Tag Archives: mobile

Ready For a Mobile Site? Rethink Everything!

Based on a recent study by Mongoose Metrics, only 9% of all the websites in the world are optimized for mobile devices. And yet more and more people are viewing sites on smartphones and tablets. That means your site is probably failing a large part of your audience.
So you need to make your site mobile-ready. Think it’s easy? Nope. You have to
rethink everything.
Rethink Design
A lot of clients I speak to think that “mobile optimization” means just shrinking
their site to fit on a smaller screen. There’s much more to it. Because of the
different needs of a mobile user and the different experience of a phone, the
entire design has to change. This means bringing in your creative director (or
using
our fantastic one) to craft a new look and feel for the site, while keeping your branding. Seem like a big step? It’s only the beginning…
Rethink Navigation
Everything must be scaled down for a mobile site. Only the most important sections should remain, and they should all be prominently on the homepage. Compare the Famers Insurance website to its mobile site. The many options and documents have been reduced to just four items: reporting a claim, paying their bill, finding an
agent, and browsing products. If you want to ensure users have access to more
information, you can always include a link to your full site.

Farmers Insurance: From this…
 
…to this.
Rethink Text
There’s only so much room on a mobile screen, so try to keep text to a minimum. Most of the navigation should be done through buttons, large words, and clear icons. Look at AT&T’s mobile careers site. Notice how they divide their departments by icons, with very small text below. On a “normal” website, these options could
be simple text links. But for a mobile site, you should never make your
visitors squint.
 
AT&T Careers emphasizes icons over text
Rethink Experience
See? The mobile experience is very different from a desktop one. Big graphic
files or videos, which usually aren’t an issue, must now be weighed against
the time it takes for them to load. Avoid Flash animation, since most mobile
devices don’t currently support Flash. And different mobile operating systems
are like different web browsers; what looks great on an iPhone may not
look good on a Samsung Galaxy.
A great example of a totally “rethought” mobile site is Loews Hotels. The
site uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest hotel and offers four
simple choices: Visit, call, map, or book now. Navigation on the homepage is a
simple scrolling menu with photos, short descriptions, and buttons large enough
for a thumb. Choosing “Contact Us” at the top offers the option to “Click here
to book through a mobile device,” in case users missed it. It’s a clean,
simple, informative mobile experience. No wonder it won the Web Marketing
Association’s award for
Outstanding Achievement in Mobile.
Loews Hotels’ award-winning mobile site
Want to learn more about creating a great mobile site? Use your smartphone as a phone (gasp!) and call us at 212-947-1001.

LinkedIn Lovin’ – Here Are Five Reasons Why

It’s true that I’ve publicly predicted their demise, yet, like the grade-school girl who hits the boy she loves, deep down I really have a crush on LinkedIn. Obviously, I’m not alone. This professional network is signing on new users at the rate of two per second and has a lot of advantages that make it useful to anyone in business or looking to bust in.

Here are my five reasons for loving LinkedIn:

1. Picture perfect
Admit it. Before you meet with someone, or even before you call them, you look at their photo on LinkedIn. It’s just human nature to want to see the person you’re about to contact; LinkedIn provides that vital connection. It’s no longer necessary to think of the audience in their underwear to eliminate the fear before a meeting. Now I can get a sneak peek, and know before I go.

2. Group Therapy
Speaking of presentations, following Brandemix workshops on popular topics like DIY employer branding or social media marketing, I receive dozens of business cards and LinkedIn requests. But how do I remember that I met Jim from Dallas in Orlando and Jane from Orlando in Dallas? LinkedIn lets me organize my contacts with tags: keywords that I create myself. I can group by speaking engagement, event, date, location, or up to 200 differentiators. It’s a simple online solution to a real-world problem that LinkedIn recognized and addressed.

3. A happenin’ app
Hardly anyone talks about it, but I think LinkedIn’s mobile version is more versatile and beautiful than the site itself. Its intuitive images of file folders, envelopes, and ID tags are a welcome change from the web version’s stark blue and white. The big, bold icons make it easy to read content, comment on posts, and search the directory. The interface gives LinkedIn a more friendly, social feel, like Facebook or Twitter. And speaking of which…

4. Wonderful for wordsmiths
I can’t always express myself in the 140 characters of a tweet. LinkedIn gives me 700 characters or a post, four times as many as Twitter. I also get 1,000 characters under Interests and 2,000 for my Summary. Great for, shall we say, enthusiastic writers like me!

