fire up your Evernote app. Want to type up a document? Evernote obliges, once again. Whatever information you store, it’ll be saved seconds later to your account. The coolest part? Paying Evernote subscribers can also search for text contained within images.

Buffer

It’s not just about having an online presence anymore. It’s about being online at the right moment. Buffer doesn’t just let you post to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for free — it automatically shares your posts for you through the day, whether you add them to your account via email, the Buffer app, its book market or one of the many news reader apps it’s affiliated with. Better still, Buffer gives you access to useful stats such as how many people you reached and how many likes, shares and retweets you get.

IFTTT

This is more than a productivity app — you can literally use it hundreds of different ways. Aptly called “If This Then That,” the website allows users to either create or use “recipes” or sets of actions that take place automatically, making IFTTT a terrific tool for automating personal notifications and social media actions online (especially now that it’s available as an iPhone and an Android app). For example, you can use the service to automatically upload a photo to Dropbox when you post it to Facebook, place all your tweets on a Google Spreadsheet, or even remind you to bring an umbrella if it looks like it’s going to rain (seriously).

What are your favourite productivity apps? Let us know and tweet us at @PlasticMobile.

Have you see Apple’s latest TV ads? We were particularly interested in the one promoting the iPhone camera.

Even though there are a few better smartphone cameras out there – for example, the Lumia 1020 boasts 41 megapixels – the iPhone camera is still pretty popular. We can’t help but think this is likely because the Apple flagship seems to be the most social device (according to this study), and the most common thing to share on social networks is pictures.

Not to mention that if you’re an iPhone user snapping amazing pics, you can now be awarded for your creative genius! Check out this website called iPhone Photography Awards. You can submit any of your pictures and compete with other people to try to win of their annual awards and some other gifts. The only bad news is that there are a few fees to submit your pictures. Check out the competition and the 2013 winners to evaluate your chances in the 2014 competition.

What do you think about this photography awards? Let us know! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.

We have been pretty busy this week in the office and so our usual Bagel Wednesday meeting was reschedule for yesterday, and our post is going up today! So, for our Bagel THURSDAY meeting, we watched a few interesting and bizarre videos related to mobile technology!

The first video we watched was about Coca-Coca’s latest billboards in Israel. Imagine driving the street and seeing your name on a personalized billboard?Well, that is exactly what Coca-Cola did! They employed geo-fencing technology to detect when a user was near a billboard. All users had to do was download the smartphone app, then type in their name and see it pop up on the billboards as they drove past. When they were about to pass a billboard, they would receive a notification message on their mobile device telling them they were about to see their name up in lights. Pretty cool use of geo fencing technology and smartphone app to create this fun and personalized digital billboard. The app was ranked #1 in Israel’s app store from day one and maintained that position throughout the entire campaign period with a total of 100K downloads.

Check out the video below:

The second video we watched is a little more bizarre. Has your phone run out of juice? Researchers claim that they were able to successfully charge their phones with human pee! The team has been working on their microbial fuel cell (MFC) for some time now. How does it work? MFCs use bacteria to break down organic material (urine) to create power. Simple! Could this be the future of charging mobile phones? This charging technology would not be limited to phones, but be used to power lighting, razors and other such devices. Some of funding was backed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charity aiming to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.

Check out the video below:

What do you think? Do you see yourself using pee-powered batteries? Or, would be interested in seeing your name on a personalized digital billboard? Tweet us at @PlasticMobile.

Since Motorola became a Google company back in May 2012, we have all been anxiously waiting for their new flagship phone. After many leaked images surfaced the web in the past couple of weeks and plenty of speculation, the Moto X has officially been announced!

The Moto X has a number of great features that consumers won’t be able to find with competing smartphones, such as the ability to talk to Google Now or open the camera app even when the phone is on standby. In addition, the Moto X is always on permanent listening mode making it the first “self-driving” smartphone.

There’s more!  As promised in one of their ads last month, customization is one of the main features of the smartphone. The device can be customized with the choice of 2 front panel colours, 7 accent colours, 18 back panel colours and the option of an engraved backing. With the combination of these features, the Moto X can be customized in hundreds of different ways.

In terms of overall specs, it is similar to a Nexus 4 which is pretty good, but fares lower in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy 4.

In addition, the smartphone will be assembled in the US and as a result, consumers will have shorter wait and faster delivery time. This is important considering the assembly will be specific to customers’ customization.

Check out the hands-on video below:

Are you as excited as we are about the Moto X? Let us know at @PlasticMobile!

1 of 9123456789»