tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/iphone-ios Latest iPhone/iOS content from Econsultancy 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69405 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 2017-09-13T10:47:25+01:00 Three ways the iPhone X will change CX in travel & tourism Tom Dibble <p>As has been the pattern in the past, the ripple effect from Apple advancements reach just about every industry, including travel and hospitality.</p> <p>Here are three ways the iPhone X will change travel forever.</p> <h3>Augmented reality (AR) will become mainstream</h3> <p>Augmented reality – the ability to view and interact with virtual items overlaid in the real world on screen – is about to go mainstream.</p> <p>The iPhone X, along with the forthcoming <a href="https://www.apple.com/iphone-8/" target="_blank">iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus</a>, are the first iPhone devices specifically designed for AR. Earlier this year, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69388-ar-is-on-the-brink-of-a-breakout-thanks-to-new-platforms-from-google-apple">Apple unveiled ARKit</a>, a new framework that allows developers to design AR apps for iOS 11, the operating system update available on September 19.</p> <p>As a result, iOS will be the largest AR-capable platform in the world.</p> <p>With AR capabilities soon in the hands of hundreds of millions of travelers, hospitality innovators will introduce new ways to offer guests property information, assistance and location-specific content on demand.</p> <p>From the way hotel <a href="https://youtu.be/JgOGADMJWIg" target="_blank">restaurants display their menu</a>, to real-time language translation of signage, to wayfinding, to AR-guided tours of property gardens and grounds, the potential for enhancing the guest experience is virtually limitless.</p> <h3>Facial recognition will hit hotels </h3> <p>The iPhone X offers Face ID, facial recognition technology made possible because of its TrueDepth camera system. </p> <p>In the way Touch ID evolved how iPhone users interact with their device in a secure manner, Face ID takes authentication to the next level. While the advancements will simplify and expedite how we take selfies and unlock our device, they’ll also update how hoteliers interact with guests.</p> <p>Face ID works not only with Apple Pay, but with third-party apps, which will enable new user experiences between travelers and tech-forward hospitality brands. Hotels will integrate facial recognition into their own proprietary apps, changing the way guests make reservations, access their room, authenticate payments at outlets, even check in and check out.</p> <h3>Mobile engagement will surge</h3> <p>Travelers are already using their mobile devices to research, book, document and rate their hotel experience en masse. The iPhone is already <a href="https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/20/iphone-ownership-all-time-high-us/" target="_blank">the most popular smartphone in the world</a>.</p> <p>With the release of the new iPhone models, analysts are expecting record-shattering sales, with some suggesting that Apple may see as many as 241.5 million iPhone shipments in the 12 months following the iPhone 8 launch.</p> <p>The new devices boast a higher water resistance rating than predecessors (perfect for poolside, waterslides and beach outings), an improved camera (more, better selfies and social sharing), wireless charging capabilities and a longer battery life for the all-day/all-night adventurer.</p> <p>With new phones come new apps that take advantage of advancements in technology. The forthcoming swell of innovative applications, and subsequent mobile engagement, will offer fresh ways for brands to interact with travelers on a level unlike we’ve ever seen.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-digital-trends-and-developments/"><em>Travel - Digital Trends and Developments Report</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69414-four-big-digital-trends-impacting-travel-tourism-marketing"><em>Four big digital trends impacting travel &amp; tourism marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience"><em>How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/"><em>The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69030 2017-05-04T14:00:00+01:00 2017-05-04T14:00:00+01:00 Why has wearable tech failed to catch on? Charles Wade <p>At <a href="https://www.sxsw.com/">SXSW</a> Levi debuted its wearable '<a href="http://www.levistrauss.com/unzipped-blog/2016/05/function-meets-fashion-levis-commuter-x-jacquard-by-google/">Commuter X Jacquard</a>' denim jacket. Produced in collaboration with Google, it links to a smartphone and subsequently helps the rider navigate their journey by prompting them to make turns and giving an estimated arrival time. In addition, the tech inside the sleeve can also skip music tracks (amongst others features). In response to its inception GQ proclaimed: ‘Finally, a piece of wearable tech that actually looks wearable'. Ouch!</p> <p>Equally interesting was revealing <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Despite-Hype-Wearables-Not-Really-Thing/1015384?ECID=SOC1001&amp;utm_content=buffer25d80&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer">eMarketer</a> data (issued in February this year), which stated that in a recent poll of 1,000 US internet users aged 18+, fully three-quarters said they had never purchased any form of wearable tech.</p> <p>Once the great hope – well, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2013/11/02/2014-will-be-the-year-of-wearable-technology/#6b388b3bc466">certainly in 2014</a> – ‘wearables’ have not quite taken off in the way that they were predicted to. Whilst it would be foolhardy to write the category off (consigning it to the MiniDisc and Blu-Ray ‘also ran’ bin) it does feel like the end of the beginning. So, what needs to change? Arguably there are four broad themes that need to be addressed in order to ignite wide-spread interest.</p> <h3>1. Cost</h3> <p>So far, a lot of the products have been expensive, not only to produce but also for the buyer. Take the aforementioned Levi's item – it retails for $350, quite a lot of money for a piece that has a <a href="http://www.levi.com/US/en_US/mens-clothing-jackets/p/249130000?ab=Commuter_LP_Mens_Trucker_030717">comparable version</a> – without the tech – that costs only $148.</p> <p>Similarly, the <a href="http://www.oakley.com/en/product/W0OO9333PZRD">Oakley Radar Pace</a>, a sunglass/personal coach hybrid is $449. Or consider the Rochambeau smart jacket, a 15-strong collection that used smartphone connection to offer the wearer “exclusive access to dining, art, clubbing, retail and fashion experiences” in New York: a bargain at $630!</p> <p>To be fair to the latter, it was intended to be gimmicky; moreover, whilst there are some good gadgets out there for under $150, at present too many are prohibitively priced, making them the preserve of either luxury shoppers or people who are fanatical about fitness.</p> <h3>2. The smartphone</h3> <p>Even for people who counter the point above with the Fitbit, which is around $100 in stores, the instant push-back is myriad apps on the market that are incredibly useful and typically free.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5885/iwatch.