Mobile Me

Each month publishes some great information about changing consumer habits around the globe as well as key trends that either have or will impact business.  We have incorporated some of their facts in our blog before and will do so again today.  Some interesting stuff.

  • A survey of US adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don’t go an hour without checking their phone (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2012).
  • Cell phone users between 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on an average day, more than 3,200 per month (Source: Pew Research Centre, September 2012).
  • An academic study of Android users’ app-habits revealed that while users spend nearly one hour on their devices a day, the average app session lasted only just over a minute (Source: DFKI, November2011).

And some examples of companies that are changing the game through mobile.

  • Peapod – US-based online grocer announced in October 2012 that it was launching over 100 QR-code based ‘virtual stores’ at train stations in major cities including Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
  • Walmart-owned Mexican supermarket chain Superama has unveiled QR code-enabled kiosks in a selection of shopping centers in Mexico City.
  • Jana enables cell phone users in the developing world to participate in market research surveys via SMS. The service is able to reward participants with free airtime, and as a result of partnering with mobile operators, reaches nearly 3.5 billion people in over 100 countries.

Really cool ideas and people are engaged in more and more mobile “minutes”.   Thanks again to the folks at Trendwatching.


Price Check Please!

Before all the awesome technology that we now have at our disposal, cashiers would yell out to someone in the store “Price Check Please” and someone would come up to the register, take a look at the product, go back to the aisle to find a similar product and then hurry (In some cases) back to the register to provide the correct price or to confirm.  Usually this was followed by “Spill in Aisle 5”. 🙂

Well, things have certainly changed.  As we know, products are scanned via a UPC (Universal Product Code), we present coupons that are also scanned using a bar code (either on our smartphones or by handing over a coupon) or using a QR (Quick Response) code to redeem our deal or special offer.  When on-line we use promotional codes that we have access to via our e-mail or through a quick search to find one that may be active.  Most on-line commerce sites provide an area for promotional codes at check-out.  These have become a standard for most on-line shoppers looking for a better deal; and aren’t we all.

When visiting a brick and mortar store, we have access to price check kiosks where we can scan an item for the price and other details, such as nutritional, before we get to the register to check-out.  We also have access to in-store hand held devices that enable us to scan all of our products while we shop and to access our frequent shopper history so that we know what we purchased in the past, what specials we can use, product and nutritional recommendations and many other “benefits” for the customer – as you know there is huge benefit for the retailer as they learn more and more about your behavior so they can improve the relevance of their communications with you.

And then of course we have these incredible smartphones that not only give us information and pricing about that product in that store, but also the price for that same product in competitive local retailers and for on-line retailers as well.  The power to find the best price sits in the palm of your hand.  Retailers are certainly responding to this “threat” in different ways.

Last holiday season for example, Amazon offered shoppers $5 to scan items in retail stores and to send that information back to Amazon so that they could understand the local competitive market pricing and make sure they had the best price.  Amazon’s Price Check app, which is available for iPhone and Android, allows shoppers to scan a bar code, take a picture of an item or conduct a text search to find the lowest prices. Amazon is also asking consumers to submit the prices of items with the app, so Amazon knows if it is still offering the best prices.  Now that is proactive “crowdsourcing” at its best.

Some retailers, like Target, are encouraging that behavior, giving shoppers gift cards and other rewards for checking in and scanning merchandise. Others, like Best Buy, are doing their best prevent it, even going so far as to strip the standard bar codes on products to discourage shoppers from running price comparisons with other retailers.

Empathica, recently issued a survey among 6,500 U.S. Internet users — a little more than half (52%) of whom identified as smartphone owners — to take a closer look at how they’re using mobile in stores. Impressively, 55% of smartphone owners said they’ve used a mobile device to compare prices between retailers. Thirty-four percent said they’ve scanned a QR code, and 27% have read online reviews from their devices before making purchase decisions.  Empathica provides Customer Experience Management programs to more than 200 of the world’s leading brands.

According to Empathica’s survey, here is how consumers are using their smartphones in store:

What your customer and prospect can now do while in your store is revolutionary.  You want to win?  Make sure you give your shoppers with what they need to engage.  It is no longer just about the product, but about the entire experience and how the shopper expresses themselves about you.

Let me know what you think about this post by commenting below.


Image is Everything!

Our expectations have changed.  Our information requirements have changed.  The web started it, we adopted it, but now we have an insatiable appetite for information.  We want knowledge, advice, guidance, facts and we want it right now.  We want the ability to engage with a product, a destination, an adventure, a sport or anything else that we are interested in.  Armed with smart phones, cameras, scanners, QR codes and the like, we are fully empowered to become intimately familiar with just about any object in the world in real time.

After a decade of near-obsessive Googling, instant access to information with the right (textual) input is now expected, a way of life. The next frontier is visual info-gratification: consumers accessing information about objects encountered in the real world, in more natural ways and while on-the-go, simply by pointing their smartphones at anything interesting.  And just as ‘going online’ is no longer limited to sitting in front of a computer, discovery will no longer be tied to text search. People will be able to immediately find out about (and potentially buy)  anything they see or hear, even if they don’t know what it is or can’t describe it in words.

Here are some pictures of some of the most famous buildings and places to shop on New York’s fifth avenue (The Apple Store, Saks Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

Here are some of the possibilities of visual information.  How about if you just pointed your phone at the location and the following happened:

  • Apple Store – When was it built, what is the glass made from, did Steve Jobs ever visit the store, how many iPads have been sold from this store, what are the store’s hours, make an appointment at the genius bar, what is on sale today, what is on sale in the next 30 minutes, what’s new on iTunes
  • Sak’s Fifth Avenue – What designer scarfs are carried in the store, when was the building constructed, who owns Saks, what other companies are in the building, what was there before Saks, what is on sale
  • St. Patrick‘s – Mass times displayed, history of the church was presented, who was married in the church, what are the church dimensions, what type of marble was used, how high are the spires, how many candles, what is the seating capacity etc.

Just point and know.  A guided tour on history, products, sales or anything else that is important to you.  Your choice of course, on your phone or tablet, available whenever you want it.  Now that is just so cool!

Here are some examples of applications that are providing this type of insight right now:

  • Shazam – listens to any song or commercial and identifies it for you immediately – Name of song, artist, etc.
  • Skin Scan – is an app which allows users to scan and monitor moles over time, with the aim of preventing malignant skin cancers. The app tells users if a visit to their doctor or dermatologist is advisable.
  • Star Chart – enables users to point their phones at the sky to discover details about the objects or constellations they look at

The days of using text as your primary search tool are coming to an end.  Still a ways to go, but the future is about images 🙂

Let me know what you think about this blog by commenting below.