Delay in Passbook Adoption Hurts Retailers in Long-run (Mobile Commerce Daily)

It has been almost a year since Apple’s initial launch of Passbook and only a few retailers have leveraged the technology to further their mobile commerce initiatives. There is no doubt loyalty will be a big influencer in mobile payment growth. However, by not harnessing Passbook, retailers are missing a big opportunity.

When Apple’s Passbook first launched onto the mobile scene, it received mixed reactions from marketers and retailers. However, now is the time to take risks in mobile and marketers need to try out different forms of technology to see what works and what does not.

“For a long time, there was confusion around Passbook and its capabilities,” said Chris Mason, co-founder/CEO of Branding Brand, Pittsburgh, PA.

“For example, some retailers thought they had to first have an app,” he said. “There were also challenges around education – for retailers as well as customers....

“Passbook has the ability to create convenient experiences that bridge the gap between online and offline worlds,” he said.

“In addition to a focus on mobile wallets, there is also new attention on the larger ‘bag’ or ‘purse’ of customer information. Everyone likes to talk about responsive design, but the end of the day, it’s about responsive data. How can we collect and configure information in unique, contextually-relevant ways?”

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Faster Mobile Check-outs Mean Bigger Payouts (PayPal Blog)

In 2012, PayPal enabled $14 billion worth of mobile payment volume and in 2013 we expect to exceed $20 billion. In addition to our leadership in this space, recent research from eMarketer found that people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets in 2012, an increase of 81 percent from the year before, which compiles data from 120 sources that track commerce. They also predict that by 2016, mobile will be $87 billion, or a quarter of all e-commerce.

PayPal is the leader in mobile payments. In order for PayPal to stay ahead within this fast moving industry, and remain a leader in this space, we must continue to understand merchant and customer behaviors to create better experiences on mobile devices. As part of this, PayPal and Branding Brand developed a mobile study, which included four large merchants across consumer packaged goods, electronics, and the footwear/apparel verticals and measured approximately 400,000 visitors between December 2012 and March 2013.

The results were fascinating and demonstrated that simply adding a PayPal button on a product page – versus only at checkout – could help mobile shoppers check out faster and lead to a significant increase in sales for merchants.

  • Even adding a standard mobile optimized checkout experience, such as the one that is part of PayPal’s express checkout product, increased sales by 26% and 44%.*
  • Adding a PayPal checkout button on the product page adds at least another 10% sales lift on top of a standard integration.**

In one case, the sales lift for adding PayPal to the product page even went up to 32%. This sales lift includes all payment methods and has been calculated based on “per-visitor-value”. For example, each visitor to the merchants’ mobile site was worth $0.2 with their existing payment integrations, which included PayPal on the payment and cart page. Adding a third placement of PayPal on the product page would increase the “per-visitor-value” to $0.22.

The methodology was running concurrent live tests measured with Google analytics, and analyzed by both Branding Brand and PayPal to determine the sales lift.

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Digital Platforms Alter Role of the CMO (WWD)

Jeff Hennion, president of Branding Brand, a company that puts mobile strategies in place for retailers, was CMO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and GNC before leaving the latter eight months ago to help organizations like Costco, Crate & Barrel, Sephora, American Eagle, Nasty Gal and Rent the Runway optimize mobile versions of their Web sites and check out on tablets, create mobile apps, and enhance in-store and marketing solutions.... 

He contends that Branding Brand has clients that will see over 50 percent of their Web site traffic coming from mobile and tablets, up from about 5 percent just three to four years ago. 

The biggest challenge that retailers currently face, according to Hennion, is adapting a brick-and-mortar store for the online space. It’s not just creating the same experience digitally; it has to be adapted specifically to every online medium, he explained.  

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Branding Brand Goes from Startup to Growth Company (Pittsburgh Business Times)

The executive team at Branding Brand is expanding as the growing company establishes a structure to take it to the next level. I caught up with co-founder Christina Koshzow this week, and as the company has ramped up — it now has 120 people — there is a need to add structure into what has until now been a flat company.

To that end, the newest executive to join the team is John DiSarlo, formerly the senior national sales leader at Visa for DiSarlo will take on the role of vice president of business development and will work out of the company’s small New York City sales office. Prior to Visa, DiSarlo was director of sales at PayPal.

MORE: Branding Brand raises $7.5M

Branding Brand has been able to grow along with the mobile market. The firm, which started as an interactive marketing agency, has found a niche in the mobile space creating mobile commerce sites for big brands including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sephora and Costco.

“There was an opportunity for a company to get in there and be true to the brand,” Koshzow said, adding that instead of just putting brands into templates, Branding Brand can customize a mobile experience, “extending a brand into new channels.”

The majority of the company’s clients are retailers, but there is a move into new markets such as transportation and hotels, she said. There is also now a move to integrate the mobile experience with the in-store experience for retailers.

Also of note, it takes a lot of hitting the pavement and relentless cold calling to make it, Koshzow noted, adding that the the company’s ability to get in the door with Dick’s was a major step in its evolution, and landing that first project took about a year of consistently trying to get in with the sporting retailer.

It paid off in 2009 when Dick’s unveiled its mobile site, designed by Branding Brand, during the Dick’s Sporting Goods Cowboys Classic football game with a QR code on the giant Cowboys Stadium jumbotron. After that, as mobile has grown, so has Branding Brand’s reputation.

