New to the BBI: Topshop, Sundance

Topshop and Sundance were recently added to the BBI.

The Branding Brand Index measures brands' digital solutions from the consumer's perspective and continues to grow as retailers seek to evaluate their e-commerce experiences

Retailers' smartphone, tablet, and desktop websites and apps are evaluated in the following categories: Usability, Performance, Content & Features, Marketing & Engagement, Merchandising, and Omnichannel.

Recently, we added:

Sundance, 70 BBI
Scoring 4.5 out of 5 in the Usability category, this retailer's website is aesthetically pleasing. On mobile, product pages feature easily tappable, colorful images. To improve their score in the Omnichannel category, this brand could benefit from developing an app that links their in-store and online experiences. 

Topshop, 68 BBI 
This retailer excels at engagement—the front page of their site features shopper-submitted photos titled #TopShopStyle. Scoring a 1.5 out of 5 in the Omnichannel category, this brand needs to develop services that streamline their e-commerce experiences by displaying an iOS app banner or launching a "buy online, pickup in-store" service. 

How does your brand measure up?
EXPLORE THE BBI

Topics: BBI

[PRESS] CBS This Morning: Cyber Shoppers Report Being Hacked

Chris Mason CBS Evening News Fake Apps

Chris Mason, Branding Brand's CEO and Co-founder, appeared on CBS Evening News on Cyber Monday to warn consumers about the fake shopping apps he discovered in app stores. 

Watch here

Related Coverage:

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

[PRESS] CBS This Morning: Fake Shopping Apps Offer Back Door for Thieves

Cyber Monday CBS News Fake Apps

Branding Brand's CEO and Co-founder, Chris Mason, appeared on CBS This Morning on Cyber Monday to warn consumers about downloading fake shopping apps during this holiday season. 

Watch here

Related Coverage:


Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

Top 10 Retail Trends You Need to Know: November 2016

November's Top 10 Retail Trends

Industry Trend #1
Fake apps, part 1
This month, we broke the news on fake apps in the App Store. The story was featured in The New York Times, the New York Post, and many other outlets.
Read more

Industry Trend #2
Fake apps, part 2
Our CEO Chris Mason appeared on the NBC Nightly News and ABC's Good Morning America to teach consumers how to spot fake apps in the App Store. 
See more

Industry Trend #3
Fake apps, part 3

Responding to Apple's fake app issues, Google announced a new system that detects fraudulent apps in the Google Play Store.

Read more

Industry Trend #4
Singles' Day
Online retailer Alibaba reported a 32% sales increase from last year. 82% of purchases were made on mobile. 
Read more

Industry Trend #5
InstaShop
This month, Instagram dabbled in shoppable photos—potentially opening new, profitable doors for the social media giant.
Read more

Industry Trend #6
Holiday forecast
A strong, post-election stock market has retailers optimistic about holiday sales this year.

Read more

Industry Trend #7
Millennial shoppers
Millennials say they're planning to spend 25% more on holiday gifts than last year. Is it just speculation, or will this age group fuel holiday sales? 
Read more

Industry Trend #8
Sneak peek sales
Walmart used its mobile app to let customers preview its Black Friday sales.
Read more

Industry Trend #9
Last-minute gifting
This season, forecasters predict procrastinating shoppers will spike sales at the end of the season  
Read more

Industry Trend #10
Omnichannel strategy
1 in 3 omnichannel retailers focused on creating seamless cross-channel experiences to meet holiday shopper expectations.
Read more


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Topics: Trends

[PRESS] CBS This Morning Features Branding Brand in Fake Apps Story

CBS This Morning Fake Apps

CBS This Morning featured Branding Brand's CEO and Co-founder, Chris Mason, in a segment urging consumers to beware of fake apps in the App Store and Google Play Store. 

Watch here

Related Coverage:

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

Retailers: Is a Fake App Compromising Your Brand?

App Store View

App Store view of fake apps by a non-branded publisher. 

Fake apps are posing as real brands for consumer consumption in app stores, as Branding Brand recently discovered. This isn’t just a problem for shoppers. Two-thirds of retailers don’t have an app, which can make them particularly susceptible to fraudsters looking to harness a brand’s identity by creating a fake app. Retailers that do have an app aren’t in the clear, but having a presence in The App Store or Google Play Store helps.

Even though multiple fake apps were pulled following this story from The New York Times, they are still popping up. Now that consumers are more aware of the problem, retailers have an opportunity to either create or better-promote their app.


No App?

Take control of your brand's identity by building an app. Consumers who want to shop your brand are looking for it in app stores. In the meantime, make app monitoring a routine by searching your brand name in both the App Store and Google Play Store.


Have an App Already? 

Don’t let your brand’s app be mistaken for a fake because of a broken experience. How?

Pull it or maintain it

If it’s not maintained, having an old app available to potential customers can be just as damaging to your image as a fake. Apps that are outdated can offer a poor experience to your shoppers, which will make them stay away from your app.

Keep up with monitoring
Regularly read user reviews to ensure your app is meeting shopper expectations. In the app stores, continue to keep an eye out for imposters so you can report them.

Branding 
Ensure current branding is clean, clear of typos, and extends across your app, website, and in-store sales channels. The name of both your app and the publisher should be your brand name to eliminate any questions on whether your app is the real deal.

Boost Awareness 
Make sure people know about your app by marketing it. Advertise it in stores and link to it on your site. Share it on social media and via email campaigns. Apple’s Search Ads is a helpful tool.


