Posts tagged shopping
Retailers must answer the call to make mobile shopping easier and more engaging or they risk getting disconnected from the majority of mobile device users.
While 89.7 per cent of the United States population aged 18 to 64 have mobile phones, only 49.1 per cent are using their phones to shop, according to Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of advertising agency Leo Burnett.
Mobile shoppers are using phone-friendly versions of websites and apps to compare prices, read reviews, check out product features, download coupons and make purchases.
Shoppers who used to research big purchases for days can now look up information in a matter of minutes on their phones, while impulsive purchases, such as buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks, can become more considered if people use apps to find a shop, check nutrition data or pay by phone.
“It’s going to be hard to find a category that is not impacted by mobile shopping,” said William Rosen, president and chief creative officer of Arc Worldwide.
The company surveyed 1,800 U.S. mobile shoppers and found 80 per cent are “light” mobile shoppers, who use their phones less often than the 20 per cent of “heavy” users that many apps are geared toward.
“If these light mobile shoppers really start engaging and evolve into heavier mobile shoppers, that’s going to increase the mobile shopping population by 50 per cent,” said Molly Garris, digital strategy manager at Arc Worldwide.
Increasing sales of smartphones have implications for retailers ranging from sites such as Amazon.com to more traditional outlets such as Macy’s, said Rosen.
“The idea of a single path to purchase is dead,” he said. “There are many paths to purchase, and mobile technology is enabling people to shop in different ways, (and) take different routes to a transaction, than we’ve ever seen before.”
According to Arc Worldwide, retailers and manufacturers should promote their mobile presence in traditional media and in stores to keep shoppers from heading elsewhere.
“There is the risk of them using someone else’s app and literally getting snatched out of the aisle,” Rosen said.
Fifty-one per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy from retailers with mobilespecific websites, yet only 4.8 per cent of retailers had them, according to a November report from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research.
Some retailers already do a great job by offering creative apps that heavy users of mobile technology download to their phones, and mobile versions of websites for light users, Garris said.
Plus, as smartphones become more popular, the 40.6 per cent of adults with mobile phones who do not yet use them for shopping are a huge group that retailers can target.
Shopping is as easy as it is at home
HONG KONG, Feb. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Introducing the DX Mobile App for your iPhone and Android based mobile phones! This easy to use mobile app makes shopping at your favorite electronic retailer available anytime, anywhere. Just connect to the internet and enjoy perusing thousands of high quality products literally right at your fingertips.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101229/CN22302LOGO )
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- Image Gallery. An image gallery for every product the same as the full-sized site.
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- Wish List. Create and manage a full product wish list – how cool is that?
- Order Tracking. Track all of your DealExtreme.com orders right on your mobile phone!
- Special Android feature: On the Android platform you can be alerted of new arrivals by having them pushed right to your phone, making staying up to date very easy and convenient.
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With DX app’s great convenience, awesome features, and ease of use, you can order a GPS on your car, buy the latest game machine when you are hiking, and even pick the case you like when you are on the way to get your iPhone. That all makes for one great mobile app no smartphone should be without.
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Mobile online shopping is growing in China following a surge in sales of smartphones and the growing use of third-generation (3G) mobile networks necessary to access such services.
China has been seen as a potential leader in mobile online shopping. The country has 859 million mobile phone users, according to official numbers, and possesses a booming e-commerce market.
Last year, the country started to see more consumers using their phones to shop online. Mobile e-commerce in China made up 6.4 percent of mobile internet revenue in 2010, a jump from the 0.3 percent it occupied the year before, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
China’s largest online retailer, Taobao.com, has been one of the main drivers behind the growth through its mobile apps, said Chen Shousong, an analyst with Analysys. More Chinese consumers are also using the country’s 3G mobile networks and buying smartphones, enabling them to shop online using their handsets.
Currently only 47 million users or about 5 percent of China’s mobile phone subscriber base has signed up with the faster 3G mobile networks, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. In 2010, about 62 million smartphones were projected to be sold in China.
Still, China lags behind Japan and the U.S., where mobile online shopping has been stronger, said Mark Beccue, a senior analyst at ABI Research. His estimates put Japan’s mobile online shopping market at US$15 billion in 2010, and the U.S. at $3.4 billion.
“China’s is right around $1.8 billion. But that’s going to grow rapidly over the next few years,” he said. “My thought is that China will be the largest mobile online shopping country, or close to it, by 2015.”
Taobao, a part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, began launching mobile apps in 2009. At the end of that year, the company also announced it was putting its brand on a mobile phone that came pre-installed with a Taobao mobile app.
Taobao reported earlier this month that mobile shopping on the site “demonstrated strong potential.” Mobile shopping on the site reached a single day high of 17 million unique visitors, the company added.
About two-thirds of the site’s mobile users are men, while three-quarters were between ages 19 and 28.
