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There's an old surrealist gag by a comedian called Harry Hill that goes 'Text messaging?! What's wrong with a good old-fashioned chain of beacons, hmm?'
I think I'm remembering that right.
Anyway, it leads me to ask - are iBeacons a legitimate advancement in push communications, or are they overhyped?
Personally, I think 2014 was the year when the hype around digital technology in retail stores crested a wave.
By 2015, I was writing fairly sceptical posts about the screens in the corner that nobody uses.
However, now that the noise around kiosks, beacons and mobile loyalty has died down, it seems a good time to assess the landscape.
I was reading an excellent article about the slow uptake of iBeacons when I became almost lucid, and started to see digital as the CFO sees it.
The power of digital technology can blind marketers to the simple question of 'will the customer use it?'
Too often, marketing technology is interruptive, based on providing value for the business but wish-washy engagement for the customer.
No wonder customer experience is such a hot topic - we all shop and we all know when we don't like a store.
But customer experience in retail can be a catwalk for the emperor's new clothes.
Remember how many people talked about the ability to use social media on an interactive terminal in store? To perhaps 'Like' a product or upload some ropey augmented reality selfie to Twitter?
In an age of persistent connectivity, no modern event would be complete without its own mobile app.
During the recent Glastonbury Festival weekend, the official event app was launched more than 3m times by users checking festival news and set times, connecting with fellow festival goers, and streaming live coverage.
Industries ranging from theme parks to sports venues are amplifying the customer experience by diving deeper into data and mining insights that are timely and add value.
Delivering a breakthrough customer experience requires close collaboration between marketing and technology.
A truly collaborative experience depends on employees throughout the organisation reaching across the aisle and participating in delighting the customers.
I’m stuck in a mild quandary about whether to bother writing about the Apple Watch or not…
If you care enough about Apple’s entry into the world of wearable technology then you would’ve surely been glued to your MacBook or iPad Mini last night. Poring over the details delivered via keynote speech and already fully sated with every possible specification of the Apple Watch (emphatically no longer referred to as the ‘iWatch’).
Or if you’re everyone else in the world, your reaction is probably more along the lines of this…
A personalised online shopping experience powered by simple data collection is rapidly becoming a must-have for retailers.
In the past year alone, there was a spike in customer expectations for personalisation across all shopping channels and it became critical for retailers to innovate in terms of customer experience in order to keep those shoppers engaged.
Recommended products and wish lists have become commonplace online, but can this model of personalisation transfer to bricks-and-mortar?
The retail industry is going through an interesting time. Shoppers expect a more personalised experience, almost a return to old-fashioned values of the local store.
However, the proliferation of high street chains and supermarkets has made shopping rather more impersonal.
Technology means that can change though.
With new technologies like iBeacon, the in-store experience offers a rich seam of customer insight for retailers to mine, but ensuring shop-floor staff are trained to interpret those insights and act more like marketers is vital.
Apple’s iBeacons are becoming increasingly popular among retailers and event organisers, with numerous trials rolled over the past 12 months.
And now Mothercare is likely to become the latest brand to adopt the technology, though trials won’t begin until the New Year.
At Demandware’s Xchange ’14 Summit Harpinder Singh, Mothercare’s senior omnichannel development manager, discussed the brand’s current mobile platforms and what it plans for the near future.
The company operates a separate mobile site, plus apps on iPhone, iPad and Android.
But as Mothercare continues its move to becoming a multichannel business there is less focus on mobile as a sales channel and a greater appreciation of its role in the overall customer experience.
To give an insight into what this means in practice, here’s what Singh had to say on how Mothercare is approaching some of mobile’s biggest challenges...