Retail

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May 22, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Memorial Day

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Memorial weekend officially kicks off summer, but it’s also the ideal time to experiment with unique marketing ideas that can push your business to the next level during a lull in sales. From social media to military rewards, Memorial Day is a great time to invite people to look at your products and services using one of these unique marketing ideas.  

 

Special Giveaways

Memorial weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. As people transition into summer, everyone is on the lookout for a good deal. Normally, a giveaway doesn’t sound like a lucrative marketing tactic, but paired with social media, and you’ve got yourself an authentic customer experience they’ll want to share with friends and family. 

Sample App is a great technology to integrate into this marketing plan. It delivers your sample to qualified consumers who will spread the word across various social media platforms about your brand. 

 

Coupons 

Aside from giving away products, another great way to incentivize sales is with a coupon—but not just any coupon. SMS marketing, or “mobile coupons” are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional paper coupons. These electronic tickets are also significantly less of an investment, and are easier to scale. 

Keypons offer a great mobile coupon system. They’re easy to create for customers on the go. The coupons are delivered either directly to customer’s cell phone or to their social media accounts. 

 

Creative contests

Using a contest over Memorial Day weekend adds to the excitement of the entire event. Contest in general are a great way to increase short-term sales goals as well as build a future repeat customer base. 

Pairing again with social media, try using a customizable contest platform. Get creative with the contest and consider how best to integrate it with your products. Try a photo contest or a cost-effective sweepstakes. Set up the contest for free and preview everything before you pay using the free Twitter Contest App

 

Honor Veterans 

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of the busy weekend, but don’t forget what the holiday is all about. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to provide military men and women, as well as their families with a special discount. In addition to honoring the military veterans, this is a great way to relate to customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. 

 

Loyalty Program

For business with a brick and mortar store location, there are even more opportunities to reward customers with an on-site loyalty program. In addition to driving sales now, this is a great way to boost sales in the future. 

Check out LoyalBlocks, an app that lets you personalize rewards and transform your store into a special loyalty palace where customers don’t have to do anything to receive special offers. Everything is loaded and built on the app so it’s inclusive and very easy to use. 

However you decide to celebrate Memorial weekend, be sure to take the opportunity to reach out to customers with a unique marketing idea that will get them excited to your products and services over the busy weekend. 

 

May 21, 2015

Global Smartphone Sales of $96bn in 2015 Q1

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Recently released figures suggest 2015 will be a record-breaking year for the smartphone. According to market research company GfK, global sales hit $96 billion in Q1 - an 8% year-on-year increase.  

The market has never witnessed such a successful quarter. The number of units sold went up by 7%, to 309.7 million (from 290.1 million in the first quarter of 2014). The lion’s share of that growth comes from Middle Eastern and African markets, but strong growth in North America continues to drive revenues. 

Outside the USA, there has been a slowing of growth in other mature markets such as China and Japan - though analysts predict this is a temporary hiccup rather than a new trend. As more consumers make the transition from 3G to 4G, developed Asian markets are expected to fuel a resurgence in regional sales. 

Much of the ground made can be attributed to a combination of 4G and large-screen adoption, but low-end smartphones have also experienced an upsurge, increasing their market share from 52% in the previous quarter, to 56% in Q1 of 2015. Mid-range devices remained stable and price erosion in emerging markets has seen high-end models (retailing at $500+) take a tumble.

What are we to make of these figures? According to GfK, global smartphone demand is predicted to grow by at least 10% year-on-year for the remainder of 2015. Asia - and in particular India and Indonesia - is forecast to be the primary growth area, as the economies are strong but smartphone penetration is still relatively low.

May 16, 2015

A Third of UK Online Purchases in 2015 Will Be Mobile

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According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, one-third of all 2015 online sales in the UK will take place on smartphones and tablets. The figure is believed to increase by over 40 percent by 2019. eMarketer also estimates that UK retail ecommerce sales will rise 14.5 percent this year to reach £60.4bn. This increase is due to an improved economy, more purchase delivery options, and shoppers turning to mobile devices for buying products and services.

