Retail TouchPoints: 6 New Strategies for Mobile Commerce Aim to Drive Sales, Loyalty and Intelligence

Jun 29, 2009

By Amanda

Through a special
arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current
article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

While mobile commerce has become an area of
interest, Mobile Marketer has reported on how several different retailers
and brands are leveraging the mobile phone for promotions, mobile payment,
for customer loyalty and data acquisition. Six of the most interesting
new applications include:

  • IKEA Seattle launched a mobile loyalty
    program in early June to build a database of people interested in receiving
    discounts. Mobile Marketer reported that 23,000 consumers have already
    signed up. BCode is powering the texted discounts through which there
    has been more than 15,000 offer redemptions to date.
  • Burger King has entered the mobile commerce
    arena with an iPhone application powered by Gomobo. Designed by PointAbout,
    The Burger King NOW location-aware app is designed to let customers place
    and pay for order with their iPhone. The concept is currently being tested
    in the Queens, New York area.
  • David’s Bridal’s recent mobile marketing
    campaign, designed to target high school prom-goers, presented a call-to-action
    to text the keyword “PROM” to a short code to receive content on their
    cell phones. Recipients were asked to connect via their phones to a mobile
    website to vote for their favorite among five prom dress styles. The
    results of the voting offered the retailer some early-season merchandising
    insight about what styles and categories were likely to be popular once
    buying began.
  • Benjamin Moore & Co. is calling out
    to iPhone users with its new Ben Color Capture application, designed
    to take photos directly from the phone and enable users to identify which
    color inspires them. The application then detects the color and gives
    its name and generates matches that harmonize well with the original
    color. Another big player in the paint space, Sherwin-Williams Co., is
    using the mobile channel for branding and customer acquisition. Digital
    agency Resource Interactive created the ColorSnap iPhone application
    also designed to enable users to isolate a color within any photo taken
    on their iPhone and get matching Sherwin-Williams paint colors along
    with a coordinating palette to complement their choice.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts is leveraging the social
    sphere, rolling out interactive web tools and an iPhone application,
    designed to enable social group ordering, as part of the Dunkin’ Run
    campaign. The company promotes its products with a mobile specialized
    website and the iPhone app.
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts tapped Microsoft
    for a mobile advertising campaign on the Verizon Wireless network. With
    the capability to reach Verizon’s 86 million subscribers, the mobile
    advertising display campaign is designed to drive people to register
    for the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest rewards program, while offering
    a fully-functional mobile specialized website.

Discussion Questions:
What’s being learned about what works and what doesn’t work in campaigns
aimed at mobile devices? Do any of the campaigns mentioned in the
article stand out for you either good or bad?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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14 Comments on "Retail TouchPoints: 6 New Strategies for Mobile Commerce Aim to Drive Sales, Loyalty and Intelligence"

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David Dorf
11 years 10 months ago

Discounts via mobile phone (IKEA/Hyatt) are a good idea, but we don’t yet have enough data to understand redemption trends.

Being able to order and pickup food (Burger King/Dunkin’ Donuts) is a good idea if it can be handled efficiently. I worry about the operational issues involved.

I think the Prom dress feedback will work because of the demographic. Not sure that older Americans would bother.

Matching pictures to paint colors (Benjamin Moore/Sherman Williams) is brilliant. What a great use of technology!

Len Lewis
Len Lewis
11 years 10 months ago

All are good, creative ideas in theory. Time will tell. The only one I see a real problem with is Benjamin Moore and not because of anything they have or haven’t done. Color matching online is difficult under the best of circumstances. even the “superior” technology of the iPhone is not going to show true color. It has the potential to [anger] a lot of people when what they see is not what they get. Maybe the next generation of phones can do better in terms of true color.

Max Goldberg
11 years 10 months ago

I’m pleased to see so many companies experimenting with mobile phone offers. Mobile phones have almost become ubiquitous, and while receiving offers on them might not find favor with all consumers, the ability to opt in can drive sales. These tests and others will help determine what information consumers want to receive via their handsets.

Joel Warady
Joel Warady
11 years 10 months ago
We are just starting to scratch the surface when it come to Mobile Marketing. When you look at the fact that over 60% of purchasing decisions are made when a consumer is actually standing in a store, what better way to help influence their purchase than through sending them a text, or allowing them to access an Application on their iPhone, while contemplating a purchase? With the growth of smartphones, CPG marketers and retailers need to understand that it is more than a phone in their consumers’ pockets; it is a computer communication device, and the opportunities are endless. The more that retailers and brand owners are willing to experiment with offering ways to drive traffic into the stores, and drive products off of the shelves, using these mobile devices, the more advanced their marketing programs will become. Are all of the ideas good ones? Of course not, but we are in the infancy of mobile marketing, and as long as companies are willing to take some risks, and try new ways to reach their… Read more »
Liz Crawford
11 years 10 months ago
Mobile apps are changing shoppers’ interaction with retail permanently. The store is everywhere. The brand is in your pocket. The role of bricks and mortar must change too. For fast turn, impulse goods, like Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts, location-based promotions work great to drive traffic in-store. For higher ticket, considered purchases, brand involvement programs like David’s Bridal, keep the brand top-of-mind during the lengthy consideration process. Also, an instant alert for insiders on promotions can drive a sale for fence-sitters. I love the color identification app. How cool is that? Now you don’t have to drag swatches and return items that don’t coordinate. Takes the guess work right out of the process. Beautiful! At the end of the day, the effective app is all about the purchase itself. The nature of the goods or services, the buyers, and the shopping process. Each of these programs could be very successful because they are geared to benefit the shopper at each unique stage of purchase for that brand. Can’t wait to see results.
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 10 months ago

We are in the early stages of mobile media and time will tell what the most effective approaches are. American idol started the trend with text messaging to vote for your favorite singer. Drawing over 20 million votes each week indicates it was effective. The key to successful mobile marketing is making it relevant and more than just another form of advertising.

