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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Mobile Shopping is Going Viral this Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

With only 11 shopping days left until Christmas, shoppers need all the help they can get this holiday season while trying to find the best deal on the perfect gift for their loved one.  This year more shoppers than ever before are using their smartphones to find the best deals while they are in stores around the country and even at home and work.

Pricegrabber just released these survey results last week of 3,574 online consumers in the United States.  According to these results, 39% of all respondents have a shopping-related application on their smartphone.  Out of the respondents with a shopping application on their phone, 56% indicated that they have these applications on their phone because they believe they get the best prices using mobile shopping applications.

These numbers show a staggering increase from just 1 year ago when I wrote this KikScore blog post that talked about a Wall Street Journal article that indicated that only 5.6% of consumers used a mobile phone to price compare while on the go.  The WSJ article referenced in the aforementioned blog post also says that only .1% of consumers used a mobile phone in this way in 2009.  As you can see from these numbers consumers are continuing to increase their use of smartphone mobile shopping applications at an exponential rate!

So, what are merchants across the Unites States doing in response to these legions of mobile smartphone shoppers?  Unfortunately, the answer is still “not very much” at this time.  Again, like I mentioned in my blog post last year, I still cannot walk into a Best Buy, use my smartphone to find a better price on an item online and get the store to match this price.  Many bricks and mortar stores are still having a problem reacting to this new wave of technological advancement in the pocket of the U.S. consumer.

According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, some retailers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney are starting to react to these mobile shoppers by streamlining their mobile websites, creating custom shopping applications, and increasing the speed and efficiency of their sites.  In my mind, however, this is just the very basic levels of catering to the mobile shopping consumer and great strides will need to be made in the coming years in order for this new bread of consumer to be on the same page with these large retailers in the U.S.

Have you had a positive or negative experience while using a smartphone with a mobile shopping application at a retailer?

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Try Shopkick on Your Smartphone, Almost 1 Million Others Have!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I have been using the Shopkick application on my smartphone for the past few months and then I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal the other day and realized that 750,000 people have also downloaded and used the application since it was released in August.

Basically, the idea behind the Shopkick application is that users can login and see which local retailers are closest to their current location.  Users then also have the option on clicking on each of the retailers near them to see what specials the merchant is currently offering to Shopkick customers.  It seems like some of the larger retailers that have close relationships with Shopkick include Best Buy, Macy’s, and Sports Authority.

The other idea behind the Shopkick application that is used to encourage users to access the application daily is driven by rewarding users with Shopkick points just for viewing the retailer’s specials by using the Shopkick application on their smartphone.  Users can obtain additional points by physically visiting the retailers and checking in and also by scanning the barcodes of various products in the stores that the retailers are advertising.  Shopkick users can then redeem these Shopkick points for products and gifts cards from the various retailers.

I found the Shopkick application to be interesting and useful but after attempting unsuccessfully to scan the bar codes of a few advertised products at a local Best Buy I was a little frustrated by the application as well.  I can definitely see a lot of good uses for the Shopkick application and I hope that they expand the functionality included in it to possibly included automatic price comparisons and possibly an easier way to scan the barcodes of advertised products.

Have you ever used the Shopkick application in a store or any other smartphone application while shopping?

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

When Will Mobile Phones Replace Our Credit Cards?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I was reading this article in the Denver Post the other day about how in 3-5 years a majority of consumers will no longer carry credit cards or cash but will instead use their phone to pay for goods.  While I am not so sure that this will be the case in such a short time period I think that consumers in the United States are definitely moving in that direction.

As this article points out, there are already convenience stores in Boulder, Colorado, and Starbucks coffee shops in Seattle that allow their customers to pay by using applications on their smart phone.  Most of the stores that currently allow shoppers to pay by phone do so through the use of a web-based account that the shopper has to pre-register for and “load” money into their account.  These consumers then bring their phone into the store and login to their account on the merchant’s website or through their “app” on their phone that displays an account number or bar code that the merchant can use to deduct the value of the goods purchased from the consumers account.  While this process is definitely a little less time consuming for both the merchant and shopper and no longer requires the shopper to carry a credit card, it really isn’t all that revolutionary to the bricks and mortar world.