5. There is such a thing as a free lunch.
While LinkedIn offers excellent premium accounts and comprehensive recruiter packages, I have almost 800 connections and still use the free version. Even without InMail or the advanced search options, I’m able to form groups (and you’re welcome to join mine), join groups (I hit my limit at 50), and still get access to all kinds of useful content for free.

Miscellaneous: I always get enlightening feedback to my questions on LinkedIn Answers. I use my allotment of free introductions to expand my network. And I follow my competitors and my “wannabes” to stay up to date in the fields of marketing, branding, and interactive technology.


LinkedIn is my one-stop shop. And with its two new features – targeted updates and follower statistics – I’m finally able to segment my messaging and see exactly who I’m reaching. Last year, I worried that LinkedIn wasn’t innovating, but features like these (and don’t forget that great app) show me that LinkedIn is committed to being the most useful network for business professionals.

I’ll be moderating an NYC panel with a LinkedIn representative on June 27. Anything you’d like me to ask? Drop me a line or find Brandemix on Facebook or TwitterAnd do Link In.

Are You Truly Socializing Your Talent Strategy? You May Be One of the Few

Last week, Bullhorn Reach published the results of a survey of more than 35,000 recruiters in its user network, tracking their use of social media. The survey focused on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The findings are surprising. Only 21% of Bullhorn recruiters are using all three social networks. In fact, 48% are using only LinkedIn! Apparently these recruiters haven’t seen the study from Jobvite that showed that, in 2011, 50% of job-seekers used Facebook to find a job. 25% used Twitter, while only 26% used LinkedIn. Why aren’t recruiters fishing where the fish are?

Of course, use of social media, by either recruiters or job-seekers, doesn’t necessarily mean success. But in case after case, I’ve found that it does.

For example, in 2010, UPS announced that it received applications from 680 people who arrived via Twitter – and hired 45 of them. Almost 4,000 people applied via Facebook, 226 of whom were hired. Heck, UPS even received 1,000 applications from candidates applicants communicating via text messages, but I bet few recruiters have created a strategy for texting. Though it’s the world’s second-largest search engine (second to its parent Google), you’d be amazed at how few people actually have YouTube recruitment strategy.

Bullhorn Reach 2012 infographic on social recruiting

The Jobvite study goes on to state that 18.4 million Americans “say Facebook got them their current job.” Only 10.2 million Americans give LinkedIn that credit, which isn’t much more than the 8 million jobs that were the result of Twitter. Bullhorn’s survey states that “a Twitter follower is almost three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection.” So why are less than half of its recruiters using Twitter?

I think I know why. As I told ERE’s editor-in-chief, Todd Raphael, Twitter can be intimidating to recruiters because of the sheer volume of information. It takes a focused professional, not just a summer intern, to monitor your chosen keywords and engage job-seekers. Twitter can also be a time suck and presents the daunting opportunity to have public conversations with applicants. But I’ve found that conversations can begin on Twitter and then become private, via direct message, email, or even a phone call.

Whatever the reason, recruiters who aren’t using all three major social networks are missing out on millions of applicants. As applications like BranchOut and BeKnown bring more professional searches to Facebook, recruiters who remain exclusively on LinkedIn will be losing the competition for top talent.

If you missed the Brandemix webinar on Socializing Your Talent Strategy, contact us and we’ll share all our knowledge with you – from important studies of the past to the emerging trends for the future.

What’s Foursquare Really For?

The best social sites have clearly stated goals. Facebook is for connecting with friends. Twitter is for live updates. LinkedIn is for business networking.

So what is Foursquare? The smartphone app allows you to “check in” to a location, with the option of adding a comment and/or sharing the update on Facebook and Twitter. You can leave a “tip” at your location, so other users will see “Be sure to try the nachos!” when they check in at the same restaurant. 

You get points and badges for various “achievements,” whether it’s visiting five different Italian restaurants or traveling to different states. You can compete with your friends for the most achievements. Whoever checks in the most at a location, whether it’s a park or a store or the Rose Bowl, becomes the “Mayor,” with their photo on the location’s main page.