Digital will function as the “main driver” of overall retail sales growth, and subsequently its share of total retail sales will increase to 14.4 percent this year. The increase puts the UK on top of global rankings in regards to ecommerce’s portion of total retail sales. China will be second, with a 12 percent share. The U.S. is farther down the line at 7.1 percent.

Additionally, growth trajectory for mCommerce sales is quite sharp, with this year’s forecast predicting a 30.3 percent increase. eMarketer experts say UK retail mCommerce sales “will reach £19.9bn in 2015, and by 2019, that figure will almost double to just short of £37bn.”

Tablets are especially essential to UK mCommerce sales growth, says eMarketer, as more and more consumers use the devices for “lean-back browsing” of potential purchases. Some retailers are putting extra effort into their tablet retail sites and apps, ensuring they’re both rich and responsive. eMarketer predicts that in 2015 tablet retail mCommerce sales will reach £13.3bn, nearly 67 percent of overall UK retail mcommerce sales. Compare that to 2013, when tablets accounted for a 60.5 percent share of such sales. 

“That mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the retail shopping habits of UK consumers is without question, be that via smartphone, phablet or tablet,” said eMarketer analyst, Bill Fisher. “What this demonstrates, though, is that digital shopping and buying long ago entered the mainstream for most UK consumers, and buying via mobile is just the next step. Indeed, device-agnostic buying, thanks to users’ familiarity with these various device types, is becoming the norm.” 

Even though consumers have demonstrated their willingness to rely on tablets and other mobile devices for making purchases, many retailers have been slow to adapt. Security concerns are one reason for this, and new payment technology options have stagnated as a result. However, the UK is set to establish itself as a huge player in the mobile commerce market over the next few years. 

May 04, 2015

Is Email Marketing Back?

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After years of fighting associations with spam, the proverbial tide is changing regarding email marketing. Facebook, Google and similar major digital media companies are turning to email-based targeting as opposed to traditional cookie-based targeting, as cookies do not work well in mobile browsers. According to Fluent’s new ‘Devices and Demographics’ research, 60 percent of all ads are displayed on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, making “email-based display advertising the future.” 

Advertisers interested in utilizing Google’s latest offering can precisely target the some 500 million people who have Gmail accounts, as well as users who rely on Google for other reasons, such as YouTube accounts. And while these numbers are definitely impressive, Facebook is ahead of the search engine juggernaut: the platform has the email addresses of all 1.4 billion of its users, including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook addresses among others. 

Google is therefore looking to catch up with the social media giant, which works the “custom audience” angle. The term refers to “reaching customers you already know with ads on Facebook.” 

“You can upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers of at least 100 people and we'll deliver your ad to those people if they're on Facebook,” the platform explains on its website. “You can also build audiences from the people that visit your website or from people who use your mobile app.” 

This gives advertisers the opportunity to send encrypted files of their email marketing lists to Facebook and subsequently re-target the users via Facebook ads. The platform also targets ads to “lookalikes,” or those whose interests match existing users on the marketer’s email list.  

The “Google vs. Facebook war” notwithstanding, one thing is abundantly clear: email marketing is more important than ever. Its equity continues to increase, as such marketing is no longer confined to consumer inboxes. The marketing option is instead becoming the driving force behind social, mobile, and display marketing.  

Marketers with long lists of email addresses are set to take full advantage of email marketing, while those without are scrambling to create extensive databases they can draw from. Email address acquisition isn’t something to put off--it needs to function as the top priority for any company looking to drastically revamp their advertising strategy.

To not take advantage of these new email marketing perks is a way to get left in the figurative dust, as brand awareness, ROI, and overall revenue are all sure to benefit from this new tactic. 

 

May 02, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, commemorates the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrated among Mexican communities in Mexico and the United States, it has become a drinking holiday. Cinco de Mayo also offers businesses the chance to attract new customers while having a fabulous time with current ones. If devising a mobile marketing scheme in time for this holiday, check out a few tips to help you out: 

 

Fun With Hashtags

Why not create a hashtag campaign? Make one about a week or a few days before Cinco de Mayo encouraging consumers to take selfies with your merchandise, such as a Cinco de Mayo cup bearing your brand name. Feel free to create a competition out of it--think creative selfies featuring the cup and the appropropriate hashtag. Give out “awards” on Cinco de Mayo, such as sending coupons or discount information for free food, drinks, products, or services. Don’t feel limited to selfies--the hashtag campaign can include anything you want so long as it’s appropriate. 