Here is a new product from a company called “Square” that does have the potential to change how and where merchants and shoppers interact at a retail location: the Square Card Reader (pictured in this post).

Square is a new smartphone application for the iPhone and most Android-powered phones that allows merchants to sign-up for a free account and receive a free Square Card Reader that easily plugs into the headphone jack on their phone.  Merchants can then use the card reader to swipe a consumer’s credit card for payment or they can also just type in the credit card number into the smart phone application in order to accept payment.  The merchant is charged 2.9%-3.0% of the value of the transaction plus $0.15 for each transaction which is comparable to what other online payment companies, like Paypal, charge.  I think that Square has the ability to change how we define a “merchant” since their product makes it easier for the smallest of companies to compete with the larger players in their industry.

How popular is the Square Card Reader?  Right now Square has a special message on their website when merchant’s sign-up for a new account indicating that it could take weeks to get their reader in the mail because they currently have such a large backlog!

How do you see mobile payment systems changing the way business is done in your store?

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

How Are These New Fangled Two-Way Walkie Talkies Going to Effect My Small Business OR…Holy Cow Mr. Spacely, These New Smart Phones Belong on The Jetsons!

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Yesterday at the International CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas, Sprint announced that they are releasing the first 4G-powered cell phone, the HTC EVO 4G, in the United States this Summer.  4G is the next generation of cell phones that all the major wireless carriers will be releasing in the 1-2 years and they are called 4G because they are supposed to be the next generation of phones able to transmit data 10 times as fast as the currently available 3G phones.

I know what you are thinking, “Big deal, sounds like another iPhone techy thing that won’t impact my business for a few years down the road.”  Well, maybe…but maybe not. Up until now a lot of the really data intensive applications for cell phones have not been able to efficiently run on the existing cell phone networks so many people have only been able to use them while they are at a wi-fi hot spot or at home on their own wireless network.  This 4G technology may very well change all of that.  Here are a few game changing technologies and applications that these 4G phones are going to make possible in the next 3-4 months:

Video Cell Phone Calls - Not only is there an HD quality 8 mega-pixel camera on the back of the phone but there is also a 1.3 mega-pixel camera on the front of the phone so users can speak into the phone and view video while also transmitting a video of themselves to others.  Video phone calls from home still haven’t really gone mainstream and video calls from current 3G phones isn’t really possibly because of data latency but this could very well bring video phone calling to the mainstream public.  How would this change your business if consumers started expecting you to answer with a video phone in your store?

Google’s Goggles (Picture) Search – Google just introduced their new Google Goggles search with the new HTC EVO 4G smart phone.  This new search technology for the Android operating system allows users to take pictures of objects and then the web browser on the phone automatically searches for information about the object in the picture.  If you are drinking a bottle of wine and wonder what part of California the grapes are from…take a picture of the label and Google will automatically search for that information for you.  This could be an extremely useful technology for small businesses to take advantage of while also driving additional traffic to their site when consumers search for their products using this new search technique.

4G Mobile Hot Spot - Another game changing technology that this new Sprint smart phone is bringing to market is the ability for up to 8 other devices to use the HTC EVO 4G phone as a wi-fi hot spot to connect to the Internet.  In your car with your laptop and need to get online to check your email or the latest football scores?  What would normally be impossible without a wireless modem or other device is now possible with your smart phone in your pocket!

Finally, as a follow-up to a post I made here a few months ago, I have finally decided which smart phone to purchase as my first step into this market…can you guess what it is going to be?

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Small Business Interview with Sitemakers's Geoff Jackson

Monday, January 18th, 2010

sitemakers logo

Geoff Jackson is the Social Media Strategist & Web Marketer for the UK based ecommerce solutions provider, Sitemakers.  We came across Geoff and Sitemakers on Twitter in mid-December.  Geoff and Sitemakers can bring small businesses and the Kikscore community a unique and more global perspective on ecommerce and online business trends.

