I've Stopped Opening My Favorite Mobile Apps

Julie Ask

Mobile has transformed my expectations putting me on the bleeding edge of the mobile mind shift. I've had a smartphone in my hand since August 30th 2005 when a broken wrist forced me to be a one-handed typist - better done on a smartphone than a laptop. My Lark wearable wakes me each morning. My Nike Fuelband tracks my steps. I tweet and check Facebook on my phone. I deposit checks. Honestly, there are a handful of websites that I can no longer navigate because the complexity of the experience overwhelms me. It's simply easier to do stuff on my mobile phone. 

Today, I rolled into Starbucks a little after 7am to pick up an iced tea. I had to reload my stored value card within the app. (I don't use auto reload in case my phone is stolen. My bus card was autoload ... the last time it was stolen, the person must have handed off to six other people to travel before I could shut it down.) What was my reaction when I realized I would have to reload the card? "Sigh" ... well, really a "heavy sigh." The thought bubble over my head was: "Ugh, I now have to open this app, type in my password, etc." Usually I just open Passbook and do a quick scan. Please keep in mind that I think the Starbucks app rocks and reloading my card takes about 30 seconds. That said, I was annoyed that I had to go into the app. 

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Keep The Bank Account, Lose The Bank

Stephen Walker

Only 20% of European customers trust their bank to treat them fairly and honestly, but with a lack credible banking alternatives it doesn't actually seem to matter. As most customers see it, they can either have a bank account, or they can not have a bank account. Account switching legislation in the UK perpetuates the problem, Henry Ford style: “you can have an account with any provider you want, sir…..as long as it’s a bank”. Our new report, “Disrupting Finance: Digital Money Managers”, profiles a series of disruptors offering your customers a third way. Here’s why we think you should be worried:

1.       They offer aggregation. Digital money managers offer aggregation because they have to, of course, but in doing so they enable users to manage their finances independently of the firms they don’t trust. Users can pick and choose products from different providers then manage everything in one place - a sort of iTunes for financial services. There's clear disruptive potential here, particularly if an already proven price comparison site acquires a promising digital money manager, as we've already seen in the UK with MoneySuperMarket’s acquisition of OnTrees

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Forrester’s 2014 UK Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark: Late Starters Are Catching Up

Stephen Walker

It’s no secret that UK banks were slow to take mobile banking seriously. The iPhone launched in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2010 that we had the first mobile banking app from NatWest. Barclays and HSBC, two of the biggest banks in Europe, let alone the UK, didn’t release apps until 2012. But our new report, 2014 UK Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, suggests all that is changing. UK banks now do well where it matters most to customers - across money movement, balance checking and transaction history search. Some of last year’s laggards have overtaken last year's leaders, and many UK banks now offer mobile sales functionality - ahead even of their peers internationally. Here’s the headline story:  

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Understand The Digital Wallets Landscape In China

Vanessa Zeng

Internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent are aggressively promoting digital wallet usage via competing mobile apps for taxi-hailing. Alibaba has gone further and is cooperating with big brick-and-mortar shopping mall chains to promote mobile commerce via the Taobao and Alipay digital wallets, with the aim of boosting merchant adoption of its digital wallet solution.

In light of the emerging trend of digital wallets in China, my first Forrester report, Understanding Digital Wallet Options For Your Business In China, introduces the digital wallet solutions that the major players in the Chinese market provide, the typical usage scenarios, and merchants’ adoption strategies. Most of the digital wallet options offer abundant value-added services as a means of attracting consumers.

The following chart shows the digital wallet options that the major players provide in China. They fall into three types: remote-only, proximity-only, and omnichannel wallets. The latter incorporates the different types, provides the most value-added services, and integrates mobile commerce, payments, and financial management in a single mobile app — giving digital wallet players the most space to deliver their services and capture consumers.

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Bits and "Bites" - Technology Enters The Restaurant

Adam Silverman

My dad came over today for a visit today. He’s an avid reader and consumes The New York Times from front to back. I guess you could say he’s part of my research team as he frequently cuts out articles for me related to digital business. This past weekend he brought over the front page of the business section, profiling the use of tablets in the quick serve restaurant category. Although many digital technologies in physical spaces have yet to transform shopping behavior, the restaurant industry has one of the stronger use-cases to employ digital, including:

  • Improving service by eliminating waiting in line. At Panera, customers go straight to their table and order via their smartphones. No more waiting in line to order, and standing around for your order to be ready.
  • Increasing average order size and margins with contextual meal recommendations. Chili’s employs tablets that drive up order size by providing meal recommendations that may have a higher price point, higher margin, or is highly rated.  In their tests they indicate a 20% lift in dessert sales! Yum.
  • Expediting service and improving accuracy.  Restaurant staff has a lot to gain by employing digital technology. They can reallocate cashiers to kitchen or service roles, and having customers order at the table improves order accuracy.
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How Digital Technologies Have Changed The Retail Store

Lily Varon

One of my first jobs was as a sales associate at a clothing store, after which mall shopping lost any of the leisurely appeal it once held. I still find myself folding clothes I didn't unfurl and fixing hanger hooks to all face the same direction. Chalk it up to knowing how the sausage is made, or perhaps a logical side effect of working in eCommerce research, but I do most of my shopping online these days.