Shoppers Want Apps! 

Loyal customers want to shop their favorite retailer via app. Branding Brand’s recent App Survey found that 69% enjoy using shopping apps because they are more convenient than websites. A shopper’s main expectation from a retail app is simple: to purchase products, as 74% said in the same survey. Getting the basic app experience right, then following up with routine optimizations will keep customers coming back to shop.

 Contact Us
 
Branding Brand is the retail industry's leading digital commerce platform, powering mobile apps, sites, and in-store shopping experiences for over 200 enterprise brands. In addition to being named a Gartner "Cool Vendor" of apps, the Company is also the 2016 Forrester Wave Leader in "Mobile Commerce and Engagement Platforms."
 
Topics: Trends Fake Apps Company

This Week at Branding Brand: November 19-25


 

"Nom nom nom gourmet PB&J sandwiches for lunch." #InstaBrander #BranderLife - @karaboubou (2 of 6)

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"New #BBOfficeArt spotted." #BeCool #InstaBrander - @karaboubou (3 of 6)

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"Smell popcorn? Must eat." @shanoncity #InstaBrander - @karaboubou (4 of 6)

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"Holiday party, #Brandival, and some surprises coming soon..." #InstaBrander - @karaboubou (5 of 6)

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"And that's a wrap. Cheers!" #beeroclock #InstaBrander - @karaboubou (6 of 6)

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#Tbt to #Friendsgiving at BB! 🍽 #BranderLife #HappyThanksgiving #Noms

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Topics: Company

Retail News You Need to Know: November 21-25

Weekly News Roundup

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

Mobile Holiday
The shopper-shift to mobile becomes even more clear around the holidays (Financial Times, PYMNTS). Mobile shopping could be the path to better deals, as many discounts were made available online before they hit stores (Washington Post, CBS News)

NRF
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is currently featuring Branding Brand's Facts Behind Holiday Shopping Online and insights from the Cyber Five 2016 Shopping Report in its Resources Library.

Black Friday
Is day-of Black Friday shopping being eclipsed by retailers offering their deals earlier and earlier? Time will tell (USA Today). Any drop in brick-and-mortar renue will likely be attributed to online and mobile shopping taking over (Business Insider, Geek Wire).

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Topics: Trends

5 Retailers Who Boosted Their BBI Scores in November

Branding Brand Index score increases

The Branding Brand Index measures brands' e-commerce experiences based on data from the shopper's perspective. The following retailers made the largest strides in improving their e-commerce channels.

Kay Jewelers, 78 BBI

Month-over-month increase: 11 points
The jewelry retailer topped the list of highest score increases by making improvements to the Omnichannel and Performance categories. Its customers can now look at in-store product availability from the company's website. Additionally, the site enables caching, which helps to load pages faster.

Vitamin Shoppe, 83 BBI

Month-over-month increase: 10 points
This food and drug retailer saw the biggest increases in the Content, Merchandising, and Usability performance categories. Vitamin Shoppe utilizes breadcrumbs and pagination to help shoppers identify where they are on the site. Social sharing and cross sales give customers more ways to engage with and discover products on the site. Lastly, the company focused on accessible web design to increase its UX by adding color contrast.
 

Shoes.com, 74 BBI

Month-over-month increase: 10 points
Apparel and accessories retailer Shoes.com decreased their page load time to improve their score for Performance. Additionally, its website helps shoppers find products on any device with pagination, which boosted its Content score. 

Anthropologie, 84 BBI

Month-over-month increase: 7 points
Implementing caching and loading web pages faster improved Anthropologie's Performance score. The apparel and accessories retailer increased its Content Score by adding product filtering and anchors website pages (e.g., when users navigate back from a product page and return to the last place they were on the previous page). This is another retailer focusing on its Usability score through accessible web design by using contrasting colors and increasing font sizes.
 

Henri Bendel, 67 BBI

Month-over-month increase: 6 points
Since last month, Henri Bendel loads web pages faster, increasing the apparel and accessories retailer's Performance score. Its Usability score also went up due to increased tappability, color contrast, and font size.

How can you increase your BBI score? 

EXPLORE THE BBI

Topics: BBI

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Most Popular In-App Holiday Purchases

Holiday 2016: Top In-App Purchases

This holiday, shoppers will be tapping—not checking—people off their gifting to-do list.

We know mobile plays a key role in the buyer's journey—it's the first place many people go to quickly research products and reviews. However, shoppers are increasingly going from browsing to buying in retailers' apps. Shoppers prefer apps over websites because they're faster, more convenient, easier to use, and have better deals on products. 

 

The Top 3 Holiday Gifts Purchased In-App

Let's zoom in on the most popular products to purchase in-app:

1. Apparel & Accessories
56% of shoppers say they'll gift apparel or accessories this holiday. 59% say they've purchased apparel and accessories on an iPhone app in the past, which suggests that fashion products will be the most purchased gifts in mobile apps this season.

2. Electronics 
51% say they've purchased electronics on an iPhone app in the past, while 45% plan to gift electronics. This overlap suggests in-app electronics purchases will be popular this year. 

3. Tickets, Books, & Music 
56% of shoppers say they've purchased entertainment tickets on an iPhone app, while 43% plan to gift books, music, and entertainment products this holiday. 