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <p>Put another way, the smartphone is the best piece of wearable tech out there. Ask Apple, the seemingly <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/02/08/apple-watch-2016-sales/">impressive 11.9m US sales</a> of the Apple Watch in 2016 were comprehensively outflanked by the dizzying <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/232790/forecast-of-apple-users-in-the-us/">90m US iPhone</a> users over the same period (up from 82m in 2015). It is accepted that they are not comparable products but it does highlight a constant tension – smartphones, via apps, can do almost anything that wearables can do and more, whereas wearables appear to cater one or two requirements – so why bother?</p> <h3>3. Vanity</h3> <p>Snap Inc. (Snapchat’s parent company) released <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68333-what-brands-need-to-know-about-snapchat-spectacles/">Spectacles</a> last year – brightly coloured sunglasses that record ‘Snappable’ video clips from eye-level that can subsequently be shared on their sister social media channel.</p> <p>Yet this brings back memories of Google Glass, a similar concept that was launched in 2014 and folded in 2015. Quite aside from the irritation of having to always wear the glasses – to catch that unmissable moment – frankly, people care about what they look like. Whilst Spectacles have a more ubiquitous appeal, as they are sunnies, they are still ‘face furniture’ and inherently invasive – especially if the user is not used to wearing specs.</p> <p>They fall down also precisely because they are sunglasses, which are odd to wear inside (unless you want to be ‘that’ guy). As such, it is likely that before long they might simply be stowed in the top pocket where they will record very little.</p> <h3>4. Battery life</h3> <p>This is a more complicated category as some items have a better life-span than others, yet the fact remains that a fair few of these items do require continual charging (here again the pervasiveness of smartphone chargers versus the countless wearable options will impact consumer choice).</p> <p>Some do come with excellent single-charge expectancy yet the quoted battery life usually accounts for the stasis of minimal usage such as ‘Standby’ or simply showing the time; the power often evaporates when interaction levels are increased (undermining their appeal). <a href="https://www.wired.com/2015/06/power-over-wi-fi/">Wi-Fi charging</a> could be a game-changer here, as will the general momentum of change within technology that dictates smaller, faster, longer (although <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/15/10775660/fitness-tracker-smartwatch-battery-problems-apple-motorola-lumo">some</a> remain less convinced).</p> <p>Thus the problem is far from unresolvable, although there is no date in mind... </p> <p>Arguably, this final point could be applied to the entire category, indeed, if wearable tech were given a school report one might expect: “B-. A good start but hopefully there is more to come!” Quite. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68938 2017-03-28T14:47:26+01:00 2017-03-28T14:47:26+01:00 How smartphone apps & personal data might reduce the cost of healthcare products Charles Wade <p>Sports brands, like <a href="http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/nike-plus/running-app-gps">Nike</a>, moved into the ‘wellness’ tech space early, as they quickly recognized the opportunity inherent within smartphones, utilising native functionality – such as GPS – to provide (often free) apps that offer users exercise regimes or maps to track their morning runs. </p> <p>Alongside goal-setting, fitness apps looked to enhance the experience by partnering with their home screen neighbors, such as Spotify, to combine their features, for example adding ‘Power Songs’ that play when performance dips. </p> <p>Only this month <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/12/adidas-new-open-digital-fitness-products/">adidas announced</a> that it plans to make its ‘Runtastic’ app an open platform, allowing third-parties to utilize its capabilities in their own apps to further personalize the user’s experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5083/adidas_runtastic.png" alt="" width="587" height="294"></p> <p>The reason for investing in technology is clear for the aforementioned sports apparel and footwear manufacturers – they hope to remain front of mind for their target market, namely ‘athleisure’ buyers, a segment <a href="http://digiday.com/uk/stretching-global-athleisure-boom-5-charts/">thought to be worth</a> $270bn globally last year. </p> <p>Not only is it a lucrative space, it is an increasingly competitive one where the ‘traditional’ players are under pressure from relative newcomers like Under Armour and lululemon, as well as Topshop (Ivy Park), H&amp;M, and American Eagle Outfitters, all of whom have developed ranges in an attempt to muscle in.</p> <p>At the same time the healthcare industry is spending heavily on apps as it looks to maximise the relationship that people have with their phone (<a href="https://insights.samsung.com/2016/02/24/do-patients-rely-on-mobile-healthcare-apps-more-than-their-doctors/">32% of US consumers</a> had at least one healthcare app on their phone in 2016). As an example: <a href="https://carezone.com/features">CareZone</a> acts as a journal, reminding you when to take medication; <a href="http://www.uptodate.com/home">UpToDate</a> helps students stay informed with medical developments; and the <a href="http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps">Red Cross</a> offers first aid advice.</p> <p>Incredibly, <a href="https://suite.face2gene.com/technology-facial-recognition-feature-detection-phenotype-analysis/">Face2Gene</a> allows the user to take a photo of their face (via their phone’s camera) and then uses an algorithm to scan it to identify any genetic syndromes.</p> <p>Aside from selling clothes or taking a fee for download or ‘Premium’ services, what <em>is</em> slightly unclear is what developers are doing with the most important aspect, namely the data that they collect. Looking further afield, Uber recently released ‘<a href="https://newsroom.uber.com/introducing-uber-movement/">Movements</a>’, a service which aggregates the information that the company has learnt about riders and their journeys, which it then offers to cities for better town planning. (Was that in the privacy settings?)</p> <p>It does not take a huge leap of the imagination to hypothesize that app developers might pass on the information that has been clocked up by users to insurers or pharmaceutical companies. If so, not only should consumers be alerted to this fact, but there might be an opportunity for them to demand more from this value exchange, above and beyond receiving information without having to wait at the Emergency Room.</p> <p>There are myriad apps that <a href="http://www.apppicker.com/applists/3414/the-best-health-insurance-apps-for-iphone">store insurance personal data</a>, and subsequently let users ‘compare the market’: why not take this a stage further? For example, a 40-year-old woman might share her Nike Run+ app data with her life insurance provider to show that she runs on average 25-miles a week, possibly along with her associated heart rate (and average time). This could be combined with the step counter on their iPhone, used to further detail the level of her fitness by assessing her mobility.