Phunware http://www.phunware.com Everything you need to succeed on mobile. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:39:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 5 Retail Mobile Strategy Resolutions for 2015 http://www.phunware.com/blog/5-retail-mobile-strategy-resolutions-2015/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-retail-mobile-strategy-resolutions-2015 http://www.phunware.com/blog/5-retail-mobile-strategy-resolutions-2015/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:42:13 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=17366 We’re only a few weeks into 2015, and retail executives are still formulating their resolutions and goals for the year. Right now, organizations are bringing their departments together to reflect on the holiday season’s successes and failures. And the smart ones are learning from 2014 to become bigger and better over the next 12 months. […]

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Blog-Mobile-Stategy-Resolutions

We’re only a few weeks into 2015, and retail executives are still formulating their resolutions and goals for the year.

Right now, organizations are bringing their departments together to reflect on the holiday season’s successes and failures. And the smart ones are learning from 2014 to become bigger and better over the next 12 months.

In spirit of this aspirational time of year, below are five mobile resolutions for the retail industry. Keep in mind that these are just high-level concepts for you to mull over as you finalize (or get started on!) your strategies.

When it comes to mobile (or any investment), there is no universal strategy. The unique goals and target audiences of each organization are what ultimately drives their approach to mobile.

1. Make mobile experiences seamless and easy to shop.

Research from Apigee indicates that by the end of 2014, 63% of U.S. smartphone owners used apps at least once a month, up from 56% in 2013. Moreover, 20% of smartphone owners said they plan to increase how much they spend via apps this year.

To keep pace with this surge in demand, retailers need to create streamlined app experiences that are organized, intuitive and easy to browse. After all, when the user experience is clunky, disorganized or otherwise unpleasant, users are more likely to get frustrated and abandon the shopping experience altogether. Supporting this point, research from Contact Solutions found that 51% of consumers abandon their carts and close apps when they have a poor experience. Up to 20% stopped using the app entirely.

2. Personalize the app experience.

Beautiful UX is only the first step in a long journey to app optimization. Today’s empowered consumers expect anytime / anywhere access to information, content and services that enrich their shopping experience. Loyalty programs play a major role here.

For example, beauty retailer Sephora’s app integrates with its Beauty Insider loyalty club. Once logged in, club members receive a personalized experience that tracks their loyalty points, sends them unique rewards and offers and monitors their Beauty Bags (records of past purchases and “Loves”). How can you create a similar user-focused experience?

3. Use push notifications to drive foot traffic.

Hyper-precise targeting by user location, demographics and loyalty is what makes push notifications so powerful. But there’s a fine line between being engaging and annoying. Walgreens is one retailer that does it right. The pharmacy retailer uses Passbook to send notifications when consumers are in close proximity to a store, encouraging them to stop in and take advantage of timely coupons and deals. Integration with the Walgreens app and loyalty program also allows consumers to receive more personalized messages, and even receive notifications when their prescriptions are ready for pickup.

4. Guide customers through the store.

Recent success stories from top retailers like GameStop and Lord & Taylor are helping to accelerate adoption of beacon technology. These two retailers take different approaches to beacon engagement:

  • GameStop allows consumers to use their smartphones to “activate” beacons on shelves. Once they do, they can access complementary content, such as video game videos, ratings and reviews.
  • Lord & Taylor embeds beacons in different store departments to trigger alerts as app holders move throughout the store.
    Retailers can build on Lord & Taylor’s strategy and personalize beacon-triggered alerts. That way, users would receive offers tailored to their unique tastes and preferences. This approach keeps shoppers engaged, surprised and delighted by the mobile brand experience.

5. Turn associates’ mobile devices into their little black books.

For decades, associates who work in department and luxury stores have relied on their little black books. These handy resources hold invaluable information about clients, past purchases and preferences. With tablets and smartphones, associates can access this same information with far more detail and context.

This year, consider how mobile can act as your hub for associate engagement and empowerment. How can you integrate associate apps and resources with enterprise information such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and sales data?

Does your retail organization have any mobile resolutions in place? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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What Is Native Advertising? http://www.phunware.com/blog/native-advertising/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=native-advertising http://www.phunware.com/blog/native-advertising/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:45:47 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=17095 There seem to be as many definitions of native advertising as there are entities involved in creating, delivering or commenting on native advertising. At Phunware, we use the definition established by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in its Task Force report The Native Advertising Playbook: [Native advertising refers to] paid ads that are so cohesive […]

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There seem to be as many definitions of native advertising as there are entities involved in creating, delivering or commenting on native advertising. At Phunware, we use the definition established by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in its Task Force report The Native Advertising Playbook:

[Native advertising refers to] paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

NativeadvertisingIn other words, native advertising is paid content that appears within the flow of editorial content and is topically relevant to it. Native advertising is by definition less disruptive and more engaging than standard ad units placed in right rail or leaderboard positions and appeals to consumers in a similar way to the editorial content on a page or in an app.