This season, consumers want streamlined experiences in store, in app, and online. In-app purchases don't necessarily happen while lounging on the couch— 74% say they use apps while waiting in line. While in-app purchases are more popular than ever this holiday, the key to winning over consumers is through a strong omnichannel strategy that merges the online and in-store experience. 

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

 

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday Solutions Apps

BBI Competitor Spotlight: Amazon vs. Walmart

Competitor Analysis: Amazon vs. Walmart

The Branding Brand Index allows you to analyze competing brands’ e-commerce experiences using data from the consumer’s perspective. Amazon and Walmart, two infamous retail rivals, are rolling up their sleeves for a competitive holiday season. Using BBI data, let’s dig into their e-commerce experiences to see how they compare.

At a glance 

Amazon, 81 BBI
  • Highest scoring categories: Omnichannel, Usability, Merchandising
  • Lowest scoring categories: Performance, Content, Marketing
Walmart, 73 BBI
  • Highest scoring categories: Merchandising, Omnichannel, Marketing, Content
  • Lowest scoring categories: Performance, Usability

With a BBI score 8 points higher than Walmart, Amazon appears to be winning the e-commerce game. From a technical standpoint, Amazon covers the bases—their page speeds, page sizes, and HTTPS coverage all meet industry standards. With recommended products, daily deals, and accessible coupons, the Amazon site provides a highly personalized shopping experience.

Although this retailer has a lower BBI score, Walmart recognizes the potential in expanding it’s e-commerce initiatives. The brand cited 20.6% growth in online sales for Q3. Recently, Walmart acquired Jet.com BBI, a smaller e-commerce company. The purchase indicates that the retailer is making calculated moves to compete with Amazon’s online sales. This holiday, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

See how you compare to others in your industry.

EXPLORE THE BBI

Topics: BBI

This Week at Branding Brand: November 12-18

 

Feeling inspired by this colorful paint bucket piece @evolfran 🎨 #BBOfficeArt #BrandersDoItBetter #Inspiration

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When @ckoshzow comes through with iced coffee 🙌 #BranderLife #Coffeegram #BrandersDoItBetter

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Topics: Company

Retail News You Need to Know: November 14-18

Weekly News Roundup

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

King Kohl's
At the moment, Kohl's is winning at omnichannel. The department store has added new technology to sophisticate its "buy online, pickup in store" operations (Washington Post). Kohl's Pay, launched last month and is gaining traction with app users (Business Insider)

Cyber 5 Buzz
Walmart is giving mobile users an exclusive first look at its Black Friday deals (Mobile Commerce Daily). Thanksgiving Day is the best time to start looking for deals for the holiday weekend (Internet Retailer). The Wall Street Journal offers tips on finding the best deals online.

Holiday Optimism
Improving sales trends closing out Q3 for major retailers, with exceptional spikes in online shopping, might make for a bright holiday season (The Wall Street Journal, The Street). Millennials plan to spend 26% more for the holidays than they did last year (CNBC).

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Topics: Trends

A Retailer's Top 5 Guide to the Cyber Five

Cyber Five: The iconic shopping spree between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.

Last year, online shoppers spent over $7.5 billion on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday alone. In honor of the legendary 5-day shopping extravaganza, here are the 5 trends you need to know about the Cyber Five:

Online sales will surpass $8.4 billion

Thanksgiving Day purchases made on websites and apps are expected to grow the fastest with a 16% year-over-year increase, and Cyber Monday will generate $3.36 billion in one day, according to Adobe.


ADI: 2016 Holiday Shopping Predictions from Adobe

Mobile devices will drive 1 in 3 sales

Adobe predicts that smartphone and tablet traffic will exceed desktop traffic and make up 34% of online sales. Here's the mobile breakdown of total online visits and revenue for the most prominent days of the Cyber Five:
  • Thanksgiving: 59% visits; 41% revenue
  • Black Friday: 57% visits; 37% revenue
  • Cyber Monday: 49% visits; 32% revenue

Shoppers expect to spend less than half of their budget

Most people don't want to break the bank and are hoping for big deals. 71% of holiday shoppers say they'll spend less than half of their budget between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, but they might be tempted to buy something for themselves. 23% of people say at least half of their Cyber Five purchases were spontaneous in 2015.


[EXCERPT] Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey from Branding Brand

Conversion rates jump up to a 50% increase

It's no surprise that people buy more during this time of year. Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, 5% of holiday shoppers expect to buy all of their gifts, and 37% expect to purchase at least half of their gifts. Retailers experience conversion rate increases of 30% on Black Friday and 50% on Cyber Monday compared to the beginning of November, according to Google.

 

82% will use their phones in the store

This is the year of the supershopper—the ultimate mobile consumer. Retail stores still count when it comes to making a purchase even though 4 out of 5 people will use their smartphones inside the store. Thanksgiving Day store traffic peaks between 6 and 8 p.m., while Black Friday foot traffic is heaviest between 2 and 4 p.m.

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Last year, 4 in 5 people were satisfied with their Cyber Five shopping experience, so retailers have a lot to live up to this year. Check out what else we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

How Shoppers Can Spot a Fake App Before It's too Late

Just Fab Fake App Example

This imposter app for JustFab appeared in Apple's App Store on Nov. 9. 


Droves of fake retail apps were pulled from app stores following a recent report by The New York Times citing Branding Brand's discovery of the growing trend. 