But what’s it all for? The points have no value. You don’t need a third party to announce your location on Facebook and Twitter. The tips aren’t moderated, leading to weird or unhelpful comments, and old tips can become outdated. When you check in at a museum or gallery, for example, you’ll see many posts about exhibits that are long gone. 

One of the best uses for the service was for businesses to offer discounts to anyone who checked, or to the Mayor. Dozens of Houlihan’s franchises give a free order of fries for every check-in, while the current Mayor receives 10% off all food items. This strategy could lead to consumers actually competing over who visits an establishment the most — a dream of any store owner. But few companies have followed Houlihan’s lead.

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley recently spoke to VentureBeat about the service’s “identity crisis.” He said Foursquare is “most interested in taking the data from check-ins to model what’s happening in the real world, and help people find new things.” He pointed to Radar, an app now available on phones running iOS5, which alerts you when your friends are nearby or when you’re near a venue you’ve told Foursquare you want to visit.

I’ll be the first to say that Facebook and Twitter can’t match that. But just a few weeks later, Foursquare also announced that it was adding menus to 250,000 restaurant listings. Even Yelp and Urbanspoon don’t offer that feature. But how is it social? How do recommendations and menus align with points, badges, and tips? How will any of these lead to more businesses offering discounts to attract new customers?

It seems that Foursquare has a lot of good ideas but isn’t sure which direction take. If Zagat, now owned by Google, adds menus to its app, it could quickly overtake Foursquare’s new feature. Facebook’s “Add a location to this post” option now threatens Foursquare on another flank. And I travel all over New York City and hardly ever see a Foursquare sticker on a store window or the logo on the menu.

I hope Crowley can find a clear path for Foursquare. After all, it’s a great concept. But its time is running out.

A Very Augmented-Reality Christmas

The holiday season means big marketing campaigns that often feature cutting-edge technology. I recently wrote about Starbucks’ cool Cup Magic promotion, which uses augmented reality to bring the coffee chain’s products to life. Other brands are using AR to grab attention at the end of 2011. Here are a few, along with the reasons I admire them.

Chanel
The famous French fashion label is promoting its J12 line of watches with an iPad and iPhone app that includes an augmented reality feature. By holding their phones over their wrists, or by holding their wrists up to their iPad cameras, shoppers can virtually try on the luxury watches.

Why I like it: Many prospective customers are too intimidated to go into a store and try on Chanel watches. Augmented reality makes it easy to see what these gorgeous timepieces look like on your wrist. And seeing yourself wearing a Chanel product is a powerful motivator for purchase. Studies have shown that if you touch a product or try it on, you’re more likely to buy it.

Bratz
The Masquerade line of Bratz dolls comes with one mask for the doll and another for the child. The mask launches an augmented reality feature on the Bratz website. While looking at herself via a webcam, the girl can get a “virtual makeover,” adding lipstick, face paint, and a wig to her masked look. The image can then be saved, shared, and printed.


Why I like it:
No toy has ever included an interactive element like this, so it stands alone in the holiday gift marketplace. Also, it lets girls play with makeup without any mess!

Debenhams Stores
This British department store added a gaming element to AR. Shoppers visited one of five pop-up stores and used an app to find ten “invisible” party dresses. Once they did, they could take a picture of themselves virtually “wearing” the dresses and then share the photos with friends.

Why I like it: Turning shopping into a game is one great idea. Letting shoppers see what they look like in the dresses is another, since it increases the likelihood of a purchase. And a third great idea was that anyone using the app received a 20% discount on the Debenhams mobile site, which encouraged participation and drove awareness of mobile shopping – a big trend for 2012.

Macy’s
Our Herald Square neighbors have a fun interactive promotion for the holidays that ties in to their “Believe” campaign, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Shoppers download an app and point their phones at an in-store camera. The result is a photo that includes a character from the charming animated special Yes, Virginia. The photo can then be shared on Facebook or through a holiday e-card. Shoppers can even post the image on the Macy’s Facebook Page. Each week, whichever photo gets the most “Likes” will become Macy’s Facebook profile picture for that week.


Why I like it:
Obviously this campaign brings kids into the store, but the Facebook photo competition keeps the promotion alive days after you’ve left. In fact, you don’t even have to visit the store to participate: by printing out a marker and pointing the app at it, you can see an animation of Virginia ice skating.

