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I’ve been thinking a lot about mobile apps in retail recently. I’ve been thinking about which retailers need an app and whether in fact we’re seeing a bit of a backlash against the app, fuelled by mobile optimised and responsive websites.
Retail apps still have their place in a mobile optimised world, but they’re increasingly characterised as devices for customer retention. Loyalty programmes and coupons keep regular customers feeling loved.
Of course, there are still some successful shopping apps, too, often for retailers big or pervasive enough to demand smartphone real estate (supermarkets, Amazon and the like).
So, here you go, here are 10 apps that I think have made a difference for customers in retail.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments.
The lack of guidelines or general wisdom as to which retailers should actually have a mobile app and which shouldn’t can be confusing.
In this post I’m going to start writing those guidelines myself, if you’ll stick with me.
There is definitely a burgeoning anti-app movement, fuelled in part by the move to adaptive or responsive websites. On top of this, the growth in app downloads is in sharp decline and we seem to be reaching market maturation for apps, in those countries that have highest smartphone adoption.
But what should retailers do? Should some still be entertaining the idea of a new app? There are certainly some great success stories out there.
Some feel that the consumer has no interest in using many different retail apps, whereas others think the goal of consolidation is often unrealistic, with consumers happier using a range of options.
Where should apps lie in a priority list of ecommerce to-dos? Which apps are succeeding and which aren’t? How do customer base, product range, internationalisation and other factors affect the decision whether to build an app?
Well, these are the questions I’ve been attempting to answer. Read on to see what I dug up. If you make it to the end of my investigation, you’ll find my own criteria for apps in retail.
One of our main focuses on the Econsultancy blog is highlighting instances of best practice and digital excellence in the marketing world.
But every so often it’s also useful to shine a light on the mistakes that people make, particularly when it comes to social media.
I could try to lie and say that I’m doing this so we can all learn valuable lessons from the unfortunate errors of others, but truthfully I just find it quite amusing.
40% of the 1,000 most shared Instagram videos (Instavids) last month came from brands.
The 15 second long Instavid format has only been around for a few months, but is already giving Vine a run for its six second-long money. We've discussed the respective benefits of each in this provocatively titled article Fight Club! Instagram vs. Vine.
It seems that brands have been quick to utilise this longer form media. The 150m incumbent Instagram users are clearly a major draw, as opposed to the still not inconsiderable 40m users on Vine, although it should be noted that Vine picked up all those users in just nine months.
It has often been said in filmic terms that if a story can't be told in 90 minutes than it's not worth telling. Try telling that to The Godfather.
However this certainly rings true on some level, especially in advertising where you're engaging with a customer or selling a product rather than telling a sprawling, expansive story of gun violence and enemy disposal.
Who does benefit from the longer format? For a customer it's good to keep things brief, nobody needs to sit through another colossal Thomson marathon, but conversely six second Vines may seem too short for the purpose.
Six seconds may be the prime length for our fleeting attention spans, but for marketing, this truncated length can be too much of a handicap to get a brand message across.
Perhaps, for this reason, the 15 second Instagram video is a far more effective method and may explain why there was a dip in Vine usage during its launch period. Let’s investigate…
Here on the Econsultancy blog, we’re going to start teasing you with details of the week-long siren of excellence and japes that is the Festival of Marketing (8-10th October in London).
One of the many components of the Festival is PUNCH, the event where marketing meets the new creative. To quote our website, ‘in today’s increasingly saturated media landscape, creative power matters more than ever’.
So, to celebrate this event, and to give you something pretty to look at while you let your mind wander, I’ve listed some of my favourites in the world of creative in marketing.
Are you missing a critical social media KPI?
'Social media disconnects', or when consumers unfriend/unlike or unfollow as a result of a social media marketing initiative or campaign, isn't a term in many marketers' vocabulary.
Perhaps it's time for that to change.
Starbucks is often touted as having an excellent social strategy, so it’s an excellent subject for our series of posts looking at how brands use the four main social networks.
Having previously evaluated a number of brands including Red Bull, ASOS, Walmart and Ikea, it appeared that the brands that were doing well in social all followed the same basic blueprint – they post updates several times a day and are excellent at responding to consumers.
But as this post shows, Starbucks has managed to outperform nearly all other consumer brands in terms of community engagement despite taking the exact opposite approach.
And there is a special mention for Starbucks’ Instagram feed at the end as well...
The mobile space is one of the fastest-evolving in all of the technology world and because of that, it's no surprise that many companies are struggling to keep up.
From the smallest business struggling to figure out how to build a mobile-friendly website to the largest consumer internet brands struggling to build compelling mobile experiences, mobile offers just as many challenges as it does opportunities.
Starbucks has come a long way since it’s first Seattle store in 1971. So it makes sense that last year it decided to task its brand team with redesigning the logo.
Steve Murray, Content Manager of Brand Strategy and Expression at Starbucks, worked as lead writer on the team that spent hours, weeks and months creating a new logo and brand identity for Starbucks and he shared what they did at Starbucks to a full room of retail marketers at the recent shop.org conference.
But how do you improve and simplify a logo that is only made of four parts and one basic colour? And why was it important to do so?
Brands continue to invest heavily in their presences on social media stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter and when it comes to newcomers, Pinterest seems to be creating the most buzz.
But the company that Facebook agreed to purchase for $1bn, Instagram, is quietly seeing adoption from a growing number of brands.
For many multichannel retailers, a joined up in-store and online approach increasingly makes good sense. While digital (which includes mobile) presents some new challenges for retailers, there's little doubt that offline and online can be a potent combination.
When it comes to driving online shoppers through the doors of a physical store, there are numerous ways to get the job done, from in-store events to click-and-collect schemes. But one of the easiest and often most overlooked is the handy store locator.
A well-designed store locator can be a big help in getting a customer or potential customer to drop in.
Here are five tips for creating an effective store locator experience...