Ace Hardware Builds A Handy Mobile Site (Internet Retailer)

Ace Hardware Corp. claims to be the “helpful place.” As of today it can make good on its motto anyplace with the launch of its mobile commerce web site. Consumers who type AceHardware.com into a smartphone web browser are automatically redirected to the mobile-optimized site.

Consumers can use the site to conduct research, read reviews and purchase all products available on the Ace Hardware e-commerce site. The retailer developed  the mobile site with m-commerce technology provider Branding Brand.

“The launch of Ace’s mobile site is all about being helpful anytime and anywhere consumers want to access Ace,” says Jeff Gooding, director of consumer marketing. “With increasing consumer expectations of mobile technology and the rapid growth of smartphone usage, it makes sense that we would take being helpful to this next level.”

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Branding Brand Obtains $7.5 M From Insight Venture Partners, Others (Daily Deal Media)

Mobile commerce platform, Branding Brand, has obtained $7.5 million from outside investors for the first time. The platform, which is used by Costco, Ralph Lauren, American Eagle Outfitters, and Sephora among others, has obtained funds from Insight Venture Partners, CrunchFund, and Eastern Advisors. The business will use the fresh funds to develop technology, acquire more customers, and as operating expenses.

Branding Brand was founded in 2008 by three Carnegie Mellon University alumni and launched its platform in 2009. It helps brands extend their reach seamlessly to the smart phone and tablet space from the in-store experience. It is one of the largest m-commerce service providers and has increased employee count from 10 to 100 in two years.

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Jeffrey R. Hennion Joins Branding Brand as President (Press Release)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 15, 2012 -- Branding Brand, a mobile commerce platform used by major retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Costco, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora, today announced that Jeffrey R. Hennion has joined the Company as President. Hennion previously served as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and e-commerce at General Nutrition Centers, Inc. with responsibility for managing the company's global marketing and e-commerce functions.

"Jeff's client-side perspective, combined with his seasoned management experience, makes him uniquely qualified to help lead our business," said Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand. "We are committed to shaping the future of commerce across multiple formats, including mobile and in-store, and are excited to have him on our team."

Hennion joins Branding Brand at a time of rapid growth. The company, which started 2010 with one mobile site, now has over 100 retail brands in its portfolio. Last week, Branding Brand announced its first outside investment--$7.5 million in Series A funding led by Insight Venture Partners.

Prior to GNC, Hennion spent 10 years at Dick's Sporting Goods in a variety of positions, including executive vice president and chief marketing officer responsible for marketing and e-commerce, senior vice president, strategic planning, and vice president, finance, during the time the company completed its IPO. Hennion also spent 11 years at Alcoa, Inc. in a variety of corporate finance and treasury functions in the U.S. and Europe, including positions as assistant treasurer and director, investor relations.  

"I am thrilled to be joining the dynamic team at Branding Brand, as mobile commerce in all its forms is being adopted at an incredible rate by consumers," said Hennion. "It is a unique time given the pace of innovation in mobile commerce and cross-channel integration, and Branding Brand has rapidly emerged as the clear platform leader in this space."


ABOUT BRANDING BRAND: Branding Brand powers mobile commerce sites and apps for the world's leading retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Anthropologie, The Children's Place, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dick's Sporting Goods, Drugstore.com, Eastern Mountain Sports, Kate Spade, Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Spanx, Steve Madden, Systemax, Timberland, Tumi, West Marine, and Woodcraft.

Based in Pittsburgh, PA, it is the largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce platform provider in the industry. It is also a Google Commerce Search Partner, Google Wallet Partner, and PayPal Channel Partner. For more information, visit http://www.brandingbrand.com.


Sephora VP: Social Media Isn’t Just Skin Deep (Upstart Business Journal)

The beauty giant Sephora is known for putting its best digital face forward, and at the Pivot Conference in New York today, Bridget Dolan, its vice president of interactive, explained why: the company does not treat social media or digital as window dressing.

“We’re trying to think about utility and not just digital for digital’s sake,” Dolan said. “We think about it from her perspective. What’s make it easier for her when she comes into our store?”

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M-Commerce Startup Branding Brand Goes from Bootstrapped to $7.5M Series A, Brings in Former GNC, Dick’s Sporting Goods Head as President (TechCrunch)

Branding Brand, a startup powering the mobile commerce for sites and mobile apps from – you guessed it – big-name brands, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding and has now brought in Jeffrey R. Hennion as President. Hennion is the former head of e-commerce at GNC and Dick’s Sporting Goods, and will be helping Branding Brand manage its global marketing and e-commerce functions.

The Series A round, announced last week, was led by Insight Venture Partners, and saw participation from CrunchFund and Eastern Advisors. It’s the first outside investment for the company, which had been completely bootstrapped until now. The additional capital will be used to fund customer acquisition, technology development, and operations, the company reports.

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Branding Brand Raises $7.5M to Expand Its Mobile Commerce Platform (Mobile Commerce Daily)

Mobile commerce platform Branding Brand has raised $7.5 million in funding as it looks to sign up new retailers, continue to develop its technology and scale operations.

With several major retailers as clients – including American Eagle Outfitters, Costco, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora – Branding Brand is already one of the leading mobile commerce platforms. The news comes as Internet traffic to retailers’ sites continues to grow, with many now seeing over 10 percent – and in some cases up to 50 percent  – of their traffic coming from smartphones and tablets.

The company also has a new president, Jeffrey R. Hennion, who previously served as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and e-commerce at General Nutrition Centers.

