Path to Purchase Toolkit (October 2019)
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A roundup of technology-driven tools that drive consumer understanding, engagement and conversion on every step of the path to purchase.
- The latest version of Snap’s sunglasses – Spectacles 3 – are being released sometime this fall, according to a news release, but they can be pre-ordered at Spectacles.com for a price of $380. The glasses have two high-definition cameras that give users the ability to capture 3-D images and videos the way the eye is seeing them, and the images automatically export and sync to a user’s mobile phone in a nifty circle frame or as a traditional square or horizontal photo. A user simply taps a button on the top of the glasses to snap the image or begin a 3-D, 60-second video. (Previous versions allowed videos up to 10 seconds.) Augmented reality layers and other creative tricks such as new lighting and landscapes can be added to the image. Brands have used the glasses in promotions before. For example L’Oreal streamed behind-the-scenes content from the Golden Globes to share over Snapchat.
- Formerly known as Emogi, the company that creates stickers, GIF animations and digital content for texts and messaging has changed its name to Holler, New York. The company’s first big partnership is with a dating app called Badoo from MagicLab to provide emotional visual content to messages between users. The company recently just worked with Mars Inc.’s Snickers brand to generate 42 million views and reach 61,000 brand advocates over the platform, according to a press release. The Snickers images included stickers and GIFs added to messages and the brand expects to continue to work with Holler on more campaigns.
- Giant Eagle recently deployed a mobile cashierless shopping experience in one of its stores using a platform powered by Grabango, Berkeley, California. Shoppers with the Grabango app can enter a store and – similar to other cashierless technologies – simply grab products from shelves. A running total of items are automatically tracked via the mobile app. Computer-vision sensors and machine learning technology work to track the shopping, while the system does not use facial recognition and the data is anonymous. When shopping is done, consumers can pay through the mobile phone, but the technology does work to enable a shopper to pay with any tender accepted by the store, including SNAP benefits or cash, if preferred.
- Foot Locker opened two stores in New York that offer digitally exclusive experiences via the Nike mobile app. NikePlus members using the app can now reserve products to try on inside these two stores, while also receiving deals and contest promotions only available to them. The stores also have a vending machine stocking free, limited-edition items that only NikePlus members can unlock. And they’re going to give NikePlus members using the app early access to highly sought-after sneaker releases. The stores are located in the Washington Heights and Staten Island neighborhoods and are considered “Power” stores that house a second-floor “activation zone” for community engagements and events.
- Aiding the online sale of frozen and refrigerated foods, Bold Retail Inc., Bentonville, Arkansas, unveiled a new solution called GlacierBox, which delivers perishable products to a consumer’s home in up to two days at the proper temperature in an ecofriendly cooler box. Working with Perishable Shipping Solutions LLC and its fulfillment network, the GlacierBox service can be distributed across the country, reaching 93% of the U.S. population via two-day ground shipping, according to PSS. More than just delivery, though, Bold Retail provides a turnkey solution for refrigerated brands looking to sell on Amazon Prime or on their own direct-to-consumer site by offering sales forecasting, content and customer service. The service can also manage social and online advertising over Google, Facebook and Instagram. The company is working with a frozen foods brand to deliver via Amazon Prime, but at press time couldn’t name the company.
- Leveraging augmented reality technology from Seek, Lehi, Utah, Overstock.com Inc. recently added web-based AR functionality to its mobile app and mobile web shopping experiences. The app enables shoppers to see items in 3-D renderings in their rooms at home or current location without needing to download an additional app. The AR functionality isn’t available for all products on the vast site but is available for thousands of products, namely in the furniture, home goods and decor categories. Using the Overstock app, I shopped for bookshelves, and on an item page there’s a button to “view in My Room” that triggers access to the phone’s camera and puts a life-size rendering of the item in the room. It’s all done right there on the product page.
- Profitero has launched a new platform to help brands optimize and maximize sales on Amazon. Called AMZ Maximizer, the e-commerce platform leans on its algorithms to provide brands with analysis on how products are doing on Amazon from daily shopper views of product pages and conversion rates of products, as well as offering a glance at how products are performing in search ranking, out-of-stocks, reviews, pricing and more. The platform also helps brands see how competitors are doing. The AMZ Maximizer suite leverages data sourced directly from Amazon and gives brands a look into “glance views” and “conversion data,” which Amazon doesn’t offer, according to a representative for Profitero.
- In partnership with YouTuber Roxette Arisa and her makeup channel, MAC Cosmetics became the first brand to use YouTube’s “Beauty Try-On” feature for the YouTube mobile app. The tool is Google and YouTube’s foray into the field of AR-powered, virtual makeup solutions. It gives app users watching the video a chance to virtually test out new shades of lipstick from MAC. While watching Roxette’s tutorial to learn about the products, viewers in the app can click a blue “Try it on” button to access the camera and the lipstick shades magically appear smack dab on the lips. The user can cypher through various shades and click a blue “shop” button to purchase any or all. I personally liked the bold red “As if I Care” shade when playing with the easy-to-use feature.
- In late summer, Pinterest unveiled some new shopping features on its platform, including “personalized shopping hubs” located at the top of a user’s home feed. The selected items are generated based on brands and product lines the user likes. The personalized items are tagged as “picked for you.” Another new feature on the site and app brings shoppers into a brand’s or retailer’s broader catalogue. A shopping section placed below a Pin showcases additional product from a brand or retailer as well as a button to bring them directly into the company’s full selection of items. Per a Pinterest news release on the features, a Neustar report finds brands using Pinterest shopping ads see a return on ad spend two times higher than over social media.