Mobile Retail Summit

The retail landscape is changing like never before, and the sector is set for even more rapid change over the next three years, as retailers respond to changing consumer behaviour, particularly around the use of mobile in the shopping process.

The Mobile Retail Summit, now in its second year, offers retailers the opportunity to explore how mobile is impacting the retail landscape, and what their business needs to do stay ahead of the game.

The day is divided into four streams – On Device, Driving Footfall, In-store and The Future. On Device will explore how retailers are generating sales on mobile and tablet devices, through transactional mobile sites and apps.

Driving Footfall will explain how to use mobile advertising, couponing and location-based services to drive customers into physical or digital retail outlets. In-store will examine how mobile can assist the shopping experience in store, through initiatives as diverse as free wi-fi, iPad kiosks, store guide apps, and mobile payments.

Finally, The Future looks at the future of retail and the part that mobile and other digital technologies will play in it. Each session will benefit from the input of retailers and mobile marketing experts, who will share their experiences in the mobile channel, and offer an insight into the next big thing in each subject area.

If you work in retail or with retailers, it’s an event you can’t afford to miss. To regitser, head for the event website, and use the code, MRS15, to claim a 15 per cent discount off the price of a delegate pass.

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WWF Launches Charitable MVNO

The WWF is the latest organisation to launch its own branded MVNO with the promise of donating 10 per cent of call revenues to conservation. The charity has partnered with Cognatel and Digital Spring Mobile using Vodafone’s network to offer SIM-only deals on Wildlife Mobile. Digital Spring is said to be taking less profit than it usually would in order to ensure call rates remain competitive.

A 10 minute call could pay for six tree seedlings to help restore critical areas of tiger habitat. Two weeks of regular usage, the organisation said, covers the costs of a three-person anti-poaching patrol to protect tigers and rhinos in Nepal. Its target is for customers to make 2m minutes of calls by the end of 2013.

“Most people use a mobile phone, so this is an innovative and easy way for people to do their bit for conservation. If you’re passionate about the environment and wildlife, it won’t cost you anything to raise vital funds for WWF while you use your phone,” WWF’s communications and fundraising director, Tobin Aldrich, said.

WWF says that Wildlife Mobile won’t cost more than other major networks to use – and, in some cases, works out better – with pay-as-you-go rates 30 per cent cheaper. Bolt-on data can be bought as an extra. Pre-pay monthly bundles start with the Penguin at £9.50 per month for 200 minutes and 500 texts. The cheapest package with mobile internet is Penguin + Data at £15.50 for 500 MB. The top package, Rhino + Data, is £37 for 1600 minutes, 2500 texts and 1GB of internet.

You don’t sign a contract so you have to renew your bundle each month. All of these packages come with free Wildlife minutes for people to call their green-minded friends.

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Vodacom Tanzania Readies 4G Rollout

Vodacom Tanzania has completed a 4G/LTE  trial in Dar Es Salaam, using Nokia Siemens Networks’ (NSN) Single RAN (radio access network) and Liquid Core technology. The trial also used NSN’s Circuit Switched FallBack (CSFB) voice call system, enabling LTE mobile phones to fall back to GSM and 3G networks for voice calls. The trial was successful, and Vodacom Tanzania says it is now in a perfect position to launch 4G mobile broadband services in the country.

“Vodacom is committed to bringing world-class LTE technology to Tanzania,” said Vodacom Tanzania managing director, Rene Meza. “This will contribute to the development of the country’s information and communications technology industry, and provide ultra-fast data services on a par with leading LTE services around the world. We selected Nokia Siemens Networks because of its proven capability in refarming 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE. Its advanced radio and core platforms made the trial possible, and the excellent results convinced us that we can roll out a reliable and high-quality LTE network.”

NSN provided its Single RAN platform, based on its energy-efficient Flexi Multiradio Base Station. The company also provided its Evolved Packet Core (EPC) platform, including Flexi NS (network server), Flexi NG (network gateway) and Liquid Core based SGSN (serving GPRS support node). The company also used its NetAct network management system to enable consolidated monitoring, management, and operation of Vodacom Tanzania’s trial network.