But, the dummy apps keep popping up — like what Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand calls "a game of whac-a-mole." As the holiday season approaches, here's how consumers can protect themselves from downloading potentially malicious apps from app stores, and report the ones that are questionable. 

Look beyond the logo

Fraudsters can easily hijack a brand's logo and add convincing imagery to make an app look real in the app stores. Key information — like the brand and publisher name — should appear clean, free of typos, and reflect the retailer's branding in the app's description. For example, an app called "Deals on New Balance" is probably not brand-approved. Additionally, the publisher's name should match the name of the app. 

 

Check the retailer's site

Nearly two in three retailers don't have an app. Those who do are likely to market it on their website, so consumers should check there to ensure an app for their brand exists. If there's a link to download the app from the retailer's site, consumers can choose that route to be safe. 

 

Explore the review section

Overall ratings under three stars are a red flag that an app could be fraudulent. Written reviews for fake apps will cite a poor user experience and ad prevailence, among other issues. Fake app makers will write their own, positive reviews so consumers should be skeptical of super-new apps with one-to-five glowing write-ups. 

 

Research the developer

The developer section of the app should link to the retailer's website. Clicking on the publisher name and finding several apps for other unrelated, non-affiliated brands is another red flag that the app is a fraud. 

 

Did you find or download a fake? 

If you have concerns about content in the App Store, follow these directions from Apple. For issues with an app you already downloaded

  1. Go to reportaproblem.apple.com.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and password, then choose Sign In.
  3. Choose Report a Problem next to the item that you need help with.
  4. Choose your problem from the menu.
  5. Follow the onscreen steps.
To report an app in Google Play Store: 

  1. Open the Google Play Store app Play Store.
  2. Go to the detail page for an app or game.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  4. Touch Flag as inappropriate.
  5. Choose a reason.
  6. Touch Submit.

 Contact Us
 
Branding Brand is the retail industry's leading omnichannel commerce platform, powering mobile apps, sites, and in-store shopping experiences for over 200 enterprise brands. In addition to being named a Gartner "Cool Vendor" of apps, the Company is also the 2016 Forrester Wave Leader in "Mobile Commerce and Engagement Platforms."
 
Topics: Trends Fake Apps Company

The Pros and Cons to This Year's Most-Wanted Shopping Feature

Buy online, pick up in store is this holiday season's most wanted shopping feature.

“Buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) is about to have its best year yet. About half of holiday shoppers expect to use BOPIS more than they did last year.

Get your free download of “Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Trends.”

This trend stems from more and more shoppers expecting fast, free shipping in addition to people being more comfortable with researching and buying online. It’s also a hit among app users—86% say they’re interested in BOPIS via mobile shopping app.

Although it’s popular, “buy online, pick up in store” may not be easy to implement, but you might see a boost in your customer experience and conversion.

The benefits of BOPIS

There’s an opportunity to resolve the issue of abandoned carts on websites and apps with “buy online, pick up in store.” NRF found that most people leave products behind because shipping costs made the total more than expected (56%) or the order value didn’t meet the free shipping requirement (45%).

Letting your customers click and collect their items in the same day guarantees a cheaper alternative to traditional e-commerce and a faster purchase-to-procurement timeline. 88% of millennials say they buy online and pick up their purchases in store to save money.

The downfalls of BOPIS

There’s really only one downside of offering “buy online, pick up in store:” you need to make sure it’s seamless and convenient. Forrester says:

It isn't easy orchestrating all the parts to make it look effortless to the customer — from a single view of inventory to staff training and compensation to eradicating old but very human channel conflict fears—but doing so meets expectations.

BOPIS, ship to store, reserve online, click and collect, or whatever you want to call it isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s a trend that’s come to be expected from omnichannel retailers (much like fast, free shipping). Smarter retailers are taking it a step further by transforming their stores into mini fulfillment centers, according to NRF.

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

 

Topics: Omnichannel Trends Survey Holiday Solutions

The Truth about Retail Stores and the Buyer's Journey

In-store shoppers

Although e-commerce has forever changed the retail industry, make no mistake—brick-and-mortar is not dead.

Shoppers aren't abandoning physical locations. In fact, 2 in 3 plan to look for holiday gift ideas in retail stores. Even though they may purchase online, holiday shoppers still want to see, touch, and try products in store. This explains the appeal of buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS). 49% of people say they'll use BOPIS more than last year. 

Consumers' mixed media approach to holiday shopping supports the case for omnichannel. Retailers must provide integrated experiences in store and offline to attract shoppers at all stages of the buyer's journey. 


Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

 

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

[PRESS] FORTUNE: Beware of Fake Retail Apps

Apple Tim Cook Source: Fortune 

Branding Brand's research about fake retail apps was featured among FORTUNE'S round up of Apple News, including Tim Cook's reaction to Donald Trump securing the presidency. 

Here's a clip: 

If you’re shopping this holiday season, beware of fake retail apps. Earlier this week, there were hundreds of fake retail apps available in Apple’s App Store, mobile analytics company Branding Brand told The New York Times. Apple has since removed the offending apps, which mimicked real stores from prominent companies, including Dollar Tree and Nordstrom, but Branding Brand says fake apps are cropping up all the time in iOS. Their goal? To steal sensitive customer information, including credit cards.
Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

[PRESS] USA Today: Fake apps, fraud take joy out of holiday shopping

USA Today

USA Today featured Branding Brand's research about fake retail apps appearing in the App Store and Google Play Store.  