Why the Concept of Native Advertising Is Confusing

The term native advertising is often used interchangeably with content marketing, sponsored content, brand journalism, custom content, advertorials and other similar concepts. Jay Rosen, who teaches Journalism at NYU, contends that these terms are not the same at all.

Felix Salmon, writing for Reuters, took up Rosen’s call to draw useful distinctions between these closely related terms and developed what he called The Native Matrix. The Native Matrix is a visual representation of different types of earned and paid content categorized according to who writes the content and who publishes it. For example, content written by editorial staff and put out by a publisher is public relations; content written or commissioned by sales staff or an ad agency and published by the brand itself is either sponsored content or native advertising. (Salmon clarifies that “sponsored content is designed to be read [while] native advertising is designed to be shared.”)

What the Best Native Ads Have in Common
That distinction of simple consumption / impressions versus shareability is vital to many commentators’ definitions of native advertising. The best native ads are those that capture consumers’ attention—perhaps even more effectively than the editorial content in which they are embedded—and entertain or inform readers enough to inspire them to actively share the ads with their social networks. The Holy Grail is producing brand content that “goes viral.”

Consumers routinely ignore or actively block banner ads and other forms of display advertising. Conversely, native advertising done well works so fluidly with the page or app content that it is far less likely to trigger the near-automatic ad avoidance strategies that many consumers have adopted as part of their online and mobile behavior.

How to Achieve Effective Native Advertising
To embed native advertising most effectively, the brand and the publisher would ideally work closely together to plan complementary editorial and paid content that will flow smoothly (visually, stylistically and topically) in targeted consumers’ news streams, social media or other content channels.

Other types of effective native advertising simply conform to the typical format of a closed platform, such as Facebook or Twitter, and look like other posts in the users’ streams except for an unobtrusive “sponsored content” label or similar disclosure. Even search advertising can be considered native in the sense that it directly relates to users’ interests and appears alongside organic search results and is therefore a part of the native search experience.

Types of Native Ads

IAB identifies six types of ad units that are most commonly used to achieve native objectives:

  • In-feed units appear on-page within the editorial content flow or are linked off-page; paid content relates closely to editorial content.
  • Paid search units appear alongside organic search results.
  • Recommendations widgets are ad links delivered via “widgets” integrated into the main well of the page but not mimicking the appearance of the editorial content.
  • Promoted listings are designed to fit seamlessly into the browsing experience.
  • In-ad with native element units are delivered in standard IAB containers placed outside the editorial well but contextually relevant to the page content.
  • Custom / “Can’t Be Contained” is any native advertising that does not fit into the above categories or is too platform-specific.

Refer to the IAB Playbook for more in-depth explanations of these types of native advertising and how they fit in a continuum defined by form, function, integration, buying and targeting, and measurement. This kind of analysis helps advertisers, ad networks, platforms, agencies and publishers to “speak a common language” so that stakeholders can negotiate, create and deliver ad units that meet the needs and goals of all the entities involved—including consumers.

Growth of Native Ads

As in-house resources and knowledge continues to grow about this currently niche ad format, Native Ads “will soon see widespread adoption by conventional brands,” predicts Dippak Khurana, co-founder and CEO of data processing company VServe in a recent blog post. In 2015, marketers “will closely emulate and leverage the characteristics of the mobile environment to deliver mobile ads that blend seamlessly with the mobile app and site experience.”

For more mobile insights and trends, see “Top 5 Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015″  

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Top 5 Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015 http://www.phunware.com/blog/top-5-mobile-marketing-trends-watch-2015/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-5-mobile-marketing-trends-watch-2015 http://www.phunware.com/blog/top-5-mobile-marketing-trends-watch-2015/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:53:34 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=17076 Mobile marketing is the place to be in 2015, according to several recent reports. Here’s a quick look at five trends and what they mean for you in 2015. 1. Smartphone and tablet screens are getting more eyeball time than TV screens. Americans now spend an average 177 minutes per day looking at mobile devices […]

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Mobile marketing is the place to be in 2015, according to several recent reports. Here’s a quick look at five trends and what they mean for you in 2015.

1. Smartphone and tablet screens are getting more eyeball time than TV screens.
Americans now spend an average 177 minutes per day looking at mobile devices compared to an average 168 minutes watching TV, according to recent research from Flurry. Compare this to just three years ago, when Americans spent an average 109 minutes daily on mobile screens and 168 minutes on TV.

2. App usage is going nuts—especially in the shopping category.
In 2014, overall app use jumped 76 percent year over year, according to another Flurry report. Retail app use was particularly strong, with time spent in Android and iOS shopping apps up 174 percent.

