Uber launches ad campaign to capitalize on Timehop's growth

Mobile Marketer – Ride-sharing service Uber is cornering its key demographic, millennials, with an ad campaign on photo-management application Timehop, joining brands such as CVS and Broadway show Act of God that have also recently appeared on the growing app.

Timehop is a mobile app that links to users’ other social media accounts and provides a comprehensive look at what they posted on a particular date in years past, but has just recently gone ad supported. Uber is taking advantage of the recent opening to brands in an advertising campaign that directs potential drivers directly to its signup page to see if individuals can qualify.

“Providing direct links in the Timehop app make is convenient for people to be spontaneous which may drive more Uber signups, but not a lot,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “While the direct link makes it convenient, the challenge is will it appeal to enough people who are a good fit for Uber.

“The prime demographic for Timehop is young females and that is not the best fit for demographics of Uber drivers, who are predominately male and over 30 years old.”

“With more than 12 million users, as of January 2016, Timehop is one of the fastest growing social mobile apps,” Mr. Naumann said. “However, that pales in comparison to Facebook’s 155 million On This Day app, which is a direct competitor to Timehop.
“If the Uber campaign is a success, it will help attract more ads from other companies and spur continued growth of the Timehop app and help it compete more effectively with Facebook,” he said.

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Starbucks adds shot of mobile to personality quizzes

Mobile Marketer – Starbucks is inviting Facebook users to find out which iced coffee drink best suits their lifestyle, reflecting a resurgence in popularity for mobile-optimized personality quizzes as consumers seek out quick hits of entertainment.

The coffee giant is sponsoring ads on Facebook to promote its newest mobile quiz, which consists of eight summer-themed questions designed to identify the Starbucks iced coffee drink that matches up with a user’s personality. The quiz, which is the latest installment in Starbucks’ mobile marketing blitz on social media, is an ideal way to ramp up awareness of the brand’s cold beverages and inspire consumers to pick one up the next time they are in the vicinity of a Starbucks store.

“Many coffee drinkers, and especially loyal Starbucks customers, are very passionate about their caffeinated beverages,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Engaging customers in a fun, interactive quiz is a great way to increase the awareness of various iced coffee drinks that consumers might not know about or be top-of-mind.

“With the addition of Facebook and Twitter share buttons, Starbucks’ fans can share the quiz and, more importantly, their results with all their friends, which magnifies the reach of the campaign.”

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Gap unzips summer sales with mobile passport for earning badges, winning prizes

Mobile Commerce Daily – Gap is tightening the seams on sales this summer with a 100-day-long sweepstakes encouraging customers to complete daily selfie challenges to earn badges using a mobile-optimized passport feature and potentially win prizes.

Gap’s Passport to Summer sweepstakes asks consumers to sign into the designated microsite via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or Instagram to receive access to daily challenges, which include tasks such as posting a photo of a favorite frozen yogurt combination. The summer-long contest offers players an incentive to check for new content each day and also provides easy access to discount codes, a feature that will likely ramp up sales for Gap as consumers begin stocking up on warm-weather apparel and accessories.

“Most consumers will probably be more interested in the 40 percent-off coupon code than the chance to win a sweepstakes prize, because the discount is a sure thing,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at Boston Retail Partners.

“However, there is a segment of consumers that will enjoy the thrill of seeing how many entries they can get by participating in all of the selfie opportunities,” he said. “The selfies are fun and it gets consumers to continue to interact with the brand on a daily basis to see what the theme of the day will be.”

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Are social media buy buttons on the way out?

Mobile Commerce Daily – Twitter’s plans to scale back its buy button alludes to a stalemate for retail on social media as consumers fail to adopt native shopping experiences, although Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest could still prevail.

While Twitter is trying to establish itself more as a image-enabled social media platform, its consumer behavior is rooted heavily in text-based posts where direct purchasing ability is less likely to flourish. Other social platforms with heavier focuses on images may be more successful with buy buttons, but dynamic product ads offer the most potential when it comes to retail-enabled social pushes.

“Twitter’s recent decision to scale back the buy button seems indicative of a larger struggle that social sites are facing generating traction for social commerce,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “Though social media has made tremendous gains in popularity, finding new ways to generate revenue and monetize on offerings has been a taxing trial and error process for all companies.”

“From a user experience perspective, the real-time, feed-based Twitter platform lacks the natural look and feel of a traditional commerce platform,” she said. “Shoppers lack of comfort with buy buttons and their concern about data security has contributed to their hesitation in adopting this technology.

“Social commerce platforms must strike a balance between providing ease of purchasing while at the same time preserving the aesthetic and security elements of traditional e-commerce sites. Until then, use of dynamic product advertising will likely offer more investment potential for social sites.”

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Bringing the supermarket of the future to the present

Boston Globe – The raspberries on the shelves at the South Bay Target recently were uniform in appearance — plump and pink and sealed in tidy plastic boxes. Perched in the middle, however, a simple red-and-white sign pointed out a difference.

On the left were pints of berries that had arrived in the Dorchester store that same day, priced at $3.99. To the right, fruit that had been on the shelf for four days, offered at a 50-cent discount.

It was a simple experiment, aimed at testing whether consumers would trade freshness for price. But this trial run was just a small part of a larger movement that is reshaping one of our most common and consistent shopping experiences: the supermarket.

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and establishment food retailers are beginning to imagine the supermarket of the future as a space that combines technology, personalization, and local color to satisfy consumers’ ever-growing hunger for health and convenience.

