This Week at Branding Brand: May 21-27


One of our favorite office traditions: Knockout! #BrandersDoItBetter #ballers #🏀

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Download our Google I/O recap or learn more about Android N.

Topics: Company

Retail News You Need to Know: May 23-27

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Increasing Conversions
Burberry plans to monetize its 40 million social media followers after much success in turning its online visitors into shoppers, with conversions on mobile up 40% year-over-year (Glossy). Men are spending more on clothes than women, sparking retailers to cater to them with high-touch, order-in-store experiences (Glossy, CNBC). 

Pay News
PayPal discontinued making updates to its mobile apps for Blackberry, Amazon Fire, and Windows phone devices (ZDNet). Here comes Wells Fargo with its own mobile wallet (Fortune, Digital Trends). Of over 1,000 internet users, cash is king and used in 87% of transactions, PayPal accounts for 67%, and mobile wallet is used by 17% (eMarketer). 

WWDC Expectations
Rumors swirl before each Apple event, and WWDC is no different. iOS 10 may see upgrades like a new interface and app features (TechRadar). Will Apple Watch finally be announced (Wearable)? Several sources anticipate updates to Apple Music, Siri, the App Store, and iMessages (ValueWalk, 9to5 Mac).

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Topics: Trends

Levi's Featured at Google I/O for Its "Connected" Jacket

Levi's Commuter Jacket | Jacquard by Google; Image source: TechCrunchImage source: TechCrunch

Last week at Google I/O, Branding Brand client and international denim retailer, Levi's, was featured for its partnership with Google's Project Jacquard, which makes interactive textiles possible for everyday use.

The fashionable, yet functional Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket targets urban bikers and comes equipped with an embedded tag in the jacket sleeve. It's designed to look like a button and will help consumers stay connected on-the-go. This connected wearable should be available in stores next spring.

TechCrunch's Sarah Perez explained:

The idea with this new Levi’s Commuter jacket, explained the company, is to make something that’s both fashionable to wear while also representing a practical implementation of the technology.

Today, cyclists often have to fuss with their phone while commuting on busy streets, which is dangerous.

With Levi’s Commuter jacket, they’ll instead be able to just touch their jacket’s cuff, using gestures to control various functions they would otherwise need to pull out their phone to do.

The jacket will be a part of Levi’s Commuter collection of clothing, which is largely aimed at urban dwellers who ride bikes to navigate their city.

“There’s a unique challenge in creating a smart clothes platform — fashion and technology have to work as one but there’s inherent tension between the two,” said Poupyrev. “Technology is fragile, garments… are not.”

In addition to controlling native phone functions like calls, as well as Google Maps and Google Play Music, Google says the jackets will interoperate with third-party services. That means you’ll be able to use the touches to control your Spotify music, for example, or a connected fitness app, like Strava.

Read the full article on TechCrunch, or download our free Google I/O 2016 recap.

Get more info about the conference:
Topics: Trends Company Client

What You Need to Know: May 2016

From researching to purchasing, consumers are using web experiences to determine what they buy and were they buy it.

Industry Trend #1
Mobile Research
72% of smartphone shoppers research an item and 70% check the price before purchasing it.
Read more

Industry Trend #2
E-Commerce on the Rise 
Online merchants are a major factor in the highest spike in U.S. retail sales since early last year.
Read more

Industry Trend #3
No More Malls
Rising profits at chains like Home Depot and TXJ Co. indicate shoppers are spending more at non-traditional retailers.
Read more

Industry Trend #4
Liquidation Results
With Sports Authority and Sports Chalet leaving the market, Dick's Sporting Goods in primed for holiday success.
Read more

Industry Trend #5
Luxury Experiences
Gucci's digital strategy proves a luxury brand can offer a sensory experience through e-commerce.
Read more

Industry Trend #6
Gifting Gift Cards
A study indicates that 84% of shoppers plan to buy as many, if not more, gift cards as they did last year.
Read more

Industry Trend #7
Digital Wallet Adoption
Kohl's now caters to customers wanting to use Apple Pay and reap benefits of its store rewards card.
Read more

Industry Trend #8
Fast Shipping
Wal-Mart is trying to compete with Amazon by offering an annual 2-day free shipping membership.
Read more

Industry Trend #9
Show, Don't Tell
The age of talking at consumers is over. Attracting customers is becoming increasingly visual.
Read more

Industry Trend #10
Online Peer Pressure
Social media is influencing millennial moms to splurge on expensive impulse purchases.
Read more

Topics: Trends

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Google I/O 2016 Recap

GoogleIORecap-Small.pngGoogle I/O 2016 wrapped up at the end of last week and covered topics ranging from performance and security to VR and wearables and introduced Android N, which will be released later this year.