1. Tell us about Sitemakers and who it focuses on serving?

Sitemakers is a UK based company specializing in ecommerce services. We work with independent retailers to help them to become successful online retailers. We have our own ecommerce platform, LiquidShop, and we provide our clients with a full service including the software they need to run their website, a full design service, ongoing support and marketing services.

2. Where will Sitemakers focus most of its energy in 2010?

We will be dividing our energy between making sure our existing clients continue to grow their businesses and seeking out new clients who can benefit from our services. Existing website owners who move to LiquidShop invariably see an increase in their online sales and we want to help more retailers enjoy this growth during these difficult trading conditions.

3. If you had one key lesson learned from your online selling experience that you could pass on to others, what is that?

Something we notice regularly is that it is existing retailers who often do best when they branch out into selling online. They know their business, they know their market and have existing relationships with suppliers. We bring the technical knowledge and the specific retailing knowledge that relates to the internet and it is this partnership that lead to a successful online shop.

4.  As the new decade begins, what do you see as main new trend in 2010?

New technology that has really caught consumers’ imagination is the smartphone. Led by the iPhone, and now followed by Google’s own Nexus, these devices have changed the way that users think of the internet and their relationship with it. An easy-to-use device with intuitive applications, large clear screen and instant on-all-the-time internet connection all lead to the expectation that information is available whenever and wherever you want it. Barcode scanning apps such as Shop Savvy mean that consumers can do their price comparison in-store just by scanning a barcode and looking up competitive prices there and then. The number of people who have bought something using these devices has started to grow, and it is expected that more than half of users will have bought something using their smartphone by the end of this year. It’s been dubbed ‘m-commerce’ – but whatever it’s called it’s coming fast in 2010.

5. Do you have any parting thoughts?

Yes. Retailers who don’t have an online strategy in place are being left behind. Christmas sales show again that it is the multichannel retailers who did best. All retailers need to adopt a strategy that lets consumers decide when, how and where they will do business with them. This may mean starting a transaction in-store and completing online, or researching online and buying instore or even on the phone. Give consumers the options they want and they will stay loyal to you.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below on this interview.

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

This Just In: Marketing to Your Own Social Network Works and it's Cheap!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
social-network-icons
I was just reading an article in the Denver Post today that talked about how social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, may have played a part in boosting retail sales this holiday season. In my opinion it is a no-brainer for all retailers, but especially small-to-midsize retailers who tend to be more local and closer to their customers, to use these social networking tools to promote their current sales and to distribute marketing information through.  Who is going to be more interested in coupons or promotional materials for your company’s products than people who have gone out of their way to include themselves in your social network using these online tools?
 
Not only is marketing to these individuals more effective but it is also more cost efficient when done through these channels.  The article in the Denver Post mentions that ad spending in the U.S. was down 14.7% in the first 9 months of 2009, due in part to these retailers spending more time and money on these non-traditional marketing techniques.  I would think that this type of social network marketing would be especially effective for online-only retailers since consumers could easily follow a link in the marketing materials directly to the storefront to purchase the advertised product.  Another astonishing statistic that I saw today showed that online sales increased 15.5% during the period from November 1 to December 24th when compared to the same period last year and online sales now account for 10% of all retail sales during that time.  I know that I personally did about 90% of my holiday shopping online this year and don’t plan on having that number go down anytime soon!
 
Retailers are also finding new creative ways to use social networking and blogs to interact with their customer base. As referenced in the same article above, Best Buy has a new group on Twitter referred to as “Twelpforce” that customer service agents use to tweet various product-related tips and suggestions.  Qwest Communicationshas a Twitter team that scours tweets for issues that customers are having with their phone or internet service and contacts them directly via Twitter or e-mail to resolve them. Also, some online retailers (like Simply Astro and Oregon Seafood ) have chosen to use this very KikScore blog to promote their company online by letting us do a short interview with them so that you can learn more about their products and future initiatives.
 
