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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 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

 

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

 

Luxury shopping app, Spring, launched last week to the reception of many shoppers and luxury brands, such as Oscar de la Renta, Tamara Mellon and Carolina Herrera. Spring is a new e- and m-commerce platform that allows associated brands the luxury (no pun intended!) of deciding when and what new products get posted.

Plastic Mobile’s President & COO, Melody Adhami shared her thoughts with Luxury Daily on the new platform. “Shoppers are now digital – whether that be through a branded Web site or mobile app, a department stores or flash sale e-tailers” she said, “Spring is simply one more channel for brands to connect with shoppers but with the added benefit of inventory control”.

In regards to whether or not Spring will catch on to luxury consumer’s phones, Melody believes it is dependant on the consumer. “Luxury consumers that would rather go directly to the brand’s own ecommerce website are usually brand loyalists and/or know exactly what they want,”.

However, “there are a lot of consumers that are simply browsers and are more likely to download an app like Spring to discover new brands and products.”

Had you had a chance to check out Spring yet? Let us know what you think by tweeting us @plasticmobile

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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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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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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

The result? A fresh perspective on usability testing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Five Tips for Mobile Strategy

1) Industry Analysis

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

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

2) Customer Behaviour

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

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

3) Customer Reviews & Data Tracking

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

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

4) Putting the Pieces Together

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

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

5) Always Think a Few Steps Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

In-Store Experience

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

Beacons

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

Big Data

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

 

FFWD’s Advertising and Marketing Week was a week to remember for Toronto, bringing together the biggest and brightest in the industry to educate, learn, and celebrate the evolving space of marketing and advertising. For those who missed it, here’s a recap of what some thought leaders from Facebook, RBC, Frank and Oak, and SapientNitro had to share about the changing role of mobile and in-store digital retail experiences.

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How do businesses, large and small, define success when it comes to mobile? For Jeremy Bornstein, Head of Emerging Payments at RBC, it means a higher conversion of customers who do retail banking through branches and ATMs to mobile banking through RBC’s mobile channel. Out of RBC’s 10 million consumers, one third already use the RBC’s mobile banking app exclusively for banking transactions. For the popular men’s clothing e-tailer, Frank & Oak, COO Hicham Ratnani explained how future success in mobile is when their m-commerce channel outperforms e-commerce in sales, basket size, and customer satisfaction.

Steve Irvine, Group Director of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook Canada, also discussed how advances in mobile and touch has changed the role of mobile in organizations. Mobile strategies, which were once in silo to other areas of business, are beginning to be integrated into every business decision, especially with smaller companies and startups. In larger traditional corporations, where each department has an established strategy in place, complete mobile integration is a bit more challenging. However, top-tier brands such as Disney, BMW, and Google who dominated the mobile app market in 2013 prove that when mobile strategies are put in the forefront and flow top-down, mobile integration is achievable in larger companies.

The Revolution of In-Store Digital Retail

Three trends in consumer shopping behaviour are changing the face of retail.

1) Consumers are now shopping in increments, taking multiple moments of time in a day to research, browse, and purchase items.

2) The availability of more e-commerce channels means less shoppers are physically visiting stores. This was most apparent last holiday season when foot traffic decreased by 50%, compared to 2010.

3) Modern-day shoppers expect more than just a physical experience while shopping, they want want to own the experience. According to a recent SapientNitro report, 62% of consumers wanted an in-store interactive digital experience.

Based on these trends, Hilding Anderson, Senior Manager of Insights and Research at SapientNitro, shared his insights on what the retail space will look like in the next 5 years. He predicted that in spite of decreasing foot traffic, physical stores will not be going anywhere. Consumers will always want that in-store experience that isn’t accessible through online or mobile channels. In order to enhance that experience though, more brands will start to build in-store experiences around powerful themes and stories, engaging consumers with push content and encouraging interactivity with touch technology in-store. To support this, retailers will focus on delivering a single connected brand experience in-store, where the fusion of physical and digital worlds will entice consumers and ultimately, drive traffic to stores.