Many of the sessions focused on making mobile experiences fast and engaging to help merchants convert and retain customers.

3 standout statistics from "The Mobile Web: State of the Union" session included:
  • 40% of people abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • 92% of users give up if they are unable to sign in on the first try
  • 66% of mobile commerce comes from the mobile web

Learn how Google's updates affect retailers:

Download the Google I/O 2016 recap.

Topics: Trends Recap

This Week at Branding Brand: May 14-20


Classic #MotivationMonday from Abraham Lincoln. #HonestAbe #MakeItHappen

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Read our spotlight on Android N.

Topics: Company

Retail News You Need to Know: May 16-20

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Consumer Comeback
Rising profits at chains like Home Depot and TXJ Co. indicate shoppers are spending more at non-traditional retailers (Wall Street Journal). Online merchants are a major factor in the highest spike in U.S. retail sales since early last year (Bloomberg), attributed to consumers deserting malls and shopping online (CNBC). 

Sporting Goods Shakes Out 
This long read by Racked spotlights why sporting goods brands like Sports Authority are liquidating, and how retailers like Dick’s and Modell's are winning market share. Further, the pending disappearance of certain chains may result in a highly profitable holiday season for Dick's, as the country's largest sports retailer (TheStreet). 

What's New at Google I/O
Improvements to Android N were announced at Google I/O this week (TechSpot). Android Instant Apps allows users to open an app with one touch, no installation required (Droid Life). Other announcements included Google’s new AI products: Allo, the messenger, and Home, the smart speaker (BloombergThe Verge). 

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Topics: Trends

Brander Spotlight on Android Nougat

Branding Brand's Manager of Solutions Consulting talks about the latest Android OS release.

Google I/O is in full swing, and yesterday, the company first announced the new operating system as "Android N." Now called Nougat, the latest Android operating system will be a game-changer.

Matt Miller, Branding Brand's Manager of Solutions Consulting, shares his knowledge about Android Nougat and discussed how it will help improve the user experience.

Q: Overall, what do you think is the most significant update in Android Nougat for general users?

A: It’s difficult to classify a single feature as the most significant because each of the new features contributes to a faster, more frictionless user experience which reinforces what I see as a core tenant of Google’s philosophy: that our devices and the apps we use should fit into the narrative of our lives as users.

Although general users will benefit from more performant device and app experiences, I think they will be most excited by features focused on speed and convenience, like quick app switching, multi-windowed mode, actionable notifications, and launcher shortcuts.

Q: What's the most significant update for retailers?

A: Google’s new “Instant App” feature completely changes the paradigm of how we think about apps and mobile web. By allowing specific app components to install and launch instantly from deep links, retailers can deliver beautiful native app experiences to a much broader audience without requiring them to download the app. With this new technology, a link from an email campaign could launch a retailer’s native shopping flow from an app that the user has not yet installed, giving them immediate access to important features, including Android Pay, barcode scanning, and other native features.

Updates to Android Pay will also be important for retailers. Users will now be able to save loyalty cards to their digital wallet from emails or mobile websites and even sign up for loyalty programs directly from a digital receipt

Q: Do you think the new multi-window capabilities will have an impact on the way Android apps are designed?

A: As consumers adopt multi-windowed use more broadly, we will see a focus on fluid design that ensures apps are beautiful and usable throughout any mode of display. Because information density and multi-tasking are important factors across all of the Android N updates, I think we will see app designs focused more on delivering the most important content and features in smaller spaces above the fold.

Q: What are some ways that retail apps could take advantage of the new "launcher shortcuts" to simplify the shopping experience?

A: The most successful retail apps deliver relevant experiences that capitalize on the micro-moments when users impulsively unlock their phones to research, learn, discover, and take action. I think launcher shortcuts will play a major role in delivering in these moments that empower users and drive an elevated brand experience.

Retailers could use shortcuts to help customers uncover daily or local deals, review recent orders, track shipments, locate stores, and manage wish lists with the tap of a finger. If contextual data can be used to modify the shortcuts, the possibilities could be endless: get details of the nearest store, set the store you’re in as your favorite, instantly access a barcode scanner when in-store to get product details. These intent-driven experiences offer immense value to retailers and customers alike.

Android Nougat was made available publicly August 22, 2016. Talk to us today about how it can help your mobile strategy, and check out the full Google I/O 2016 recap

Contact us to learn more about Android N.

Topics: Trends Company

Cool App Alert! Turo for iOS and Android

Turo is the Airbnb of rental cars.