From the beginning, the company set out to grow organically instead of raising money. It didn't raise its first round of capital until last year. By doing that, it gave the team the ability to really figure out what the opportunities are and what the mobile platform should look like.

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Crate & Barrel 3D Mobile App Amplifies Shopping Experience (Mobile Commerce Daily)

Crate & Barrel is letting consumers transform and redesign any room in their home via its new 3D mobile application. The app was created in collaboration with NedSense Loft, a technology design firm and developed in partnership with Branding Brand. The iPad app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

“Customers have responded positively to the program since we launched in stores last year,” said John Seebeck, vice president of ecommerce at Crate & Barrel. “More than 24,000 rooms have been created by customers with a furniture associate and 8,000 by web users at home,” he said.

How it works

Via the Crate & Barrel 3D iPad app, consumers can input their room measurements and are able to transform a digital photo of their own space into a 3D virtual room. Users can select from more than 3,000 3D models of Crate and Barrel items, alter fabric and colors, and pair them with current furniture and accessories. According to the company, this ensures consumers that the products will work together before purchasing. Through the app, consumers can browse product photos, details and upholstery options, as well as share their favorite picks with family and friends via email, Facebook and Twitter. The app also lets consumers add items to their shopping cart and checkout.

Past efforts

Crate & Barrel is no stranger to mobile. In 2011, the company offered consumers a chance to win a $500 gift card via a QR code featured on its fall catalog (see story). Most recently, Crate and Barrel added a new mobile application to its repertoire that aimed to increase the company’s in-store traffic, as well as accommodate consumers who are looking to manage their wedding and gift registry (see story).

“Today, we are thrilled to launch our first tablet app, which combines this unique functionality with the interaction and usability of an iPad,” Mr. Seebeck said.

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Mobile Commerce Index Shows Year-over-year Smartphone Visits Up 102%, Orders Up 104% (Press Release)

Branding Brand, the leading mobile commerce platform to major retailers, today released the results of its Mobile Commerce Index for May 2013. The complete report, along with accompanying images, is available at

The Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index identifies trends across a sample of Branding Brand clients in various industries, including apparel, health and beauty, and home goods. The Index is the largest collection of data on commerce sites specifically designed for smartphones, as opposed to non-optimized desktop sites with mobile traffic.

Compared to May 2012, the Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index shows the following year-over-year gains for the 18 clients tracked during both periods:  

  • Smartphone visits increased 102%
  • Smartphone orders increased 104%
  • Smartphone revenue increased 103%    

In May 2013, mobile devices generated one-third of total online visits (20% smartphones; 13% tablets) and 17% of all e-commerce revenue (4% smartphones; 13% tablets). iOS continued to dominate across all categories.

"Desktop's piece of the e-commerce pie is shrinking," said Chris Mason , Branding Brand co-founder and CEO. "We are excited about the implications these numbers have for our clients, not just online but also in-store. Traditional commerce models no longer apply."

 Branding Brand powers mobile commerce sites and apps for over 150 of the world's leading brands, including Ace Hardware, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath and Body Works, Benefit Cosmetics, Brookstone, Calvin Klein , The Children's Place, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar General,, Eastern Mountain Sports, Hot Topic, Jo-Ann, Kate Spade , Nasty Gal, Nautica, Petco, Ralph Lauren , Sephora, Spanx, Timberland, and Tumi. Based inPittsburgh, PA, it is the largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce platform in the industry, with offerings including smartphone and tablet sites, apps, and mobile in-store integrations. For more information, visit or @brandingbrand.


John DiSarlo Joins as Vice President, Business Development (Press Release)

Branding Brand, the leading mobile commerce platform to top retailers, today announced that John DiSarlo has joined the Company as Vice President, Business Development. DiSarlo was previously the Senior National Sales Leader at by Visa, where he was responsible for growing the company's mobile payment business. From 2007 to 2010, he was Director of Sales at PayPal.

"We are steadily building a dream-team of industry leaders, and we are excited to attract John's caliber of expertise," said Chris Mason , Branding Brand co-founder and CEO. "Branding Brand is committed to delivering the best--not just in mobile technology, but also in terms of our people."

The new hire comes at a time of strategic expansion for Branding Brand. Over the last few months, the Company has grown its team significantly with key hires, including Jeffrey R. Hennion , former Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and e-Commerce, at GNC and Dick's Sporting Goods, as President and Bibhash Das , former Senior Director, Account Management, Americas, at Adobe, as Vice President, Client Services.

"I am very excited to join Branding Brand at this time of tremendous growth in mobile technology," said DiSarlo. "My goal is to drive value to the merchant community and deliver predictable and repeatable results."

"As we continue to broaden our leadership team, our roster of leading brands, and our business model, we are very pleased to have a proven industry leader like John join our team," said Hennion.

ABOUT BRANDING BRAND: Branding Brand powers mobile commerce sites and apps for over 150 of the world's leading brands, including Ace Hardware, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath and Body Works, Benefit Cosmetics, Brookstone, Calvin Klein , The Children's Place, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar General,, Eastern Mountain Sports, Hot Topic, Jo-Ann, Kate Spade , Nasty Gal, Nautica, Petco, Ralph Lauren , Sephora, Spanx, Timberland, and Tumi. Based inPittsburgh, PA, it is the largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce platform in the industry. For more information, visit or @brandingbrand.