 

Party, Party, Party 

Make loyal customers feel special by throwing an exclusive Cinco de Mayo shindig. Text a special VIP code to customers who have been with your brand for years, regularly purchase certain products or services, etc. The code could function as an invite to a private party of sorts--one that includes free food and beverages, deep discounts on certain items, free trials of services, and whatver else you want to feature. A fantastic way of thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s also a way to spread the word about your brand. After all, don’t happy customers enjoy talking about favorite products and special related benefits?

 

Sales Alerts

Throwing a huge Cinco de Mayo sale? Let customers know via text. You can also send customers exclusive sales codes that guarantee discounts on the holiday. Consumers never tire of exclusive coupons and promotions, and are that much more likely to patronize your business if they know they can get something for cheap if not free. 

 

Powerful Call to Action 

Don’t let your call-to-action ruin your Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing campaign. Opt for engaging, if somewhat personal, options such as “Start Your Adventure Here” and “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Us By [Doing X and Y].” Whatever you decide, keep it concise and creative, and never, ever use “Click Here” and similar statements. 

These are just some of the many ways to work Cinco de Mayo into your upcoming mobile marketing campaign...

April 17, 2015

Apple Watch Pre-Orders Reach a Million

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Apple recently began pre-selling three versions of its new smart watch to the world, with orders now hitting the one million mark. And that’s just in the United States.  

Unsurprisingly called the Apple Watch, the device allows you to read emails, send messages, and answer iPhone calls, all from the convenience of your wrist. A Taptic Engine feature alerts you through—you guessed it—a tap, so no notifications are missed. The Digital Touch feature makes it easy to communicate by sending a tap, sketch, or heartbeat. There’s even health and fitness features, as well as Apple Pay.  

The watch is available in aforementioned three collections: Apple Watch Sport, priced at $349 and $399; Apple Watch, which costs between $549 to $1,099; and Apple Watch Edition, a watch created from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys. Prices for the Edition start at $10,000. 

"Apple users were waiting for the Apple watch, so when we saw this huge surge in demand, we were not surprised at all," Jaimee Minney, vice president of marketing and public relations for Slice Intelligence, told ABC News. 

The future of the Apple Watch looks good despite what Slice calls “ho-hum reviews, even by some of the most ardent Apple fans.” According to the company, the average Apple Watch buyer ordered 1.3 watches, spending $503.83 per watch. Consumers opting for the Apple Watch Sport edition spent $382.83 per device, while those ordering the Apple Watch edition spent $707.04. 

“Among those buying an Apple Watch, 72 percent purchased an Apple product in the past two years -- iPhone, Apple computer or iPad -- and 21 percent of them pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus mere months ago,” Minney wrote in a recent blog post. “Nearly one-third purchased two Apple products and 11 percent bought all three devices, in addition to their new watch.” 

Watch accessories are also popular, with Minney noting consumers who purchased the Apple Watch or the Sport edition choosing the larger 42mm case. The space gray aluminum case is a favorite as well, edging out the silver and space black cases. 

“The Black Sport Band was by far the most popular among both Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport buyers, with 49 percent overall pre-ordering one, followed by the White Sport Band at 16 percent and the more expensive Milanese Loop -- $149 versus $49 for the black Sport band -- rounding out the top three at around 10 percent,” Minney remarked.  

According to Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, should Apple continue to see one million units per quarter the company would easily become one of the most profitable watchmakers in the world. This means second to Swatch in regards to profitability and only just behind the legendary Rolex brand. 

“If you told people about a new Apple product that cost $400 and asked them if they would buy it, 1 million people would say yes," Entner said. "They don’t even need to know what it is -- and more often than not they wouldn’t be disappointed. Since the second coming of Steve Jobs, the missteps that Apple has taken are few and far between.” 