As mobile and touch technology continue to seep into all areas of marketing and advertising in every industry, digital experiences, when leveraged effectively, can build close lasting connections with the “always-on” consumer.

 

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The first neuromarketing research study conducted in the mobile space, “The Science Behind Mobile Design” has been featured on Mobile Marketer.

Survey responses alone do not accurately reflect a user’s reaction to a mobile experience, and that’s where the importance of studying user’s brain activity comes in. By taking a different approach to user testing, we were able to determine mobile users’ implicit positive and negative neural reactions to mobile apps.

The study shed some light on the importance of usability and design and the engagement that users experienced while transacting in mobile apps. What we deem as clean design paired with fewer steps to completion proved to be measuring well with users at the level of the brain.

The article provides a comprehensive summary of the results and insights from studying the mobile purchase journeys of the Best Buy, Hyatt and Pizza Pizza apps.

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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.

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Believe it or not, marketing initiatives are slowly moving away from Facebook and Twitter and into mobile messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE. This is no surprise to Warc.com though, the global provider of marketing news and research, who recently covered the up and coming topic in their “Trends Snapshot: The Rise of Mobile Messaging Apps” report. Highlights included expert comments from Plastic’s CEO, Sep Seyedi, who argued that messaging apps are of use only if brands ‘close the loop’.

Brands who are just hopping on the messaging app bandwagon will have to do more than just spam users with messages to close that loop. “Relating to customers by actually offering them something of value and then providing a platform where they can continue to relate to the brand on the same channel will have a much greater impact,” said Sep Seyedi.

The Trends Snapshot report also talks about which brands are already ahead of the curve and where this messaging app trend will lead to in the future. To read the full report, go to Warc.com.

 

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H&M, American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch…almost every mid-market fashion retailer has a mobile app these days, but which retail app has all the right elements to effectively connect to their customer? Boot Camp Technology Correspondent Fred Fishkin chatted with our COO Melody Adhami to shed some light on how the iOS apps of 10 leading fashion retailers were ranked in Plastic’s latest Mobile X Retail App Report.

“What we were looking for was how closely the mobile experience mimicked the in-store experience.” said Melody Adhami. Was it TopShop, American Eagle, or Zara that stayed true to their in-store experience? Listen to the full interview here to find out!

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. 

lavinWhen you are the COO of an award winning mobile agency and the Globe and Mail names you the “Queen of Apps,” people are going to want your opinion on matters digital.

That’s exactly why Luxury Daily asked Plastic co-founder Melody Adhami to give her thoughts on Lanvin’s new mcommerce enabled mobile optimized website.

Lanvin is a French based luxury retailer. When they’re not busy setting trends on the Paris runway scene, Lanvin is expanding in the lucrative North American luxury retail market.

The new site is the latest strategy in their North American invasion plan.

What were Melody’s thoughts on the matter? “The new Lanvin mobile site allows the brand to enter markets that its limited physical presence simply cannot.”

“There are currently seven Lavin stores in all of North America. An Affluent individual in Vancouver or Seattle is more than 1,000 miles away from the closest store location.”

You can read the whole story, and keep up to date with all the important luxury news, at Luxury Daily.

Think this is a good move for Lanvin? Let us know on Twitter @PlasticMobile!

With the overall results of Boxing Day in, it seems that more and more mobile users are starting to hop on the smart train this holiday season (I mean who seriously wants to be a part of the crazy mall madness?).

With an increase in the use of mobile devices, and with the iPad being the most wanted gift this holiday season,  m-commerce set some new records this Boxing Day.

According to IBM’s Digital Analytics, around 30.7% of consumers used their mobile devices to visit a retailer’s site on Boxing Day. ComScore also found that from the dates of December 8th to December 14th, consumers in the U.S. spent around $6.9 billion online (that’s a $750 million increase compared to last year!).

Your probably wondering which device was the most efficient for increasing m-commerce traffic on Boxing Day? The iPad of course! The iPad generated more traffic than any other mobile device, making up for 15.8% of online shopping on Boxing Day!