</p> <p>Interestingly, <a href="https://www.healthiq.com/affinity/runspeed8minmile">Health IQ</a>, an insurer, has spent heavily recently on programmatic ads, stating: “Special rate life insurance for runners. Runners who can complete an 8-minute mile have a 35% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 41% lower risk of death from heart disease.” </p> <p>Furthermore, <a href="http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/can-runners-save-on-life-insurance">in an article</a> from July 2016 (which also cites HealthIQ) Runner’s World explains how the US insurance provider <a href="http://www.johnhancock.com/">John Hancock</a> introduced a plan with discounts “of up to 15%” to those customers who meet exercise targets “measured by fitness trackers”. This is a good start for those people who workout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5084/lifeinsurancead.jpg" alt="" width="578" height="368"></p> <p>Alongside the data above, could our runner submit her weekly online grocery order – that contains fruit and vegetables and low sugar items – evidence of a healthy diet that could also be used as a bargaining chip to reduce insurance costs. </p> <p>Again, John Hancock has implemented this, to a degree, through its ‘<a href="https://www.jhrewardslife.com/">Vitality Program</a>’, which rewards policy holders with points, redeemable at Whole Foods, Hyatt, and others if they can show a history of prudent eating. </p> <p>This is certainly commendable, but it does require the individual to have a relationship with that provider and the perks are only available at pre-determined vendors; those who remain fit and healthy might <em>possibly </em>prefer to use the information to reduce their premiums and buy whatever they like (such as new sneakers). </p> <p>Tech alone cannot determine the exact state of someone’s health. Indeed, people would need to continue to have medicals and routine check-ups to assess their overall state (until, that is, there’s an app for that too): however everyday activities should be seen as a tool for consumers to obtain services that are befitting of the condition they keep themselves in.</p> <p>This is timely for US consumers, given the long-term uncertainty around the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/affordable-care-act/">Affordable Care Act</a> (recent climb-down notwithstanding). Millions of Americans pay significant sums for insurance coverage; above and beyond the impact on their health, the invaluable mine of data that apps contain should be used to positively influence their wallets too.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68851-six-ways-digital-is-changing-the-pharma-healthcare-industry/"><em>Six ways digital is changing the pharma &amp; healthcare industry</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68346-new-data-shows-why-digital-is-now-critical-to-pharma/"><em>New data shows why digital is now critical to pharma</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68641 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 Mobile marketing in 2017: Five expert predictions Nikki Gilliland <p>If you want to learn more about mobile marketing, be sure to check out the following resources from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile Marketing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-user-experience-mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile UX (User Experience) &amp; Marketing Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>1. Contextual marketing</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, Co-Founder &amp; COO at SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>I foresee a greater emphasis on context for marketing through third party or OS level apps. </p> <p>Apple’s emphasis on providing access to third parties through its owned services such as Maps, Siri and iMessage in iOS10 creates a new opportunity to market to people during the process of performing an activity – and these ‘contextuals’ are likely to be more easy to convert than via reach alone. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2430/Mobile_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="363"></p> <h3>2. Location-based services</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, head of strategy at Huge:</strong></p> <p>Location-based services. Simple things like being able to see, split and pay the bill via mobile.</p> <p>Obviously, there will be a huge amount of badly targeted 10% off offers, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t it?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2427/Splittable.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="388"></p> <h3>3. Smart speakers</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>The launch of Google Home and the continuing success of Alexa provide new platforms for users to engage with brands via voice.</p> <p>Voice interfaces will continue to grow and grow in 2017, particularly with the launch of Pixel, Google Home and Alexa’s continuing improvement. </p> <p>Brands that aren’t in some way embracing the different interactions afforded by voice when compared to touch will lose out as it becomes more ingrained in consumer behaviour and starts to dominate specific types of interaction, such as commands, searches and questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2428/Echo.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="452"></p> <h3>4. Integrating UX</h3> <p><strong>Steffan Aquarone, author of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-marketing-best-practice-guide/">Mobile Marketing Best Practice Guide</a></strong></p> <p>I think a lot more mobile teams will be better organised to be able to work with user experience in mind.</p> <p>Constantly testing, getting feedback, building better products and then getting stuff out there - rather than trying to just plan and launch like in the late 2000s.</p> <p>I also see many of the principles of good product design becoming increasingly relevant to the way modern organisations organise themselves.</p> <h3>5. Push notifications</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, Huge</strong></p> <p>I think push notifications could be the new pop-ups, with the caveat that some are useful, therefore the ones that are not useful will be even more infuriating.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2429/Push_notification.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="439"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68075 2016-07-14T15:17:07+01:00 2016-07-14T15:17:07+01:00 Who will win the live-streaming battle: Facebook Live or Periscope? Blake Cahill <p>With an injection of social along with the time-sensitive nature of breaking broadcast, live-streaming is simply an age-old device repurposed for the present times. </p> <h3><strong>What does it mean for all of us?</strong></h3> <p>As traditional social channels are coming close to saturation, tech companies need to build new channels to invigorate their consumers.</p> <p>For brand marketers, this offers a tremendous opportunity to access tech-native early-adopter millennials and post-millennials – the customers of today and tomorrow.