vonbismark

The the forefront of the physical web

Facebook Take Another Shot at Ecommerce

by Kate Enright

www.vonbismark.com

Facebook began dabbling in ecommerce about 3 years ago when 1-800-flowers set up the first Facebook virtual storefront and began selling through the social media giant. The idea of “F-Commerce” then began to take off in early 2011 with many large brands deciding to take advantage of large fan bases on the site. Few doubted the success of selling to Facebook fans, but those who did, slated it from the beginning. The doubters were proved right when at the start of 2012 a list of big names pulled out of the F-Commerce game due to lack of return on investment. Gamestop, one of the largest retailers on Facebook closed its store saying it was “not a place to sell”. It turned out that people did not want to buy from their “favourite” retailers through Facebook. But now Facebook have changed tack and come back to the ecommerce table with a whole new game plan. Gifts.

Facebook Gifts

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Making Social Networking Physical

by Kate Enright

www.vonbismark.com

So we’ve all heard of online “friend finders”, dating sites and of course our favourite social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. Millions of us use these tools to connect with people every day. We log in to our online profiles, we search for people we know, barely know, just met, haven’t yet met…and we find out everything there is to know about them. from their physical appearance to their likes and interests even their relationship status (don’t deny it).

But what about taking this data and using it in the physical world? Making all this information available as part of our reality. Well we can now do just that with a flexible little wristband called Amico. Amico was developed by a startup called Trovare as a way of bringing Facebook into the real world. All those online connections and details we have access to can now be used in real life to help us connect with people who have the same interests as us and face-to-face too (imagine that)!

Amico Wristbands in Green

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Wearable Tech Hits the Runway

by Kate Enright

www.vonbismark.com

Google Glasses – NY Fashion Week 2012

Your eyes do not deceive you, this is in fact a runway at New York Fashion Week and those are Google Glasses on those super models. Looks like the final gap was bridged between geek and chic when Diane Von Furstenburg added Google’s augmented reality headgear as part of her Spring 2013 collection this week.

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Welcoming the Physical Web

by Kate Enright

http://www.vonbismark.com

The future is here and it’s breaking down the barriers between what we see as the “real world”, and the web. From augmented reality to wearable technology, it won’t be long before the lines of reality are well and truly blurred and full integration between your online offline worlds becomes the norm.

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Absolute Inspire Augmented Reality App – Virtual Graffiti

We have all heard about Project Glass by Google, the project that caused a massive online stir earlier this year. The headset and inset eyeglass will provide users with the ability to see online data in their line of vision, simply by looking through them. Data will be over-laid onto the physical world using Augmented Reality technology, meaning that accessing the web via your phone or PC will no longer be a necessity. Now, just by wearing a slim line headset, you can say “Show me the nearest Pharmacy” and in front of your eyes you will be shown content and be guided to the location you desire, without taking your phone from your pocket. The next level of this is purely gesture based interfaces, i.e. Products like the Microsoft Kinect which allow for a gaming experience without peripherals. Without touching any physical objects users can interact with a virtual world as their body is being tracked. This is integrating very nicely with the world of augmented reality, at with the release of the Kinect for developers SDK early in 2012, a host of exciting applications are flying our way.

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Fully Integrated Payments Without The Hurdles

by Darren Mulvihill

www.vonbismark.com

Merchant Account = Headache –> Stripe = Merchant Account

Stripe payments, as many of you will know, is the company founded by Patrick and John Collison which specializes in simple, fully embedded payments systems that developers love. It’s being heralded as the gateway that will do for in-app payments and e-Commerce what one-click payments has done for the App Store and Amazon. The API is so simple to use that Stripe has been able to carve out a nice primary customer-base by getting startups and some mid-size clients to use their system (mainly because it embeds like a native payments system and is so easy to integrate). Integration has been known to take as little as 2 days.

One hard fact about the payment card industry is that the barriers to entry are high. However Stripe is implementing a strategy that allows them to infiltrate companies from within by helping the people who organise eCommerce solutions and manage projects forget about all the monotony of getting a merchant account, finding a good payment service provide and then tying it all together. Stripe is a quick solution that brings these elements together.

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Virtual Storefronts Arrive in the West.

by Kate Enright

www.vonbismark.com

As we wrote about in a post regarding virtual store fronts and their introduction into the lives of busy commuters earlier this year, the eastern world- specifically Korea and Japan- has been a hotbed of innovation in the area. Tesco first installed virtual stores in a Korean subway station in May 2011 to international acclaim and huge popularity among commuters. The “stores” showed images of popular items on virtual shelves and provided a bar code underneath for consumers to scan using smartphones, for home delivery.

