All posts tagged ‘retail’

by AllisonDecember 8, 2010

Social Shopping: Nuji Brings Product Curation to Mobile

Social shopping has been heating up over the past few years and got a big boost from Facebook's Open Graph API and Like button this year. The most exciting services in the space are taking the trend offline, letting you "like" products you see in retails stores as well as online. A new company called Nuji, launching today at Le Web in Paris, takes this approach. By combining Svpply-like curation with the social barcode-scanning aspect of Stickybits, they are hoping to build a "shopping mall curated by people whose taste you admire."

After meeting with them in New York recently, we conducted an email interview with co-founders Vincent Thome and Dean Frankhauser.

What problems are you trying to solve with this service?

We're trying to solve two problems:

1. We are creating a shopping social graph, leading to a more targeted, fun and interesting product discovery experience.

Your friends on Facebook are generally your real friends from college, work etc. and may not have the same taste as you in regards to clothes, music, films or gadgets. Twitter is great for following people with similar interests to you, but again, they may not have the same taste in products as you do. There's a need for a shopping social graph, linking people with similar tastes in products.

2. We will provide deals on products that people actually want.

Today, Groupon offers you a deal on a pedicure because you live in a certain city and Foursquare a free coffee because you have checked into a cafe enough times. However, you may not want a pedicure and you might not like coffee, so essentially it's still advertising. Nuji offers deals only on the products you have explicitly said you want, making the service a utility, not an advertisement. Product discovery is the primary function of Nuji, deals is just an added bonus.

What is the user experience like - both online and via mobile?

You can tag (bookmark) products you like on your mobile or on the web.

To tag a product on your phone, you can scan the barcode of the product, or if it doesn't have a barcode, you can take a picture and enter some basic information.

To tag a product on the web, we created a bookmarklet that you click when you see something you like. Nuji confirms the product you want to tag and automatically aggregates the relevant product information, so there's no need to enter any details.

Once you tag something with Nuji, it is synced with your profile, making it simple to remember and share with your followers. People that follow you on Nuji can see the products you're discovering in real-time on their feed and choose to re-tag the ones they like, potentially making some products viral.

How are you building your database of products?

Sorry, we have to keep some secrets as secrets:)

Are you looking to become a destination site?

Yes. We want to be the go-to place whenever you're looking for a new winter jacket, a TV, a film to watch or a new album to listen to. We think it will be like a shopping mall, curated by people whose taste you admire.

Can you describe your business model?

Currently, it’s similar to Groupon. For every deal that’s redeemed, we receive a fee. We want to end up with something that works best for Nuji users, so we’re currently trialling a few models with a few brand partners such as Levis.

What are the opportunities for brands and advertisers right now? In the future?

We can introduce new products to Nuji users and if the community takes to them, they can become popular within the Nuji network and beyond. We want to refrain from doing this too much, but if the product is a good fit for particular users, we’re happy to suggest it. We can also help drive people to online and offline retail stores by offering deals on popular items.

Social shopping is fast become a very hot space. What are you most excited about? Most nervous about?

We're most excited about the prospect of product discovery becoming more targeted, interesting and fun. We're excited about recommendations being based on people, rather than computer algorithms and cookies tracking people's surfing habits. We think this approach is infinitely more powerful and we're only beginning to scratch the surface of its potential.

Social shopping is a hot area, both for new start-ups and large companies. They have a lot at stake and no one will want to be second best. Every startup faces this problem, so it won't hold us back.

This post is presented in partnership with PSFK, a trends and innovation company that publishes a daily news site, provides trends research and innovation consultancy and hosts idea-generating events.

by AllisonAugust 17, 2010

Location-Based Shopping: Can shopkick Keep Kids in the Mall?

The much-hyped and long-awaited shopkick app launched yesterday with a press event at an American Eagle store in New York's Times Square. The location-based shopping service, which lets users earn rewards for in-store activities, already has big brand partners including Best Buy, Sports Authority, Macy's and Simon Malls.

Here's how the app works:

  • Open the app in a participating store, and it automatically delivers the user "kickbucks," which can be redeemed for free stuff from partner merchants.
  • Users can collect more kickbucks for trying on clothes and scanning a barcode in the dressing room (at American Eagle, at least) and for scanning the barcodes on other specified products.
  • The app will also show current offers taking place in the store -- some are for anyone and some are unique to shopkick. Clicking "use this offer" will show the user a code they can present at the register.
  • shopkick can also deliver personalized offers bases on past user behavior (which is what Barcode Hero is also attempting to do.)
  • Users can also earn kickbucks for visiting non-participating retailers, they just won't get any special in-store deals.

Unlike some other location-based services, shopkick is leading with a business model. They are all about immediate monetization: The idea is to translate performance-based online revenue models into the real world. Cost-per-click becomes cost-per-visit. It also closes the loop between promotion and purchase, tracking precisely who took action on an offer or, in marketing speak, how many "conversions" there were. Retailers only pay when people go to their store, check out their products, and buy stuff. This makes the app a much easier sell.