Get ready for more AR campaigns as the technology improves, the price comes down, and agencies come up with more exciting ways to use it. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and a very augmented-reality Christmas!

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

P.S. Speaking of Macy’s, we’d like to wish good luck to Katie, our Director of Client Services, who will be a handler for the Uncle Sam balloon in tomorrow’s parade. Stay warm!

photo by Kevin Harber

Five Reasons Why Starbucks’ Cup Magic Is Truly Magical

You may have read about “Cup Magic,” Starbucks’ augmented reality holiday promotion, but if not, here’s the scoop.

Caffeine lovers are encouraged to download a free app, buy a cup of coffee, and point their smartphone at the character on the cup. Through the magic of augmented reality, the characters come to life, acting out holiday scenes such as sledding and ice skating.


Here’s why BRANDEMiX believes augmented reality will be a major advertising trend for 2012:

  • •It’s social. The Starbucks app easily allows you to share the animations through either Facebook or email. So even people who don’t know about the promotion, or even consciously ignore Starbucks advertising, may find a fun little holiday video in their Facebook feed. Starbucks is letting customers do its marketing.
  • It’s great for business. Since each Starbucks cup features only one character, customers must buy at least five cups of coffee to see them all. Then again, even non-drinkers can get into the fun, as 47 Starbucks products are involved in the promotion.
  • •It’s great for everyone. Let’s face it, Starbucks doesn’t offer many items for little ones; many locations sell biscottis instead of cookies. With this new promotion, anyone of any age can enjoy the experience. In fact, since the videos have no dialogue, you don’t even have to speak English.
  • •It creates urgency. Assuming the promotion runs through New Year’s Day, that means customers have 47 days to experience it. A short timeline encourages consumers to visit their Starbucks as soon as possible (though some of us wouldn’t last 47 hours without our Frappucino). Compare this to summer promotions, where consumers sometimes have more than 125 days to participate. More time means less urgency.
  • •It’s fun. There are no coupons, discounts, or special offers associated with the campaign. It doesn’t even cost anything to participate, since the app is free and you can activate videos on products that are just sitting on the shelves. Keeping money out of the equation reinforces the idea that the promotion is for fun and for sharing with friends, a perfect theme for the holidays.

Photo by Liam Gladdy

Starbucks is proving to be a leader in the mobile space. The company’s payment app, which launched in January, has already been used in more than 20 million transactions.  Its QR codes give customers an “evolved shopping experience,” letting them hear music from the region where Starbucks coffee is grown or read reviews from coffee experts.  Cup Magic looks like it will continue Starbucks’ exploration of mobile technology. What’s next?

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

Google+ or Minus?

Do you have a Google+ account? 40 million people do, according to Google CEO Larry Page. But are you using it? That’s a very different question. Metrics, trends, and public opinion are all showing that Google’s new social network simply hasn’t caught on.
Let’s look at the numbers. Data analytics company Chitika has shown that, after a huge increase in traffic when Google+ went public on September 20, traffic has since dropped back down to the same level as when the service was available only by invitation. This means that a lot of people activated their account, which was particularly easy for Gmail users, but haven’t gone back to the site since.

Perhaps most telling is that Google’s own management team barely uses the service. Mashable’s Ben Parr wrote a brilliant piece breaking down the involvement of Google’s senior leadership. In the first three months of Google+’s existence, CEO Page had only posted seven times; co-founder Sergey Brin had posted 12. Eleven executives, including executive chairman Eric Schmidt, hadn’t posted anything at all. By contrast, Mark Zuckerberg is very active on Facebook and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has tweeted thousand of times. Schmidt finally broke his Google+ silence with a post about Steve Jobs’ death, 107 days after the service launched.
An informal Twitter poll from ReadWriteWeb asked followers why they weren’t using Google+. Some people responded that their friends weren’t on it, which seems to be a cyclical argument. Others echoed Romit Mehta, who responded, “Twitter is good for ‘fast, real time’ and Facebook is where my friends and family are. G+ solves no problem.”
Image courtesy of Kenny Strawn
A Google search of “I love Google Plus” returns 207,000 results. “I like Google Plus” gets 1.18 million results. “I don’t like Google Plus” returns 300,000 results, while “I hate Google Plus” returns 20,700 results. My conclusion? While more than a million people like the service, more people don’t like it than love it. And 10,000 people hate it. (These ratios were about the same when I searched for “Google+” instead of “Google Plus.”)
How about one of my favorite topics – mobile? Google+ does indeed come as an iPhone app. The latest version, released October 4, has only 39 votes (not much interest) and a rating of three stars out of five (not much love). One reviewer wrote, “Is it really THAT hard for a HUGE company like Google to make an iPad native version?” Google seems to be missing opportunities at every turn.
Here’s my personal experience with Google+. I have ten “friends” in different circles. Since I joined on July 9 (three weeks after launch, thank you), my stream has a total of six posts by four people. One of those posts is a notification that a friend changed her profile photo. These are people who regularly update their Facebook, Twitter, or both. They’re just not using Google+.
At BRANDEMiX, we recommend that our clients spend an hour a day on social media, which includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Is Google+ currently worth that commitment? I have to say no. Will it ever be? That’s the 64-billion-dollar question.