Get ready for the Airbnb of rental cars because Turo is ready to fuel your next adventure.

Turo connects vehicle owners with travelers for the ultimate getaway. Simply pick the city you’ll be in and when you’ll be there. Thinking of an extended vacation? Even better. Many of vehicles available offer weekly or monthly discounts up to 40% off.

The app's visual interface makes browsing different makes and models fun. Explore vehicles by category, including Fuel sippers, Fast and fun, Elite, and Backroads-ready, or find the car of your dreams by filtering various features, like hybrid, convertible, bike rack, or all-wheel drive.

Turo is available for iOS and Android, and it's available in over 2,500 cities around the world. It's time to start planning your next local or international road trip.

Did you know that 41% people have purchased from a mobile travel app? Learn more in our consumer survey.

Download the report.

Topics: Solutions Apps

Retail News You Need to Know: May 9-13

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Gift Cards
Auntie Anne's wants to inspire impulse gift card buys through mobile (Mobile Commerce Daily). A study reported by Chain Store Age indicated 84% of shoppers plan to buy as many, if not more, gift cards as they did last year. 

Essential Smartphones
The average American home owns 2.4 smartphones, compared to 2.8 TVs (Re/code). 72% of smartphone shoppers research an item before purchasing it, according to a new Nielsen report (Mobile Strategies 360).

Rising to Compete
Add Wal-Mart to the list of retailers trying to compete with Amazon by offering an annual 2-day free shipping membership (USA Today, Fortune). Gucci's digital strategy proves a luxury brand can still offer a sensory experience through e-commerce (Glossy). 

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Topics: Trends

This Week at Branding Brand: May 7-13


#BrandersDoItBetter, even motherhood. #HappyMothersDay

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Thanks for the donuts, @thepubchipshop & husband of @redfock! #Gamera approves.

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Topics: Company

Google I/O 2016: What, When, and Why

Google I/O 2016What is Google I/O?
Google I/O is Google's annual conference, where developers can learn about the company's latest products and work in the codelabs. Those who attend will participate in sessions about various topics, like the new Android OS, and can get first-hand feedback from Google experts on their apps.

If you can't go, don't worry! They've set up live streaming and recording, or you can attend a local Google I/O Extended event.

When is Google I/O?
This year, it's being held on Wednesday, May 18 to Friday, May 20 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. 

Why should I care about Google I/O?
Even if you're not a die-hard Android user, there's still a lot to take away. Here are 3 topics that might hit home for retailers:

Android updates
Beside announcing the new Android operating system version (Android Nutella?), Google has several sessions dedicated to new features, including battery, memory, and location optimizations.

Virtual reality
Virtual reality is rumored to be a hot topic at this year's event. To date, Google reportedly sold over 5 million Cardboard headsets. It's the most affordable VR headset out there, but there's talk of a better product on the horizon.

Mobile marketing
From mobile app user acquisition and retention to native ad creation, Google is focusing on best practices for building the best user experiences. 

Want to know more? Sign up to receive our event recap.
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Topics: Trends

3 Reasons Why No One Wants to Use Your App

App users are the most valuable and loyal consumers.

Consumers are using apps more than ever. In fact, mobile users spend 90% of their online time in apps, and there’s even better news. App users are the most valuable and loyal consumers.

People use apps because they're easy, fast, and convenient, but you’re sure to see uninstalls on the rise if your app does these 3 things:

Blue Apron allows app users to select "Continue as a guest."You require users to make an account or sign in upon opening the app.
This is a major red flag for users because they have to relinquish their private information before you've even attempted to build their trust. 

Ask yourself: How will the user benefit from creating an account? If you’re the only one with something to gain, there’s a problem.

Give them a sneak peek of what you have to offer by allowing them to interact with some content as a guest. Your more valuable content can be viewable after they’ve made an account.

Example: Although Blue Apron's main calls-to-action are "Log In" and "Sign Up," it allows app users to select "Continue as a guest" to browse their recipes before creating an account.

Thrive Market displays a branded opt-in message.You give them the generic push notification opt-in message.
We’ve all seen this message:
“‘Brand’ Would Like To Send You Notifications
Notifications may include alerts, sounds, and icon badges.”

This message doesn't tell users anything about what they’re potentially signing up to receive.

Honesty is everything. Design an on-brand, informative message that clues users into how they’ll benefit from push notifications and how often they can expect to receive messages.

Bonus: Tell consumers how easy it is to opt in or out in the future to make their decision even easier.

Example: Thrive Market sets a great example by displaying a branded opt-in message that presents the benefit of accepting notifications.