</p> <p>Most of whom have foregone broadcast, print, and 1.0 social networks for next-gen platforms.</p> <p>When it comes to advertising value, according to <a href="http://totalaccess.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1014105&amp;dsNav=Ro:-1,N:789,Nr:NOT(Type%3aComparative+Estimate)">eMarketer</a>, digital video advertising spending grew 46% to $7.7bn in the US last year alone.</p> <p>Meaning marketers are increasingly betting on the success of these live platforms. </p> <h3><strong>#SendMeToSleep – the world’s most sleep-inducing social campaign</strong></h3> <p>A good example is the <a href="http://www.philips.co.uk/healthcare/resources/landing/world-sleep-day">#SendMeToSleep</a> social media campaign we rolled out in time for the World Sleep Day.</p> <p>As part of this campaign – during which we actively tried to create content so boring it was capable of sending our audiences straight to sleep – Philips broadcasted what Twitter tells us is the world’s longest Periscope stream.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZzOFWhtxEUw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>For 41 hours straight, we showed splashes of paint being added to a canvas.</p> <p>And because the whole campaign was engaging and worked as a holistic experience, more than 6,000 people tuned in to watch paint dry.</p> <p>Besides being strangely soothing and entertaining, the campaign has achieved significant commercial success which should be the cornerstone of any good marketing strategy.</p> <h3><strong>Periscope &amp; Facebook Live: A modern day David &amp; Goliath?</strong></h3> <p>At first glance, it might look like Facebook is the obvious winner – it has the size, money, user base and brand trust as a popular advertising platform.</p> <p>Despite all this, however, I wouldn’t count out Twitter just yet.</p> <h4>Four reasons for choosing Facebook Live:</h4> <ol> <li> <strong>Audience:</strong> Facebook has a user base of 1.2bn people.</li> <li> <strong>Brand presence:</strong> Live broadcast can bring life back to Facebook brand pages that have been lagging behind Instagram and Twitter in terms of engagement.</li> <li> <strong>Spending power:</strong> Facebook has been on a spending spree signing over 140 contracts worth more than $50m with the likes of CNN, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.</li> <li> <strong>Pioneers:</strong> Airbnb and Disney teamed up for the Jungle Book premiere, Chevrolet used it to launch its new electric car, and Patron taught viewers how to master the perfect drink. </li> </ol> <h4>Four reasons for choosing Periscope:</h4> <ol> <li> <strong>The “cool” factor:</strong> Twitter’s <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-02-12/social-studies-comparing-twitter-with-facebook-in-charts">user base</a> skew younger, more diverse, wealthier, more educated and more likely to live in urban areas. This will drive usage as the two platforms integrate.</li> <li> <strong>Additional features:</strong> The native app offers a dedicated space with broadcast tabs, account tracking and sketch &amp; reaction options that just make it a bit more fun and user-oriented.</li> <li> <strong>Content:</strong> Periscope recently secured partnerships with <a href="https://gopro.com/help/articles/Block/Periscope-Live-Streaming-with-your-GoPro">GoPro</a> and <a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/twitter-to-stream-nfl-thursday-night-games-2016-4">Thursday Night Football</a> (NFL) to ensure a lineup of engaging content.</li> <li> <strong>Innovation:</strong> Periscope just recently announced a series of new functions such as drone feed integration, search functions, and auto-save through app and Twitter comments.</li> </ol> <h3><strong>What are the downsides? </strong></h3> <p>Live on camera, some products, and even some people, may not work well.</p> <p>It’s difficult to be smartly scripted while still coming across as authentic, and a constant stream of comments from viewers can be hard to manage and moderate.</p> <p>It’s also important that you own what you’re streaming. No brand wants to end up tied in legal battles because they streamed content where ownership and rights haven’t been made clear.</p> <p>As with all new tools, it’s not easy to measure a return on investment. How you measure success – do you look at viewer numbers or drop-offs, likes or the comments?</p> <p>Lastly, live-streaming without a clear strategy and a clear focus on quality and relevance will ultimately disappoint the audience.</p> <h3><strong>Who is the winner?  </strong></h3> <p>At this point, it’s still too early to call.</p> <p>However, the competition is heating up, with YouTube and Tumblr unveiling their competitive offering along with lesser known players such as Live.ly, Livestream, and Hang all releasing their own live broadcast services.   </p> <p>If you’ve already placed your bets then make sure your content fits with the medium and you’re totally clear on ownership, quality, and measurement.</p> <p>Everything after that is just a stream away. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67603-what-marketers-need-to-know-about-facebook-s-livestreaming-push/"><em>What marketers need to know about Facebook's livestreaming push</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67712-seven-helpful-tips-for-livestreaming-success/"><em>Seven helpful tips for livestreaming success</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67967-six-things-we-learned-from-using-periscope-to-live-stream-from-fodm16/"><em>Six things we learned from using Periscope to live stream from #FODM16</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66837 2015-08-20T15:03:49+01:00 2015-08-20T15:03:49+01:00 Three points to consider when developing a mobile app strategy Carin Van Vuuren <p>Apps have quickly become a source of information, utility and point of contact between users and brands.</p> <p>In fact, according to Flurry, a staggering 86% of all time spent on mobile devices is now happening within apps, with users converting at a 21% higher rate than in-store.</p> <p>Brands that are not considering an app are avoiding an essential question that should be answered when planning a mobile strategy.</p> <p>Every brand’s mobile strategy must be designed to meet the unique needs and challenges of its business, brand identity and customer preferences.</p> <p>Determining whether your brand needs an app and uncovering its potential are vital steps in building out a winning mobile strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind...</p> <h3><strong>Mobile app vs. mobile web</strong></h3> <p>Before investing in an app, consider the benefits, possible disadvantages, required resources and associated costs.</p> <p>Unless you have a clear strategy, target audience and distinct use case in mind, pursuing a mobile app may not make sense.</p> <p>For instance, if you’re satisfied with the level of engagement on and repeat visits to your mobile site, or if you don’t have the budget to experiment with an app, you should focus on further optimizing the mobile web experience.</p> <p>Like apps, the mobile web has its advantages and is especially crucial for audiences just discovering your site. According to Usablenet's study, 67% of mobile users are more likely to make a purchase via website than app.