Much ink and pixels have already been spilled in celebration or punditry of Apple’s latest splashy consumer device, the iPad, and so I am sorry to subject you to yet another. But there is an interesting angle which the introduction of this device hints at which I have not yet seen covered.
Often we hear that the eCommerce technology selection process is broken from both sides of the fence. The businesses that are selecting and investing in the technologies, as well as the vendors themselves, face the frustration of this process.
Our objective is to gain insights into the lessons-learned and best practices around eCommerce technology selection. We want to unearth what makes this a trying process and the success factors behind successful product and services selections.
I was recently on the Discover Card Web site when I stumbled upon their Card Builder tool. The tool goes beyond a standard product selector, which merely helps shoppers choose amongst products that already exist, as it actually allows a Web shopper to create a customized credit card on the fly. That got me thinking. The whole area of customized products is a huge opportunity for the Web, and one of which only a few firms have ventured into. A few I have found along the way include:
Target is now allowing gift cards to be loaded onto an online account that can be accessed from your cell phone. You can actually pay for stuff with your cell phone. Yay! See Target's press release.
I know they aren't the first. Many versions I've seen before, however, have been small scale pilots or in foreign countries. Many scenarios I've seen also are "closed" pilots among the 3-4 parties in an ecosystem that it took to string a trial together. Target has 1740 stores ... there's a bit of scale in this solution.
So, how does it work?
First, you buy a gift card. I bought the one with the cute Target dog.
Then you pull the sticker off of the back so you can see the codes. I purchased a $20 gift card.
Instructions for using mobile gift cards as well as promotions are on Target.com. Using their available media - Web site - to promote the new offer? Well done.
Interestingly though, this site ONLY had instructions for the mobile gift cards. I couldn't find a link on this site to regisiter my mobile gift card. This confusion for me is probably the only thing I could find to "ding" them on, so to speak. I'd expect that one of their next rounds of Web site updates would add this link.
If you are considering using QR-, Microsoft, 2D barcodes, you should buy a copy of the March issue of Lucky Magazine. They are working with GetTag on promotions throughout the magazine.
Here's what I liked about what Lucky did:
1) Instructions upfront in the magazine. The instructions tell me WHAT I will get if I download and use this application. There is value to me - see images below. The use of the word "smartphone"? Ok, normally, I'd consider this a bit risky, but it works for them. First, if I have a smartphone and know how to download an application, I am more likely than not to know that I have a smartphone. This is NOT GUARANTEED - many have no idea what kind of cell phone they have. I don't know Lucky's target age with certainty, but my bet is that it is young and they know what smartphones are.
2) They send their readers to a dot mobi site. Generally, I wouldn't be a huge fan of "go type in this URL on your cell phone," but it turned out to be very efficient. The URL had a deep link into Apple's app store where I could download this application.
When I generally searched for barcode readers on the App store, I received "no search results" because "readers" with an "s" could somehow not be matched to "reader." Really?
2010 marks my fifth year with Forrester Research. Over the last five years, I have had a chance to work with many, many financial service firms. While I will openly admit that I am biased towards the Web, the past year provided more evidence than ever about the growing importance of the Web channel.
Forrester just kicked-off our first-ever Australian Online Retailing Study. This survey looks at Australian online and multichannel retailers' organizations and topics relevant to the challenges currently facing their roles including:
Marketers - pay attention. This is an example that seems great in theory, but the "devil is in the details" of the implementation so to speak. This is among the top inquiries I hear from clients, "what do you think about 2D barcodes or QR codes as a means of connecting with customers?" I took this inquiry from a CPG client just a couple of weeks ago. I laid out the challenges. Their response was, "well, we're doing it anyway." Piloting is good - just go into it with your eyes wide open.