Here's a clip: 

No. 2: Fake retail apps could trick you during the holidays.

Industry experts are warning of apps that impersonate well-known retailers, such as Payless ShoeSource, Torrid and Dillard's. After media reports, many fake apps have been quickly taken down by Apple.

But experts say it's sort of like the game whack-a-mole. One fake app is taken down, another one crops up, according to experts at Branding Brand, which works with retailers to launch and maintain apps.

Consumers can use a retailer's app to get access to exclusive sales or limited products. Or apps can be helpful in buying online and then picking up the item in the store. But you don't want a fake app.

Chris Mason, president, CEO and cofounder of Branding Brand in Pittsburgh, said it's difficult to know the intention of the con artists launching the fake apps. But some may use apps to install malware or trick you into providing personal information, maybe when you think you're opening up a credit card with that retailer.

Some clues to a fake app: Does the app have any reviews? If there are no reviews, that's a red flag because someone just created that app, Mason said.

Or are any words misspelled in the description of the app?

"They'll misspell words like sneaker, if it's supposed to be the app for the Finish Line," Mason said.

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

Exclusive BBI Case Study: Kohl's

BBi Case Study: Kohl's

The Branding Brand Index not only compares competing brands at a glance but also deeply analyzes a retailer's e-commerce experience. While some department stores are struggling to embrace e-commerce, Kohl's is an exception. This retailer has made strides in integrating the online and in-store shopping experience—and they're seeing positive results

At a glance
Kohl's, 75 BBI

  • Highest-scoring categories: Merchandising, Usability 
  • Lowest-scoring category: Performance

Kohl's AppThumbs up
This retailer's new in-app payment method, Kohl's Pay, allows company charge card holders to pay in-store by scanning a QR code at the register. Highly praised by shoppers, early data suggests Kohl's Pay is a success, which could redefine the way department stores approach omnichannel. 

75% of shoppers say they're interested in using an app to scan products for more information, while 83% say they use an app to search for product reviews. This app offers both of those features through a barcode icon intuitively located at the top of the homepage. 

Thumbs down
There's no doubt that Kohl's is winning at omnichannel. However, they could use some back-end updating—BBI data suggests this retailer could improve page performance and security across channels. This brand did not meet our HTTPS Coverage recommendations, which ensures sensitive shopper data is protected on account and checkout pages. 

Looking forward
It'll be interesting to see how Kohl's Pay performs this holiday season. In the future, will in-app, in-store payment methods be the norm? Regardless, apps are key to a strong omnichannel strategy

See how your brand scores in the BBI.
Explore the BBI

Topics: BBI

[INFOGRAPHIC] What's the Deal with Cyber Five Shoppers?

[INFOGRAPHIC] Cyber Five Shoppers 2016: Survey Reveals Insight on Famous 5-Day Shopping Spree

A consumer survey of 1,000 holiday shoppers revealed their thoughts surrounding the notorious annual 5-day shopping extravaganza, including:
  • 5% plan to buy all of their holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday .
  • 71% expect to spend less than half of their holiday budget during the Cyber Five.
  • 81% were satisfied with their shopping experiences last year during the Cyber Five.
  • 23% said more than half of their Cyber Five purchases were spontaneous last year.

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

This Week at Branding Brand: November 5-11

Have you heard about fake apps? Get the details here:



 

Happy 6-YEAR #Branderversary to OG Brander, Dan Fitz. Always on call even during rafting trips. 🎉 #Ohiopyle #BranderLife #Tbt

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Topics: Company

Retail News You Need to Know: November 11-11-16

Weekly News Roundup

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

Our Fake App Story
The New York Times reported about Branding Brand's discovery of the hundreds of fake retail apps in the App Store meant to deceive shoppers. FORTUNENew York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and ABC News also covered the story. 

Fake App TV!
Branding Brand CEO and Co-founder, Chris Mason was invited to NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and ABC's Good Morning America to talk about his fake app discovery and how consumers can spot frauds.

Singles Day
Today is the Chinese e-shopping holiday, Singles Day, and sales are expected to reach billions (Wall Street Journal, Quartz, BBC News). Branding Brand pulled together some interesting facts about the "treat yo' self" holiday.

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Topics: Trends

[PRESS] ABC Good Morning America Features Fake App Story

Branding Brand's CEO and Co-founder, Chris Mason was interviewed for Good Morning America's segment alerting consumers about fake apps in the App Store and Google Play Store. 


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

[PRESS] NBC Nightly News: Consumer Alert About Fake Apps

NBC Nightly News

Branding Brand's CEO and Co-founder, Chris Mason, and his research about fake retail apps appearing in the App Store, were featured in a segment on NBC Nightly News on Thursday, Nov. 9. 

Watch here!

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

Test Your Optimization IQ: Displaying App Categories

Test Your Optimization IQ

We surveyed app shoppers and showed them an app homepage displaying shopping categories:

  • Test A: app category list
  • Test B: app category thumbnails
  • Test C: app category banners

Can you guess which version shoppers thought was the easiest to find what they were looking for?

Select a test to reveal the winner:

Test A: ListTest B: ThumbnailsTest C: Banners

Topics: Design Solutions Apps

The Top Social Networks for Holiday Gift Inspiration

Pinterest is the top social network for holiday gifting inspiration.

