The Mobile World

Since we at CommuniTech want to invent a new discount fashion app it is crucial to understand what is going on within the payment world.  After analyzing an article about PayPal’s new venture it is important to understand the high momentum in retail payments.  This article explores the idea that PayPal is creating innovation rather than disruption by enabling a new feature where payments can be made using QR codes or four letter codes.  This plan of payment is much like the Starbucks wallet, which is a good indicator of success because, this aspect alone made the system very simple to deploy and scale at the thousands of Starbucks locations.  Many critics have said that this new approach does not employ any real and new innovation but in reality it is a highly integrated system that works with just about any large retail merchant. Compatibility such as these are the building blocks of innovation. In today’s technologically driven society it is no mystery that marketers and retailers want to reach shoppers on their smartphones or tablets. However, just because a consumer is using their mobile device doesn’t always mean they’re always on the go. A study showed that 68% of consumers’ smartphone use is happening in the home. Most of this time is not spent actually shopping though. About 46% of their engagement is spent on what they referred to as “me time”. “Me time” was defined as seeking relaxation or entertainment, for example watching funny videos, reading a gossip website, playing solitaire, or even window shopping. People spent an average of 864 minutes a month engaging in “me time”. Only 12% or 126 minutes per month were spent actually shopping for a product or service. This information may help marketers and retailers understand where there consumers are spending their time when they’re online and how they can better reach these consumers. Everyone loves saving money. No one likes cutting coupons. It is time consuming and tedious. With holidays around the corner many people are turning to their smartphones and tablets to access apps and daily deal sites to make sure they’re saving every penny they can. According to a recent Nielsen survey of U.S. consumers who report using their phone or tablet in the shopping process actually turn to the retailer’s website for mobile coupons significantly more than other sources. 54% of mobile shoppers who have used a coupon on their mobile device or tablet said they obtained that coupon from the retailer’s website. It’s obviously the preferred way of getting deals, followed by deal-of-the-day websites, such as Groupon or Living Social, and then retailer apps, third party websites and deal-of-the-day apps ranking about the same with 20% of consumers using these. Groupon is the most widely used daily deal app among consumers with 91% of people saying that they had used the app on their phone and 60% using it on their tablet. The President of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen, John Burbank, stated that, “When it comes to seeking out deals, consumers are going to the most convenient, reliable sources. This creates an opportunity for retailers and daily deal sites to streamline the process of gathering deals and coupons for users, ultimately increasing website and app traffic to drive sales.” Obviously shopping apps are becoming quite popular with consumers around the world. In June 2012, Nielsen conducted another survey that showed that almost half of American smartphone owners (47%) used shopping apps. Overall, 45 million smartphone users used apps that were in the Shopping/Commerce category. They also accessed these apps 17 times on average during the month of June. In June eBay and Amazon apps topped the list having 13 million and 12 million unique users. Also, Target and Walgreens had a significant amount of mobile shoppers looking for the best deals. Don Kellogg, Director of Telecom Insights at Nielsen stated that, “Retailers are finding that consumers are willing to use smartphone apps to enhance their shopping experience, and this data shows usage of shopping apps is growing.” Some other companies that made the Top Shopping Apps list were Groupon, Living Social, Shopkick, Out of Milk, and RedLaser. Kellogg also made it known that as more Americans use their smartphones to shop and make purchases directly through apps, retailers need to consider personalizing their targeted offerings according to the needs of individual customers. The article 10 tips on using social media for business tells you what social tools to use for any business or profession and how to apply these tips in most social media situations. The first tip is to decide what your goal is in using each social media tool and reassess from time to time how well the tool is serving that goal. It states not to use just one or two tools but it’s better to use a few tools well than to use too many tools ineffectively. It is also important to find the right way to make social-media tools play with each other by using Facebook connect, Slideshare & TripIt apps on LinkedIn and Twitter apps. Some of the last tips the article stated was to consider the time you spend with social media and respond when people are addressing or talking about you, even just to say thanks or to note disagreement.  The last tip listed was to decide whether it is appropriate for someone in your position in your business or profession to mix or segregate personal and professional social-media communication. “Twitter users should start seeing more pictures and videos in their main feed – and that means more visual ads, too.” The website online as well as mobile applications view will be effected. Also, users can preview the images in the feed. With Twitter being so popular among such a variety of different aged people, this will be a huge help to businesses. This change will allow different companies with various products be able to reach a larger target market.