Mobile is increasingly being used by consumers not only to make purchases but also to enhance the in-store shopping experience by enabling price comparisons, access to retailers’ apps, to download and redeem coupons as well as to make payments.

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Branding Brand Nabs GNC's E-Commerce Chief (Internet Retailer)

Branding Brand, a mobile commerce platform provider used by numerous retailers in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, including American Eagle Outfitters Inc.(No. 118), Costco (No. 22), Crate & Barrel (No. 168),General Nutrition Centers Inc. (No. 73), Ralph Lauren Media LLC (No. 112) and Sephora USA Inc. (No. 106), has named Jeffrey R. Hennion president. Hennion previously served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer and head of e-commerce at General Nutrition Centers.

“Jeff’s client-side perspective, combined with his seasoned management experience, makes him uniquely qualified to help lead our business,” says Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand. “We are committed to shaping the future of commerce across multiple formats, including mobile and in-store, and are excited to have him on our team.”

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Why Are More Retailers Not Leveraging the Power of Passbook? (Mobile Commerce Daily)

Apple’s Passbook has what it takes to be a real game-changer for retailers, with companies such as Target and Sephora already on board. With the holiday season coming up, more retailers need to implement the service into their marketing efforts to drive in-store traffic and revenue.

Apple recently unveiled its Passbook application with the latest iOS software update. However, what lacked was the amount of retailers that joined.

“Retailers should consider Passbook in their initiatives,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “It is a solid step to get to mobile payments.

“The question will remain that it is a bit too early perhaps to make it a top integration priority unless you have a business that has a focus on those key first elements of Passbook, such as boarding passes, tickets, store cards, loyalty and coupons,” she said.

“The more options you give a customer to engage in a meaningful way – especially when it comes to purchasing goods – the better off you will be in the long run. It may not seem like a big opportunity yet, but getting in the game early helps understand the best way to use Passbook for your particular customer base.”

Retailers who do not incorporate Passbook into their initiatives can miss out big.

“Passbook is a market-defining way to drive customer engagement,” said Chris Mason, cofounder/CEO of Branding Brand. “Those who have it will excel and those who don’t will find themselves providing less convenience to to their customers than their competitors.

“Passbook is the only system currently in place with the critical mass and simplicity to connect online and offline,” he said. “All of this is headed straight to the in-store experience. Passbook can provide swift, convenient methods of redemption for loyalty programs and buy-online-pickup-in-store experiences. This is the new email for the iOS user.

“While some early adopters will use Passbook for the holidays, the bigger story is about how retailers will make it a part of their 2013 plans.”

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Branding Brand Raises $7.5 Million Series A Led by Insight Venture Partners (Press Release)

PITTSBURGH, PA – October 12, 2012 – Branding Brand, a mobile commerce platform used by major retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Costco, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora, today announced that it has secured $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with CrunchFund and Eastern Advisors also participating. Branding Brand will use the investment to scale customer acquisition, technology development, and operations.

The round marks Branding Brand's first outside investment. Founded in 2008 by three friends from Carnegie Mellon University, the company launched a mobile platform at the end of 2009 to seamlessly extend brands into optimized experiences for smartphones, tablets, and in-store. It is now the largest m-commerce provider to the Internet Retailer Top 500 and has grown from 10 to over 100 employees in the last two years.

"In 2013, many of our clients will see more internet traffic coming from mobile devices than desktop computers," said Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand. "There is unprecedented opportunity in front of us, and we're ready to take things to the next level."

"We are particularly excited by Branding Brand's ability to deliver innovative cross-channel solutions to their retail partners," said Ryan Hinkle , Principal at Insight Venture Partners. "We were drawn to their thought leadership in enabling mobile solutions that enhance both brick-and-mortar and online functionality."


ABOUT BRANDING BRAND
Branding Brand powers mobile commerce sites and apps for the world's leading brands, including American Eagle Outfitters, Anthropologie, The Children's Place, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dick's Sporting Goods, Drugstore.com, Eastern Mountain Sports, GNC, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Steve Madden, Timberland, Tumi, and West Marine. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, it is the largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce platform provider in the industry. It is also a Google Commerce Search Partner, Google Wallet Partner, and PayPal Channel Partner. For more information, visit http://www.brandingbrand.com/about.

ABOUT INSIGHT VENTURE PARTNERS
Insight Venture Partners is a leading private equity and venture capital firm focused on the global software, Internet and data-services industries. Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $5 billion and made more than 150 investments. Insight has a successful two-team structure: its investment team evaluates thousands of companies globally each year; its Insight Onsite team of consultants works with growth-stage management to provide resources and advice to allow them to achieve long-term success. For more information, visit http://www.insightpartners.com.


How We Dress: Branding Brand (The Blush)




The people at Branding Brand have one of the coolest gigs we’ve ever heard about. This team helps create apps and websites for mobile phones for some of our fave companies (including Ralph Lauren, Crate and Barrel and Sephora)! If you work at a tech company or are looking for the right thing to wear during your work week, you’re going to be inspired.

(View slideshow)


How Big Will Tablet Commerce Be During the Holidays? (Mobile Commerce Daily)

“Last year, we were all still in the experimental phase, so many tablet experiences focused simply on getting something launched,” said Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand, Pittsburgh, PA. “This year, there is more of a focus on creating a fluid transactional experience on tablets and mobile devices in general.

“Good examples of this can be found in the work of Sephora over the last year,” he said. “Their efforts in-store have made it easier for consumers to create appointments, pinpoint products with Pantone and gain easy access to product reviews.

“We see there being steady and rapid increase in tablet commerce sales this year. Many retailers will find that more than 10 percent of their consumers are buying products via tablets.”

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