Social media isn't just for humble bragging and funny cat videos. Retailers, take note—1 in 3 shoppers plan to get holiday gifting ideas from social media this season. This shouldn't come as a surprise as social outlets are easily accessible and part of daily life.

Whether it's curated or original content, social networks give brands an opportunity to engage shoppers while marketing their products. Let's zoom in on the top social outlets for gifting inspiration and why they're so successful. 

Pinterest

Pinterest ranks as the top social outlet for holiday gift ideas—27% of shoppers say they plan to find gifting inspiration on the social network. The visually aesthetic site gives consumers context—they're able to see how a product could be used, styled, or gifted. There's several ways retailers can establish themselves as a go-to for Pinspiration: 

  • Anthropologie, 82 BBI
    This brand uses Pinterest to establish itself as a leader in the fashion industry and a source of inspiration for shoppers. Instead of solely pinning their own products, they pin content from several sources, which builds their credibility as a reputable lifestyle brand. 

  • Target, 73 BBI
    Target only pins their own products, but it works. They don't just use images of items on a shelf or screenshots from their site—products are photographed in a home or on a model, which gives consumers context and inspiration for gift and personal purchases. 

Regardless of whether a brand pins their own content or draws from multiple sources, retailers should seize the opportunity to establish themselves as a source of inspiration on Pinterest by providing context for their products. 

Facebook 

35% cite this social network as a source of gift inspiration. Facebook is a great way to advertise and get discovered—80% of people remember seeing an ad for a retailer's app on the site. Because of this, it's not surprising that Facebook ranked as the second-highest social channel for gift inspiration. As users scroll through their feed, targeted advertisements provide gift ideas organically. 

YouTube

YouTube appeals to niche communities like gamers and make-up gurus—18% say the video streaming site is where they'll go for gift ideas. Individualized audiences on YouTube make it the perfect place to search for a gift tailored to someone with specific hobbies or interests. YouTube reviewers are also popular and could heavily influence a consumer's likeliness to purchase a product—6 out of 10 teen users say a YouTuber has changed their lives or how they see the world.

Wrapping Up

Other social outlets ranked as follows:
  • Instagram (15%)
  • Twitter (9%)
  • Snapchat (7%)

While Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat aren't the top ranked social platforms, they shouldn't be overlooked. Compelling digital content across social networks contributes to the overall perception of a brand and builds cross-channel consumer engagement. For example, Anthropologie's beautiful Instagram feed matches their aesthetic Pinterest page, which helps build customer relationships while marketing their products. 

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday Solutions Marketing

BBI Feature Spotlight: Buy Online, Pick up in Store

Buy online, pick up in store is in the BBI Omnichannel category

Holiday shoppers are embracing omnichannel this season.

Whether it’s to save money, avoid crowds, or have better access to inventory, the ability to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) is the preferred holiday shopping method. According to NRF, 88% of millennials say that they’d buy online and pick up in-store to save money. 49% say they’ll use BOPIS more than last year.

Moving forward into holiday, retailers should understand BOPIS best practices. The Branding Brand Indexwhich measures brands’ digital solutions from the consumer's perspective, scores retailers on their BOPIS experiences. American Eagle Outfitters and Helzberg Diamonds both received high scores in the Omnichannel and BOPIS categories:

 
American Eagle, 78 BBI 
Not only are shoppers able to buy online and pickup in-store, they can reserve a product online, try it on in-store, and then purchase it. Like BOPIS, this feature allows consumers to create their own available inventory before even entering the store. 59% shop online to save time, and this feature allows you to do just that because shoppers know ahead of time that a retailer will have the products they want. 

Helzberg Diamonds, 81 BBI
Buy online, pick up in-store isn’t just for retailers in the fashion industry. Helzberg Diamonds’ BOPIS experience helps consumers make expensive purchases without entering the physical store. To help shoppers feel comfortable making a big online purchase, the site includes FAQs detailing the specifics of how to order and pick up the product.

 How does your BOPIS experience compare?

EXPLORE THE BBI

Topics: Omnichannel BBI Solutions

[PRESS] FORTUNE: How Fake Retail Apps Are Targeting iPhones This Holiday Season

fortune logo new

FORTUNE featured Branding Brand's research about fake retail apps appearing in the App Store. 

Here's a clip: 

Hundreds of counterfeit retail apps have been discovered in Apple’s App Store, mobile analytics company Branding Brand told The New York Times on Sunday. The apps, which were able to skate by Apple’s rigorous evaluation process, have pretended to be official apps for popular retail stores Dollar Tree and Nordstrom, among several others. Luxury fashion designers, including Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo, were also spoofed, according to the Times.
Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

When Will Holiday Shoppers Shift from Browsing to Buying?

Shopper buying a product on sale

Every year, it feels like a race to see who can start hosting their holiday sales earliest, but is it worth it?

According to our survey, November is the time of year when holiday shoppers really start to open their eyes and wallets.

The hunt for holiday gifts

Some people start browsing for gifts when they make their back-to-school purchases—6% of consumers begin looking in August; 9% in September—and they continue to look while shopping for Halloween costumes with 19% starting their search in October.

However, the majority—43% to be exact—say they won’t begin looking for holiday gifts until November, and another 7% will start their search in December.


Buying the perfect gift

When it comes to buying, 43% will purchase their first gift in November, and 2 in 3 shoppers won’t finish purchasing until December.

Although they’re a small minority, it appears there are some bargain hunters (or procrastinators) in the group. 4% say they’ll purchase their last gift in January 2017.

