Spotlight: WAMO

WAMO ChallengeAs we all know, there’s a lot of noise out there and trying to achieve cut-through for brands is increasingly difficult. WAMO (WAnt MObile) is the latest attempt to help solve the problem. It’s an app that originally launched in the middle of last year on iOS and Android and the iOS version has just had an update, with a new look and feel.

For consumers, the app offers a way for them to capture products they like, put them in a list and share them with friends. It also offers them the chance to win products or gift vouchers offered by partner brands, with one prize up for grabs every day in what WAMO calls the Daily Challenge.

Push notifications
This is where the app gets neat. The partner brands – WAMO has around 25 signed up so far including Adidas, Ultimate Ears and Panache Lingerie – decide what they want to give away and WAMO’s users then see it in the app. At present they have to click on the relevant button but push notifications are being added in the summer.

To take part in the challenge, the user – WAMO currently has 50,000 but is aiming for half a million by the end of the year – clicks on the link, which takes them to the brand’s website. They then have to find a product they like – any product – and click on a button to share it with the WAMO user base. In completing a Daily Challenge, the WAMO user typically stays on the partner brand website for an average of three minutes per session.

“At present, it just goes to our users, but we are currently doing the plumbing so that it will also be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram later in the year,” WAMO’s senior sales, marketing and operations manager Imran Jilani told me when I spoke to him this morning.

Typical prize value is between £50 and £100, either in the form of a gift voucher, or one of the brand’s products. Brands pay a cost per engagement fee for each Daily Challenge, paying only for those users that complete the challenge by clicking through to the partner brand website, selecting a product, and then sharing it. “The value for the brands is the high quality traffic we are driving to their site and the level of engagement,” says Jilani

When a user takes part in a Daily Challenge, the partner brand is added to the My WAMO list in the app. The brand can then use this part of the app like a Pinterest board to upload product details and offers. There’s a second, WAMO list in the app that any brand can use in the same way for free. .

Neat idea
In a noisy world, I think WAMO is a neat idea. It reminds me a little of Autograph, (formerly known as nFluence), which is used to drive footfall to retailers at the Westfield shopping centres, but WAMO is different.

The invitation to rate the item confused me initially, but made sense eventually
The invitation to rate the item confused me initially, but made sense eventually

There are some issues to address, however. After playing with the app on my Galaxy S5 this morning, I think the Android user interface needs addressing in the way the iOS update has, because the process of going to the partner brand’s website and grabbing the item you want to share – on Android at least – was not particularly intuitive.

In fact, speaking again to Jilani after playing with the app, he confirmed that this is the principal point of the iOS update, to make the image-grabbing part of the process much simpler, and that the Android version will get the same treatment in around six weeks.

The second issue is one which WAMO has less control over. One of the challenges took me to the Zara website, which was not optimised for mobile – hardly ideal when youre clicking through to it from a mobile phone. After a bit of trial and error I managed to grab a pair of jeans to share. The app then presented me with a form which needed a title, description, price and location. Only the title had an asterisk by it, which suggests this was the only mandatory field. However, having filled in all the fields, when I hit the ‘Next’ button, I was then asked to rate the item and could go no further until I did.

Eventually the penny dropped. Part of the WAMO app’s functionality is for the user to say whether they Love, Hate, Want or Need the product in question. I guess once you’ve done it once you know the form, but as a real-life user, I was initially confused, thinking that maybe this was a function of the Zara website over which the app had no control. Just adding the words Love, Hate, Want or Need in brackets after the alert to rate the item would solve this issue.

Which brings me on to my next point. I think brands might prefer it if they, rather than the user, could decide which product to share with the WAMO user base. Especially since I can’t help feeling users will share the first product they stumble across in order to enter themselves into the competition. And while brands know they live in a world where peer reviews have much more credibility than anything they tell us, I’m sure they would prefer it if the Hate button was quietly dropped.

Growing the user base by 10x over the next eight months is also going to be a challenge, but talking with Jilani this morning, I was impressed by the clarity of the company’s vision and the fact he was prepared to share the numbers. If they can address the issues above and get the user numbers up, I think a lot of retail brands will start to take an interest.