I thought David’s Bridal’s had the right approach. Using mobile technology to help understand trends for their upcoming season could have a huge impact on their assortment, inventory, and sales.

Receiving coupons through your phone or a iPhone app all have potential as long as the coupons are relevant and meaningful. Cellfire and a few others are already offering coupons through your phone. It would be nice to see retailers take hold of this technology and drive their Loyalty programs through mobile technology.

Phil Rubin
11 years 10 months ago

It is an incredibly exciting time for incorporating mobile apps and messaging into marketing to customers and prospects. While some of these applications present more potential for home-runs than others (BK, Benjamin Moore), the fact that marketers are finally adopting mobile is what is most important.

The only way that mobile will live up to its potential is with marketers testing different approaches for different situations and learning what works for their brands.

In terms of loyalty marketing, Hyatt is doing a lot of things right, though I think the loyalty opportunity for mobile is way beyond program enrollment. Especially outside of travel in retail, loyalty is about more than discounts and should really be a vehicle for making engagement and even program participation less cumbersome than it is today.

As always, the challenge is execution….

jack flanagan
11 years 10 months ago

Could be a great concept.

However, inquiring minds want to know how long it will take until so many (inappropriate) offers are pushed to consumers via mobiles ‘to drive traffic’ that mobile users simply tune out or actually opt out.

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
11 years 10 months ago

All of these represent the cutting edge of deployment of the internet in the store–given the continuing merger of phone and internet communications. In brief, this is part of the growing trend to “Amazonification” of the in-store retail space.

Where these cell phone apps have a leg-up on the more powerful Modiv Shopper and Media Cart is that their LIMITED communication capability forces the TV advertising mind-set off the table. This is urgent, since the “TV mindset” has so consistently and so badly screwed up in-store digital media so many times. Look for a new wave of efficiently creative media to expand from the cell phone to the PDA and upward to larger screens, rather than for the larger screen geniuses to learn new tricks on small screens.

Mike Romano
Mike Romano
11 years 10 months ago

These are great examples of retailers getting “out of the gate” in mobile.

Retailers historically are followers, and with them and mobile it’s no different. Mobile is a growing and proven channel across the world. In the US, certain verticals such as finance, entertainment, CPGs, etc, have embraced the consumer advantages of mobile marketing and advertising.

Welcome to the real world retailers! Consumers love mobile, and so will you.

RetailWire has done a great job of leading the charge in their world, educating retailers on mobile. You can find a RetailWire case study regarding how to get started in mobile here.

John Bajorek
John Bajorek
11 years 10 months ago

Each of the companies mentioned deserve merit for pushing their mobile applications beyond promotion-only tools. As these applications become more aligned and integrated with their businesses they will provide greater value to their customers.

The Benjamin Moore & Co. application does a great job in facilitating the buying process from color capture through the identification of the nearest location. Dunkin’ Run is a solid application and has tremendous social media implications, however, in order to use the app you need to register online first, resulting in delayed use. Other apps/efforts that warrant mention include Whole Foods, Victoria’s Secret, and the progress being made by Urban Outfitters toward mobile commerce.

At the end of the day the question remains the same, how does this mobile application provide value to your customer and enable them to strengthen and/or deepen their relationship with your brand?

Ralph Jacobson
11 years 10 months ago

As these mobile apps become more ubiquitous in our society, beyond the relative handful of iPhone subscribers, there will become more usage when these apps are more of a utility. Although today’s mobile phones are relatively complex devices, most people are unafraid of them. This is a far cry from only a decade ago, when the majority of people did not use mobile phones in the developed world.

Similarly, when, not if, these apps become second nature to the user, more and more companies will join the bandwagon to push their stuff. Now is the time to experiment, because the few apps that stick in the long run, will benefit the companies who promoted them the best.

There will be failures along the way, however, we are at the most exciting time in history, and companies can make the biggest impression now by providing a great service, first, and then worry about how to make money at it after the world embraces it.

Mark Price
Mark Price
11 years 10 months ago

The Benjamin Moore approach is exciting, because it does not just represent mobile as another marketing channel. I believe that consumers will quickly tire of receiving more messages through another channel, if they do not leverage the power of that channel.

Combining mobile marketing with the photo capability of cell phones today is a unique and valuable approach to driving traffic. This approach addresses a real consumer need–how to sync their existing home colors with paint selections from a store. If the photos remove a step in the process–that is, bringing home color swatches and then coming back in again, Benjamin Moore paints will have differentiated their brand in convenience–one of the most valuable currencies of all.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 10 months ago
DirecTV (to which I subscribe) apparently believes I gave them my phone number so they could call me a few times a day with recorded messages pitching Pay Per View offerings. It took several of their messages before I listened all the way through and heard their “do not call” number at the end. I prefer to opt-in rather than opt-out, and was impressed with the innovative, fledgling, opt-in mobile device programs described today. But I’m concerned about adding yet more ways to distract drivers. Negligent (no alcohol) driving is now responsible for nearly 65% of U.S. traffic fatalities, while alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped to less than 35%. This trend is continuing because “[negligent driving] deadens a driver’s reactions more than alcohol” ( Here in California it’s illegal for drivers to use phones in the car that are not hands-free. Texting by drivers will soon be illegal here. Yet, I see them all the time, in addition to idiots using non-hands-free phones while riding bicycles. They are distracted and dangerous, and we’re adding ways… Read more »

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