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Toeing the Vine Line

The great thing about the smartphone is that it can be used anywhere, and can now be considered one of the key channels for marketers. Nowhere is this truer than here in the UK, a nation which, according to Ofcom, recently usurped Japan as the largest consumer of mobile data globally. And, at last count, Ofcom also found that smartphone penetration is at 58 per cent, whilst 19 per cent of the UK population has a tablet device, figures that are most likely already outdated and rapidly rising.

So what does this mean for marketers? Marketers need to embrace change in their landscape. It is not good enough just to run a digital marketing campaign; it needs to work as well on mobile as it does on desktop, and make use of the most up-to-date technologies. Until social media took its place on the marketing agenda, the digital marketer mainly relied upon text to convey any messaging. Social has changed the way we communicate, and now we use text, sound, pictures and video; the modern marketers toolbox.

Faster decisions

It is often the brands that can grasp the capabilities of new marketing technologies that reap the greatest benefits and, with giant multinational corporations having the resources to invest heavily in marketing, they can be perceived as dominating the field.

However, an SME’s secret weapon is speed. Everything that SMEs need to compete is at their fingertips, and they are able to make faster decisions than larger corporations. The ability to create content in any format is now universal. Beyond this, products for mobile website design, programmes to manage content-based email campaigns and, significantly, social media accounts, are all easily available at zero or low cost.

Take Vine, Twitter’s proprietary service, which enables users to upload short, six-second videos. Vine may have been met with mixed reviews, and will have its teething problems, but there is no doubt that it represents yet another opportunity for marketers. Sharing video content online is not a revolution, but then again, neither was sharing photos, yet Instagram changed the way people and brands looked at that. Content marketing is at the top of any marketer’s agenda and Vine will be video’s Instagram.

Simplifying vine
With that in mind, we have come up with some tips which we believe will help SMEs get the best out of Vine.

Firstly, watch the tutorial. It’s built into the app, it’s free and it explains how to use the application. If you haven’t spent a few minutes learning how to use Vine, you probably aren’t using it correctly.

Secondly, experiment. This new channel calls for businesses to try new things. For example, if you are launching a new service, you might want to show a before and after shot within the video, so that customers can easily and quickly understand what value they will get from it.

Don’t spam. Every new user on Vine thinks this is their opportunity to achieve social media stardom, and consequently we’re seeing swathes of hashtags and inaccurate descriptions on Vine. If you are using Vine for marketing, you want to ensure that everything you do can only positively impact your brand. There’s a general etiquette to hashtagging, learn it and remember that once you’ve lost a customer, it is very difficult to get them back.

Brand your videos. You have six seconds to make a video; saving half a second for a brand logo and call to action could be the difference between just providing great content and actually making a sale.

Finally, extend the reach. So you’re posting on Vine and consequently on Twitter. Why does the reach of your content stop there, and why should it only be found by those on Twitter and Vine? Use an email client that enables you to link your social media campaigns and print QR codes to your videos to ensure that everything you publish via Vine is automatically posted to all your social media channels. The joy of digital marketing is integration, don’t waste the opportunity.

Ryan Higginson is vice president, Digital Channel & Supplies Europe at Pitney Bowes

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On Target

Last week, Millennial Media launched its Mobile Audience Solutions (MAS) offering in the UK.

At the press launch event at London’s Centre Point, Mobile Marketing editor David Murphy spoke to Paul Palmieri CEO, co-founder and president of Millennial Media about what the solution does, how it could help advertisers improve their audience targeting, and why now was the right to bring it over from the US.

You can watch the full interview below.

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Shopping App Usage Growing Twice as Fast as Rest of the App Economy

Time spent in shopping apps grew by 274 per cent during 2012, according to a report from Flurry. That’s compared to a growth of 132 per cent for all apps.

Flurry measured time spent by consumers across more than 1,800 iOS and Android shopping apps between December 2011 and December 2012. These apps were then broken into five categories, with branded retailer apps proving the most popular. 

Time spent in retailer apps grew at a rate of 525 per cent, more than double the rate of the second fastest-growing. Their share of the total time spent in shopping apps rose to 27 per cent, from 15 per cent a year earlier.

Other categories which saw significant growth were Price Comparison – growing by 247 per cent, while its share of total time stayed level – and Purchase Assistant apps – which saw growth of 228 per cent, and gained one percentage point in terms of time share. The Online Marketplace category – including eBay and Amazon’s mCommerce apps – saw lower growth, of 178 per cent, and a drop of five per cent in its share of time spend.