What to expect from Holiday 2016

Holiday shoppers don’t want to participate in a marathon; they like the quick sprint. With most people expecting to browse and buy gifts in November through December, Adobe predicts that retailers will bring in over $1 billion between November 1 and December 31.


ADI: 2016 Holiday Shopping Predictions from Adobe

Last month, approximately 9 in 10 consumers had less than half of their holiday shopping complete—36% haven’t bought anything yet—but now that November is upon us, you’re likely to see traffic and revenue trending up and to the right through the rest of the year.

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Facts Behind Holiday Shopping Online

Holiday shoppers will purchase more gifts online this year than ever before.

To understand how holiday shoppers expect to browse and buy gifts this year, we surveyed 1,000 shoppers and found that people will purchase more gifts online this year than they have in the past.

According to the survey:
  • 96% of people surveyed will purchase more gifts online this year compared to last year.
  • 59% shop online to save time; 58% want to avoid crowds.
  • 41% will purchase at least half of their holiday gifts online.
  • 35% will search for gifting inspiration on Facebook.
  • 43% will start browsing and buying holiday gifts in November; 4% won't finish purchasing gifts until January.
  • 49% will use "buy online, pick up in store" more than last year.
  • 62% will buy from new retailers they've never purchased from in the past.

Sneak Peek! Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. In the full 21-page report, you'll learn more about where people find gifting inspiration, how they purchase gifts, and how they plan to shop during the Cyber Five (i.e., Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday). Check out what we found in the survey results. 

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS 


Branding Brand
is the retail industry's leading omnichannel commerce platform, powering mobile apps, sites, and in-store shopping experiences for over 200 enterprise brands. In addition to being named a Gartner "Cool Vendor" of apps, the Company is also the 2016 Forrester Wave Leader in "Mobile Commerce and Engagement Platforms."

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

[INFOGRAPHIC] Here's What You Need to Know about Singles' Day

What You Need to Know about Singles' Day

In the U.S., Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday deals are iconic, but Chinese shoppers count down the days to November 11, when they are encouraged to take a break from buying gifts for others and treat themselves to something nice.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of Singles’ Day. Initiated in 2009 by Alibaba, Singles’ Day is the largest online shopping event in China. Last year, people reportedly spent $14.3 billion on Alibaba’s website, and the company is expected to bring in over $21 billion this year.

A recent survey of holiday shoppers shows that 96% will purchase more gifts online compared to last year. In 2015, Singles’ Day was dominated by smartphones and tablets, and in the first 90 minutes, Alibaba scored over $5 billion—72% of which was mobile. Throughout the day, mobile devices drove 69% of online sales

It doesn’t look like November 11 will stop with Chinese shoppers. About half of American holiday shoppers don’t mind sneaking in a gift or two for themselves, so although the Chinese holiday is not officially celebrated in the U.S., Adobe predicts that Singles’ Day will drive $1.5 billion in revenue for American retailers, which trails Thanksgiving Day’s predicted $2 billion sales day.

Want to know how to prepare for the upcoming holiday? Download a complimentary copy of our consumer shopping survey to understand the when, where, how, and why of holiday browsing and buying.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Topics: Trends Report Holiday

[PRESS] New York Magazine: It Should Be Obvious That Céline Didn’t Make an App

New York Magazine

New York Magazine featured Branding Brand's research about fake retail apps appearing in the App Store. 

Here's a clip: 

Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand, a company that helps build and maintain apps for retailers, told the Times that he had never seen so many fake iPhone apps pop up in a short amount of time. The counterfeit apps largely came from developers in China, who were able to evade Apple’s process of reviewing apps before publishing.
Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

BBI Industry Standouts: Electronics, Mass Merchant, and Jewelry

Here are this month's BBI industry standouts

The Branding Brand Index assesses retailers' e-commerce experiences from the shopper's perspective, so you can learn more about the competition. The BBI scores brands based on the total user experience, including usability, engagement, and performance.

Here's a breakdown of top performers in the following three industries:

Electronics

  1. Best Buy, 84 BBI
  2. B&H Photo Video, 80 BBI
  3. Harman Kardon, 80 BBI

Where they're excelling:
These brands scored highly in the Merchandising category, providing users with qualitative product descriptions and reviews. They also present easily accessible shipping and return information across product pages. 

Where they can improve:
Optimizations could be made in the Performance category to improve page loading times. For example, leveraging caching decreases data usage and increases page speed to improve performance across channels. 

Mass Merchant

  1. Amazon, 80 BBI
  2. QVC, 80 BBI
  3. Kotula's, 77 BBI

Where they're excelling:
These retailers scored highly in the Usability category—their content and layout is well optimized for different screen sizes.

Where they can improve:
Improvements could be made in the Performance category to increase page speed, load times, and protect user security. 

Jewelry

  1. Helzberg Diamonds, 81 BBI
  2. Blue Nile, 72 BBI
  3. REEDS Jewelers, 71 BBI

Where they're excelling:
These jewelers scored highly in the Merchandising category, specifically in cross sales, which are usually found at the bottom of a cart or product page and suggest related products to the shopper. 

Where they can improve:
Like many other retailers, these brands could use improvements in the Performance category to boost page speed and protect user data. 

Where do you stand in your industry? 
Explore the BBI

Topics: BBI

Sneak Peek! Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

Holiday shoppers are comfortable with the omnichannel shopping experience—browsing and buying both online and offline.