3. mCommerce is the new eCommerce.
During the 2014 holiday season, 60 percent of Amazon’s sales came from mobile users, the company announced. Mobile sales were up 76 percent on Cyber Monday compared to the same day in 2013, according to research from eCommerce company Skava.

4. Mobile marketing is the fastest-growing digital advertising channel in the U.S.
With so much increased smartphone, tablet and phablet use, it’s no surprise mobile ad spending is on the rise in the U.S.—a 43 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018, reaching nearly $42 billion by 2018, predicts BI Intelligence.

Although the dollar amount spent on mobile marketing is rising rapidly, the growth hasn’t yet caught up with the amount of time users spend on mobile devices, BI Intelligence notes. The disparity will soon narrow as more marketers embrace mobile ad platforms.

5. Native advertising will grow on mobile.
Native advertising is any advertising integrated within the platform on which it appears, such as a within a mobile app. Double-digit growth in native advertising is expected to continue through 2018 in the U.S., eMarketer reports. Advertisers say native ads blend well with mobile content and are least likely to annoy users. As a result, digital ad buyers expect “higher conversions and/or engagement rates” from their mobile native ads, eMarketer reports. Those not exploring mobile native ads yet most often blame the lack of in-house resources and knowledge.

What This All Means for You

In summary: Consumers are spending more time using mobile apps. They’re spending more money on their mobile devices, too. Companies are increasing ad dollars and efforts to reach customers via mobile. As a result, in 2015, mobile marketing will be an even more important strategy for brands and advertisers that want to stay competitive and in touch with consumers.

For more mobile insights and trends, see “The Top 5 Mobile App Predictions for 2015—and How to Be Prepared.”

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Phunware Announces Bill Getchell as New Chief Financial Officer http://www.phunware.com/press-releases/phunware-announces-bill-getchell-new-chief-financial-officer/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=phunware-announces-bill-getchell-new-chief-financial-officer http://www.phunware.com/press-releases/phunware-announces-bill-getchell-new-chief-financial-officer/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16953 Austin, TX (PRWEB) [January 15, 2014] – Phunware, the pioneer of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), the first fully integrated customer engagement platform that enables brands to engage, manage and monetize their anytime anywhere users worldwide, today announced Bill Getchell as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. The addition of Getchell comes on the heels […]

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Phunware Announces Bill Getchell as New Chief Financial Officer

Career Finance Veteran to Assist in Worldwide Expansion of Multiscreen Platform Company

Austin, TX (PRWEB) [January 15, 2014] – Phunware, the pioneer of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), the first fully integrated customer engagement platform that enables brands to engage, manage and monetize their anytime anywhere users worldwide, today announced Bill Getchell as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. The addition of Getchell comes on the heels of the acquisition of London-based Odyssey Mobile Interaction, a premium monetization platform, and a series of impressive awards and honors, including # 4 on the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and back-to-back listings on the Inc. 500.

“We are delighted to add Bill to the Phunware ‘phamily’,” said Alan S. Knitowski, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Phunware. “He has built high-performance, collaborative finance and accounting organizations that are integral to business operations and decision-making, and he brings deep experience in international financial and treasury management. His expertise leading diverse financial teams in the United States and abroad will be invaluable as Phunware expands its worldwide footprint.”

Prior to joining Phunware, Getchell was most recently CFO of Austin-based Motion Computing, Inc., a marketer of rugged tablet personal computing systems, where he was responsible for all aspects of finance, strategic planning, capital formation, financial reporting, international treasury operations, and administration. Other past experience includes Valence Technology, GreenMountain.Com, IDX Systems, Microtouch Systems, Lotus Development, GCC Technologies and IBM.

Getchell has raised venture and private equity capital, term debt and working capital lines. He has supported marketing, sales, product development and operations and led legal and contract development activities. He has strong experience in exit preparation, mergers and acquisitions, financial systems, restructuring, Sarbanes Oxley compliance, accounting process improvement and investor relations.

“I am thrilled to join Phunware and to work with Alan [Knitowski] and Phunware’s accomplished management team,” Getchell said. “I look forward to building upon the company’s achievements and facilitating continued growth both in the U.S. and abroad as Phunware cements its global position as the leading Multiscreen Platform company.”

For more information about Phunware’s leadership team, current and upcoming products and solutions and case studies from Phunware’s impressive list of global customers, please visit www.phunware.com.

About Phunware

Phunware is the pioneer of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), the first fully integrated customer engagement platform that enables brands to engage, manage and monetize their anytime, anywhere users worldwide. Phunware, The Software of Things™, has introduced category-defining experiences that challenge the outer limits of the most advanced connected devices for the world’s most respected brands and develops next-generation products and solutions that transform how the world interacts with and uses these connected devices. Phunware has a 5-year percentage growth of 17,716% and is a back-to-back Top 100 award winner on the Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies. The company is currently ranked # 4 on the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and # 36 on the 2014 Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. For more information about how Phunware provides Everything You Need to Succeed on Mobile™, please visit www.phunware.com and follow us on Twitter @phunware.