</p> <p>Mobile apps, on the other hand, allow for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66444-how-consumers-behave-on-ecommerce-apps">deeper interaction with consumers</a>. Personalized content in an app is powerful, whereas mobile web often seems less specific or aimed toward a larger audience.</p> <p>Before coming to a final decision, however, you should first evaluate the use case and value of native device functionality to determine which strategy is best aligned with both your business and users’ needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3089/apps_iphone.jpg" alt=""></p> <h3><strong>Balancing efficiency with customer experience</strong></h3> <p>When deciding to build an app, pay close attention to the tasks customers perform at the highest frequency.</p> <p>Is there room to simplify these processes and streamline the brand experience? This evaluation will help determine where an app can add value to the customer journey and why they’ll be encouraged to download the app.</p> <p>That said, you must also pay special mind to the interplay between apps and web. The last thing that you want is for your mobile experiences to cannibalize each other.</p> <p>Next, consider which native capabilities best support use cases that can differentiate the experience. It is imperative to gauge the value of third party integrations and APIs that make apps more useful and transform the mobile experience.</p> <p>Repeat use is central to an app’s long-term success. Of users who make an in-app purchase, 44% do not do so until they have interacted with an app at least 10 times.</p> <p>Similarly, users who interact with an app multiple times before making a purchase also make 25% more in-app purchases during their consumer lifetime.</p> <p>For high-frequency engagement, apps must remain current and content must be refreshed, requiring a long-term commitment to innovation and marketing investment.</p> <p>Nothing in the mobile world exists in a vacuum, just as apps require regular updates, efforts to promote your app must continue on a sustained basis to bring the most value to both brand and consumer. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/8317/apps.png" alt=""></p> <h3><strong>Ensuring (sustained) quality execution</strong></h3> <p>Once a comprehensive strategy is in order, brands should ensure apps will be executed in an efficient manner.</p> <p>Examine the resources you’ll need when building an app and prioritize them internally.</p> <p>Primarily, it is important to ensure your development team has deep user experience capabilities, the ability to deliver high-performing apps within a specific timeframe and budget and technical skill to integrate the app with an existing platform, channel or API.</p> <p>The team should also have the flexibility to provide ongoing support after the app’s launch, including updates to and refreshes of the user experience. </p> <p>Once an app is complete, pay close attention to users’ reactions by evaluating ratings and downloads in the app store.</p> <p>Further engage in frequent UX audits to gauge which functionalities can be improved and which features or aspects of the experience best drive repeat visits.</p> <p>Ultimately, the measure of an app’s success comes from the combination of engagement and transactions. By keeping end goals in mind and conferring with user preference, you just may find your app at the top of the charts.</p> <p><em>For more data and insight download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-quest-for-mobile-excellence">The Quest for Mobile Excellence</a> briefing, perfect for those wishing to benchmark their own activities around mobile, and to elevate the importance of related business initiatives within their organisations.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66474 2015-05-21T14:59:01+01:00 2015-05-21T14:59:01+01:00 Six ways mobile can ease traveler stress and increase bookings Carin Van Vuuren <p dir="ltr">In order to reduce travel stress and bolster brand loyalty, brands should:</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Optimize travel trust</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Mobile provides consumers access to the world right at their fingertips.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a few quick taps, globetrotters can scope out destinations and amenities halfway around the world -- yet according to <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">research we recently conducted</a>,<strong> 41% refrain from researching on mobile,</strong> a stark contrast from the whopping 87% that browse by tablet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the swarms of mobile-centric travelers, many travel sites are not properly optimized for mobile. Photos and videos are difficult to view, navigation is flawed and filtering is insufficient.</p> <p dir="ltr">To optimize travel trust and ensure experiences are seamless and consistent on all channels, brands are advised to carry out an audit of their customer experience and see where consumer pain points lie.</p> <p dir="ltr">By ensuring content is consistent across all touchpoints, brands can minimize the risk of unnecessary misunderstanding and eliminate the frustration associated with planning a trip.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Use visuals to drive excitement</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">To make the mobile experience more conductive for researching trips, <strong>brands should pay special attention to high-quality visual content. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Images and videos are the selling point during the research and booking phases and often greatly impact travelers’ decisions. Yet, visuals are a key aspect travelers feel is missing from their mobile experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">To drive excitement, brands must provide a visual representation of the experience they will be receiving.</p> <p dir="ltr">Engage travelers with rich visual content throughout the experience, leveraging location-specific videos and user-generated reviews.</p> <p dir="ltr">By incorporating best UX practices, which also include eliminating “pinch and zoom” and pixelated  images,  users will feel more confident about making a booking decision on mobile.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Soothe insecurities</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Research shows that insecurity is a prominent emotion during the booking stage of the consumer journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">During this phase, travelers worry whether sensitive information is safe over open and unsecured connections, a factor that can drastically affect one’s willingness to book and pay on mobile.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, <strong>51% of travelers are not likely to use mobile payment while 58% of travelers are apprehensive to book by mobile.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">To ease such concerns, travel brands should incorporate feedback and security elements throughout the journey, such as progress bars and visual security cues, and embrace language ensuring users their personal information is safe.</p> <p dir="ltr">By adding UX elements that increase the users’ sense of reassurance, brands can reduce stress and increase traveler confidence.