The rise in mobile online shopping is part of a growing trend of consumers becoming more comfortable using their phones to make purchases. “Consumer behavior is changing,” Beccue said. “Instead of people going to the computer, they are choosing the mobile to do some of these things. I thought it would be inconvenient, but some people are so familiar with using their mobile phones.”
LONDON: Technology will now enable people to make purchases by swiping their mobile phone across a till scanner-to be rolled out this summer.
Consumers will be able to buy cinema tickets, a sandwich or cup of coffee without the need for a card or cash.
Barclaycard and the Britain’s biggest mobile phone network, Everything Everywhere, which includes Orange and T-mobile, have signed a partnership to bring the system to 40,000 tills.
The two claim it will be the biggest revolution in payments since credit cards were introduced in this country more than 40 years ago.
Chief Development Officer of Everything Everywhere Gerry McQuade said: “This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things,” the Daily Mail reports.
“It’s a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or cash machines,” he adds.
Initially, there will be a cap of 15 pounds per transaction, however, the banking industry expects this to rise, allowing virtually any purchase to be authorised with a swipe of a handset.
Bank and mobile phone networks are in talks with handset manufacturers, including Apple, Blackberry and Nokia, on including the technology in their devices.
The system works by installing a tiny chip and antenna in the phone, which ties the handset to the owner and their credit card or bank account.
The antennae sends a radio signal to a till scanner, which recognises the handset, authorises the payment and then deducts the money from the owner’s account.
A growing number of consumers are viewing their smartphones as the best tool to save money while staying aware when buying. About six in 10 mobile users say they’ll be using their phones for holiday shopping, and retailers are falling all over themselves to offer applications and mobile websites to meet the demand. With smartphones, shoppers can compare prices, store loyalty and gift cards, make wish lists and get discounts at their favorite stores.
Thereby, retailers risk alienating their customers if the apps and mobile websites fail to deliver. According to a study by Gomez, Compuware’s unit that studies website performance, over 50% of customers surveyed say they won’t return to a mobile site if they’ve had a poor experience.
Besides, the overall performance expectations are also high as about 60% of people anticipate mobile sites will run as smoothly as or better than sites they visit on their computers, the Gomez study showed. Consumers ranked the performance of mobile sites of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend’s 15 largest retailers as “tolerable,” compared with the retail websites overall.
Mobile phones offer shoppers the resources of the Web while they’re in a store and enable retailers to deliver the most relevant deals. But shoppers can also use them to make purchases with their credit or debit cards, though they could be opening themselves up to identity theft, says John Hering, CEO and co-founder of Lookout Mobile Security. “The mobile device has become the most personal computer and, with that, identity thieves are now beginning to turn their sights to smartphones,” he says.
Retailers have long matched rivals’ prices, and shoppers search ads in fliers or on the Internet to find the best offers. Now, consumers can discover competitors’ prices while in a store, thanks to mobile sites and apps such as PriceGrabber, which more than half a million consumers have downloaded.
Mobile payments are starting to come to U.S. carriers in various forms after years of expectations, with AT&T announcing a trial with back-end service provider Boku a day after Sprint Nextel announced its Sprint Mobile Wallet.
The AT&T trial initially will involve using a mobile phone in conjunction with checkout pages on the PC-based Web. At online merchants that work with Boku, AT&T subscribers will be able to choose Boku instead of a credit card or other option to pay for digital content or virtual goods, said Boku spokesman David Speiser. After clicking on the Boku option, they will enter their mobile-phone number and then receive a text message to confirm the purchase. By answering the text message with “y,” the subscriber will approve the payment. The charge will appear on the subscriber’s phone bill.
Boku’s stable of merchant partners includes major game vendors such as Electronic Arts, Playdom and FarmVille creator Zynga. AT&T will be the first U.S. operator to offer this payment option to its subscribers, though other carriers already offer older payment systems such as premium SMS through Boku, Speiser said.
Boku is also working on bringing payments to mobile applications. In June the company announced an SDK (software development kit) for adding a Boku payment option, called Paymo, to Android apps. An iPhone option is also in the works, Speiser said. With an entirely phone-based system, subscribers don’t have to enter their phone numbers. It could be used to buy virtual goods or content within gaming and other apps, with the charge appearing on the next phone bill.
The AT&T trial will begin with just a subset of Boku’s merchant partners, but within a few weeks all the participating companies will be brought in, Speiser said. Carriers outside the U.S., including Vodafone and Philippines operator Globe, already have commercially available payment systems operated by Boku.
Sprint’s Mobile Wallet, coming next month, will be an application for making payments either in a store or online. Subscribers will be able to link the wallet to a variety of payment systems, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal, and use a single PIN to authorize payment with any one of them. The initial group of merchants working with the Sprint Mobile Wallet includes game vendors Namco and Gameloft, and in-flight retailer SkyMall. Verizon and T-Mobile also are testing mobile payment systems, which could benefit carriers by giving them a role in new types of transactions.