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Can Push Notifications Boost Retail Foot Traffic? http://www.phunware.com/blog/can-push-notifications-boost-retail-foot-traffic/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-push-notifications-boost-retail-foot-traffic http://www.phunware.com/blog/can-push-notifications-boost-retail-foot-traffic/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:09:56 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16269 We’ve all heard the worrying news that compared with last year, 2014 Black Friday in-store traffic was down 12.5 percent and sales were down 10.3 percent.1 For retailers, this is bad news. All of their newspaper inserts and magazine ads, TV commercials and online banners just didn’t deliver the revenue they expected—and needed. Now, regardless […]

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Blog-Foot-Traffic

We’ve all heard the worrying news that compared with last year, 2014 Black Friday in-store traffic was down 12.5 percent and sales were down 10.3 percent.1 For retailers, this is bad news. All of their newspaper inserts and magazine ads, TV commercials and online banners just didn’t deliver the revenue they expected—and needed.

Now, regardless of how you feel about Black Friday, it’s a day aimed at driving arguably the most important metric for brick-and-mortar retailers: foot traffic.

New Strategies for Attracting Shoppers

Not every retailer tries to use Black Friday as the fix for their businesses. Instead, some retailers, like a national department store (which happens to be one of Phunware’s customers), use a slightly different strategy. They use push notifications to deliver shoppers.

How do they do it? Most recently, they sent a push notification to 1 million mobile devices users who downloaded their app. What did the notification say? It simply told users about an offer of 20 percent off in-store purchases.

Of course, with traditional marketing, it would be very difficult to prove the ROI of a single outreach campaign and to track who engaged with that campaign. With a mobile app, however, this kind of direct attribution becomes easy.

When tapped or swiped, the notification took the user to an offer wallet containing a coupon with a unique barcode. When the user made a purchase in-store and presented the barcode for scanning to ensure the discount, the store could attribute the purchase to the notification. Additionally, because the purchase was tied to an individual app user, the retailer gained an opportunity to learn more about its individual users—and how to market to them.

The Results Speak for Themselves

Blog-Foot-Traffic-Preview

Click to view the full infographic.

So what happened when the department store sent this coupon to a million users? Within three days, 14.2 percent of the recipients went to one of the store’s physical locations, resulting in $500,000 of revenue directly attributable to the campaign. Not bad for one push notification.

Who’s on Board with Push?

Most retailers avoid push notifications, even though studies indicate that 68 percent of consumers enable push notifications and 50 percent say that they intentionally download an app to get access to special or exclusive offers.2

When you develop a push notification strategy, you must prioritize the customer experience—and their preferences—above all else. Blindly pushing notifications is a proven path to marketing failure. What’s evolving, slowly but surely, is a recognition among marketers that tailored, optimized push notifications boost response levels. The days of “spray and pray” are fading—it’s critical to create push notifications that matter to your users.

If you’re a marketer working for a brick-and-mortar store, and you’re looking for additional foot traffic, Phunware has worked with many retailers to implement push successfully (and profitably).

Visit us at NRF Booth #1307 or schedule a demo to learn more.

1Fortune
2Responsys

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Phunware: A Year in Review / Preview http://www.phunware.com/mobile-solutions/phunware-year-review-preview/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=phunware-year-review-preview http://www.phunware.com/mobile-solutions/phunware-year-review-preview/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:40:23 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16654 As of September 2014, Apple’s App Store had a reported 1.3 million apps available for sale. With such obvious competition and noise, mobile advertisers and application developers have their work cut out for them to attract users and turn them into advocates. As the pioneers of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), we at Phunware have […]

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  • TapIt by Phunware is now Phunware Advertising
  • Odyssey Mobile Interaction joins the Phunware Phamily
  • Phunware launches new holistic life cycle approach to mobile problem-solving

As of September 2014, Apple’s App Store had a reported 1.3 million apps available for sale. With such obvious competition and noise, mobile advertisers and application developers have their work cut out for them to attract users and turn them into advocates.

As the pioneers of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), we at Phunware have a long history of helping brands reach their audiences across multiple platforms. As we kick off 2015, we’re augmenting and repositioning our offerings to maximize mobile monetization and engagement for our customers.

The Importance of Integrated Mobile Solutions

Under traditional organizational structures, departments work independently to achieve separate goals. Unfortunately, the silo effect created by this approach can reduce company productivity and efficiency. It can also keep brands from developing a cohesive identity, which in turn prevents them from profiting from brand awareness and loyalty.

