Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010 - (Page 16)

| mobile retail Mobilizing the brand BY MICHAEL MCKINNON Retailers look to extend their reach to the customer Many retail and marketing experts would agree that due to the explosion of mobile applications with respect to consumer use, retailers who haven’t yet researched their options risk being left behind. Though, the actual diagnosis is not that grim, retailers that begin taking advantage of this new channel now will increase their visibility and brand image, and will get ahead of the curve with respect to a growing technological consumer trend. geolocation-based mobile application for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm Pre users lists the business profiles near the user’s current location, and features pictures and video; according to, the app has been downloaded more than a million times. And an app may just replace that store directory inside your favourite mall. Mobile Fringe’s Toronto Eaton Centre app, which recently made Apple iTunes Canada’s Great Canadian Apps list, helps users find their way around the mall and connects them to store websites. And while shoppers may overlook a sign in a store window, the app makes sure they know about promotions throughout the mall. “What really kicked it up notch is that what wasn’t currently available was the ability for retailers to promote specific product promotions or sales that were going on; the second key feature of the app is the dynamic promotion engine, and this is a real powerful tool for retailers. All our retail clients look to this tool,” says Sorge. Extend your brand’s reach… now “My advice to a retail client is to move early—let’s not worry about building the most innovative or perfect application, but let’s stake out your place in the mobile world,” says Steve Sorge, CEO of Mobile Fringe. “If (your customers) start looking for you on their iPhone or their BlackBerry and they can’t find you, they might find somebody else and you’ll lose those eyeballs; trying to find those eyeballs in a year or two is going to be really expensive.” What exactly “going mobile” means will differ from retailer to retailer. For some it could mean creating an application—an app— for a variety of hand-held platforms. Those going multi-media rich will look at the iPhone, while BlackBerry may be the best bet for simple content delivered quickly. Others may market to fans through social media channels, or develop a promotion based on text messages with follow-up marketing strategies. For all, fun is as important as functionality. The PayPal Mobile 2.5 app, for example, lets users send money from their hand-held, transfer funds between PayPal and a bank account, and even donate to one of 17 Canadian charities. It’s even easier—and arguably more fun—on an iPhone; physically touching the device to another starts the process. Improved customer service When Benjamin Moore decided to connect more intimately with its customers, the result was the ben Color Capture iPhone app, launched in June 2009. The app—which allows users to snap a photo with their iPhone and find the nearest Benjamin Moore colour match, choose colour combinations and even features a store locator—was downloaded more than 150,000 times and earned press coverage in the New York Times and on ABC News. The app is successful because it answers questions customers often have in a creative way, explains Nick Harris, Benjamin Moore’s Senior Manager of Marketing Communications. “It wasn’t gratuitous; it was useful and fun,” Harris says. “It wasn’t just a matter of Benjamin Moore doing something cute, and it wasn’t a sideshow to what the brand was all about; this was the brand live on your hip or in your pocket. For those reasons, people got it.” Geolocation, directory assistance and more Even the Yellow Pages—perhaps best known for those enormous books that land on your doorstep— has moved into the mobile space. The Yellow Pages 16 | canadian retailer | september/october 2010 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010

Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Store Design
Mobile Retail
Social Media
Environmental Sustainability
Human Resources
Business Intelligence
Technology Trends
Online Retailing
Advertisers' Index
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Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010