Monday, April 29, 2013

Once, twice, three times a party…

Swedish Beers parties galore klaxon alert!

It’s fair to say, I’m a bit busy at the moment but it makes for exciting times and I’m thrilled to bits at the prospect of meeting and hanging with some interesting people. Lots of events coming up, including not one, not two, but three Swedish Beers parties and a mini-Heroes and a client event. And more to come…

Well, they say you can have too much of a good thing, but I’m not so sure when it comes to Swedish Beers! We have Swedish Beers coming to three cities near you in the next few weeks so come on down and join the fun, hang with other people with a passing interest in mobile and enjoy a relaxing evening chewing the fat and putting the mobile world to rights.

New York – 2 May 2013

First up, it’s a last-minute jaunt to the Big Apple. Helen will be there on Thursday 2 May with Lubna, Grace, Becky and Petra lending a hand to ensure you have a good time. Antony and Jerome from Ribot will be sponsoring the first few beers but there’s room for another sponsor if you’re up for it. It’s free to attend and we’d love to see you.

More info and RSVP here

While I’m in New York, I’ll be chairing a session for BrandPerfect looking at seamless brand advertising (an impossible dream? we’ll see.) It’s free to attend and includes a lovely tour of the Pencil to Pixel exhibition which I highly recommend having experienced it in London before Christmas.

Berlin – 15 May 2013

Next we’re off to Berlin to take in the culture, enjoy a panel discussion, check out some new mobile start-ups and then finish the day with some cheer from Swedish Beers and our friends at Adeven. Again, we’d love to see another sponsor or two benefit from getting involved (get in touch here) but in the meantime, do join Helen, Russell and Kristina for some Swedish, (well probably German), Beers.

More info and RSVP here

While I’m in Berlin, I’m also organising a half-day of Heroes of Mobile discussions and demos also on 15 May at Betahaus. Details coming for that very soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

London – 13 June 2013

And it wouldn’t be the Summer if we didn’t have a Swedish Beers bash in our home city of London Town. All we’ve done is reserve the date at our favourite London watering hole, The Nordic Bar, and we’re ready and waiting to get sponsors on board. Helen’s talking to a few already but get in touch if you’d like to join the fun. We just wanted to make sure you had the date saved so we can have a blowout party….

More info and RSVP here:

There will be further Heroes of Mobile discussion events in London in May and June as well. Watch this space as they say!

Sponsorship and time permitting, I’ll be visiting more cities from Leeds to San Francisco. If you’d like to see Swedish Beers and/or Heroes of Mobile happening in your city and can help make that happen, then let Helen know.

If you’re coming to one of the Swedish Beers parties, please bring a business card with you to get your first beer token. Sponsors will have the rest of the tokens so you’ll need to get chatting with them to get your hands on more. There should be enough to go around!

So spread the word, and come on down for a fun evening with friends old and new. You don’t have to be a mobile expert to join us. All welcome with a passing interest in mobile technology and a cheery disposition!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Harvester Restaurants’ couponing success

harvester logoI missed this case study first time around, but since I seem to be thinking a lot about mobile and retail at the moment, I thought it worth sharing.

Harvester is a chain of family-friendly restaurants with 200 outlets across the UK. They’re open seven days a week and offer grills, sauces and sides, as well as a brunch menu and vegetarian options at very competitive prices. I haven’t been to Harvester restaurant in almost 30 years, so I can’t comment on the quality of the food but I have friends who enjoy it.

To attract new customers and to build repeat business, they rely on regular offers and you’ll see their website shows the latest offers and the latest menus. When the Apple Passbook arrived on the scene, mobile advertising firm, Millennial Media, teamed up with mobile couponing firm, Eagle Eye, to create a campaign to drive customers to store.

harvester-large campaign imahgeAccording to Gavin Stirrat, MD EMEA for Millennial Media, they served display adverts to iPhone 5 users and those who had upgraded to iOS 6, with a skew towards families. When you clicked the banner, you reached a landing page communicating the offer - £5 off when you spend £30 or more -  and the call-to-action to add this to your Passbook. Eagle Eye then pushed the individually coded coupon to their smartphone. No additional customer details were required making the process as seamless as possible.

