I’ve made my list and checked it twice and, finally, I’ve secured every must-have gift. Did I stick to my mobile-only resolution? Absolutely—and, thanks to my trusty new iPhone 6 and some incredible brand apps and mobile experiences, this entire experiment was even more seamless and fun than anticipated.
Mobile Shopping Experience #7: Finally—an In-Store Beacon!
I had a video game agenda—I do, after all, have two teenage boys. But, more importantly, I’ve wanted a reason to check out GameStop’s mobile/in-store integration and beacon campaign. GameStop recently partnered with Shelfbucks to personalize shopping experiences by enabling consumers to see offers, ratings, reviews, and content via beacons. Their partnership is one of the largest deployments to date, delivering that spot-on relevance to countless shoppers from coast to coast.
I pop into my local GameStop and, right away, am greeted by Shelfbucks beacons positioned on-shelf. I whip out my iPhone and, instantly, can access it all, on virtually any game, gaming system, and piece of equipment in the store, plus in-depth information on complementary products nearby. So long, showrooming!
I’ve already snagged Far Cry 4, as I mentioned, so now I’m on to the next game on my hit list for the boys: Assassin’s Creed Unity, which came out last month. With the exception of a laughable 3 percent discount I found online, I haven’t found any truly compelling reason to convert. iPhone in hand, I head to the shelf and read the high marks for this latest edition, as well as tips, tricks, and must-haves to enhance my kids’ gaming experience. No discount, but plenty of compelling reasons to pick up some accessories, at great prices. The deeper I got into the app/beacon experience, the more relevant my journey became. I had better recommendations, more access to targeted content and a host of other touchpoints in and out of the store that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.
Result: I bought it—the beacon made me do it! The technology was seamless, well constructed, and designed to self-improve the more I engaged. It’s a huge win for Shelfbucks and GameStop, and made me want to keep browsing, reading, and playing around with their app. I walked out with more than I anticipated, but feeling good about the purchases—I got good prices, good (virtual) customer service, and, based on the reviews I read, great Christmas gifts. Score, all around.
Mobile Shopping Experience #8: Mobile Payments Are for the Dogs’ (Gifts)
I could never forget about my faithful four-legged family member Henry. But, admittedly, just like at GameStop, I had a secondary agenda for shopping at Petco: they’re one of the first retailers to integrate Apple Pay. I’ve got the new iPhone, so I’ve got to give it a try.
Off I head with a 20 percent discount and my credit card information loaded into Passbook. I fill my basket and head to checkout—and it was a fantastic experience from there. The Near Field Communication antenna in the iPhone 6 connects with the contactless reader in a fraction of a second. All I had to do was activate the Touch ID—a quick vibration and beep signaled the payment was made, and off I went.
And, bonus: given the recent security breaches at a number of retailers, I love the idea of not swiping my credit card information. I’ve been known to leave a store just to withdraw cash for checkout and, online, I virtually always use PayPal. It just makes sense—who wants their card hacked, especially at this time of the year?
Result: I have to say, I probably bought more than I normally would have, just because of the sheer excitement of test-driving Apple Pay. Plenty of my other favorites utilize this technology now, including Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Sephora, so I’ll definitely be heading there next. It was as easy as promised, completely safe and quicker than I imagined. I can see myself favoring stores that accept this method of payment, and can’t wait for more brands to jump on board.
Mobile Shopping Experience #9: An Unexpected Surprise
Target—I should have known. It’s one of my favorite, in-store, online, on my phone… That bull’s eye wins me over as a marketer and a consumer every time.
And this holiday was no exception. I’d heard rumblings about Target’s in-store/mobile crossover experience but, honestly, had completely forgotten when I popped in for some final gifts. There it was: Bullseye’s Playground. I was instantly hooked.
The concept is simple: visit Target.com/Play from your mobile browser to access six different family-friendly mobile games. The visuals are simple, clean, and well branded, with Target’s bull terrier mascot prominently integrated through. Click “unlock” and you’re in—then you’re immediately directed to different parts of the store to find codes that unlock even more levels, characters, and experiences. Roar-off with a robot dinosaur, have a massive snowball fight with your new virtual friends, ice fish, or have a hot cocoa party with the season’s most popular toys. It’s a wholly immersive universe that, literally, inspires shoppers to hit up section after section—I wound up in parts of the store I never would have visited otherwise—which, organically, drives purchase consideration and, likely, conversion. I know it did for me.
Target’s also giving $1 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital each time the game’s played, so that’s another major bonus. A great game and a great cause—what’s better?
Target has also rolled out interactive 3D “winter playgrounds” in select stores that enable guests to engage by walking around the store, side-by-side with on-screen characters. Your immediate location in the store dictates what’s happening on screen—think a snowy forest with a friendly deer or peeping into an igloo to find Tobey the Bear. Then, of course, there’s another opportunity for a snowball fight.
Result: What more can I say? This was the most fun, most engaging, most perfect end to my mobile shopping experiment. The games were cheery and engaging and, pardon the cliché, surprised and delighted me from the moment I entered the store until I (begrudgingly) left, over an hour later. Well done, Target. Not to mention, they have fantastic existing extensions, including one of the best iPad apps in the industry. I’ll be back for any last-minute item I think of.
My overall review of this year’s mobile shopping landscape? An enthusiastic thumbs up. Brands were spot-on in terms of relevance delivery, personalized experiences, and well-optimized mobile apps and sites. I can’t wait to see what 2015 holds—it can only wow me even more. Consider me among the mobile converted.