M-commerce has only just begun a reinvention of the traditional modes of shopping. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013!

What are your predictions? Tweet us @PlasticMobile and let us know!

This story begins at a business networking event that I attended a few weeks ago. It was being hosted by one of Canada’s largest retailers (who shall remain un-named for the purpose of this post).

I was surprised to learn that this national chain is still very much a family business, with the son of the founder currently overseeing operations. We had a nice chat about their many successes over the past few years and I had to ask; “What are you doing in mobile?” To my horror, he replied: “Nothing. It’s not for us.”

I’m not going to recap the entire dialogue, though it did get rather interesting, especially when his “agency” representative added his two cents, stating: “this mobile fad is going to fade.” Instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to challenge this perspective – one that I think is too-commonly held by pure-play retailers.

One of the advantages of working in a somewhat conservative marketplace (read: the Canadian marketplace) is that you get to learn from the mistakes of your bolder neighbours in the South. When Amazon’s price comparison app was released, it shook the foundations of the traditional retail model. However, the consumer behaviour was already shifting long before that.

Consumers have stopped relying on retailers’ storefront employees to educate them, but are sourcing all kinds of information for themselves. Through online forums like product review sites or blogs, the consumer has taken charge of finding unbiased reviews and, ultimately, making smarter purchase decisions. Of course, price plays a big role in that.

It’s because of this ready access to information that online shopping exploded. Consumers demanded more choice and convenience at better prices, and buying power got a whole new meaning (emphasis on the “power”).

Fast forward to the current landscape. The smart retailers took note of how their customers’ needs and behaviours were changing and acted quickly to better cater to this change. Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Walmart took steps to shift from pure-play brick and mortar to a hybrid model, where they make their offerings available wherever their customers are; online, in store or on their mobile device (and potentially browsing in a competitor’s location).

Basically, they haven’t limited their services to a single shopping option, rather, they are letting the customer choose for his or herself.

Sears certainly learned their lesson after shutting down several stores and now are offering drive-through services, where customers can pick-up, return or exchange without having to get out of their car and not have to wait for it to arrive in the mail either. Wow. Good job, Sears.

If there’s anything we can all agree on its that happy customers yield loyalty, and loyalty yields revenue.

So, to look into the future of retail, we think you need to take a look at what customers are doing, and what you can do to make them happier. The average consumer today leads a busy life, relying heavily on technology to make them more efficient. They have options and tend to opt for convenience and simplicity as defined by themselves. Sometimes it’s convenient to have products delivered, and sometimes waiting is inconvenient, so the key is giving your customer the choice.

Enough of the players in the market are making changes towards a hybrid model that soon we will start to see online retailers set up brick and mortar shops. Those in the hybrid arc will thrive while the others will eventually go the way of the Dodo.

Tweet us @plasticmobile and share your thoughts on mobile in retail.

After reading this report on last year’s holiday shopping season, we began to wonder how many retailer’s would learn their lesson for 2012.

In November of 2011, mobile took the holiday shopping scene by storm, ravaging the purchasing stats and making a mess of retailer’s traditional approach to advertising and marketing opportunities.

The report, from JWT, is from the survey of 465 mobile shoppers and hopes to shed a little light on the potential impact of web-savvy mobile devices on retail environments, e- and m-commerce and consumer behaviour and mobile device use.

Four extremely interesting facts for retailer’s to consider when sitting down to do create their strategies for the 2012 holiday shopping season:

1. On average, 55% of consumers who shopped on mobile devices in the past year also took the same actions during the holiday season.

2. 55% used their smartphones to find price info, 46% to get more info and 38% to make a purchase.

3. Men and Millennials did the most mobile shopping during  the 2011 holiday season.

4. Of those who shop on their mobile device, 69% say the mobile shopping  experience is either “excellent” or “very good.”

Guided Access for iOS

Pending its release later this year, the new Apple OS has once again managed to incorporate features that we didn’t know we needed…until we saw them. Among many, iOS 6 features include new vector based maps, the highly anticipated PassBook app and a very convenient Do Not Disturb mode for your iPhone. Less publicized however, is Guided Access, a feature that will make it both easier with those with a vision, hearing, learning and mobility disability and educators to incorporate iOS devices in their daily routine.