Does Mobile Gaming Increase Sales?

The recent Business Development Institute conference that Jason attended featured a number of presentations about mobile gaming. With mobile gaming sales reaching $5.6 billion in 2010, everyone agrees that mobile games are fun, popular, and profitable. However, I think there’s still one question that remains unanswered: Do mobile games actually increase sales?

In 2010, Volkswagen unveiled a driving game called Real Racing GTI to promote their new car. It was “the first time someone launched a car on mobile,” according to Daniel Rosen, the head of AKQA Mobile. The game was downloaded over 6 million times and was the #1 free app in 36 countries. But did it move the needle? AKQA reports that Real Racing GTI led to “over 80% increase in sales leads, test drives and quote requests.” They, and Volkswagen, attributed more than 200 car sales to the campaign.

So there’s one example of mobile gaming increasing sales; here’s another. Jason wrote about RadioShack’s Holiday Hero campaign, in which players could unlock a 20% discount by checking in on Foursquare at locations connected to superheroes, such as a gym. The campaign was backed by funny commercials and videos of holiday shoppers in capes and tights. When the promotion was over, RadioShack found that Foursquare users spent 350% more than the average RadioShack customer during the Christmas season.

Mobile gaming can work for cars and consumer electronics. How about shoes? Fresh Networks ran a Foursquare campaign in London for Jimmy Choo, calledthe Trainer Hunt. Foursquare allowed a pair of Jimmy Choo trainer shoes to check in at trendy spots around the city. Any Foursquare user who checked in at the same location before the trainers left received a pair of shoes in any style or size. The mobile game became a real-time treasure hunt. The result? During the campaign, daily trainer sales increased 33%.
Speaking of treasure hunts, mobile game maker SCVNGR has achieved success with its Diamond Dashes, citywide quests for a diamond engagement ring. SCVNGR has brought this technology to communities in North Carolina, Montana, and Philadelphia, among others. The marketing company claims that its fun, romantic searches brought “positive TV, print, radio, internet and word of mouth attention” to its retail partners. But what about sales? SCVNGR’s case study provides impressive numbers in Facebook Likes and website traffic, but is silent on financial matters. Still, I bet that all that news coverage of laughing couples chasing clues and solving puzzles was probably worth thousands of dollars in advertising.
After all this research, I’m prepared to say that mobile gaming can, in fact, increase sales. From sports cars to RC cards, and from footwear to diamonds, a number of different brands (and ad agencies) have found measurable success with mobile games. My agency is excited about this technology and working on several mobile projects for different clients. If you want to learn more, or share your own mobile gaming story, then post a comment, tweet us @BRANDEMiX, or write on our Facebook wall.

Does Mobile Gaming Increase Sales?

The recent Business Development Institute conference that Jason attended featured a number of presentations about mobile gaming. With mobile gaming sales reaching $5.6 billion in 2010, everyone agrees that mobile games are fun, popular, and profitable. However, I think there’s still one question that remains unanswered: Do mobile games actually increase sales?


In 2010, Volkswagen unveiled a driving game called Real Racing GTI to promote their new car. It was “the first time someone launched a car on mobile,” according to Daniel Rosen, the head of AKQA Mobile. The game was downloaded over 6 million times and was the #1 free app in 36 countries. But did it move the needle? AKQA reports that Real Racing GTI led to “over 80% increase in sales leads, test drives and quote requests.” They, and Volkswagen, attributed more than 200 car sales to the campaign.