Acquiring several companies over the last two years (TapIt, Digby, Simplikate), created a big challenge along these lines for us: we had to integrate these disparate entities under the Phunware flag (or, you know, phlag). We’ve put in a lot of work to tackle that challenge head-on, and we are thrilled to be going into 2015 with a holistic vision for our brand and the resources to back it up.

As of January 2015, we’re rebranding TapIt by Phunware as Phunware Advertising, bringing it closer under the umbrella of our full-stack solutions platform. We can’t say too much about it yet, but we also have big plans to supercharge the premium side of Phunware Advertising in 2015. Our recent acquisition of Odyssey Mobile Interaction is only the beginning!

Support Throughout the Mobile Application Life Cycle

Phunware-Mobile-Application-Life-Cycle

Click image to view larger.

Investment in the advertising and monetization arm of our business is an investment in the larger Phunware platform, which also includes high-end custom development, pre-packaged industry-specific solutions and a platform of a-la-carte SDKs. This end-to-end approach to mobile problem-solving is indicative of our commitment to meeting customers wherever they are in the mobile application life cycle.

In 2015, we’re also rolling out a new strategy for communicating how we deliver value across the life of a mobile application—from ideation all the way through install campaigns. We call this the Plan-Build-Grow-Service model, and it’s the foundation of everything we do.

Phunware has easy-to-integrate solutions from location marketing and content management to monetization and analytics. We also have the knowledge and expertise to take mobile apps from concepts to products, and the resources to monetize and grow them through Phunware Advertising’s premium mobile advertising platform.

We accomplished a lot in 2014, and we can’t wait to see where 2015 takes us. To keep up with Phunware news (and to see highlights of our new blog posts, infographics and other content), sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Mobile Merriment: How Top Retail Apps Brought the Holiday Spirit http://www.phunware.com/blog/mobile-merriment-retail-app-experiences-will-get-holiday-spirit/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mobile-merriment-retail-app-experiences-will-get-holiday-spirit http://www.phunware.com/blog/mobile-merriment-retail-app-experiences-will-get-holiday-spirit/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 10:24:21 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16479 Mobile retail traffic and sales reached an all-time high over Thanksgiving weekend this year. On Thanksgiving Day alone, mobile accounted for 52 percent and 32 percent of eCommerce traffic and sales, respectively, according to IBM research. These results reaffirm that consumers are more eager than ever to tap into their devices to browse and buy. […]

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Mobile-Merriment-Blog

Mobile retail traffic and sales reached an all-time high over Thanksgiving weekend this year. On Thanksgiving Day alone, mobile accounted for 52 percent and 32 percent of eCommerce traffic and sales, respectively, according to IBM research. These results reaffirm that consumers are more eager than ever to tap into their devices to browse and buy.

To take advantage of these buying patterns this year, best-in-class retailers invested in creating apps that are entertaining, enjoyable and make consumers’ lives a little bit easier. While some released completely new apps, others refined their features and capabilities to appeal to holiday shoppers. Here are a few to note:

1. Target

This big box retailer implemented a few different mobile initiatives for the holiday season. For one, the company partnered with Google on the Art, Copy & Code project to create a holiday-themed game experience in stores. In its brick-and-mortar locations, Target rolled out tablets where consumers can play Bullseye’s Playground, which includes a variety of games and activities. For every game played, Target donates $1 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

But that’s not all. Target also launched its Wish List app for parents and kids. As kids add items to their lists, parents can share them with friends and family. An augmented reality feature also helps make the Target Kids’ Gift Catalog more fun and compelling.

Finally, the retailer re-launched its mobile and tablet apps specifically for the holidays. New indoor wayfinding enhancements allow consumers to locate items in stores more easily using interactive store maps and shopping lists. (At least they do in theory. See the Phunware blog post about how that’s often easier said than done—even for Target.) And of course, Target ramped up its Cartwheel experience by offering daily deals and holiday exclusives.

  • Key takeaways: Target took a variety of different approaches to mobility, adding utility and fun to its overall brand experience. When you develop your mobile strategy, it’s paramount to consider what your customers want out of the shopping experience (both online and in-store), and what you can do to make their lives easier. You will be able to develop a solid foundation of features and capabilities from there.

2. Walmart

Although Walmart’s Savings Catcher app was popular long before the holiday season, the retailer tailored the mobile experience to align with consumers’ browsing and buying behaviors during this time of year. Consumers use the Savings Catcher app to scan their receipts. The app then aggregates prices from local competitor ads. If a competitor has a lower price, Walmart will give shoppers the difference on an eGift card. Funds can either be accrued and saved or spent immediately.

While this feature of the app is normally used for grocery items, Walmart expanded the product assortment for the holidays to include toys, a top category.