VoiceOver, a screen reader first introduced in Mac OS X is now integrated with more features including maps and zoom. This will allow the visually impaired greater access to content and generally, offer more ease of use. The feature serves different functions as you change devices – for example, with every Mac computer, you can connect a braille display and VoiceOver will program the keys for you.

What’s completely new is how Guided Access plans to expand to assist parents, teachers and administrators use iOS devices in their working environments. Whether it be at home, in a classroom or on the go, Guided Access provides the functionality to better educate.

The highlighted features include:

·      the ability to selectively disable portions of the device from use

·      disable hardware buttons

·      disable certain portions of certain apps

·      transition into single app mode

These features are useful in a number of ways and for many people. For instance, in classrooms it is commonly understood that technology is more of a distraction than an asset. But with Guided Access, devices in the classroom serve as an educational tool, where teachers are provided with control as to what students can access and – more importantly – can’t access. It’s hard to cheat when you’re locked into a test!

Also, Guided Access provides an opportunity for enhanced learning experiences for those with a disability. Students can focus on the task at hand without worry of hitting mistakes.

Guided Access has has functionalities that are excellent for outside of the education space. Consider iPad kiosks, menus at restaurants and satisfaction surveys, which can all now be conducted while the user is on the go.

As our co-founder, Melody Adhami, often says, technology should help and not hinder. As Apple continues to provide us with devices that we can virtually do anything with, they continue to also increase the ease with which we do all this anything.

Everything taken into consideration, kudos to Apple once again for their efforts in equal accessibility and their efforts in revolutionizing the education system.

Love Apple’s latest efforts? Tweet us @plasticmobile and tell us your thoughts.

Retailers of all kinds are gearing up for this first-ever conference on mobile transactions. Taking place at the Old Mill Inn & Spa on June 26 and 27, 2012, Mobile Transaction and Commerce Summit, promises to be a networking and learning opportunity for every customer-based company from big name retailers and online merchants to banks and financial institutions.

With speaker sessions hosted by retail industry experts and enterprise pioneers, attendees have the chance to hear solution-focused presentations and discussions on how to better integrate mobile payment and commerce into marketing strategies.

Some of the speakers include top marketing executives from Gap, Best Buy and Deloitte, as well as the Head of Mobile for JetBlue Airways and our very own Plastic Mobile Co-founder and President, Melody Adhami, who will discuss using m-commerce to transform the retail experience.

Basically, this inaugural conference is a must-attend for any retailer with a transaction-based business model and a customer base. Why? Because mobile commerce and transactions represent a huge piece of the puzzle in retailers’ imminent future, with mobile shopping predicted to account for $163 billion of sales worldwide (12% of global e-commerce turnover) by 2015.

The Mobile Transaction and Commerce Summit is an excellent opportunity to get a deeper knowledge of focused trends and hear some practical examples of dos and don’ts from those in the know.

Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know if you’re attending the MTCS this month.

Our pals at Mashable.com are already looking to a post-mobile world, where these five trends will determine who succeeds and who gets left behind.

1. Augmented Reality - Look in the mirror and what do you see? Today’s weather? Your day’s appointments? Then you must have the latest mirror from Cybertecture, a Hong Kong firm that’s making tomorrow’s smart homes a reality today. We may not all have money to burn on a high-tech mirror, but brands are certainly looking at ways to capitalize on this technology and make it the norm.

For example, the wizards at Corning provided an inspiring look at how touch screens made of glass might soon be seamlessly integrated into our environments. Brands such as Starbucks are already seeing strong revenue from their mobile AR program.

2. The New Biotech - When I say biotech, I mean data comes from everywhere, including from within. Companies like FitBit andNike are finding new ways to record and utilize that data. For now, they seem to be focused on helping athletes (and wannabes) build better workouts, but it’s only a matter of time before brands begin to look more closely at how such data might be used to develop new customer relationships.