So there’s one example of mobile gaming increasing sales; here’s another. Jason wrote about RadioShack’s Holiday Hero campaign, in which players could unlock a 20% discount by checking in on Foursquare at locations connected to superheroes, such as a gym. The campaign was backed by funny commercials and videos of holiday shoppers in capes and tights. When the promotion was over, RadioShack found that Foursquare users spent 350% more than the average RadioShack customer during the Christmas season.


Mobile gaming can work for cars and consumer electronics. How about shoes? Fresh Networks ran a Foursquare campaign in London for Jimmy Choo, called the Trainer Hunt. Foursquare allowed a pair of Jimmy Choo trainer shoes to check in at trendy spots around the city. Any Foursquare user who checked in at the same location before the trainers left received a pair of shoes in any style or size. The mobile game became a real-time treasure hunt. The result? During the campaign, daily trainer sales increased 33%.

Speaking of treasure hunts, mobile game maker SCVNGR has achieved success with its Diamond Dashes, citywide quests for a diamond engagement ring. SCVNGR has brought this technology to communities in North Carolina, Montana, and Philadelphia, among others. The marketing company claims that its fun, romantic searches brought “positive TV, print, radio, internet and word of mouth attention” to its retail partners. But what about sales? SCVNGR’s case study provides impressive numbers in Facebook Likes and website traffic, but is silent on financial matters. Still, I bet that all that news coverage of laughing couples chasing clues and solving puzzles was probably worth thousands of dollars in advertising.

After all this research, I’m prepared to say that mobile gaming can, in fact, increase sales. From sports cars to RC cards, and from footwear to diamonds, a number of different brands (and ad agencies) have found measurable success with mobile games. My agency is excited about this technology and working on several mobile projects for different clients. If you want to learn more, or share your own mobile gaming story, then post a comment, tweet us @BRANDEMiX, or write on our Facebook wall.

The Latest in Social Media for Retailers

With the big Labor Day shopping weekend behind us and retailers already planning for the holiday season, I thought I’d spend this week’s blog looking at the recent developments in social media for retail.

Not Such a Great Deal?
The biggest news came from Facebook, which eliminated its Deals feature after only four months. Just a few days later, Yelp announced that it was scaling back its Daily Deals service, cutting that department’s sales force in half. These unexpected moves signaled that the trend of retailers using daily deals and online coupons may have peaked, probably due to market saturation. MSNBC’s Technolog says consumers are suffering from “daily deals fatigue,” citing a 7% decline in industry revenue between June and July.

Image courtesy of Yipit

Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere
But retailers aren’t giving up on social media. A recent survey conducted by audience research company Bizo revealed that 65% of retail marketing executives think social media is “most important” for the upcoming shopping seasons. And 96% thought that social media marketing is more important, or as important, to their marketing in 2011 versus 2010.

Does that mean social media marketing leads to sales? In the Bizo survey, 41% of respondents said the most important aspect of social media was simply “creating general awareness.” In fact, only 14% had actually tracked the business results of their social media efforts. So many companies are finding it either difficult (likely) or undesirable (unlikely) to measure social marketing’s effect on their sales.

QR is OK
Meanwhile, mobile marketing is growing. ComScore, a digital analytics company, just released the results of a study on mobile QR code scanning. Almost 40% of the 14 million Americans who scanned codes on their phones in June did so from a retail store. 25% scanned a code from a grocery store and 8% scanned from a restaurant. That’s more than ten million people using mobile technology to enhance their shopping experience in just 30 days.

When Customers Play, Retailers Win
Retailers are also using mobile games to drive sales. The iMedia Connection blog recently listed 15 ways brands are using gamification, such as points and rewards, to increase business. Several retailers made the list, including Target, which uses the ShopKick mobile app to incentivize shopping. Customers receive points when they enter a participating store and when they scan select product barcodes. Customers can then redeem the points for Target gift cards. A number of other retailers, including Home Depot and Sephora, are using a similar app called CheckPoints.

So deal-of-the-day websites are declining while QR codes and mobile discount games are on the rise. Looking ahead, retailers should beware “daily deals fatigue” and concentrate on loyalty programs, scannable in-store codes, and ways to “gamify” their shopping experiences. The next step in this mobile retail evolution is the exciting world of augmented reality – but that’s a topic for another day.