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Fight frustration with feedback</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Nobody likes sparring with tech support. While researching and booking trips, travelers are frustrated by slow load times and fear losing connection in the midst of transactions, anxieties heightened by the crucial role these stages play.</p> <p dir="ltr">To soothe tension, <strong>brands must gauge if their sites are user friendly and aptly designed for performance. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In particular, users crave timely feedback on their actions; the use of a spinner indicates the system is working, addressing dreaded lag times.</p> <p dir="ltr">Including a numbered step indicator throughout the core booking stages also helps users maintain a sense of progress.</p> <p dir="ltr">By paying attention to technical issues that may arise on mobile, and updating the user during their experience, brands can eliminate frustration and decrease the number of drop offs on mobile.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brands should also streamline operations by reducing the number of lengthy pages and streamlining forms to include only those fields vital to checkout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Designing functionalities tied to user activity can diffuse frustration while increasing performance and decreasing the likelihood of technical issues.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Build anticipation through apps</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Once travelers arrive at their destination, they yearn to explore their surroundings, not wait on a lengthy check-in line.</p> <p dir="ltr">More and more, hoteliers are embracing functionalities like mobile check-in and keyless entry, streamlining the admissions process.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mobile is truly a one-stop shop for travelers; devices could be used to order room service, request housekeeping and access other amenities.</p> <p dir="ltr">Opportunities exist to create apps that focus on specific use cases, such as Virtual Concierge, Food &amp; Beverage, Beauty Services, or Banqueting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, rather than carry guidebooks, <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">61% of travelers value local information</a> on a brand’s mobile site to help plan their stay.</p> <p dir="ltr">A well-trained staff could support and complement new technologies while user testing can find the right balance between human interaction and automation.</p> <p dir="ltr">By providing a personalized experience, users will be more eager to use mobile throughout the journey.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Incentivize sharing, streamline redemption</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">After getaways, travelers return home with stories to tell, yet smartphones seldom do the sharing. </p> <p dir="ltr">Fewer than four out of 10 travelers share mobile photos on a brand’s social media pages and nearly all said they would not be inclined to share their travel experience unless it was beneficial to them.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is a prime opportunity for brands to offer customers incentives to share and book directly through their site. Getting customers to interact directly through your site creates a sense of excitement in travelers and increases the likelihood they’ll return to your site in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">Loyalty programs are also a massive missed opportunity. Though the majority of travelers collect loyalty points, programs as a whole are underleveraged; <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">less than a third redeem points on mobile</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brands must take measures to incorporate loyalty into mobile and market it as an extension of their brand. Design sites that allow travelers to seamlessly access their points and stress that interactions will be beneficial to them and their wallets.</p> <p dir="ltr">JetBlue, for example, allows loyalty members to pay for flights using acquired points. By clearly depicting this option, travelers see the value of such a program and can seamlessly claim their reward.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3368/jetBlue_Loyalty__1_.PNG" alt="" width="600"></strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While brands are accustomed to understanding a traveler’s practical needs and personal preferences, it is also valuable to respond to the emotional states of their customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">From the earliest rounds of research to boarding the flight home, emotions play a key role in travelers’ mobile experience; how brands cater to these sentiments can make or break relationships.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travel brands should proactively conduct a UX audit to see how see how functionalities perform. To best engage audiences, invite users to browse and book with compelling visual navigation, advanced search options and rich visual content.</p> <p dir="ltr">By <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65347-10-essential-features-for-mobile-travel-sites">improving the user experience of mobile offerings</a>, brands heighten the overall travel experience for guests and inspire repeat business.</p> <p dir="ltr">Implementing simple fixes can help ensure a user’s next vacation won’t be their last vacation with you.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3773 2015-04-29T11:30:00+01:00 2015-04-29T11:30:00+01:00 Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Quest for Mobile Excellence <p><strong>The Quest for Mobile Excellence </strong>briefing, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with <strong><a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html">Adobe</a></strong>, provides data and insights for those wishing to benchmark their own activities around mobile, and to elevate the importance of related business initiatives within their organisations.</p> <p>This research comes 12 months after Econsultancy and Adobe published the <strong><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-finding-the-path-to-mobile-maturity/">Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity report</a></strong>, giving us a great opportunity to assess the progress that companies have made in the intervening period.</p> <p>This year’s research is based on a global survey of nearly 3,000 marketers and digital professionals, providing another robust data set with which to compare last year’s findings.</p> <p>The following sections are featured in the report:</p> <ul> <li>Companies rise to the mobile challenge</li> <li>The desktop bias</li> <li>Investment and experimentation</li> <li>The need for mobile measurement</li> <li>The rise and rise of mobile apps</li> <li>Measuring, testing and optimising apps</li> <li>Ownership of mobile in a multichannel world</li> </ul> <h3> <strong>Findings</strong> include:</h3> <ul> <li>Almost two-thirds of companies (62%) are planning to <strong>increase their mobile investments in 2015</strong> compared to only 3% who are decreasing budgets. </li> <li>Around a fifth (19%) of companies now <strong>regard themselves as ‘mobile-first’</strong> compared to 13% last year.