Not that the sell was all that hard to begin with, we imagine. Retailers must be feeling threatened by the likes of Amazon and Red Laser and eager to provide a reason to stay in their stores.  There has been a "frenzy" around Foursquare but, as Adweek reported, some brands are finding it hard to get involved with that hot mobile social service. shopkick is taking a decidedly brand-friendly approach, providing a way for them to add utility and fun to the in-store  shopping experience while also packaging it in ways their marketing and media teams can understand.

shopkick's value is not in creating a social experience, and in that sense its closer to MyTown than Foursquare anyway. The appeal is earning real money, not social currency. However, they do plan to build in social elements to help spread its growth. shopkick has also found that retail partners are eager to promote the application through their traditional marketing channels (mostly in-store signage), which will be crucial to its success.

Also crucial to success will be teen girls. They seem to be shopkick's sweet spot, and most of their current partners (Simon Malls, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy's...) want to reach this target audience. The app itself has a very playful feel (burst bubbles to collect your points!) and feels like a big game. It's perfect for killing time at the mall with friends and getting free stuff -- both popular teen pastimes. Even the rewards currently on the app seem designed to appeal to teens -- Facebook credits, cause donations, gift cards and DVDs of "Twilight" and "Sex and the City."

Here's the rub: not many teens can currently use the application. See, shopkick uses a very cool technology to detect a user's location: An audio signal is sent from a device located in each participating store. The app detects this signal, knows which store you are in, and gives you points. This is a very clever, innovative (and probably costly) way to detect location on a granular level, beyond what other methods including GPS and cell-tower triangulation are capable of. However, most teens do not have iPhones. While they may WANT one and even  SAY they are going to buy one, mom and dad might not be in on these plans. Currently about 15% of teens actually own one, according to a recent Piper Jaffray survey. Many teens get their app fix through the iPod Touch, but shopkick's audio-based technology does not work on that device because it does not have a microphone.

Of course, the service just launched, so it's impossible to say exactly what audiences the app is most popular with and how they are using it. Much of that will come out in time, and shopkick will surely launch on other platforms as well. But it also goes to show how important it is to weigh technological innovation against consumer behavior.

by AllisonAugust 6, 2010

DailyCandy Goes Beyond the Inbox with Location-Based App

image via

Womens' lifestyle newsletter DailyCandy took their sweet time getting into mobile, but what they've ultimately done is worth the wait.

Their new Android app called DailyCandy Stylish Alerts is much more than just mobile-formatted content. Rather, it will alert the user to DailyCandy deals when they are near a store offering one.
This geo-aware approach is the right move at the right time. As Jenna Wortham from the New York Times points out:

Applications that run in the background and alert users with a coupon or special offer as they walk by a store have been something of a holy grail for the mobile phone.

But until recent advances in smartphone software, it has largely been impossible to do efficiently, said Josh Rochlin, the chief executive of Xtify, the New York-based geo-notification company powering the DailyCandy application.

“Instead of physically taking the device out of my pocket and checking into a location, this is taking advantage of passively knowing a user’s location and passing down relevant information,” said Mr. Rochlin.

While this sort of push technology can potentially create distracting real-world spam, Daily Candy already has an engaged, trusting audience, which goes a long way. Also, the app is reaching people who have raised their hands and said "Yes! Show me deals!"

While it's odd that an app launch on Android first, the reason is likely that the iPhone did not until recently allow developers to build apps that run in the background, which this one does. iPhone is coming soon, though, they say. It would also be smart for them to try out geofencing technology, which works through SMS -- no app required.

by AllisonJuly 20, 2010

Mobile Crowdsourcing: Fashism Taps Our "Cognitive Surplus"

Last July we wrote about "social shopping" and a new site called Fashism that lets users solicit fashion advice from an online community in real-time. We wrote:

Snap a photo, email it to the site, and get pinged back with comments and ratings from other users. People are doing this anyway—taking photos in stores and sending to friends for thoughts. This site hopes to create a fashion-conscious community to advise you on your wardrobe in real-time. What fuels the site is our universal need to tell people what we think—we don't just want opinions, we want to share ours.

Photo via

Since then, we've seen the site take off and similar services such as Go Try It On emerge. It even earned a feature on today's CBS Early Show and an article in the New York Times:

In some ways, these sites are similar to other user-generated fashion sites that are riding the crowd-sourcing wave. Sites like FashionStake and Catwalk Genius champion up-and-coming designers, and invite users to window-shop and even finance new talent. Show-and-tell sites like LookBook and I Like My Style allow users to post new looks, as well as critique other postings, much like contestants on “Project Runway.”

But those sites tend to cater to people in or who want to be in the fashion industry. Fashism and Go Try It On are for everyday people including teenagers trying out new looks at the mall, and office workers confused by what to wear. So far, they seem to be among the only sites of their kind, and both were created by fashion neophytes, with no involvement from designer companies or brands.