  • Key takeaways: Savings Catcher was already easy-to-use and provided instant gratification to shoppers. Walmart simply expanded eligible merchandise to take advantage of holiday monetization opportunities. You can take a cue from Walmart: Instead of reinventing the wheel, what small adjustments can you make to your existing mobile experiences to align better with your customers during special seasons or events?

3. Neiman Marcus

At the end of October, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus launched Snap. Find. Shop., a tool available within its mobile app. Using visual search technology, Snap. Find. Shop. allows consumers to take photos of items they see out and about, and shop Neiman Marcus inventory that is similar or identical.

A key benefit of this tool is that it provides immediate access to products and information, and it helps merge the digital and physical worlds. What better way to facilitate inspired impulse gift buys for friends and loved ones?

  • Key takeaways: Sure, not every retailer wants or needs visual search in their app, but there are ways you can still make the browsing experience easier. Sometimes a mobile customer will prefer leisurely iPad shopping, while other times they know exactly what they’re looking for and want to make a purchase quickly. Are you providing the tools and capabilities to appeal to both personas?

4. Office Depot

Everyone knows Elf Yourself. It has become a staple during the holiday season. Although it’s not directly correlated with Office Depot products, it creates a great image and personality for the brand. This year, the retailer unveiled the Elf Yourself app, which includes new customizable dancing elf videos in nine languages. Users can create customized videos and even upgrade to new video options and add different songs for a small fee.

  • Key takeaways: Simply put: Sometimes it’s okay to have some fun and not always think about selling! During this time of year, it can be difficult to stand out. Creating a fun, energetic and out-of-the-box app that has a seasonal spin is a great way to generate buzz. And if you can leverage a freemium pricing model like Office Depot, even better!

How are you going to use these takeaways in 2015? Comment below and let us know!

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Here’s What Happened When We Test-Drove Target’s New Indoor Mapping App http://www.phunware.com/blog/heres-happened-test-drove-targets-new-indoor-mapping-app/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heres-happened-test-drove-targets-new-indoor-mapping-app http://www.phunware.com/blog/heres-happened-test-drove-targets-new-indoor-mapping-app/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 21:23:12 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16598 If you’ve been shopping lately, you know that finding the right item in the right place at the right time can be a hit-or-miss experience. Everyone has experienced going to a store for the perfect item, and either: Not being able to find it, Learning it’s out of stock, or Finding it in the wrong […]

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Blog_Target

If you’ve been shopping lately, you know that finding the right item in the right place at the right time can be a hit-or-miss experience. Everyone has experienced going to a store for the perfect item, and either:

  1. Not being able to find it,
  2. Learning it’s out of stock, or
  3. Finding it in the wrong place.

We wander around the aisles, looking for someone who knows where the item is, and becoming more and more frustrated as we go.

To prevent this frustration, retailers are using indoor smart mapping technologies tied to inventory management and built into a mobile application. Whether these apps leverage iBeacons or another kind of location technology, smart maps are poised to be the next big thing in retail mobile applications.

If they work.

Retail giant Target recently rolled out a highly publicized indoor mapping component to its app, promising to lead shoppers directly to the items they’re looking for, right on the shelf. We tested this indoor mapping feature, and guess what?

Even for multibillion-dollar retailers, this stuff isn’t easy.

Good News: Dynamic Content, Beautiful Map

There’s good news: Target’s app gets some things right.

It’s easy enough to load up a shopping list, which seems to be a primary use case. Aisle information populates once you get near the store. This is a great feature—dynamic loading of relevant, store-specific information is exactly what any shopper wants.

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The maps in the app are pretty good as well. They’re clearly labeled and you can get oriented to the store layout and key areas with a couple pinches and zooms.

Target4Target5

Bad News: Frustrating UX

Unfortunately, this app has some problems. First, it isn’t responsive. Tapping on map elements often does…nothing. Sometimes our reviewer had to tap 10-12 times to get a response from the app. Since the app dynamically loads information, it’s dependent on signal strength and application responsiveness.

The app’s indoor wayfinding function also had issues. Here’s our reviewer’s report from the field, where he was trying to use the app to find shoelaces.

This is where the magic happens. I’ve entered the venue; I’ve been given a map, and a nice pinpoint showing me exactly where I need to go to get the item. Shoelaces on E18 here I come!

Target Indoor Mapping App

Turns out there are in fact no shoelaces in the pool supply aisle. This was my experience for a good 50% of the other items in my shopping list. Christmas tree lights were not in the shopping cart rows, the X-Men movie was not at the cash register, etc.

Some of the items were wildly off—literally opposite ends of the store. It got deodorant and trash bags correct, but at that point I’d pressed the application buttons a couple hundred times, and walked around the store going to wrong department after another.

It’s safe to say that this kind of maddening shopping trip is probably not what the Target executives had in mind when they conceived of this app. In fact, it’s probably the opposite of the experience they hoped to create.