Social Media and Mobile Apps Take Over

In the Wall Street Journal there was an article that discussed Facebook and the effect it has on young teenagers. Facebook has recently changed the private settings that young teenagers can have for their profile between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. The article stated “With the shift, Facebook will operate more like rivals such as Twitter, which allow teens to share publicly; Twitter, unlike Facebook, also allows users to create anonymous or pseudonymous accounts. Analysts said that Facebook risks losing the next generation of young users if it doesn’t keep pace with competitors.” Parents are concerned with the new profile viewing settings where almost anyone can view their child’s information. Technology and social media sites are rapidly changing and already has a huge effect on the younger generation. With the growing popularity of mobile applications many people might ask the question, should retailers invest in mobile shopping apps? The answer, as you could have probably guessed is yes. However, it’s not always easy to have a successful application. Through this article, we learn that it’s really about putting yourself in the users shoes. It suggests doing simple things such as: make the app unique, make it easy to use, add push notifications, make it social, and link the app to in-store activities and allow more interactions. These are all aspects that should come naturally when making a user-friendly product of any sort but aren’t given enough credit for. The article gives a little encouragement by stating that retailers should not give up on their mobile applications but change the way they work. I think that as a company that wants to pursue the mobile app world that we could take a lot away from these suggestions and implement them into making a successful mobile app. Smartphone apps are now taking the place of a salesperson in certain retail clothing stores. Retailers are realizing that new technological advances are the best way to reach their younger target consumers. A couple of retailers in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood have started using an app called Swirl to reach their consumers. The app uses in-store sensors to locate where in the shop the customer is and send them personalized offers and recommendations on clothing. New York City and Boston retailers are the first to start using this technology. Another app that is available in the states is Shopkick. It tells customers about offers and points when they enter certain stores and gives them the opportunity to redeem points for things such as gift cards. There are also apps that allow customers to find deals at nearby retail stores. These apps allow brick-and-mortar stores to take advantage of the benefits of the e-commerce trend that is becoming so popular. Google conducted a survey of 1,500 smartphone shoppers this summer. The results of this study showed that 65% of smartphone shoppers in the US preferred to use mobile Web rather than mobile apps when researching products prices. According to the study, half of smartphone shoppers use their mobile for shopping for as much as 15 minutes per store visit. 90% use their smartphone for pre-shopping activities such as directions, store hours, and price comparisons. It also concluded that 1 in 3 people will use their mobile device in-store rather than ask an employee for information or help. This statistic really proves why retail stores have started replacing the salesperson with smartphone apps. The main thing that Google found was that shoppers perform all of these tasks via mobile Web instead of mobile apps. The researchers said that this finding was obvious. According to them using a mobile app to research a store or product drains the battery life and it’s much easier to open up the browser. These findings are just a few reasons why it is so important for retailers to implement a mobile site. This will save the consumer time and result in less frustration than if the site is only able to be viewed as it looks on a laptop or desktop. In the article Entrepreneurial journalists need to master social media it offers some important tools and insights that an entrepreneurial journalist will need to use to be successful in the social media world. It states that social media can be part of the solution for all three of the key challenges an entrepreneurial journalist faces: content, distribution and monetization. The community is creating content in a variety of ways using social media. An entrepreneurial journalist may use social media content as large or small parts of the content plan.  Some ways to help make a content plan is by using Flickr, YouTube, Storify, and crowdmap. Social media are important avenues for distribution of content. Some ways that a journalism entrepreneur might use social media to distribute content is using Facebook, Twitter and Slideshare.  An entrepreneur that can build a significant local audience on Twitter will have a valuable advertising platform for spreading word swiftly about deals. Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other social tools also have revenue possibilities that will help some entrepreneurs succeed. Entrepreneurs can develop effective direct sales channels related to news products, social tools could help users tell friends about the deals they find online. In the article Social media and Online Community Posts from around the web it goes over case studies on how journalist can best use Facebook, gives advice on stimulating activity in online community and Ustream’s great new Facebook app. Staying in touch after getting in touch is the secret to making connections that work through using social media. Though using Pages can be a great tool in building an audience that helps you in your reporting, it also enables journalists to cultivate an active community of readers. The conversation around a story is just as important as the story itself. It usually enhances the story and better informs its readers. Ustream’s app enables broadcasters to readily connect their Ustream channel within their page through Facebook. 