 

April 05, 2015

Mobile Messaging: The Ultimate Customer Service Helpdesk

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Mobile marketing has witnessed a decade of innovation during which thousands upon thousands of apps have flooded the marketplace, doing everything from fitness tracking to spread betting. But what if there was no need for a separate app for each task? What if you could use a single interface to request and receive goods and services? 

The rise of apps like Magic has brought ‘conversational commerce’ - in which customers can make specific requests via SMS messaging - to the forefront. Facebook is soon to launch it’s own Magic-like on-demand text service. Meanwhile, messaging app SnapChat is expanding to offer a commercial iteration of its service - SnapCash - which allows users to make transactions for products. 

This is all relatively new stuff in the United States, but Asia has been harnessing the full potential of SMS messaging as a catch-all service tool for some years. In China, WeChat gives its 440 million users a single portal through which they can pay bills, order taxis and shop; the app has generated more than $1.1 billion in revenue since launching in 2011. In Japan, LinePay provides a similar service. 

In the U.S., most of the recent buzz around ‘conversational commerce’ has focused on Magic, the app that allows you to request any service that exists in the real world, from dry cleaning to dry stonewalling. The so-called ‘concierge’ service uses a winning combination of human and artificial intelligence to meet the demands of its growing customer base.

Other start-ups have followed suit. Scratch, for instance, offers a ‘professional shopper’ to not only help facilitate purchases, but actually offer fashion advice along the way. Native pulls off a similar trick in the travel world, working as a personalized travel assistant to help you plan every part of your trip via SMS messaging. 

The implications of this development are significant for the future of mobile. The limitations of the mobile interface have always been down to the problems of shrinking a desktop internet onto small screens. Fiddly shopping carts and multiple apps make for a fractious, incomplete experience. But the text message was made for small screen devices. Now it is liberating us from the process of browsing, comparing and purchasing goods which, even on a mobile-friendly site or app, is a little unwieldy.

 

March 31, 2015

SMS vs. MMS

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Mobile marketing is nowhere near critical mass. For a variety of reasons, this marketing channel is not as widely used as experts predict for the future—many speculate the distinction between SMS and MMS messaging is not popularly understood, and as a result, has slowed growth. But it’s really not that complicated, and choosing the right tactic for a marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a painstaking process of trial and error. Before we jump into the unique traits and characteristics of each, let’s look at a few basic similarities.

 

Similarities

Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Message Service (MMS) are both mobile marketing tactics that are designed to complement a marketing strategy by providing content directly to consumers’ handsets or mobile devices. SMS and MMS work to instantaneously provide content directly to users, engaging consumers via their mobile device, the result of which is highly effective, reliable and progressive. 

 

Differences

The most obvious difference between the two is made clear by their names. SMS is a text-based service that does not provide users with rich media content. Conversely, MMS allows users to send a variety of media including images, animated .GIF, and short video or audio files. This is where the divergence really begins, as the latter may cost more money to produce but also delivers a substantially higher return on investment. 

 

MMS Advantages 

MMS messages can be sent peer-to-peer from mobile phones, a mobile messaging service provider, or a website. These multimedia messages enjoy higher customer engagement, and better click-through-rates. What’s more, MMS increases campaign opt-ins by 20% over SMS and subscribers are more likely to engage with the content on social media outlets. 

The quality of MMS content is perceived as much higher than SMS and has a well-maintained handset database. Real-time content transcoding makes sending media faster and with unlimited charters and device detection, the message is louder and goes further. Most phones already support MMS messages and don’t require further enablement. MMS does not require data from the end user. 

 

SMS Advantages 

 

While SMS doesn’t have the same branding opportunities as MMS, it does offer useful insight by providing user data that’s not so easily collected by MMS messages. 

Although the standard SMS message is limited to 160 characters, this may include a link that tracks back to a website where useful information can be collected, or further online engagement can occur. The drawback, of course, is that data is required by the end user and can sometimes have hidden costs for the user as well. This is one of the more debated issues surrounding SMS messaging today, as extraneous data usage can often cause more harm than good when trying to develop a loyal mobile audience. 