Finally, in news related to a post I made on this blog a couple weeks ago, Google just announced yesterday that they are holding an “Android-related press conference” on January 5.  Speculation is high that they will announce plans to roll-out their highly anticipated Nexus One phone (otherwise known as the G-Phone) that may have some features not yet seen on a Smartphone and this phone may be sold directly to consumers through their website without a dedicated carrier.  I guess we will find out more next week!

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Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’

Choosing the Right Smartphone to Manage your Business While you Aren't in the Office

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
smartphones_frontI recently made the decision to move out of the pre-iPhone ages (believe it or not that was only a little over 2 years ago) and get a smartphone that allowed me to better manage my work and personal life while I wasn’t in the office. After I made this decision I started researching the various smartphones on the market and determined that there were some features that I really needed and others that were nice to have but not vital to managing my business while on the go.  I thought that I would share a few of these features to consider the next time you are looking for a new smartphone:
 
E-mail/Calendar Syncing – I want a smartphone that clearly separates my personal and business e-mail while also allowing me to easily synchronize my Outlook calendar and contacts with my work computer.  I also want to be able to easily open Adobe and Microsoft Office e-mail attachments. From past experience, I know that some of the Blackberry devices combine work and personal email into one email box which I do not like at all.
 
Web Browsing – I know that the smaller screen on a smartphone isn’t the best places to browse the internet but I still want a browser that will display web pages on my phone like they would display on my home computer.  I also want to be able to quickly switch between portrait and landscape browsing and also be able to easily scroll through pages and zoom in and out when necessary.  The Apple iPhone seems to be the leader in this area as their pinch to zoom and scrolling technologies have really revolutionized smartphone web browsing.  Also, the HTC Hero just recently came out with a browser that supports Flash technology so that should also improve web browsing on these devices.
 
Social Networking & Instant Messaging Support – Ideally I would prefer to have 1 contact list on my phone and have all e-mail, phone, and Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook/instant messaging information for all of my contacts in it.  It would also be nice if my smartphone provided me with a streamlined way to interact with these services and contacts without having to go to the providers webpage to update my status or send an instant message. Through my research, I found that the new Palm OS on the Palm Pre does a fantastic job of combining all of your social network contacts into one phonebook contact. 
 
Application Store – I would like an application store with a large assortment of applications for business productivity as well as handy everyday tools for travel and entertainment.  The current leader in this department is clearly Apple’s “App Store” with over 100,000 applications but the open source Android Market (for the HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris and other Android OS phones) is slowly catching up with over 16,000 applications and growing.
 
Wi-Fi Support – I didn’t realize how important seamless cellular to wi-fi support would be when I started shopping for a smartphone but learned quickly.  Not only is the data transfer rate higher for web browsing and running applications but you can also use Skype to place VoIP calls that do not count against your monthly “anytime” minutes allowed by your carrier.
 
Multi-Tasking – I want to be able to quickly switch from writing an e-mail to browsing a webpage to making a phone call to checking stock quotes and back to finishing my e-mail all within seconds or minutes without any application latency. Again, the Palm OS for the Palm Pre really shines in this area as well with a revolutionary new “activity cards” technology that allows users to click a button on the handset and then scroll between and re-activate any of the multitude of applications running on their phone instantly.
 
I do recognize that other features like music/mp3 support and digital camera/video quality may also come into play when making your decision but I thought that most smartphones do an OK job in these areas and I still don’t look to my smartphone to be my primary source for these features. Other areas that I didn’t get into here are phone/data plan pricing and network coverage because I think those are really carrier-specific issues but are definitely important when making this decision.  In case you are interested, I am leaning towards purchasing the HTC Hero from Sprint but I am waiting for the release of the Android 2.0 operating system for this device which should happen in the next month or two.
 
Let me know if there are any other features you consider vital to the use of a smartphone while managing your business away from home.

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