</li> <li>A third of companies (34%) said they had <strong>‘a defined mobile strategy that goes out at least 12 months’</strong>, down from 36% who agreed with this statement last year.</li> <li>The vast majority of respondents (71%) say that <strong>the desktop website is their top priority</strong> when it comes to providing a consistent customer experience, ahead of mobile site (16%), smartphone applications (10%) and tablet apps (3%). </li> <li>Only 11% strongly agree that they understand <strong>how mobile fits into the customer journey</strong> across devices and channels.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> <h4> <strong>Econsultancy's Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/uk/marketing">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefings">here</a>.</strong> </h4> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66061 2015-02-09T14:05:50+00:00 2015-02-09T14:05:50+00:00 Homebase’s new mobile commerce app reviewed David Moth <p>Available on iOS and Android, the app enables customers to browse the entire product range, make a purchase, or check stock at their local store.</p> <p>Homebase receives more than 50% of its traffic through mobile devices and the new app has already been downloaded more than 70,000 times.</p> <p>Here’s what I thought of it, and for more on this topic read our posts on mobile apps from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62489-b-q-s-club-app-is-the-perfect-mobile-loyalty-scheme/">B&amp;Q</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65663-house-of-fraser-unveils-new-android-app-with-real-time-stock-checker/">House of Fraser</a>...</p> <h3>Login and homepage</h3> <p>Upon opening the app for the first time, users are asked whether they want to login or register with Homebase.</p> <p>On the assumption that most people downloading the app will already be Homebase customers, I signed up to make sure I got the full in-app experience.</p> <p>The registration form was really simple. It just needed my name, email address and postcode.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/wbNcAyN.png" alt="" width="200">   <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/2nboIkZ.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>The homepage itself is a bit random. Underneath the big sales promotion there are two product categories that users can swipe to explore.</p> <p>They are labelled ‘popular products’ and ‘best sellers’, which surely mean the same thing? And they do indeed contain many similar products.</p> <p>Also, the items bear no relation to each other. For example, ‘popular products’ contains an outdoor storage unit, wall tiles, indoor dining furniture, a home alarm and laminate flooring.</p> <p>It might be more useful to have links to different product categories on the home screen.</p> <h3>Navigation</h3> <p>If you do want to navigate to product categories you have to choose the ‘browse’ option from the hamburger menu.</p> <p>This isn’t particularly clear in my opinion as ‘browse’ uses the same magnifying glass logo as the search tool.</p> <p>The category options and their sub-sections use big icons that include text and attractive imagery, so it’s very easy to navigate around the app.</p> <p>One criticism here would be that the app includes a category for ‘Christmas’, which isn’t very useful in February.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/WvPmldJ.png" alt="" width="200">   <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/y4iXUlQ.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>I’m currently thinking about doing some work to my garden so I’m in the market for some trellis.</p> <p>The app makes it very easy to browse the different options, with each item including a big image, cost, star rating (where available), and fulfilment options (in-store/home delivery).</p> <h3>Search tool</h3> <p>As with most apps, the search results were a mixed bag.</p> <p>Though I could find what I was looking for by doing a bit of scrolling, there were quite a few erroneous or irrelevant results.</p> <p>For example, the top results in my search for ‘trellis’ were a pair of children’s playhouses.</p> <p>Also, it doesn’t offer predictive search or alternative spelling suggestions, which are fairly common UX features.</p> <h3>Product pages</h3> <p>The product pages have a clear, uncluttered design so it’s easy to find all the relevant information.</p> <p>They provide big product images, customer reviews, a decent description, delivery options, and alternative product recommendations.</p> <p>There are a few inconsistencies though, which are presumably an inevitable consequence of stocking such a broad range of products.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/K9ix5sD.png" alt="" width="200">   <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/5XCwF3l.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>Some pages have several images while others only have one, and the stock checking function isn’t universally available.</p> <p>Another minor problem is that the red special offer promo isn’t showing properly, as you can see on the above screenshot.</p> <h3>Stock checker</h3> <p>Mobile apps have the potential to be an integral part of a retailer’s multichannel offering, but only if they offer the right functionality.</p> <p>Homebase’s app has a really useful stock checker tool that will likely help to drive footfall in-store.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/IKoyLXx.png" alt="" width="200">   <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/C5guYVL.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>It works extremely quickly, enabling customers to see where the product is available, the store’s location and its opening times.</p> <p>However you can’t actually reserve the product through the stock-checking tool, so you have to gamble that it won’t have sold out by the time you arrive.</p> <h3>The checkout</h3> <p>When you select an item using the excellent ‘add to basket’ CTA it’s not immediately obvious how to then get to the shopping basket.</p> <p>While most apps either take you there automatically or have a basket icon in the top right-hand corner, in Homebase’s app the basket is only available in the hamburger menu.</p> <p>This isn’t a major flaw, but it probably isn’t what most users would expect.</p> <p>Unfortunately the next stage of the process does suffer from a major flaw.</p> <p>Having selected in-store pickup I’m then routed to a desktop site to complete the order, which ironically includes a banner ad encouraging me to download the new app.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/SRA0Ajm.png" alt="" width="200">   <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/r4eMxHH.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>For some reason my login then wouldn’t work, and the guest checkout required a huge amount of form filling and pinching and zooming.</p> <p>This is a massive barrier to purchase and should really have been sorted out prior to launch.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Homebase’s app has the potential to be really good, but it currently has way too many rough edges and UX flaws.