The store shopping experience hasn’t changed much since my time as a sales associate. But that’s all about to change. We’re at the beginning of a retail transformation: The growing percentage of retail revenues driven by eCommerce and the influence of digital technologies on consumer behavior and expectations alike means that retailers are being forced to reevaluate the value proposition of the store. The result? A digitally enhanced retail store.

Today, a mix of technologies are coming together to marry the online and offline experiences to revolutionize in-store shopping and the role of the physical store. However, we’re still in early stages. Many of these initiatives remain in experimental phases, and glaring success stories are few and far between. Despite the rarity of iron-clad business cases for these initiatives, eBusiness professionals and their colleagues in store operations are forging ahead.

Together with eCommerce technology analyst Adam Silverman, I recently published a report laying out the current state of digital store initiatives and the promising opportunities a digital store overhaul represents for retail. Some of the ways retailers are transforming retail stores include:

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Mobile Banking Innovation In Europe

Benjamin Ensor

Aurélie L'HostisThis is a guest post from Aurélie L’Hostis, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.

In a world that’s constantly on the move, more and more Europeans appreciate that the phone in their pocket can do more than just cruise the Internet, check the weather forecast, and shoot disgruntled birds into space. For mobile banking now offers a secure and convenient way for customers to do their banking ... all in the palm of their hand.

As mobile banking adoption maintains its steady growth in Europe, customer expectations for functionality within mobile banking apps continue to increase. Customers now want quick access to their accounts 24/7, the ability to perform a range of transactions with only a few clicks, and a way to manage their money directly on their smartphone. Over the past year, European banks have focused on trying to keep up with the demands of these increasingly sophisticated mobile banking users. The result has been a plethora of improved functionalities and exciting innovations in European mobile banking. We used our Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark methodology to evaluate the retail mobile banking offerings of eleven European retail banks from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Turkey. Here are some of the highlights:

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Wellness Wearables Battleground Shifts From Hardware To Mobile Moments Enabled By Ecosystems

Julie Ask

One of my first mobile moments this morning was a text from my husband on WeChat announcing that he had a Lark sleep quality rating of 9.4. We’ve become competitive sleepers.  The Lark is a wearable device worn on the wrist at night to track the quality (e.g., number of times awake) and length of sleep. Activating the device requires you to set an alarm (and lets me know how few hours I have to sleep). The device wakes you by vibrating on your wrist. Disarming it in the morning includes journaling information on how you feel and what occurred that may have helped you to sleep well or disrupted your sleep.

While I love this device, in April Lark announced it will discontinue making hardware, but support existing units. It’s retained hardware staff to continue to understand how to make the most of data collected from sensors on the phones. Similarly, Nike didn’t announce it was discontinuing the FuelBand, but there were rumors it had laid off its hardware team.

Why these shifts?

These devices and apps are creating mobile moments by sharing basic data, a concept outlined in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. But, the excitement of reaching milestones of 5,000 or 10,000 steps a day or shifting your sleep behavior quickly fades once consumers have a sense of what it takes to reach these goals. In fact, overtime data can even demotivate individuals.

In order to change consumer behavior in the long-term, these wearables must offer effective engagement mechanisms that create relevant mobile moments that change over time with consumer needs. To succeed requires:

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Amazon’s Firefly Generates Impulse Sales Moments

Julie Ask

With the launch of Firefly, Amazon has the opportunity to create millions of what Forrester calls impulse sales moments. These are the mobile moments when I pull out my phone and make an unplanned purchase – even if it is for something that I need. Impulse sales moments are one of the leading mCommerce opportunities, which we detail in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. They include flash sales, sales of diminishing/remnant inventory, or sale of goods that I would have otherwise forgotten to buy. WTSO, Backcountry.com, and Gilt all use this tactic.

How often have you seen something you wanted to buy only to later forget? Sometimes it is as simple as milk at the grocery. Other times it is the latest kitchen gadget at your friend’s home.

Yesterday, Amazon announced its new Firefly service (and hard button on the Amazon Fire Phone). As a consumer, you point your phone at an object or hold it to listen to music, and the Firefly service will identify the product, music, or video. Amazon uses a combination of optical or audio recognition.

Buying products on Amazon – especially for Prime members – is already low friction with 1-click purchase. Firefly takes even more friction out of the process.

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European eCommerce Pure Player Award Winner 2014 Announced!

Michelle Beeson

For the past few days, I have been soaking up the sun in Barcelona at the Global eCommerce Summit 2014.  In amongst attending some great presentations from the likes of Alibaba GroupTesco,Adolfo Dominguez and Philips, I was also part of the jury to select the Pure Player Award winner for 2014.

A long list of European pure player retailers were put through a rigorous Shop Experience Audit by GfK to identify a short list of five players that six jury members evaluated. The short list of candidates included Net-a-Porter, ASOS, Amazon, Zalando and Yoox.

It's been a tough choice because all candidates are very strong players. But, we the jury persevered and evaluated the candidates based on innovation, customer engagement and consistent multitouchpoint presence.  Here are the winners:

  • Winner Gold: ASOS. Jury Assessment: ASOS goes beyond purely generating sales. They work to be present at their customers’ moment of need at every stage in the customer life-cycle, including engaging customers so they come back again. Their content and communication is consistent, as is their presence across devices. They have strong growth from international sales and a multi country presence. They've also launched innovative features like the 'fashion finder' function and a pilot program for changing rooms at pick up points.
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