The results are in, and our consumer survey says holiday shoppers are more tech-savvy this year with 96% saying they'll purchase more gifts online compared to last year, but that doesn't mean retail stores won't play a major role this shopping season. 

Preview the survey highlights below or download the full 21-page report to discover:
  • When holiday shopping begins and ends
  • Where people find gifting inspiration
  • How they'll purchase holiday gifts
  • Cyber Five buying behavior

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Download the survey results to uncover more holiday shopping trends.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS

Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.

DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS 

Topics: Trends Survey Holiday

[PRESS] New York Times: Fake Retail Apps Are Surging Before Holidays

New York Times

Branding Brand's research about fake retail apps appearing in the App Store was covered in The New York Times.

Here's a clip: 

Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers.
 
The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.
 
“We’re seeing a barrage of fake apps,” said Chris Mason, chief executive of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh company that helps retailers build and maintain apps. He said his company constantly tracks new shopping apps, and this was the first time it had seen so many counterfeit iPhone apps emerge in a short period of time.
 
Some of them appeared to be relatively harmless — essentially junk apps that served up annoying pop-up ads, he said. 
 
(...) 
 
Despite Apple’s efforts, new fake apps appear every day. In some cases, developers change the content of an app after it has been approved by Apple’s monitors. In other instances, the counterfeiters change their names and credentials, and resubmit similar apps after one round of fakes is discovered.
 
“It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole,” Mr. Mason of Branding Brand said.
 
On Friday, for example, an entity calling itself Overstock Inc. — an apparent attempt to confuse shoppers looking for the online retailer Overstock.com — was peddling Ugg boots and apparel through a fake app that was nearly identical to one banished by Apple on Thursday
Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

This Week at Branding Brand: October 29-November 4

 

We <3 mobile & #Halloween! 🎃📱#BranderLife #Repost @shansoncity AS IF, BYE #liketotally #rollinwiththehomies

A photo posted by Branding Brand (@brandingbrand) on



 

New lunch room decor by @evolfran 😌👌 #BBOfficeArt #BrandersDoItBetter #Flipogram

A video posted by Branding Brand (@brandingbrand) on

Retail News You Need to Know: November 11-4-16

Weekly News Roundup

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

Fake Retail Apps
Earlier this week, Branding Brand posted about the proliferation of fake retail apps appearing the the App Store (RetailDIVE, NY Post). Google Play Store is cracking down on app publishers (TechCrunch, Venture Beat).

Insta-Price Tag
Instagram wants users to stay in its app to shop, so it's testing shoppable images this week (TechCrunch). Kate Spade and Warby Parker are among the 20 brands included in a test group of retailers (LA Times, Bloomberg).

Holiday Plans
Branding Brand's Holiday Consumer Survey suggests online shopping could make holiday history this year. Even though Amazon's Black Friday sales started this week (USA Today), procrastinators will help online sales spike toward the season's end (Washington Post). 


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Topics: Trends

[PRESS] RetailDIVE: Study: Fake Retailer Apps Bedevil Mobile Shoppers

Retail Dive Fake AppsSource: RetailDIVE

Earlier this week, Branding Brand posted about the proliferation of fake retail apps appearing the the App Store. RetailDIVE featured the research in a story today. 

Here's a clip: 

Dive Brief:

  • Two out of every three retailers still don’t have an official Apple iOS or Google Android mobile application, leaving open an opportunity for fake retail apps to emerge, according to research by commerce platform Branding Brand.

  • The New York Post reports that some fake retailer apps, such as one for Coach, have tried to lure customers through search ads promising promotions and discounts, noting that consumers are sometimes using fake apps to shop without realizing they are imitations — for example, one shopper almost lost $200 trying to buy leggings through a fake Dillard's app.

  • Part of the problem, according to Branding Brand, is that Google has been lax about policing Android app submissions, and that Apple's once-rigorous application review process apparently is not as sound as it used to be, either: Apple now allows app operators to buy search ads through its App Store, and some ads are purchased by fake operators intending to improve their position in search results.

Topics: Trends Media Coverage Fake Apps Company

New to the BBI: Wehkamp, Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Beach Camera

BBI New Brands

The Branding Brand Index measures brands' digital solutions from the consumer's perspective and continues to grow as retailers seek to evaluate their e-commerce experiences

Retailers' smartphone, tablet, and desktop websites and apps are evaluated in the following categories: Usability, Performance, Content & Features, Marketing & Engagement, Merchandising, and Omnichannel. 

Recently, we added: 

Wehkamp, 71 BBI
Scoring 5 out of 5 in the Merchandising category, Dutch online retailer Wehkamp gives shoppers easy access to information on products, shipping, and returns. To improve their score in the Performance category, this brand needs to update HTTPS coverage across channels that protects sensitive user data. 

Ashley Furniture HomeStore, 68 BBI 
Excelling in the Merchandising category, this brand leverages cross-sale product recommendations and reviews across its e-commerce channels. However, this retailer is missing the mark in the Performance category—their average page speeds do not meet industry standards. 

Beach Camera, 60 BBI
This retailer uses readable fonts and color contrasts across e-commerce channels—earning them a high score in the Usability category. Scoring a 2.5 out of 5 in Marketing & Engagement, this brand would benefit from adding a mobile app to their e-commerce experience. 

How does your brand measure up? 
Explore the BBI

Topics: BBI