Once the voucher was loaded into Passbook, you could redeem the voucher in the restaurant via the restaurant’s existing Chip & Pin terminal. In this way, it was possible to measure redemption rates and ROI. The campaign ran for two weeks and in that time, 16,000 vouchers were issued and around 700 were redeemed offering a 4.4% redemption rate. As the offer was for a minimum spend of £30, it drove at least £21,000 in revenue. And remember, this was just marketed to a subset of iOS customers who had iPhone 5 or iOS 6 so they had the improved Passbook functionality.

It seems that even iPhone 5 customers like a bargain…

More on Millennial Media’s site here and here. Press release on Eagle Eye’s site here.

Further reading on how digital can drive customer engagement, footfall and loyalty in the High Street from Eagle Eye’s Andy Smith in British Retail Consortium’s Winter 2012 publication. (It’s one of those magazine reader thingies so it won’t work on a tiny mobile screen).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The new retail landscape

I spent the first 10 years of my working life in fashion retail on the shop floor, managing various fashion outlets in the Midlands and London’s West End. That was back in the day when the ordinary customer used a landline, didn’t have a computer at home, watched a TV programme at the same time as everyone else, got your films at the local video shop and we carried copies of the A to Z London in our handbags or pockets to work out our way around London. It’s not actually that long ago.

At the time, we couldn’t have imagined how the retail landscape would change. I remember when I was part of the launch team at Episode’s flagship store in Knightsbridge, our tills were actually laptops with printers built in and these were hidden neatly by custom made cash desks. We just kept the cash in a drawer with a lock. Those laptops were the height of modernity in the fashion retail sector. I’d never seen anything like it at the time (we’re talking 1993/4). I’d been used to the tills that you still see in the likes of House of Fraser. I’d never seen a laptop so small or one with a built-in printer in my life! It was kind of a big deal for us. I was used to filling in forms in triplicate to keep tabs on sales, targets and stock.

130121.showroomingBut times, they have changed. Albeit the retail future is very unevenly distributed. This cartoon from marketoonist sums up the current retail landscape as many of us can relate to.

Except, most customers aren’t always online or obsessing about their phones. At least, not yet. And therein lies a big challenge. How does a retailer cater for the customers who operate in the old way – i.e. don’t tend to shop online, have a basic distrust of the likes of eBay and haven’t yet tried Amazon – and cater for customers, like me, who operate in the new way – checking prices, avidly ebaying, have been using Amazon for years and for whom shopping online is completely normal?

And not only that, but there are differences geographically. Go to Worcester, Winchester, Warwick or Wigan, and you won’t find people glued to their phones in the same way they seem to be in London. This might be down to lack of connectivity (mobile signal in Worcester, even in the city centre, is woeful) so they don’t even bother exploring the world of the web when out and about and don’t miss it. Or it might be that they just don’t see a need to constantly check Facebook and twitter to see what their friends are doing as they’ll be seeing them later, or the chances are, they’ll bump into them on the way home.

Nevertheless, retailers do have to face this challenge – independent stores and big chains alike. The future may not be here in Worcester, but retailers are feeling the pain and we’re struggling to keep our High Streets alive with more and more shops closing. I noticed another shop boarded up in my local neighbourhood this week. They say we’re a nation of shopkeepers. Can we hack it as shopkeepers in this digital age?

Further links and reading:

Discussion on my Facebook page about ‘showrooming’

Discussion on my Facebook page about online shopping, price comparison, High Streets and value 

Discussion about mobile data usage based on location, type of job etc.. Highlights a potential digital divide and lots of differing opinions and anecdotes about usage and connectivity.

P.S. There’s a mobile retail summit on in London on Wednesday 24 April. Get 50% off by using code MRS50. I’ll be there discussing this and other issues.

Mobile Retail Summit 2013