The Topline: Mobile FirstLook Summit

As mobile devices continue to capture both a greater percentage of sales and consumer’s daily attention, it is critical for brands to continue their investment in mobile.

At last month’s Mobile Firstlook conference, leaders in the digital and mobile space shared their views on mobile strategy, case studies, key learnings, results and their evolving approach within their organizations. The message was clear – mobile is the future – but brands need to continue the journey of defining, implementing and refining their mobile strategies. Here are some of the top take-aways from the day.

 

LET THE PHYSICAL WORLD INFLUENCE THE DIGITAL

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Tom Daly, Global Group Director for Coca Cola, shared his prediction that the companies who are able to optimize and find linkages between mobile advertising + location + beacons + payments, will be the most successful moving forward. The ideal solution is to use the physical world to influence the digital world while creating a path that seamlessly leads to a transaction. For example, a brand can leverage mobile ads that drive to specific retail spaces, then use beacon technology to deliver a contextually relevant and timely message to drive purchase. The growth in mobile payments can then enable a frictionless purchase experience within the retail. The challenge is for brands to leverage their owned and borrowed assets to create this linkage and optimize their own mobile experiences.

 

 

HAVE AN APP + STRATEGY

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According to Julie Ask, VP and Principal Analyst at Forester Research, your app ins’t going to be enough to win in mobile – you need an App + strategy. The average person looks at their mobile devices between 150-200 times a day (better known as mobile moments), and spends about 78% of those moments within apps. However, only 12 categories of apps make up over 72% of those mobile moments. Retail, banking, and travel apps combined only make up approximately 12% of mobile moments. So, in order to increase your count of mobile moments within daily lives, you must incorporate additional solutions to complement your app – an a App + strategy. Some key examples of App + Strategies are :

  • App + Omnichannel – making an app invaluable across multiple use cases, e.g. Delta Airlines app allows you to book flights, contact customer service, and board your flight
  • App + Messaging – using notifications and badges to deliver relevant content to consumers without requiring them open then app is a way to create value and incremental mobile moments.
  • App + Fragments – integrating disparate apps or services to create consumer value, e.g. ordering Domino’s pizza from Twitter or ordering an Uber from the United Airlines app.

 

 

APP DESIGN TIPS – A RULE OF THUMB

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Extremely intriguing were the key learnings and approaches to app design shared by HSN and Overstock. Mobile users are task oriented and will leave an app if they are unable to complete their task within :30. Here a few tips and best practices to implement in your mobile strategy:

  • Place the most used features of your app within ergonomic zones of the device. Most people use a single hand to navigate mobile devices and as phones tend to get larger, it’s more important to place the most popular features where they are accessible by a single hand.
  • Don’t forget to make use of swiping gestures to improve the usability and speed. Swiping features can enable a broad list of other features, rather then just “delete”.
  • Make it easy on your user by making tap targets extra large so users don’t need to try multiple times to trigger an in-app object.
  • Lastly, forms are the enemy of mobile; reduce the number of individual form fields to help optimize the user flow or use third-party verification tools such as Facebook Connect or Apple Pay to pre-fill consumer information.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

There was a lot of discussion on whether “responsive design was dead”. While better than the alternative of “unresponsive design”, responsive cannot be the end to your mobile strategy. Let the creative and marketing idea drive the form. Mobile for mobile’s sake won’t help achieve results; rather look at the insights and mobile behaviors of your audience and develop an intentional mobile strategy.

– Christa and John

Toshiba celebrates women in tech: Inspiring the next generation of retail

At the inaugural Toshiba RISE – Retail Innovation & Shopper Expertise – Symposium, business and industry leaders gathered to celebrate inspirational women in digital and retail technology.

Brands have to evolve from short-term, legacy thinking and take bold steps to bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds to connect with today’s customers.

This was the consensus of the one-day symposium on January 16, 2016, in New York City that focused on the challenges facing the retail industry and the wave of rapid advances across technologies that are changing all aspects of the shopper experience. The research, tips, insights and jokes flew through the air and landed in the ears of marketers and retail experts, as well as Toshiba representatives visiting from Japan. The discussions and noteworthy female keynote speakers were relevant, thought provoking and sharp – it was all one could do not to marvel at the brilliant minds (women and men, of course) gathered together in one room.

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The following panel sessions and fireside chats spanned various topics, and turned into healthy, sometimes lively, conversations, each of which could’ve carried on much longer than the time allowed:

  • Bridging the Gap Between Digital and Physical Worlds for Consumer Connection
  • Inside the C-Suite: A look behind the curtain at current business challenges and decision making processes
  • Post Holiday 2015 Retail Recap, Asia and 2016 Retail Outlook
  • How Data and Communications are the Real Drivers Behind Successful Innovation and Customer Experience
  • At the Intersection of Health, Wellness and Shopper Experience
  • Disruptors and How They Are Shaping the Future of Retail
  • Female Founders Starting Up
  • Good Business is Doing Good

 

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Here’s what we learned and our top key takeaways from the day:

The new currency is data.

  • Collect customer data and preferences and act on customers’ purchase history to tailor shopping experiences over time. Allow shoppers to quickly discover and buy products anywhere they encounter them.
  • There are lots of silos in traditional retailing – share the data and close the loop to include operations to make the retail execution work.
  • Watch out: One person may behave differently depending on mission. We don’t want to get so prescriptive that we’re denying the customer an authentic experience (i.e., don’t put them in a box with predictive analytics).

 

Personalize the retail experience.

  • Smartphones are equalizers for emerging and established brands to disrupt the market. Connect with the customer on an emotional level and add value so it’s more than a superficial offering. But sometimes we get blinded by the shiny tools around us – take a deep breath, stay calm and focus on the customer.
  • Let’s not forget the importance of sales staff, a.k.a. the frontlines of your brand. If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers. Build loyalty and passion within your company by enabling one-on-one relationships between customers and staff and provide selling tools that empower staff to act on the preferences of shoppers to deliver more personalized service and experiences.

 

rise3Respect the “New Independents.”

  • Most Americans are single, and they’re changing the economy. For the first time in U.S. history, over 50% of the population is single.
  • Sharon Love, CEO of TPN, enlightened the room, referring to the “single American” demographic as a new opportunity, appealing to an untapped buying power. Being a single consumer means more spending in self-rewarding categories; celebrating, shopping, going out and staying home (think Oprah and less Bridget Jones).
  • Marketing should reflect the changing dynamic of the modern American family; i.e., single parents, same-sex parents and families of friends (e.g., Sprint’s “Framily” campaign).

 

How can we drive future innovation?

  • rise4Don’t let legacy thinking and processes hold you back. Completely rethink the problem to drive real innovation rather than incremental improvements.
  • Create diverse teams. Keynote speaker Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, had an “a-ha” life moment: The power of diversity is diversity. Based on her extensive experience working on Wall Street, Sallie shared the benefits of breaking free frm a group think mentality and building strong teams through diversity of thought, personality, gender, age, etc.
  • The balance between bricks and clicks. Customers want frictionless experiences, from mobile to in-store to online to everything-in-between. Traditionally, the shopper journey to purchase is linear; however, today’s customer no longer goes shopping – they are always shopping.

 

At the end of the day, we left feeling full to the brim with inspiring information and excited by all of the intelligent, insightful female voices we got to hear from. Whether in-store or on-line, retail continues to be an exciting, personal, effective frontier by which we can engage with consumers.

 

For more on the “New Independents,” check out:

http://www.tpnwhitepapers.com

http://crresearch.com/blog/new-independents