Nike has already opened its FuelBand API to allow music platforms to experiment with incorporating personal physical data. As these technologies gain traction and developers look at new ways to leverage information, one day soon we could see insurance companies providing discounts to individuals who share their device data. This would be the equivalent of auto insurers, such as Progressive, offering savings to drivers who share their driving behavior.

3. Consumer-controlled Media – One of the most interesting trends we’ve seen is the fragmentation of ownership. Technology has empowered the masses, and they’re leveraging that power in new ways. If brands want to remain relevant to their audiences, they’re going to have to engage in these contexts and in a media landscape where the traditional publishing model no longer exists. In this not-too-distant future we will watch all of our programming online in whatever form that takes. And we will engage with media that we create (not what the media “owners” create) or remix, re-purpose, and pass along.

4. Multi-platform Marketing - Consumers don’t think in silos, so neither should your company. Prepare your brand to work on multiple platforms. As you do that, consider what unique aspects of your offering, your history, and products will resonate with the consumer of the future?

Communicate your brand’s essence through new channels and devices, in an integrated, cohesive manner. But be aware of how and when they want to interact with brands, and the new possibilities to bring them value and not just marketing noise.

5. Innovation Without Borders - Brands and products are no longer geographically confined in the way they once were, and neither are marketing campaigns. Big brands are increasingly tapping into local talent and culture, testing new approaches in one market, and re-purposing them elsewhere.

Coca-Cola took the best of gamification, Shazam, and the second-screen experience and ran with it in China. Tesco is testing out interactive mobile shopping experiences in Seoul that the U.S. is not quite ready for, technologically or socially. It is clear that in the near future, brands will pitch locally but think globally

While all of the above insights offer a tremendous amont of food for thought for the future, it was the fifth point that struck us as the most interesting. Not only are brands and their marketing campaigns no longer geographically confined, but neither are their users. We can now shop in Japan and talk to friends down under straight from our mobile devices while picking up our morning copy.

What does it all mean, you might ask? A lot. While mobile has stealthily been infiltrating our lives over the past few years, it has also been evolving in ist own right. As experts start to look at future mobile trends, they are more and more recognizing how mobile is poised to transcend our actual devices and start to shape our worlds in other ways, through alternative channels.

Take m-commerce, for instance. Not only has mobile changed the way we are able to shop, allowing us to browse and buy from our smartphones, but it is now gearing up to change the actual brick and mortar shopping experience, with mobile devices powering NFCs so we can pay with a swipe and file our receipts in an app, as well empowering sales people to know more about the customers walking through the door by giving them devices that connect with our devices.

The future is mobile and we can’t wait! Can you? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know what you think about Mashable.com’s points, or taking mobile out of the phone and into other devices.

Plastic Mobile and Luxury Institute: How the Wealthy are Using Mobile to Shop Luxury Brands from Plastic Mobile on Vimeo.

Award-winning mobile marketing agency, Plastic Mobile, recently partnered with the independent, New York City based Luxury Institute in a study to learn more about how wealthy consumers are using their mobile devices and luxury brand applications.

Watch our video of the findings and learn how mobile is set to change the luxury brand retail landscape by working to enhance the in-store experience.

Plastic Mobile was proud to recently partner with the independent, New York City based Luxury Institute in a study to learn more about how wealthy consumers are using their mobile devices and luxury brand applications.

“Mobile has been receiving a lot of traction and excitement in the retail space lately. However, that doesn’t mean there is one mobile strategy that’s right for all brands. The study suggests for luxury it is more about enhancing the in-store customer experience, and using mobile to help strengthen the relationship with the customer,” says Melody Adhami, President and COO of Plastic Mobile.

Some interesting positive facts were revealed in the study, including that nearly all wealthy consumers who have used luxury brand apps report that they have had a good experience with the mobile apps (93%). In addition, 71% report that they feel better connected to luxury brands after downloading and/or using their applications and 64% view luxury brands that offer a mobile application more favorably than brands that do not.