Integrating Into Social Media

According to the Wall Street Journal, technology is changing the entire world and not with just the usage of social media. Through technology, mobile advertising is becoming the next successful form of advertising products. Spending on mobile advertisement more than doubled during the first half of the year. Previously around 1.2 billion was spent on advertising, however through mobile advertisement, 3 billion was spent within the first six months. Technology is changing the way we communicate as a society. People are glued to their cell phones and so mobile advertising is the most effective form of advertising in today’s era. According to Inc, 5,000 pictures are worth 1,000 tweets. This shows how effective social media is even within the fashion industry. With Pinterest launching a fashion week hub recently all different designers and brands are receiving a huge amount of feedback. These designers are having an even greater amount of success because of social media. Also, according to the blog “online is the new offline” meaning with allowing your business to be online and offering “store hours”, you will have even a greater amount of success and business. “Fashion brands are successful because they know how to segment their messaging, so they’re able to talk to different key interests.” You have to be able to adapt to each popular social media and know exactly who your target market is within each source. Social media is allowing the fashion industry to broaden their horizon and have no limits within their business. Recently, there has been a boom between mobile apps and fashion retailers.  Apps such as Kohl’s feature nearby store locators that also display the hours of operation and though this seems trivial it is important for customers to be able to know when and where they can access stores.  Apps are also beneficial by having product catalogs, customer reviews, and videos.  This feature is helpful because it allows potential customers to read the thoughts and opinions about certain products from other customers.  Even more so, these Apps allow users to search beyond the initial price and size filter and are able to search by specific outfits and trends.  Another feature fashion apps have is being able to see what is in stock before driving to the store to buy it.  A great example is recently I was able to track down a specific French Bull Mr. Coffee one-serve cup coffee maker by utilizing the Target App on my phone.  Once I was in the actual store I had difficulty finding it but with the help of an associate and my App we found the product in no time.  Apps also offer easy barcode scanning features for coupons, promotions, and new arrivals.  Having these coupons with just a simple swipe or touch of a finger also allows customer loyalty to the store and the App.  Apps such as Victoria Secret even allow users to play games for redeemable coupons.  This builds more than just a purchasing App but also creates a community for users.  Now you can even use your App and mobile device to create registries and also use QR codes to find out about product details.  An advantage that fashion apps have in comparison to regular shopping is by ease of creating “ of items you want.  The last feature fashion apps have to offer is “augmented reality”, recently Tommy Hilfiger has enabled a way for you to see what you would look like with certain products by the App accessing your phones camera.  These are just a few ways that fashion and mobile Apps have begun to advance the way shoppers shop! One well-known fashion retailer that has grown up with social media is Tory Burch. The company launched the same year as Facebook, 2004. It would only make sense that social media plays a major role in their branding efforts. Tory Burch is currently No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. It ships to 30 countries; however, even countries that do not have a Tory Burch e-commerce site are able to receive messages via social media. The company also makes it known that using social media isn’t always about the sale either. The Twitter account is directed by the designer herself and the messages are actually meant to get shoppers interested in the brand. 44% of the site traffic comes from mobile devices, and 60% of that customer segment is via smart phones. We learn from Dave Gruen, in his blog post, Social Media: The Natural Way to Promote Your Mobile App that the numbers of apps available for download through the App Store and the Android Marketplace is at 1.1. Million. We gain some insight into what it takes for an app to succeed and how social media is used as a platform to do so. By utilizing social media, we hope to be in the 20% of apps that are successful compared to the 80% that researchers suggest are unsuccessful in reaching 1,000 downloads. By looking at apps such as Words with Friends, Foodspotting, and Evernote we hope to better understand how to make our app thrive in this ever growing and competitive market. Words with Friends made its debut as solely an app accessible by iPhone and Android users but gained its popularity when they marketed it to the world of Facebook. This exposed millions of people to the app that otherwise wouldn’t have known about it resulting in millions of mobile downloads and 11 million Facebook app users. The app Foodspotting combined: mobile apps, social media, and food. They made their concept simple, you go out to eat, take a picture of your meal, upload with the app, and share it with your friends using one of the several synchronized social media networks. Also, you can look where your friends or other app users have gone through the social media sites. This made for a user-generated advertising tool through the users’ social network site. Essentially, we want to integrate social media into our platform development in order to facilitate a user-generated advertising with a simple concept idea. Much like Foodspotting, Evernote integrates Twitter and Facebook functionality for quick note sharing. We would like to incorporate our app into social media where it is easy to click on a link that leads directly to downloading our app. According to the article From Reverie to Runway, Social Media for Fashion designers and labels are shaping up their social campaigns and changing the way they connect with the fashion industry. Social media has created a connection between high fashion and regular life, opening the door for new designers with small budgets to leverage their creativity and work ethic. Social networks like Pinterest and Instragram have risen to the forefront of social fashion. Consumers use these platforms for fresh fashion ideas and inspiration and expertise to make fashion trends digestible by pinning practical and affordable options.  This article states that Twitter is a good social media to help introduce yourself and your business by giving updates on what you’re working on and post photos of different designs. Facebook is a powerful repository of visual and written content, as well as a great platform to engage your community on. It also states that when using Facebook is it important to diversify what you are sharing by posting a mix of product updates, consumer experiences and unbranded content.