When an App Does More Harm than Good

Think about this experience from a shopper’s perspective. You’re in the store, using the app, and the app is forcing you to tap unresponsive application buttons repeatedly while walking around the store going to wrong aisle after wrong aisle.

At this stage, most of us would get fed up and close the app. But our reviewer kept experimenting.

It turns out that the app is extremely accurate if (and only if) you do a product search, find the exact product you want, and then add it to your list within the app. There is likely a large gap between Target’s auto-populate search engine and its store inventory system—and the result is a user experience that forces the user to do the heavy lifting.

For our shoelace example, the ideal scenario would be to search for “shoelaces” and be taken directly to the shoelace aisle to make a product selection. But the way the app is set up, shoppers have to know that they want shoelaces made by Acme Brand, search for them specifically, and then use the app to navigate to them. What if you don’t know what brand you want to purchase yet?

There’s no doubt that Target has an incredible inventory management system, but they struggled to connect it to their front-end search engine to make this app really shine. To make matters more baffling, as our reviewer walked through the store, he wasn’t subject to any advanced targeting or promotions. Even in a random aisle, he might have purchased something on impulse if encouraged with a well-timed coupon. Target missed a huge opportunity to market to him.

Missing the Mark (or, You Know…Target)

So far, Target’s implementation doesn’t address the real customer need for a seamless, convenient in-store experience. In fact, the app’s indoor mapping function might introduce more problems than it solves.

Getting this right is really hard. Retailers have to balance user experience with the right back-end capabilities, and it’s very easy to be strong on one and not the other. This is a case where UX problems block users from a positive experience with the app. Recent app marketplace comments seem to reinforce that view—in the past month, negative comments about Target’s app have outweighed positive comments by ten to one.

Target has an amazing opportunity to learn from this experience, fix its app, and use it as a brand booster and advertising tool. Hopefully they’ll take the time to make their mapping feature a leader in retail, instead of something that hampers sales and customer satisfaction.

The post Here’s What Happened When We Test-Drove Target’s New Indoor Mapping App appeared first on Phunware.

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It’s Not Too Late: Secret Weapons for Capitalizing on What’s Left of Holiday 2014 http://www.phunware.com/blog/not-late-secret-weapons-capitalizing-whats-left-holiday-2014/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=not-late-secret-weapons-capitalizing-whats-left-holiday-2014 http://www.phunware.com/blog/not-late-secret-weapons-capitalizing-whats-left-holiday-2014/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 18:08:36 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16471 Holiday season is in full swing and though some shopping lists may be partially tackled, it doesn’t mean retailers should comfortably ease off of their marketing efforts. Rather, the period leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day is an ideal time to build brand consistency, make information easily accessible to shoppers and improve customer […]

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Mobile Merriment Blog

Holiday season is in full swing and though some shopping lists may be partially tackled, it doesn’t mean retailers should comfortably ease off of their marketing efforts. Rather, the period leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day is an ideal time to build brand consistency, make information easily accessible to shoppers and improve customer service. Despite it being too late in the holiday season to put major mobile technology changes into play, brands have not missed the chance to positively impact their bottom line with the following tactics.

1. Allow your singular personality to shine.

There is room to be the holiday hero for frustrated shoppers simply by streamlining your brand’s self-presentation.

A recent global study by SDL found that 90 percent of shoppers expect the customer experience to be the same across all channels and devices used to connect with brands this holiday shopping season. No matter how consumers are accessing your brand, they want to see the same message, same tone and same deals.

Therefore, if you aren’t delivering the same information across all touch points, you are not creating a positive customer experience. Yes, each marketing channel serves a different purpose, but one overarching brand tone across all will yield higher engagement.

SDL further reports that 47 percent of holiday shoppers have been frustrated that in-store impressions are different from online impressions, and 40 percent have reported a disconnect between the information available online versus in stores. The top cited reason a customer will give one brand his or her loyalty over another? Dependability. Dependability leads to trust. And trust, as we all know, is the foundation of any healthy relationship.

2. Keep it simple.

For the first time ever, smartphones and tablets accounted for the majority of all online traffic on Thanksgiving Day, according to data analysis by IBM. On Black Friday, one in four online purchases were made on a mobile device.

Make pertinent information front and center for your shoppers. The more navigation required to find what they need, the less likely they will be to purchase from your digital or physical store front. “The number of times you ask someone to do something—download an app, open this, click here—you start losing people,” explains Tracy Quitsol, director of Ignition Factory at OMD New York.

Also remember that smaller screen sizes and touch displays make online shopping very different compared to desktops and laptops. If a customer has trouble perusing the website or checking out, consider them gone.

Test your brand’s browsing experience on all devices to see what quick, simple tweaks could be made to better serve consumers. A small change could make a lasting impact far beyond the holiday season.

