Why are folks so interested in Apple's ad inventory?

Julie Ask

It has the potential to be more valuable than inventory on many phones.

Why?

People who own smartphone devices are more active on their cell phones than your typical cell phone owner. For simpler tasks like SMS, they are moderately more active. For more complex tasks such as shopping, using maps, banking or doing product research they are significantly more active. iPhone users are some of the most active smartphone users when it comes to commerce-related activities.

Advertisers have held back on spending more on mobile marketing for many reasons. One of the primary reasons has been their inability to demonstrate the effectiveness of the medium or calculate an ROI. It gets a lot easier to calculate the ROI when consumers are buying items or using services such has mobile banking to deposit checks. Consumers are spending real money. My colleague Sucharita Mulpuru will be working on a mobile commerce forecast later this year. Anecdotally, we saw consumers spend in the hundreds of thousands of dollars with individual merchants/hotels/restaurants in 2009. We're likely to see run rates in the low millions for a few companies within a few industries by the end of this year.

The more consumers spend, the more advertisers will be motivated to spend. Consumer product and service companies will invest in mobile services such as "find the nearest," consumer reviews, available inventory, etc. to support commerce-related activities. The greater the supply of services (of great services), the more adoption and usage we'll see among consumers. Then consumers will spend more because the experiences will be convenient - it'll be easy to buy books or toothpaste.

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Where US online retailers are operating in Asia

Zia Daniell Wigder

Over the past few months, we’ve fielded multiple requests related to the online shopping market in Asia. Retailers and vendors alike are looking to position themselves for long-term success given the rapid online growth rates in the region:  By 2013, for example, close to half of the global online population will live in Asia, with some 17% of the global total coming from China alone. To see how US online retailers are taking advantage of this shift, we took a look at the top 50 online retailers on the Internet Retailer Top 500 list and mapped their transactional sites in Asia. A few observations follow.

Japan tops the list, especially for companies with only one web site in Asia. What was interesting as we worked through the list was that relatively few of leading online retailers in the US operate transactional sites in Asia, and far fewer operate in multiple countries. Several top online apparel retailers, for example, operate a web site for Japan only: Lands’ End, L.L. Bean and Cabela’s have all taken this approach.

Consumer technology companies have the broadest regional reach. By contrast, online retailers in the consumer technology arena tend to have a broader regional presence. Dell, Apple and SonyStyle operate in multiple Asian markets, with Dell and Apple having the most transactional web sites in the region despite Sony's Asian roots. Office Depot also has a strong commitment to the region with eCommerce sites in Japan and China, as well as in South Korea.

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eBusiness Leaders are Optimistic about 2010

Carrie Johnson

No one that manages a P&L will ever look back at 2009 and say "what a fun year!" eBusiness executives are certainly glad to have 2009 behind them and report to us that 2010 is not as fraught with economic concerns. We just published the results of our most recent survey of 100 eBusiness and Channel Strategy executives and found that although overall budgets for eBusiness aren't increasing that dramatically, our respondents aren't feeling the heat to cut back like they were last year. 

Even better, our survey respondents are increasing their budget for new innovation and technology. In 2010, the percentage of the online budget dedicated to new investment and innovation is expected to increase or significantly increase at 52% of firms. Hooray! It's a battle cry for all eBusiness execs to step up their games, and for senior executives in their firms to step up their commitment to and support of the channel. Spending (by our respondents) will focus on analytics and then ratings and review platforms.

Analytics have been a constant in our surveys, and ratings and reviews don't surprise us. Social media is hard for eBusiness execs to get their heads around because many social efforts clearly drive marketing objectives like brand engagement, but the impact on actual sales and conversion is fuzzier. Ratings and reviews are a clearer conversion tool for retailers in particular. My colleague Brad Strothkamp wrote a blog post though about the use of ratings and reviews in financial services, which is not nearly as black and white an issue. 

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Mobile Coupons - What about them?

Julie Ask

This is probably one of the top 10 inquiries I get from clients. Should I have a mobile coupon offering? If so, what form of mobile technology should I use? Our new report, "Mobile Coupons: Gold Rush or Fool's Gold?" addresses this question in more detail. This question was especially important in 2009 with the poor economy as consumers sought savings and deals.

Do consumers use mobile coupons today? A few do. Our surveys show that a few percent have at least trialed mobile coupons. There have been some usability issues - how to opt in to programs, download a coupon application, breadth of offers available - as well as demand. Heavy users of mobile coupons are not necessarily heavy users of mobile data services. My grandmother cuts more coupons than anyone else I know. She has a prepaid 100 minute per month voice plan. Will she ever use mobile coupons? Probably not. She turns 90 this summer. A lot could change in 10 years, but until her arthritis is so bad that she can use scissors, I think she'll still be clipping coupons from the newspaper. I see more opportunities in luring young mobile-savvy cell phone users into opting in for programs.

That said, I'm optimistic. The main reason ... every grocery store and many retailers that I know are using mobile coupons. Target launched a few weeks ago. Target takes providing an amazing guest experience very seriously. When you ask, "are mobile coupons ready for primetime?" Target adopting and rolling them out is a clear "yes" for a leading US brand. Safeway. Best Buy. Krogers. JC Penney. These are just a handful of the companies rolling out mobile coupons. With their marketing power and ability to drive awareness and motivate adoption, I expect we'll see a significant jump in adoption and usage this year.

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Forrester's new Blog Network

Carrie Johnson

 

Our new blog network has gone live! This is so exciting and will enhance the way that readers can interact with our analysts.  Here’s what Cliff Condon, the project manager, has to say about it:

 

Hey everyone.  Here it is – Forrester’s new blog network. We made some change to improve the experience for readers and to encourage more analysts to blog. Feel free to poke around and let me know what you think.

 

There are a few things I’d like to point out to you:

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Forrester Research is hiring — become a senior analyst on our global eBusiness team

Patti Freeman Evans

If you see how fast corporate digital commerce is changing, it won’t surprise you to learn that Forrester is hiring.

We’re hiring for the position of Senior analyst. This is a key job, because it will put you right in the center of transformation that’s happening as companies begin to embrace digital commerce enablement.

This job is truly diverse in its scope and has been the most rewarding one I have ever had. You’ll spend your time speaking with people in companies who are actually driving eBusiness innovation; gathering information about what works, what doesn't, and where the industry is going. These in-depth interactions, combined with our extensive consumer research data, form the basis of our research content. You write documents on topics of interest to clients or work with clients on how to build these applications.

In the analyst job, we’re looking for people with real experience building eBusinesses — either at a company, in an agency, or in a technology vendor.

Our current analysts on this team are working in Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco; New York; and London. For this position, due to the need to collaborate freely, we're most inclined to hire analysts who can work in London or Amsterdam.

Forrester is an extremely collegial place, with analysts around the world collaborating freely with one another. We keep driving forward into new areas of knowledge. Working here is a blast.

Here's how to apply: Click to see the description for the Senior analyst position. Then click “Apply for this job.” I hope I get to work with you.

US and Western European online retail will grow double digit year-on-year over the next five years

Online shoppers in the US do not just spend dollars at home

Zia Daniell Wigder

Last year we wrote a couple of reports that highlighted cross-border online shoppers in Europe, where some 29% of online shoppers had purchased from another country.

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How to Wear an Oversize White Shirt (Microsoft Tags with GetTag)

Julie Ask

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.

Lucky Cover

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.

Get tag instructions

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?

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Mobile Gift Cards from Target Corporation

Julie Ask

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.

Gift card

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.

Instructions

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.

I did find the link on their mobile Web site.

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