This Week’s Fashion and Technology Roundup

The fact that technology is changing the world is an understatement. Technology is changing what our world is coming to. In the Wall Street Journal there is an article “Data Mining Thanks to Twitter.” Twitter is no longer just a social media site. Twitter is even affecting companies. “Twitter’s real-time data stream has turned the firm into the industry giant. Even the Library of Congress has begun to catalog its tweets.” Social media sites are becoming the most valuable use of communication with people and companies. Even restaurant chains are using Twitter to analyze the comparison of their hamburger-bun to other restaurants. Twitter is having a huge effect on the entire economy and is slowing changing how the world communicates. In recent years, the fashion industry has benefitted greatly from the numerous technological advances the world has seen. It’s now possible to shop online from your home or even on your mobile device. You no longer have to go into a store to purchase your favorite clothing. On October 3rd the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Google launched an incredibly innovative new e-commerce platform for consumers.  With new technology from Google consumers can hang out with Diane von Furstenberg and shop her fashion line simultaneously. Diane von Furstenberg was named the most powerful woman in the fashion industry in 2012. This technology allows people to use a Google+ Hangout on Air app and shop the fashion line in a sidebar. It was the first fashion-meets-tech event to occur. Diane von Furstenberg is not the only designer that will be included. It will also include Marcus Wainright and David Neville of Rag & Bone, Rebecca Minkoff, and Rachel Zoe. One of the most popular social media platforms in recent years has been Instagram. And again technology has seemed to change the fashion industry. Instagram is completely changing how a fashion show or an event is documented and shown to the public. When a designer Instagrams anything it creates an immediate internet buzz. Another way that technology or more specifically Instagram is changing fashion is the “selfie”. It is has made certain types of blogs unnecessary and it’s also an amazing way to self-promote your brand or yourself. Even companies as well known and powerful as Vogue have started an Instagram campaign. With technology constantly changing it’s important for the fashion industry to keep up with it. Obviously blogging has taken the fashion world by storm. Everywhere you look there are fashion bloggers and fashion sites. If someone is trying to make a business out of their blog they of course have outrageous amounts of competition. If you want to be successful at this there are certain things a blogger has to do. The first-thing they need to do is decide what their niche is and go from there. Some examples of this are the fashion blog Fashion Toast was one of the first to post editorial style professional grade photos on her blog and PS I Made This customized her niche by contextualizing her DIYs to runway trends. What you can take away from this is if you want to stand out and be successful you have to be a game changer. Some ways to do this is to research your niche, know it inside and out. Another way is to put together a list of your personal favorite blogs, magazines, books, tv shows, and movies. They don’t have to relate to your niche but you can draw inspiration from them and list ways they could change and transform your niche. Next figure out where you want to see your niche going and take all the best elements of your research and make your dream come true! One of the newest social media platforms that emerged is Vine. It allows people to record 6-second videos that play on a loop. It has been enormously popular and very entertaining. Some “viners” have even been able to team up with companies and provide a form of advertising. As it’s been stated earlier the fashion world has embraced technology and is evolving with it everyday. Fashion blogs are an amazing way to reach people and get your name out there. There are a few things that fashion bloggers can do with Vine that can help them become more successful. Since this app allows you to stop the recording and then continue when you’re ready fashion bloggers are now able to do quite a few things with 6-seconds. They give short DIY tutorials, promote your blog by using friends, show outfits on you, on the hanger, and in motion. They can also use it tell people to follow your blog, RSVP to an event, show must-have items or have a daily style challenge. With technology becoming so prevalent in our everyday life sometimes it’s hard to detach yourself. No matter where you look technology is somehow incorporated into every business or social setting. When does technology start to change our way of life and our manners? The New York Times had reported a trend in the Styles section of the Sunday paper that discussed how people’s social calendars have evolved with faster communication. The article really questioned how technology and social media may have changed our behavior and made us into “ill-mannered flakes” when making plans with our peers. For example, you make plans with someone but then 10 minutes before the meeting you send a text saying you can’t make it. When you couldn’t text message someone to cancel on them you had to call. The technology has taken the awkwardness out of it and with this easy communication you can schedule more and cancel then re-schedule without a second thought. 