3. Meet customers where they are—and do it with a smile.

More than 20 percent of online sales and 40 percent of online traffic is expected to be attributable to mobile devices once the 2014 holiday season wraps, according to IBM’s annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report. “To capitalize on this trend, heading into the holidays, retailers will need to rely on personalization and cross-sell recommendations to further strengthen customer relationships and wallets,” the report says.

At this point in the holiday game, it’s been widely cited and repeated that customers will research for hours on end—15 hours or more, in fact—before making a purchase. But it’s also been determined that this practice of “webrooming” will not be the death of the retail industry. (A quick reminder: Research suggests that a mobile-first approach could bring sales back into the brick and mortar.)

Thus it serves retailers well to embrace consumers’ practice of comparison by meeting those shoppers where they are—not only with a consistent message, but with stand-out customer service.

Two-thirds of U.S. smartphone owners state that they are most likely to shop at a store that offers an app with a searchable product catalog, featured sales and a store locator. Moreover, whether your band has it or not, 62 percent expect to chat with brands live on mobile.

Listen intently to what your customers are asking for over the next few weeks, and work hard to put it into play next year. This type of symbiotic relationship will keep them coming back to your brand, regardless of the season.

The post It’s Not Too Late: Secret Weapons for Capitalizing on What’s Left of Holiday 2014 appeared first on Phunware.

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The Top 5 Mobile App Predictions for 2015—and How to Be Prepared http://www.phunware.com/technology/top-5-mobile-app-predictions-2015-prepared/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-5-mobile-app-predictions-2015-prepared http://www.phunware.com/technology/top-5-mobile-app-predictions-2015-prepared/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 22:04:00 +0000 http://www.phunware.com/?p=16448 As 2014 races to an end, it’s time to look at what’s on the horizon. Here are five of the top mobile app trends and predictions for 2015, along with five questions advertisers should ask themselves to succeed in mobile next year (and beyond). Mobile Trends and Predictions for 2015 Focus on Innovation and Time […]

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Top Mobile Apps Blog

As 2014 races to an end, it’s time to look at what’s on the horizon. Here are five of the top mobile app trends and predictions for 2015, along with five questions advertisers should ask themselves to succeed in mobile next year (and beyond).

Mobile Trends and Predictions for 2015

  1. Focus on Innovation and Time to Market
    The innovation bar for mobile apps will continue to be raised as app time-to-delivery windows approach zero, according to Forrester Research. To meet the dual demands of innovation and speedy app creation, developers will move away from “a mentality of creating everything in-house” (Forrester). Brands will increasingly turn to mobile app development platform providers to help them create more innovative apps within a shorter timeframe.
  2. Mobile-First Approach
    Mobile will continue to grow in importance. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than half of users will grab a tablet or smartphone first when going online. Meanwhile, 2014 Flurry research shows that mobile users greatly prefer apps to the mobile web.As a result, in 2015 “brands that decline to invest heavily in mobile…are bound to get surpassed by competitors,” predict execs from The Nielsen Company and Mobile Majority.
  3. Loyalty Spotlight
    The combination of Apple’s iBeacon, TouchID, and Apple Pay will help advertisers and brands increase customer loyalty in 2015. Starbucks has been an early leader in this regard, according to a senior Nielsen Company executive. Connecting “commerce to loyalty is where I’d put my efforts for 2015,” he said.
  4. Location Targeting
    To increase engagement (and to avoid irritating users) advertisers and brands will need to use geo-fencing and geo-targeting judiciously next year and beyond. For example, retailers “have to not only adopt beacons into their stores, but must clearly articulate the benefit consumers will get” (Computerworld).
  5. Event Enrichment
    Mobile event apps will continue to grow in popularity, predicts meeting/technology consultant Corbin Ball. Organizers will increasingly use iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), geo-fencing and other wireless technologies to increase event engagement through gamification, scavenger hunts, navigation assistance, personalized welcome messages and other location-based notifications.

How Can Mobile Marketers and Advertisers Leverage These Trends?

To maximize these trends and be successful with their mobile app efforts in 2015, advertisers and brands should ask themselves the following questions:

    • Who are my app’s target users? When building out your mobile advertising plans, develop customer personas, complete with needs and interests.
    • How will my app make consumers’ lives better or easier? Always keep in mind how your app will benefit your customers—not just your brand.
    • Which features and capabilities should be included in my app? The possibilities are virtually endless. But if you cram in too many features, you might sacrifice usability—the kiss of death for apps.
    • How quickly do I want to release my app? While time to market is critical and there’s pressure to release apps and features ASAP, it’s better to be awesome than early.
    • How should I market my app to drive downloads and recurring usage? Consider press releases, social media and other strategies to stay top of mind with target customers.

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