Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gifts are about to completely transform Facebook

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith Comment:  This is just start of Fcommerce.  I think once they introduce the Want button they'll have a lot of brands wanting to link into the "FB shop" to allow users to buy products direct through FB for themselves or their friends and family.
Facebook has announced something more important than you may realize: Facebook Gifts, and it’s happening just as we predicted.
Facebook’s $80 million+ post-IPO acquisition of Karma was enough to raise questions as to what would happen next, considering that Facebook made it clear that this was not merely a talent acquisition. Now, the future of Facebook may change.
Long-term users will remember that Facebook has tried to launch gifts in the past, but only with essentially worthless, digital goods. Today’s move is an entirely different animal, however, as the company is stepping foot into new territory by way of its Karma acquisition, with hundreds of physical goods already for sale. Facebook is now taking advantage of the growing popularity of social commerce trends (which it essentially caused), with a centralized gifting platform that lets the social giant gather countless addresses, credit card details and relationship data, all while further roping in 3rd party brands and skimming a little off the top.
 Gifts are about to completely transform FacebookAs Facebook explains, its gifts are intended as a new way for “millions of people” to celebrate moments together. Users can now send gifts from birthday reminders, or from their friend’s timeline. Gifts can be public or private. Facebook even makes the process relatively frictionless, allowing you to pay right away or alterately add your card details later. Then, whomever receives the gift simply unwraps it digitally, enters in their address and finds it on their doorstep days later. Aunts, uncles and grandparents are about to have a field day, and kids will finally understand why it’s not such a bad idea to have their relatives on the social network.
Facebook will likely target which gifts it recommends as time goes on. For example, pricer, high-end products could be targeted towards users with (what look to be) higher paying jobs, while current college students could be targeted for more novel gifts like Dave Matthews Band tickets or beer posters. Of course, this could all feed into Facebook’s advertising network too, where as long as the gifting inventory eventually expands, users will be able to purchase whatever’s advertised withoutever leaving Facebook. That’s where the obvious Facebook VS Amazon comparison comes into play.
detail2 Gifts are about to completely transform FacebookIf this gifting practice becomes a standard activity for users, you can bet that Facebook’s entire monetization strategy will adapt — as we’ve said, there’s a $100 billion market in the US for pre-paid gift cards alone. The best part, however, is that this doesn’t even need to become common for the company to do extremely well. If every Facebook user receives just one gift for their birthday over the next year, Facebook will have sold 955 million gifts. Selling just a miniscule portion of that number could even be considered a success.
Now, we’re left wondering what will happen to the likes of WrappWantfulDropGifts and It’s clear that Facebook is on track to taking up Apple’s old habits; letting creators innovate onto its platform, only to replicate those same features natively. Considering how deep Facebook Gifts will be integrated, this is pretty much a black spot for everyone else in the social gifting space.
How aggressively Facebook plans to pursue today’s launch has yet to be shown, but there’s no doubt that the potential is absolutely massive. Users, hide your credit cards. Investors, get those mouths watering. This is a big deal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nike: Live ‘Frozen’ Moment Art Installation

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Very cool piece of ambient work.  ‘Live’ frozen moment from Nike’s ‘Jordan’ range of products for the new CP3.IV shoe, telling the story of how the new CP3 literally cuts through LA. Create by the guys at Wieden + Kennedy, the ambient ‘frozen’ art installation is ‘real’, in that it uses an entire chain of Chris Paul body doubles along Venice Beach.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Passbook: A Smart Move for Brands and Apple

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

It was pretty surprising to hear the iPhone 5 doesn’t offer NFC or a payment solution to compete with Google Wallet. But after some consideration, I think it might be a very smart play by Apple, which does have a history of doing smart things.

