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by Kate Enright Augmented reality ads are slowly making their way into mainstream advertising and the minds of creatives industry-wide. More and more brands are now using the technology to engage consumers with both high impact advertising and with hidden digital content. Large organisations are now turning to augmented reality as a means of creating a stir around products online. The value in this is that the impact does not stop at those seeing the installations first hand, but there is an extremely high potential for these eye-catching campaigns to go viral, their digital nature is a huge draw. A good example of this is the recent Absolut Inspire app created by Absolut Vodka, calling for users to digitally overlay their “graffiti” onto public buildings, streets and walls. The ad alone had international viewership all over the web.

The Absolut Inspire ad campaign 2012. 

by Kate Enright There are now over 1.2 billion mobile Internet users worldwide. This exciting statistic means that business owners can no longer afford to ignore the rising tide of people accessing online content via their phones and tablets. So where to from here? The next question many are asking is, mobile app, mobile site, or both?  Based on the content you need to display and the service you need to provide, this decision is an important one. One thing is for sure however, retailers and other business owners can no longer afford to neglect the importance of their mobile presence.

by Kate Enright Last “holiday season” in the US, 50% of adult smartphone owners used their mobiles in-store to get help with purchases. This was to ensure that they got the best price possible and the most information when before making purchases. This data came from a study made by Pew of 1000 adult holiday shoppers all over the US. Pew found that 38% of shoppers called a friend while in store for advice, while 24% used their smart-phone to obtain product reviews online. 25% of phone users looked up prices online for products in-store in attempt to find the best deal online and in other stores. Altogether, 52% of all adult cell owners relied on their phone for one of these purposes and 33% specifically turned to their phone for online information while shopping inside a store.

by Kate Enright We now live in a world where every euro is appreciated and the throw-away attitude of the past is gone, the same can be said about brands consumers. Customer service expectations have been increasing consistently over the last four years, with 44% of consumers saying their expectations are higher than the previous year, compared to only 31%in 2008 [Forbes]. And, for the most part, retailers are stepping up and meeting the customer service challenge. Stories, for instance, of follow up, hand-written notes from retailers and complimentary bottles of wine sent to rooms from hotel management are now commonplace. Service providers are realising that we are living in an extremely competitive world and it is truly dog-eat-dog when it comes to getting new business and retaining old. The last thing however, that retailers/service providers should believe is that only the cheapest offerings will survive. Although, as I said, consumers do appreciate and value every cent much more so than before, that does not necessarily mean that they will always opt for the cheapest. What they will opt for, more often than not, is the best quality, the best level of service or a provider they feel connected with, simply because they want to know that they are spending their money in the best possible way with the best people. So how do we turn good customer service into customer loyalty? Firstly, you have to get to know your customer and secondly you have to take this knowledge and use to it understand what they really want and need. If you can market to that need directly and personally, tapping emotions and treating customers as individuals, you will reap the rewards. This goes beyond the generic “How was our service today?” form, email or text. After all, it has been proven that 85% of loyalty program members never hear from their loyalty programs after the day they sign up. So the generic loyalty programs in place from retailers clearly aren’t cutting it. Companies such as Swipely are thinking creatively by trimming back on loyalty cards and vouchers and using customers’ existing credit cards as vehicles to improving loyalty through clever marketing and deal offerings on behalf of merchants. Image

www.vonbismark.com London 26/03/2012 Irish good news story, Von Bismark, have just launched their ground breaking Von Bismark Wardrobe product at the RBTE in Earls Court London. The VB wardrobe allows users to physically try on digital clothing using any TV or digital display and to share their shopping experiences with their friends through their preferred social network. The user also has the option to purchase the item they like by scanning the related QR code and adding it to their shopping cart. Version 1, the Von Bismark Accessorise, which allowed users to try on virtual accessories, was a huge hit Christmas shoppers in Dublin, with over 100,000 users and 7,000 pictures taken when launched in Liffey Valley shopping centre for 28 days in December 2011. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNx7YgPQFow&w=560&h=315]

by Kate Enright Last year saw the explosion of social commerce or “social shopping” apps and sites and we have seen a steady flow spring up in 2012. As with most game-changing ecommerce concepts, the subsequent market entrants have started with more specific segmentation and a clearer target market. The whole basis of social commerce is referrals, referrals from friends, peer groups, family members. If you have similar tastes then why not share them and take the advice of others in your social circles? Image