</p> <p>These range from minor issues (e.g. ‘browse’ and ‘search’ icons are the same, shopping basket located in the hamburger menu) to big problems such as the lack of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65493-10-of-the-world-s-best-mobile-commerce-checkouts/">a mobile checkout</a>.</p> <p>I’m sure these problems will be fixed as Homebase upgrades and develops the app, in which case it could be a very important sales channel, particularly given the growing usage of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63815-15-stats-that-show-why-click-and-collect-is-so-important-for-retailers/">click-and-collect services</a>.</p> <p>But at the moment the app is really only useful for product research as there are too many barriers to purchase.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66020 2015-01-28T09:58:12+00:00 2015-01-28T09:58:12+00:00 Very.co.uk seeks to boost m-commerce sales with new iPhone app David Moth <p>Mobile is now its largest sales channel, accounting for 58% of online sales at Very.co.uk over Christmas.</p> <p>The app allows users to browse the full product range and also includes an image recognition search tool.</p> <p>Read on to find out what I thought of the app, or for more on this topic read our posts on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65663-house-of-fraser-unveils-new-android-app-with-real-time-stock-checker/">House of Fraser’s new mobile app</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62312-how-shop-direct-group-used-its-content-strategy-to-improve-search-rankings/">Shop Direct’s content strategy</a>.</p> <h3>Homepage and navigation</h3> <p>The app has a fairly standard design, which is absolutely no bad thing.</p> <p>The homepage has links to different features and full navigation options are hosted in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65511-hamburger-menus-for-mobile-navigation-do-they-work/">a hamburger menu</a>.</p> <p>It’s very simple and means users should have no problem finding their way around.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/8d3Hjst.png" alt="" width="220">     <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/3rUn9fz.png" alt="" width="220"></p> <h3>Product pages</h3> <p>The product pages have a neat uncluttered design that has been achieved by stripping out a couple of the features found on desktop.</p> <p>It still includes customer reviews, several images, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/61817-six-retailers-that-used-product-videos-to-improve-conversion-rates/">product videos</a> (which loaded extremely quickly), and a detailed description.</p> <p>But gone are the three different ‘suggested product’ tabs and the zoom tool. </p> <p>As an aside, I also noticed there’s no obvious way of finding out the delivery cost either on desktop or mobile.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/D99G6RQ.png" alt="" width="200">     <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/FXuAj2U.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>When you click the ‘Add to basket’ CTA the app encourages users to head straight to the checkout, which increases the chance that a mobile user will actually buy something.</p> <h3>Checkout</h3> <p>All Very.co.uk users are forced to register an account before they checkout, which isn’t ideal as it’s a major friction point.</p> <p>Even so, many brands choose to keep a login as it means they can track customers more effectively.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/8U67RYC.png" alt="" width="200">     <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/3XDly1j.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>However Very.co.uk makes the situation worse by not providing a facility for new users to create an account within the app.</p> <p>In order to get to the checkout I had to first go onto the desktop site to register an account, then go back onto the app.</p> <p>In reality I doubt any new customers would bother with this process, but then would new customers download the app?</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/XHMlOwO.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <p>The checkout itself is very quick and easy because Very already has most of my details. </p> <p>Standard delivery costs £3.95 which seems rather steep compared to other fashion retailers.</p> <p>Weirdly I would have been able to submit the order before entering my credit card details. I’m not sure how this works, but I assume it has something to do with Very’s obsession with making customers create an account with them.</p> <p>This allows customers to receive a monthly invoice and pay for their orders in instalments.</p> <p>It’s a system that has worked extremely well for Next as people like the convenience of doing all their shopping from a single store and delaying the payment.</p> <h3>Account functionality</h3> <p>I couldn’t test this myself as I don’t have an account with Very.co.uk, but it enables people to check and manage their account details.</p> <p>Customers can track their orders, check their balance and available funds, and pay their statement.</p> <p>I can imagine this would be extremely useful for loyal customers and will also help to convert some casual users into more regular buyers.</p> <p>That APR looks very reasonable...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/8744/myaccount-hi-res-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="220"></p> <h3>Image recognition</h3> <p>One of the app’s most publicised features is an image recognition search tool that allows shoppers to search for similar items on Very.co.uk just by taking a photo.</p> <p>‘Snap Style’ is mentioned on the app homepage and also features in the hamburger menu dropdown.</p> <p>Image recognition isn’t exactly new technology, which is why it’s surprising that the tool has a few bugs.</p> <p>For example, when you take a photo using Snap Style the resulting image is a massively zoomed-in version, so you can’t actually see the object you initially photographed.</p> <p>And for some reason I wasn’t able to pinch and zoom to make the image smaller.</p> <p>These pictures show what I mean. On the left is the shot I lined up, on the right is the resulting photo.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/R9SZZ1A.png" alt="" width="220">     <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/574HZXR.png" alt="" width="220"></p> <p>The quality of the search results can also be quite variable.</p> <p>If you scan a block colour then the results tend to be very good. </p> <p>But say I wanted something to match a simple black and white pattern. The image I searched with is on the left, while the right-hand screenshot shows one of the product suggestions. Not exactly what I was expecting.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/xg5HT29.png" alt="" width="220">     <img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/HcJ3wKQ.png" alt="" width="220"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Very.co.uk has produced a useful app that offers a decent UX and simple navigation.</p> <p>The problems that I found were mainly to do with its business model (forcing people to register), though the much-heralded image recognition also needs a bit of tweaking.</p> <p>Overall though the app is a good addition to Very’s mobile commerce offering and should help to further increase its revenues through this channel.</p>