Today I want to work through why Passbook, as a voucher/coupon platform, is the right play for Apple right now, and why brands should be looking to leverage it and others in this space.
Why? Because we need brands to invest in this technology to make it available, and to justify investment, brands need to be able to increase revenue. Coupons/vouchers can drive in-store (online and offline) transactions quickly and measurably. Because price is one of the last influencers in completing a purchase, discounts, savings, special offers, and limited-time only deals help us finalize our decision and act. Price is much more influential in our decision than which payment service we use, whether it be credit card, PayPal, Google, or cash.
And of course, there are lots of important steps a brand must take in the lead up to a purchase decision, but this is one very valuable step in influencing customer behavior.
First let’s look at the path to purchase.
There are many ways of categorizing a consumer’s journey but they all tell the same story. For today, I’ll use awareness, consideration, shortlisting, intention, purchase, and post. Customers broadly move through this process in some order using a range of channels to get to the end purchase.
Disclaimer: Steps in the purchase process vary dramatically by category. If you’re buying a car they are all fundamental, if you’re buying milk, the process is very different.
(Here’s a different path to purchase model created by Nielsen)
  • Awareness: The goal is to be on our customers’ consideration list. There is a plethora of ways a brand can do this, and Apple already owns the mobile, which is a great way for brands to drive awareness.
  • Consideration: The goal is to be on our customers’ long list, as per above. Apple is already helping brands influence this step.
  • Shortlisting: Our goal here is to be one of a couple of brands someone is looking to purchase. They’re using sources like Google search, reviews, ratings, friends’ recommendations, and maybe price, to help them shortlist. Again, Apple is dominant in this space, allowing users to browse the web, talk to friends, and use apps to narrow down their search to a final two or three.
  • Intention: At this point, our goal is to be the brand/product our customer wants to buy. While there are lots of influences at this point, price is a big one. There are few great ways for brands to offer deals; Facebook is trying, Google provides coupons in search, daily deals kind of help. In short, this is an average experience; one that Apple has a good chance of capturing because it’s a dominant mobile player. If it does it well, it’ll help brands drive intention and very likely purchase.
  • Purchase: At this point, it’s very functional, and not necessarily rational. A customer simply wants to pay with ease, and at a low cost, so they can get on with using their product. There are so many ways to make the purchase – cash, credit card, digital wallets, Square, store card, PayPal. Also it’s a space that’s very heavily invested in and the banks won’t be giving up control easily. So in short it’s a high risk space for Apple, and low value for brands.
Now let’s look at discounts, coupons, and vouchers - every country has a different label for it.
Everyone’s trying but nobody’s nailed deals yet. Here are a few:
  • Google has been rolling out deals for search, but hasn’t changed the world.
  • Facebook is trying but poor user experience among other things are slowing its take-up.
  • Group buying: The industry has yet to figure out whether this category is boom or bust material.
  • Brand controlled CRM: This works well for brands who invest heavily. Passbook actually supports and helps this.
So, the space is open for someone to get it right. Enter Passbook and Apple.
First signs look promising, but it all relies on good user experience.
A range of brands have jumped on board and initial results aren’t earth shattering, but do show some promise. Sephora had 17,000 card holders take up its Passbook offer in 24 hours, by promoting it in its iOS apps, CRM program, and on its website.
While it doesn’t prove success, lots of big brands are jumping into Passbook (for different reasons).Virgin in AustraliaStarbucks, American Airlines, United, MLB, Live Nation, Walgreens, and Fandango in the U.S. are just a few getting on board.
From what I see, Target is setting the benchmark. It’s stayed on brand and integrated it into the customer experience properly, so watch this space.
GAP in Japan has launched a “Passbook only” offer to redeem merchandise only promoted via social media (Twittermixi, and tumblr) and the initial results are very positive.
We’ve already seen examples of terrible user experience, but check out this very average example from a cinema chain in the U.S. reported by TechCrunch.
How do brands utilize Passbook as a voucher/coupon tool – the basic version?
Firstly, creating anything in Passbook is a programming/development task; there’s no simple system but there are already solutions emerging like (watch this space). There’s plenty of documentation from Apple in the developer center and look at this developer’s introduction to Passbook.
More importantly, brands need to ensure the experience is seamless. It needs to integrate with your systems, ensure staff can easily and confidently work with the vouchers and customers, and it must deliver real value to the customer. My suggestion: trial it first.
Once you’re ready to launch, it’s about promoting it clearly from iOS apps, websites, CRM programs, social media, print, TV, or any other channel you see fit.
Remember to make it simple and easy to understand; this is a new space for consumers too.
In short, it’s a pretty smart play by Apple and brands should investigate because:
  1. It’s a tool to drive purchases
  2. No other platform has nailed discounts/coupons/deals
  3. Initial results are positive, but be wary
  4. Success is 100 percent dependent on good user experience