The worst news was for Daily Deals apps, which saw the lowest growth (126 per cent) of any category, and lost a seven per cent share of time spend.

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Facebook’s Mobile Ad Revenues Doubled over Q4, 2012

Facebook has reported revenues of $5.1bn for the full year 2012, up 36 per cent from 2011’s figure of $3.8bn. However, profits fell sharply, down from $1bn in 2011 to just $53m for the year, due largely to the amount of money Facebook spent investing in mobile during 2012, including its $1bn acquisition of Instagram.

This investment has certainly paid off in terms of encouraging mobile growth, with mobile accounting for 23 per cent of all advertising during Q4, compared to 14 per cent the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the number of monthly active users in Q4 increased by 57 per cent year-on-year, to 680m – more than half of the total number of monthly active users (1.1bn) overall. Daily active users on mobile, meanwhile, exceeded web users for the first time.

The analyst’s view

Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum, thinks the results are encouraging for Facebook’s future, despite the drop in profits it suffered during 2012.

What stands out from Facebook’s Q4 results is the centrality of mobile for its service strategy and growth,” said Zoller. “Sponsored stories in the mobile news feed and app install ads proved effective, with Wal-Mart alone delivering 50m mobile ads to customers.

“This solid progress on the mobile advertising front should be applauded, as a key challenge for Facebook has been how to monetize its growing mobile user base, particularly as an increasing number interact with the platform by only via mobile devices.

“Facebook also noted that the recently launched Graph Search would be a pillar for future growth, although it would not be drawn on details. There will be growing pressure for Facebook to monetize Graph Search over the coming quarters and the most obvious way it could do so is via sponsored search. Although revenues from gifts and games only present a small part of Facebook’s revenues the story on this front was muted, as were insights into Instagram’s contribution to future growth.”

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Comic Relief Augments its Red Nose Campaign with Zappar

Comic Relief is incorporating AR (Augmented Reality) into its 2013 Red Nose Day campaign, through a partnership with Zappar.

By scanning Red Nose Day print ads with the Zappar app, users can access video content, a Flick the Red Nose game, and interactive functionality which enables the users to take photos of themselves with the celebrity fundraisers or wearing a virtual red nose.

“It’s wonderful that Zappar has agreed to help give supporters of the campaign even more exclusive content and lots of fun extras,” said Malcolm Duffy, creative director at Comic Relief. “We are always looking for new ways to raise awareness for the Red Nose Day campaign, and Zappar’s augmented reality app has really helped us do that. In addition, it is an incredibly fun and innovative new way for people to get involved in the campaign and hopefully donate to the cause.”

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EE Switches on 4G in Nine More UK Towns

EE has turned on its 4G network in another nine areas across the UK, bringing the total number of towns and cities covered to 27.

The nine towns are Amersham, Bolton, Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.

90 days after the service first launched, EE says 45 per cent of UK homes and businesses have access to its 4G network – ahead of its original schedule.

“As the first operator to bring 4G to the UK it is important that we make it accessible to as much of the population as possible, as quickly as possible,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee. “We continue to bring superfast mobile to more and more people, whether they’re using their devices outdoors or in their homes and offices, and to increase the speed and consistency of our 4G and 3G network across the UK.”

EE is, of course, still the only operator to offer 4G in the UK – the auction for the rest of the network spectrum, between a number of other operators and interested parties, is currently ongoing.

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Nokia Signs Up Toyota as Local Search Partner

Nokia has signed up Toyota’s European division to incorporate the Nokia Local Search for Automotive service, part of its HERE platform, into its next generation of cars.

Local Search for Automotive gives drivers online access to maps, as well as community-generated content such as reviews, ratings and images of local attractions.

The service is expected to be commercially available to Toyota customers in Europe, Russia and the Middle East starting from early 2014.

“The ability to deliver comprehensive and driver-relevant content tailored to automotive requirements makes the Nokia Location Platform an interesting proposition,” said Derek Williams, General Manager, Telematics & Multimedia, Toyota Motor Europe. “It is an excellent basis for creative location-centric concepts and we are delighted to bring this technology to our customers.”

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