Deb Shinder discusses which features to look for in a smartphone camera and which phones are regarded as having the best cameras.
As recently as five years ago, each of the major wireless carriers offered only a few smartphone models, usually a BlackBerry or two, a couple of Windows Mobile phones and maybe a Palm. Today there is a plethora of different smartphones on the market. In addition to the ever-popular iPhone, we still have BlackBerries (with many more models to choose from), WinMo (and soon, Windows Phone 7), Palm’s WebOS (recently acquired by Hewlett-Packard), Symbian, Nokia’s Maemo, and the newest rising star, Android. Vendors such as Apple, Google, HTC, Samsung, RIM, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, etc. are in heavy competition to keep coming up with new models that include more features and better functionality. All these choices can make it difficult to decide which combination of carrier, mobile operating system and handset hardware is right for you.
If you’ll be using the camera(s) in your smartphone frequently, you’ll want to compare both the camera hardware and the software in different models before you buy. Here are some features to look for when you’re shopping:
Camera resolution: Even though it doesn’t matter as much as some people think, in general, the higher resolution cameras also include other high-end features, and if you plan to make large prints, high resolution is especially important. Lens quality: This is one of the most important factors in photo quality. Look for a top brand name such as Carl Zeiss or Schneider. Flash: If your camera has flash, it will make it easier to take photos in low-light situations. The iPhone (prior to v4) was often criticized for not having flash. Many of today’s phones, including the Motorola Droid X, the HTC HD2, and the HTC EVO, have dual flash for better flash coverage. You should be able to set the flash to Automatic (the camera determines whether it’s needed), On, or Off. Settings: If you know a bit about photography, you know that cameras do fine on the Automatic setting for basic outdoor photos, but not so well in unusual lighting situations such backlit subjects or under florescent lights. A good phone camera will allow you to make adjustments to white balance, ISO (equivalent of “film speed” in film cameras), color saturation, and exposure. Options: In addition to the settings discussed above, to get good photos in different situations if you aren’t really “into” photography, you’ll want handy features such as exposure modes that let you optimize for Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night, Sports/action, Beach/snow, Parties/indoors, Fireworks, Candlelight, etc. It’s also good to be able to choose from different shooting modes: Single or Continuous, Panorama, or Mosaic. Automatic smile detection is an option in many cameras, which you may want if you take lots of “people pictures.” You should be able to turn it on or off. Video: Many phone cameras are also capable of shooting in video mode. This can be very useful when you need to record a moving subject. Because camera phones don’t have super high shutter speeds, still photos often blur even with moderate movement. When I need a still picture of something that won’t stay still, I often shoot video and then later, in editing software, extract a frame from the video to use as a still photo. Editing software: Some smartphones include rudimentary photo editing and/or video editing software that you can use to crop, resize, or change the brightness and contrast on photos right there on the scene, without waiting to get the photos back to your computer. This comes in very handy if you need to make adjustments before sending pictures via email or MMS. There are also third-party photo and video editing apps for most mobile platforms, such as the Photoshop.com mobile app for iPhone. Storage space: High-resolution photos and videos take up a lot of storage space. If you plan to use the camera frequently, it pays to use a phone that allows for removable storage (SD or micro SD card) (Figure C). That would include most popular smartphones except the iPhone.
Removable storage such as the micro SD card (right), shown here with the Omnia II in comparison to standard CF and SD cards, allow you to take far more photos and videos because you can switch them out. Do megapixels matter?
A popular way for the makers of digital cameras (including phone cameras) to advertise their products is by the maximum resolution of which the camera is capable, measured in megapixels. Many phone cameras today offer 5 to 8 MP resolution — that’s more than enough for most purposes. High resolution is important if you plan to make large prints of the photos. If you only intend to view the photos on your computer, a high megapixel count is less important (unless you have a really large monitor).
It’s important to realize that a high-resolution camera may take less sharp photos than one with lower resolution. Other factors that determine photo quality include the quality of the camera lens and the accuracy of the camera’s autofocus mechanism. In addition, the sharpness of individual photos depend on the lighting, the shutter speed, how steadily the camera is held, and whether the lens is clean.
Higher resolution means larger file sizes, which can be an issue when sending photos via email or MMS, especially if your phone’s data plan is not unlimited. Most phone cameras allow you to set the resolution to a lower setting.
Best current smartphone cameras
Which current smartphones have the best cameras? That’s subjective, as different users will have different opinions, but generally, these phones are recognized as having above average cameras:
HTC EVO 4G: 8 MP rear camera, 1.3 MP front camera, micro SD card HTC Droid Incredible: 8 MP, micro SD card Motorola Droid X: 8 MP, 8 GB on-board plus 16 GB microSD card (replaceable, up to 32GB) HTC HD2: 5MP, 32 GB micro SD card Samsung Omnia II: 5 MP, micro SD card
What’s your favorite smartphone camera? Let us know, and tell us what makes it great.
Related: The myriad business uses for smartphone cameras.
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