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Virtual StoreFront in Korean Subway Station

The recent growth in smartphone sales in the UK means that almost 50% of citizens now have a smartphone and it is predicted that by 2016 this figure will be at 90%. As we catch up to Asian markets on smartphone ownership figures, Tesco have decided to bring the idea to the UK, this time in an airport setting. The storefront will act as a saving grace for those returning from overseas, tired, and to an “empty fridge”. Simply arrive at the airport, order your essentials online by scanning the barcodes on your phone and have them delivered to your door – perhaps even before you arrive there! Tesco are ahead of the curve when it comes to retail technology and they indeed trail-blaze when it comes to imagining the future of shopping and shopper trends.

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Showrooming: Don’t Fight it – Get Proactive

by Kate Enright

http://www.vonbismark.com

“Showrooming.” It is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of retailers worldwide, many worry about it being the end of conventional stores as we know them, while others say it is blown out of all proportion. One thing is for sure, there is no denying the figures, and it is well and truly on the rise. Showrooming is the ever-growing practice by shoppers of checking out products in stores and then going online to buy them at reduced prices. And the growth in smartphone ownership (sales up 58% 2010 – 2011 – 1.08 Billion users total) has made it much easier and more accessible from any location. Mobile use in fact has driven some retailers to paranoia, wondering who in their store is a customer and who is just there to see an item in person, and checking out the price on Amazon on their phone.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project  tell us that during the last Christmas period in the US, 52% of shoppers used their smartphones to research products on mobile devices while physically in retail locations. Of those who used their smartphones for online price matching, 19% purchased the product online thereafter.

Currently, it is calculated that overall, 44% of shoppers use their mobile phones while shopping day-to-day (McKinsey Report 2012).This is quite a high figure, and it means this trend is definitely not to be ignored.

So what are consumers doing on their phones in-store exactly?:

  • Visiting the store’s website: 20% (2010) –  43% (2011)
  • Using a Price Comparison App: 37% (2010) – 38% (2011)
  • Scanning Barcode: 15% (2010) – 17% (2011)
  • Using Online Coupon: 17% (2010) – 25% (2011)
  • Visiting another stores website: 32% (2010) – 40% (2011)
  • Photographing product – social recommendations: 18% (2010) – 16% (2011)

McKinsey provided some clever combative tips to go with their data:

  1. Connect Locally: Local Blogs, review sites, and offers targeting your local market to get them into the store.
  2. Make Targeted Digital Offers: Discounts, rewards, or price matching
  3. Mobilize Your Sales Team: Use tablets to help customers and teach them about store apps.
  4. Sell Unique Products: Offer private label merchandise, tailor products to customer groups, and provide distinctive packaging.

McKinsey Infographic Excerpt

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Today’s Multichannel Consumer

by Kate Enright

www.vonbismark.com

Today there are an increasing number of channels for consumers to complete purchases. Some take advantage of these and some don’t, but which type consumers make a more significant value increase for the retailer? First of all, let’s take a look at what’s out there. Currently, we have the traditional “brick-and-mortar” high street stores, the old-school brochure ordering systems, ecommerce sites, social media platform integration, in-store online installations, and mobile commerce is exploding with mobile sites and apps becoming increasingly popular for smart shoppers. So what most retailers want to know is; is it worth their while investing in multiple channels? And if they do, will it increase sales and improve loyalty?

Agos’s Multichannel Campaign was a triumph of true multichannel

Accounted for 43% of revenue in 2009

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Lifting the Hood for Small Businesses – Retail Analytics & The Cloud

by vonbismark

Statistics rule the world, but analytics can allow you to rule your business in the most efficient and productive way! Since the inception of the first IBM digital EPOS systems, large retailers the world over have enjoyed access to highly specific, detailed analytics from a variety of providers. Metrics like this can help drive a business forward, by citing product trends, consumer behaviors and trading history to ensure that marketing and trading practices run in tandem, to boost sales and efficiency. What you end up with is a roadmap for your business cycles based on months or years of useful and attested patterns. But, what about harnessing this for your small business?

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Social Recommendation and Likeability

by Kate Enright

http://www.vonbismark.com

Making it easier for your customers to socially interact inside your store is essential for ensuring that you are making the most of your access to the ever growing world of social recommendations. How you do this could make all the difference. Sure, they can use their smart phones to take pictures of items they are interested in and text them to a friend, but this is cutting out a world of free promotion for you on social networks. They also have the option of using social shopping apps like ShopWithIt but often these can end up driving customers away from stores by giving price comparisons upon scanning the bar code. They can be advised, for example, that Amazon has the product cheaper online and give them the option to order it. In order to steer away from this, why not provide the method of sharing yourself? This just means that while in your store, your customers can login to their social network of choice, add a picture and your store location will not miss out.

Shop With It Price Comparison

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