SMS can be sent peer-to-peer or through a mobile messaging service provider. SMS is incredibly fast, with 99.99% delivered in under 15 seconds. Currently, SMS delivers more than 3 billion messages a year, across most small US carriers. 

Hopefully by getting a better handle on what these two marketing tactics do, marketers will be ready to help further realize the advantages and disadvantages of using these highly effective marketing tools. 

 

 

March 30, 2015

Analytics App Raises $34 Million

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In search of the best analytics tool for your marketing app? Localytics might be the answer to your app-tastic prayers. A service app that offers “analytics, insights, and marketing solutions in one place,” Localytics has raised $34 million in Series D funding so far.  

The company initially focused on app analytics, but CEO Raj Aggarwal noted that customers also called for tools that made it easy to move forward with their newly-acquired data. This prompted the Localytics team to add push notifications, integration with sales and business intelligence software, email marketing, and in-app messaging. Aggarwal explained that businesses are in need of “all the insights and tools to engage users and meet their expectations for an amazing app experience, in one place.”  

He pointed out that apps are an essential component of the digital experience, and as such, businesses need their marketing and product teams to use the same tools. Disparate data sets are quickly becoming a thing of the past.  

Localytics offers real-time, granular data analytics that answer questions such as, “How frequently do consumers visit my app?”, “How long does the average user spend on my app per visit?”, “What are people doing in my app?” and “Why aren’t my app users converting?” among other relevant queries. The insights portion of Localytics shows which demographic your app targets, what features pique consumer interest the longest, how many purchases were made over the last 15 days, and what makes some users “more valuable” than others. 

As far as marketing services, Localytics offers push messaging that helps re-engage customers, in-app messaging that lets users know about new features, and features answers to attribution questions, such as where to invest in terms of advertising. A/B testing is also part of the app’s marketing services, and helps determine what drives the most conversions, and which call to actions are best for specific campaigns.  

Localytics is currently used by some 32,000 apps, including those for eBay, ESPN, Fox, The New York Times, and the upcoming HBO Now app. 

The company will soon introduce a new predictive marketing feature, which is designed to aid businesses in discovering which customers are most likely to abandon the app. Once such customers are identified, they’ll receive targeted messages convincing them to keep using it. This marketing feature also determines which customers are willing to spend more on the app, and subsequently tempts them with targeted deals.

Current Localytics investors include Sapphire Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Polaris Partners.

 

March 27, 2015

Mobile Marketing is Going Hyper-Local

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Mobile marketing has taken huge strides towards fulfilling the potential of geo-targeting technology, allowing local businesses to make the most of their sphere of influence. The only way for geo-location techniques to go is inward, reaching ever-more specific parts of the local economy.

Mobile marketing is doing just that, placing an increasing emphasis on attracting foot traffic to brick and mortar retail outlets. The industry is now able to service international brands with bespoke campaigns in multiple locations using region-specific methods capable of targeting users to a single square foot. 

This ultimate refinement of mobile marketing tactics is a real game changer. A heady cocktail of beacons, GPS, location information gathered from existing interactions and other geolocaters is ushering in a new era of hyper-local mobile marketing so precise it’s hard to imagine how it could improve further.

Having such devastatingly effective mobile marketing tactics available at the local level is helping small businesses maximize their efficiency on tight budgets. For a relatively low cost, small businesses can quickly, reliably reach the widest audience they can serve, via a combination of in-app messaging, web ads, text messages, MMS and push notifications. 

So what next? With such sophistication already on display, where targeted mobile marketing could go now is anybody’s guess. Some mobile marketers are considering adjusting their services to allow for weather, which would let marketers better judge the prime time to pitch discounts. It might not be relevant to every business, but purveyors of ice cream or rooftop cocktails could really use knowing if it’s about to rain the moment they’ve sent their 50% discount coupon to hundreds of people. Other local data like traffic conditions may also begin to play a part in geo-location technology. 

The tools at our disposal allows imaginative approaches to marketing to flourish, unencumbered by technological limits. Nobody can say for certain what the next few years hold for mobile marketing - that’s why it’s so exciting. But if the rapid rate of change we’ve seen take place over the past decade continues, we can be confident that the mobile landscape of 2025 will look very different to the one we see today.