A New Beginning

Since CommuniTech’s main focus is the development of the mobile App Smart Shopper. It is crucial to understand that entrepreneur’s today have a chance to take their innovation and team up with startups.  Recently, there has been a need for startup companies to seek employees with the drive and passion for entrepreneurship.  Co-founder of commercial real-estate startup 42Floors has spoken about how he wants employees who can work on their feet, in a timely fashion, and are able to come up with ideas without being told or any direction.  Individuals who possess these characteristics are able to help reshape the company.  Even more so it has been mentioned that nonentrepreneurs sometimes cannot handle the loose structure and work without guidance.  Although CommuniTech’s mobile App is not in the field of real-estate it is still beneficial to understand that entrepreneurs every where have a future ahead in all industries.In the article, Entrepreneur Smarts: 30 Lessons I Learned in 30 Years, Lewis Howes gives us insight about what he’s learned throughout his young adulthood. It’s inspiring to hear these things from a young entrepreneur because it reminds us that it’s not a walk in the park. There are things you have to remind yourself to do in order to make it to where you aspire to be. Simple things like his number 1. Don’t worry so much. Little things that we can do in our day-to-day lives can change the way we live and how we succeed. Through the article, How to create effective social-media guidelines, by Ellyn Angeiotti, she stresses the importance of having a guideline for social media use when posting about a company or product. We are shown that posting using social media as an outlet for a company or product can either be extremely effective or detrimental. She says that their should be strict guidelines but not so strict that it cripples people’s ability to be creative and prevent them from reaching a certain goal. According to the article Mobile apps “Made in the U.S.A” are becoming relatively fewer and fewer the percentage of mobile apps coming from the U.S. fallen. There have some geographical changes when it came to who was writing the apps. In the study that was conducted 40% of a consumers’ time is spent in apps created in other countries. The study indicated that although the majority of time spent in apps based out of the U.S. it might not be that way for long. In the UK a majority of the time is spent in apps that are created overseas. App developers that have a global view may be leading the trend and this trend is expected to continue. The theory behind why the large growth in worldwide apps is that the barriers to entry have been reduced because of app stores and low costs of development overseas. This probably doesn’t matter to users but it does probably matter to U.S. based developers who don’t seem to have a global view. According to the article What You Can Learn From Profitable New Media Companies being in the media business can be very difficult. There are unbelievable amounts of competition doing close to if not the exact same thing as you are. The companies with the highest profit are The Huffington Post, Gawker Media, The Awl, Business Insider, SAY Media, Vox Media, and BuzzFeed. There were specific things that set these companies apart and gave them an advantage over their competitors. The first quality that sets them apart is that they have a niche. These companies have chosen to deliver content to a very specific audience. The audience they’re trying to reach is what determines the content they deliver which leads into the next aspect that sets them apart. The reader engagement is a major factor in separating these companies from others. They encourage readers to engage with the content. The readers are urged to make posts and comment on stories. None of the stories that are provided are straight news they’re a mixture of commentaries. The next thing that has pushed these companies to the top is the fact that they are not afraid to make money, and let it be known that that’s what they are doing. Advertisements and sponsored content are all over these sites and stories. Some of these companies such as BuzzFeed have started giving workshops to brands on how to tell a story online. According to the article What the world population is doing on smartphones and social networks86% of U.S. adults own some type of smart phone and are more likely to use the internet and capture pictures and videos on them. Today majorities of Americans are looking up consumer information, getting political news, getting work-related information and accessing social networks.  In social media activities, users share views about music, community issues, sports, religion and politics. The survey that was conducted in this article stated that most Americans share views about music and movies the most.  This survey consisted of 26,210 interviews across the nation and 1,011 interviews within the U.S.