“I’m not professing to be a fashion expert and neither are most people who use it,” said Brooke Moreland, who started Fashism last September.

via informationisbeautiful

The site harnesses our "cognitive surplus," as Clay Shirky calls our surfeit of intellect, energy and time. It's in our nature to be creative and generous, and digital crowdsourcing tools like Fashism enable us to act on these altruistic impulses and contribute our collective brainpower easily. (They also help us waste time at work.)

On the flip side, social technology makes it much easier to solicit help and advice. The networked masses can become our outboard brain. Of course, some people might be hesitant to post a photo of themselves online and ask for critiques, which is understandable, but increasingly not the case. We are a becoming culture of sharing. Young people have grown up broadcasting and socializing online, and this is not going to change. In a new report from Pew, "Millenials will make online sharing in networks a lifelong habit," Matt Gallivan, senior research analyst at National Public Radio, says "Sharing is not 'the new black,' it is the new normal." And the truth is, we have always wanted to show off our new outfits or get people's opinions before we bought things. Technology provides a fast and easy way to do this.

This is largely thanks to mobile. Many people are packing web-connected cameras with them at all times, instantly enabling our inclination to capture and share things. According to the Pew report, "A fundamental change is occurring in human identity and activity in communities. As is often the case, some of it is driven by social change that is facilitated by technological change, especially the new capabilities offered by mobile devices." A separate report from Pew, "Mobile Access 2010," says that three-quarters of cell phone owners have taken a picture with their phone (up 10% from last year) and half have used their mobile device to send someone a photo or video.

We conducted video-based interviews with people of all ages, asking about how they used their phones. One 21-year-old NYU student told us about how she regularly took pictures of potential outfits and sent them to her friends for feedback. This is also supported by the numbers. A new Compete survey found that 39 percent of smartphone owners have sent a text and 30 percent have sent a picture of the product to solicit feedback. Sites like Fashism are smart to enable and amplify this existing behavior.

Furthermore, 33% of 18-29 year olds have posted a photo or video online. These percentages will only increase and mobile crowdsourcing will become a de facto decision-making tool. Retail brands would be smart to pay attention to these mobile behaviors taking place in their stores. How can they enable it? How can they influence the decision-making process as it's happening? How can they become part of the conversation? One way would be to leverage and promote existing communities like Fashism in store (just as merchants are hanging Foursquare decals in their windows.) Another might be to comment on uploads or offer discounts and purchase incentives to users. Even something as simple as arranging displays so they can be easily photographed would be a smart move.

by SarahJuly 1, 2010

iPads Replace Menus in Australian Restaurant

A restaurant in Sydney, Australia called Global Mundo Tapas has replaced its menus with the MenuPad app for iPads. MenuPad offers restaurants valuable digital tools and the potential to save time and avoid errors.

The app allows the restaurant to easily change its menu, shows pictures of each dish, and also communicates orders directly to the kitchen, cutting down on server error. And, just to show off, it can even recommend dishes based on the weather or your mood.

We have seen the iPad sweep into the travel industry with the InterContinental luxury hotel chain equipping its staff with iPads and The Berkeley hotel in London provides guests with iPads. Further, Jetstar, the budget carrier of Qantas Airways in Australia, became one of the first airlines in the world to announce it would offer the iPad during in-flight entertainment. These examples show the flexibility of the iPad -- its literally a blank slate for ideas -- is clearly one of its strengths.

See the MenuPad demonstrated here.


by CalebMay 14, 2010

Tweetworthy: Doraemon Puzzle Apps,, Toilet Paper Tweets, and More

1. Android OS pulls ahead of Apple in smartphone market

2. In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back

3. Gallery: Mobile Phones Repurposed

4. Doraemon Puzzle Applications

5. Publicis London launches iHobo app to raise homeless awareness

6. Twitter User Brings Toilet Paper To Desperate Japanese Man

7. Foursquare Gets Smarter With Intuitive Place Suggestions

8. 10 Internet of Things Blogs To Keep An Eye On

9. Future Of Retail: Does The Mobile Phone Make The Interactive Display Unnecessary?

10. mashes up Withings data with foursquare checkins (and I love it)

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

by CalebApril 16, 2010

Tweetworthy: iPad Phone, Boy Scouts Badge, Storytelling Barcodes, and More

1. Retail Evolves: Shop Out In The World With Visual Search

2. Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in Twitter twist

3. Barcodes help objects tell their stories

4. Postcode Wars: London Is Your Game Board With Nike GRID

5. History Helps Turn Foursquare Into a One-Player Game

6. iPad + Skype + retro handset = ridiculously fun mobile phone

7. Google will make Goggles a platform

8. Consumer Reports calls out Microsoft for “advocating sexting” in Kin ad

9. Boy Scouts Add a New Digital Badge

10. Perspective: Miso's Somrat Niyogi on "Checking In" to Entertainment

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

Page 1 of 212