Among the visions already being planned and piloted: smaller stores heavy on prepared-food options, new packaging that makes it easy to understand a product’s ingredients, in-store scanners that instantly assess an apple’s nutrition, and even delivery services that let busy consumers skip the store altogether.

Smartphones will also play a role in our grocery-shopping future. Ken Morris, principal at consulting firm Boston Retail Partners, predicts more stores will use proprietary apps or other phone-based data to make “guided” shopping experiences the norm.

Consumers will be offered coupons for items they browsed online earlier in the day, for example, or notified when they wander close to an item on their shopping list.

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Victoria’s Secret unclasps instant add-on promotional codes for mobile shoppers

Mobile Commerce Daily – Victoria’s Secret is combating shopping cart abandonment by enabling its mobile site shoppers to tap a button that lets them instantly add a valid promotion to their shopping carts, eliminating the need to manually type in discount codes on the checkout page.

The lingerie giant – which is currently undergoing some restructuring of its businesses – is attempting to prompt more consumers to complete a transaction on its mobile site by implementing a new commerce-friendly feature. Individuals browsing the brand’s daily offers or product pages will now spot a small button bearing the name of an eligible promotional code, which they may tap to add into their virtual baskets, ensuring they will not miss an available discount or freebie.

“If online shopping is not easy and convenient, consumers are highly likely to forgo the final purchase,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “According to a recent study, nearly 70 percent of shoppers abandon their online shopping cart.

“By making it simpler to purchase merchandise at a discount, Victoria’s Secret is providing shoppers with an elevated incentive to buy more often and in larger quantities – and reduce cart abandonment.”

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Eileen Fisher plants discount in mobile-optimized Earth Day style quiz

Mobile Commerce Daily – Eileen Fisher is digging up sales this weekend by rolling out an Earth Day-inspired style quiz via Instagram, enabling consumers to answer several questions to receive a discount toward a future purchase and a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree.

The apparel brand is sponsoring posts on Instagram and encouraging its current followers to click the link in its bio to take the mobile-optimized quiz, which asks users to answer five questions to discover what type of environmentally-conscious clothing best suits their style. Participants will receive a limited-time promotional code accompanying their results, allowing them to receive $25 off a purchase made at an Eileen Fisher store or online.

“Tying marketing campaigns to a national holiday, such as Earth Day, adds relevancy and timeliness to the campaign, which may spur greater participation,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers are bombarded with information overload and anything that helps a marketing campaign cut through the clutter is a good thing.

“The Earth Day holiday is a perfect fit for Eileen Fisher’s social consciousness and mission to embrace simplicity, sustainability and great design.”

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SOCIAL ANALYTICS INTELLIGENCE: From Passive Measurement To Active Engagement

Retail TouchPoints – Today’s retailers and brands must be active on social media because that’s where shoppers are spending significant amounts of time. But it’s not enough to just have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, or even to simply monitor likes, shares and retweets.

Increasingly, it takes interactive activities such as contests, quizzes and polls, gamification and user-generated content. This Retail TouchPoints special report will reveal four proactive social media strategies, showing how they boost sales and raise brand profiles for companies as diverse as Starbucks, Casper, Frito-Lay and Forever 21. Success stories and key strategies include:

Starbucks: Incorporate mobile at every step
Casper: Emphasize customers’ shared experiences
Frito-Lay: Draw on consumers’ own creativity
Forever 21: Simplify purchasing processes via social media

This article includes several comments from Gene Bornac, vice president, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full report: SOCIAL ANALYTICS INTELLIGENCE: From Passive Measurement To Active Engagement

Express targets festivalgoers with product-centric, multiple-choice Snapchat quiz

Mobile Marketer – Express recently built on its previous mobile interactivity efforts with a new quiz that invited Snapchat followers to select their favorite product out of three options to discover the festival fashions best suit to their tastes.

Express introduced its latest Snapchat quiz over the weekend, coinciding with the start of the popular Coachella music festival. The millennial-friendly retailer encouraged its Snapchat followers to keep track of their answers for the mobile-optimized quiz to find out their festival style before serving them with a call-to-action to bring their ideal look to life by shopping at one of Express’ stores, online or via the mobile app.

“Using quizzes and games, both a form of gamification, is a great way to get customers engaged with the brand,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Using the Express fashion quiz is a fun way for shoppers to identify their fashion style and see products that are a good fit for their preferred style.

“Anything that makes shopping fun and engages consumers will help increase awareness and strengthen their relationship with the brand.”

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Bed Bath and Beyond overhauls mobile program in personalization push

Mobile Commerce Daily – Bed Bath and Beyond is putting more faith in mobile with upgrades to its applications and plans to introduce mobile devices to store floors, part of a new strategic focus on personalization.

During its earnings call for the past quarter, the big box retailer mentioned a relaunch for its two retail apps, mobile site and rollout of devices to employees at bricks-and-mortar locations. Bed Bath and Beyond is also valuing more user-generated content online and mobile for inspiration for other shoppers to drive sales, and hopes that its mobile focus will help maintain a homeostasis.

“More than 50 percent of Internet browsing now happens on mobile devices, therefore, it is imperative for companies to keep their mobile apps and Web sites fresh, easy and fast,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “The other benefit of adding more features to mobile apps is that it helps drive consumers to use the app more

Read full article: Bed Bath and Beyond overhauls mobile program in personalization push