Buzzfeed asks users what they think of their experience.You ask them to rate the app before they’ve had a chance to use it.
As a general rule, don’t ask users to rate your app on their first use. They’re still exploring what you have to offer, and they won’t be able to provide you with useful feedback.

Focus on your loyal customers for ratings and reviews, and wait to ask them to rate their experience until after they’ve accomplished something in the app, like making a purchase or saving an item to their wishlist.

This avoids interrupting users mid-action, and it also catches them while their positive experience is still fresh in their minds.

Example: After scrolling through the app and exploring some of its articles, Buzzfeed asks users what they think of their experience.

People typically try apps at least twice before deleting them. When in doubt, put yourself in your users’ shoes. What do you want out of a mobile app? What level of privacy are you willing to give up in order to explore or use an app?

Don’t put in the hard work of marketing your app and increasing downloads just to see users uninstall your app after one use.

Learn more about what app users want (and don't want) in our shopper survey.Download the report.

Want to know more about apps?
Topics: Trends Solutions Apps

Retail News You Need to Know: May 2-6

Weekly News Roundup

Here's what our team is reading this week... 

Rising Retailers
Sears Holdings took out a massive $500 million loan to focus on omnichannel (Retail Touch Points). Kohl's now caters to customers wanting to use Apple Pay and reap benefits of its store rewards card (Digital Trends). Is Amazon the most amazing company in the world (Fortune)? Lands' End is offering $50 subscriptions to compete (Washington Post).

Mobile Moments 
Should Android owners use Chrome, and iPhone owners Safari? Here are some Wall Street Journal tips for the best browsing experience on both devices. Attracting customers to mobile sites is becoming increasingly visual (AdWeek). Virtual reality helps shoppers browse, decorate, and buy at Wayfair and Lowe's (Boston Globe).

Mom... Mom? Mom!
Millennial moms shop online for diapers, baby gear, and the latest toy trends for their kids; they're also heavily influenced by peers on social networks (Reuters, Media Post). Here's how last-minute shoppers impact Mother's Day retail sales (The Shelf Blog). For good measure, here are some gifts for the mom(s) in your life (WIRED, Vogue, TODAY).

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Topics: Trends

This Week at Branding Brand: April 30 - May 6


It’s #bike season again and Branders are getting pumped for the #NationalBikeChallenge! #trackstand #bicycle #HelmetsAreCool

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CJ just likes to smile. Smiling’s her favorite! #DogsOfBB #GermanShepard

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Salud! We've got margaritas and Mexican beer to celebrate #CincoDeMayo!

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Topics: Company

eMarketer Report: 'Mobile is at the core of modern retail'

This week, eMarketer released two reports featuring insights on the future of mobile commerce and supporting data from Branding Brand and CEO, Chris Mason. Here are some highlights: 

From the 'Optimizing for Mobile Commerce' Brief: 

“People have had a chance to view their first [responsive] version, and now their bosses are still needing to see them have better numbers because there’s real pressure in the market," said Chris Mason, CEO and co-founder of mobile commerce platform Branding Brand.

“Responsive benefits the retailer. It’s about code consolidation," Mason said. "To make it so the customer gets what they want, you must have an adaptive site process, too." 

From the 'US Mobile Commerce Update 2016: Behind the Rapid Growth' Report: 

U.S. Smartphone vs. Tablet Retail M-Commerce Visit Share by OS and OS Version in Q4 2015

Want More? 
Click here and search report titles: (1) Report: US Mobile Commerce Update 2016: Behind the Rapid Growth; (2) Brief: Optimizing for Mobile Commerce, to view and download. Must be an eMarketer customer. 

Topics: Trends Report Media Coverage Company

Cool App Alert! Loupe for iOS and Android

Loupe is the app for foodies across the nation.Calling all foodies! If you live for local eateries, Loupe is the app for you. It curates the best food spots in cities across the nation.

One of the best things this app does right from the start is give food lovers a clear user benefit to enable location services while also being on brand.

The company may be small, but it has a big personality (and so does its app). Browse nearby deals, or take a suggestion for the best places to eat at the current time. My favorite way to search is through Loupe's "Explore" features: Explore by Mood and Explore by Tag.

Explore by Mood
Whether you're feeling "Dirt poor" or "Rollin' in the Benjamins," Loupe will find the place for you. Additionally, you can choose from "Netflix and chill," "Man-bun watching," and "Hungover brunch" among others.

Explore by Tag
Find a place to grab a bite by selecting different tags, including "Boss is paying," "Ample parking," and "Eats with a view." 

Loupe is available for iOS and Android

Learn why shoppers download and use mobile apps in our consumer survey.Download the report.

Topics: Solutions Apps