The survey respondents suggest there are a number of features they expect from luxury brand applications, and they believe luxury brands could use apps to enhance the in-store shopping experience. They also thought that providing sales professionals with a mobile application to specify details about products (53%), have the ability to check for sizes and availability at other stores (50%) and in-store product inventory (47%) would enrich the shopping experience for affluent consumers.

Overall, the study indicated a tremendous opportunity for luxury brand retailers to enhance relationships with affluent customers through careful mobile strategy.

 

Ecommerce Camp 9

Join us next Monday to talk about checkout processes with Ecommerce Camp Toronto for their 9th event! EcommerceCamp is an organization that strives to push the ecommerce space forward. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the space, this is your chance to learn about the community.

Learn from the experts on their checkout processes as they explore the challenges and how conversion rates were affected.

Who 250+ attendee’s + a great lineup of expert retail merchants including Jacob Kennedy from Sears, Ted Starkman from the The Shopping Channel and more!

Where

Courthouse

57 Adelaide St East

M5C1K6

When:

Monday, April 16th, 2012 from 6-9pm

How:

Please RSVP here.

Hope to see you there!

Shopper Marketing Forum, March 2012

The Shopper Marketing Forum, held on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, was a huge success. Canada’s leading conference for the development, education and advancement of Shopper Marketing had a number of great presentations, interesting speakers and interactive workshops. One of which was basically a lunch and learn. These round table discussions with topics varying from mobile to were one of the show’s highlights. Our President and COO, and resident mobile guru, Melody Adhami, was of course manning the mobile table. Her round table discussion may have actually been the most popular, with all the seats full, and more than five other people pulling up extra chairs just to join in!

One of the most interesting aspects of this conference focused on the changing consumer behaviours, was seeing the distinct limbo the industry is currently in straddling. With a community of senior marketers known for their traditional practices, paired with a group of new marketers who hold a more technologically inclined approach, the world of Shopper Marketing is at a cross roads of transition. However, by including areas like mobile to forums like this, we’re confident that the current divide will get streamlined and that we’ll see a lot more digital shopper marketing in the near future.

Ultimately, the goal of the forum was to enhance the collaboration between manufacturers, retailers and agencies, and, based on attendee feedback and our own conversations, we’re so pleased that they achieved their goal.

comScore's report on mobile

A hot-off-the-press comScore report presents the 2012 Mobile Future in Focus – and things are looking good for mobile!

ComScore examines last year’s mobile landscape through “an exploration of key trends driving smartphone adoption growth, mobile media use in categories such as social networking and retail, mobile ecosystem dynamics, and shifts in multi-device digital media consumption.”

From a proliferation of public WiFi access, an insurgence of app usage in health and commerce to the ongoing battle for top mobile platform – now led by Apple and Android – the report shows that mobile has been the hot topic in tech since early last year.

The report is lengthy and covers those myriad avenues of mobile influence, but one thing is consistent across mobile usage and industries: as mobile continues to grow as a part of core comprehensive marketing strategies, it becomes increasingly important for brands to understand how current trends are shaping the mobile environment – and how the mobile space is shaping future trends.

The report does highlight a few interesting emerging trends, one of which is mobile’s advancement of social media users to interact with brands in the commerce arena.

The study found that, by the end of last year, nearly one in every five mobile (smartphone) users scanned product barcodes and one in eight compared prices on their phone while shopping in an actual brick-and-mortar location.

As mobile retail usage grows retailers are faced with the challenge of understanding how audiences interact with their mobile devices while shopping to take advantage of any opportunities to increase customer conversation and conversion.

Of course, gender behaviours varied – as they are want to do – when it came to mobile commerce. Males preferred to do product research on-the-go, while females were more likely to use their devices to share their shopping experience socially (ahem, Pinterest?). The latter finding is interesting considering we think 2012 will showcase and interesting menage a trois for the mobile + commerce + social media equation.

What do you think? Will mobile and social media continue to change the way we browse and buy from retailers? Tweet us @plasticmobile with your thoughts, comments and general mobile musings.

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