News: First NFC-Enabled Book (LATimes)


Atria is publishing its first book to be equipped with a smart chip, the publisher announced Friday. Tapping the RFID-enabled sticker with an NFC-enabled smartphone will bring up a website with additional materials for the book. The debut smart book is “The Impulse Economy: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy” by Gary Schwartz. Appropriate.

The smart book allows the physical book to become interactive for both the book buyer and the book browser, Judith Curr, Atria’s executive vice president and publisher, said in a statement. “The reader can tap to rich interactive content on their phone. The goal is to engage the consumer and start a permission-based two-way relationship that may lead to the sale of this book or further sales in this category of interest.”

The interesting thing about this take is that it seems to be a way for the publisher to try to sell the potential book-buyer on the book using interactive content. This buyer is someone who is browsing in a bookstore, sees the book and taps the sticker on the book without being obliged to purchase it. Now there is additional online marketing pizzazz convincing them to buy the book.

I guess this makes me old-fashioned: the way I decide to buy a book in a bookstore is to pick it up and look inside.

Would it be possible for a book with a smart chip that adds enhanced content, rather than marketing? How could it be packaged if the book is sitting there on the shelf, easy to flip through?

It will be a while before I find out. NFC-enabled phones use Near Field Communication to communicate with radio frequencies at short range and are often used for purchasing. Android phones can be NFC-enabled; iPhones cannot.



The Battle for George’s Wallet

It seems Madison Ave and Main Street is both converging on Mr. Costanza’s wallet.

Everywhere you turn in the press there are debates on the impeding mobile wallet. Free George from his back pain. Free George of his exploding cowhide wallet. Free George of his “filing cabinet” packed with coupons from Florida-area Exxon station, miscellaneous foreign currency and receipts.

But does Mr. Costanza want liberation? There is no question that digital convergence has eliminated much of our wardrobe and 1990’s gadget collection. It starting with our wrist watch, it has moved to our instant camera and photo album, calculator, rolodex, pocket diary, dog-eared map, Gameboy, virtual cosmetics bag, and banking ATM.

APP-dom Wallets

Apple’s APP strategy has empowered garage developers worldwide to create a virtual version of nearly all thing-a-ma-bobs known to the consumer. Apple’s SDKs have accelerated Apple’s dominant position as the aspirational handheld in large part on the back of this rummage sale of digital content.

Some of these APPs do emulate various folds of the cowhide wallet: coupon clipping APPs, banking APPs, money transfer APPs, affinity punch APPs, giftcard APPs, Starbucks stored value APPs, etc.

But unlike George’s wallet, this wallet functionality is neatly stored in phonetop folders, one-click away from opening into the digital cloud and beyond.

The solutions are exciting and feature rich but studies show that consumers are only prepared to use between five and ten mobile APPs – many of these APPs are game or non-commerce utility solutions. The reality (Costanza would protest and I would hazard a guess even Jerry would back him up) is that George’s existing wallet performs many of these tasks and (in many cases) is closer than a click away.


Enter Google Wallet, ISIS (the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon payment consortium), and a proliferation of wallet business vying for George’s attention. Now the pitch was more focused. One central wallet that can TAP on the cash register using contactless NFC technology to pay, redeem store loyalty point, accumulate coupons, and other currency all in one place on your phone. The phone wallet can securely hold your credentials allowing VISA, MasterCard and Discover to enable card-present transactions. It also allows for your heath card, Social Security Number and driver’s License to live behind this NFC TAP. It allows for TAP-to-enter at the metro, TAP-to-open your front door and TAP-to-unlock secure data.

That is the pitch.

TAP-to-BUY at the cash register seems one of the most exciting services. Google and ISIS commercials show TAP shoppers happily TAPPING all about town.

The reality is that TOM’S DINER, where George and Jerry debate the future of the wallet, will not have a NFC wallet reader for a long time. Only a miniscule sliver of the US point-of-sale is open for contactless payment. VeriFone and other stakeholders in the value chain are working hard to provide the hardware to allow for retail America to TAP-and-GO but we are years away.

Both Apple and Google and the disenfranchised wireless carriers want to be in the wallet. That is where companies will make their fortunes over the next decade. In a world where media companies are demanding more context and attention on their digital advertising spend, the wallet is the new media mecca.

But the battle is not for the wallet . . .

Although pundits debate trading the cowhide wallet for the phone, the 2011 consumer has already many more than one wallet.

Every time we store a credit card on a website – we are creating a new wallet and a new check-out relationship. Many of us have an iTunes account, Amazon one-click check-out, PayPal account, Starbucks APP, Peer-to-peer e-payment functionality with our bank. Even our carrier bill is a wallet that the consumer can bill against for digital ringtones and virtual chickens on Farmville.

The battle is not for the wallet. The battle is to be the check-out of choice.

Study after study show that the driver of m-commerce adoption is CONVENIENCE and the inhibitor of m-commerce is TRUST. The winning solution will be the wallet this is closest to the mobile consumer’s point-of-decision. The winning wallet will allow for an impulse purchase with minimal interruption and ultimate fluidity. Finally, the winning wallet will debit and credit from trusted brands whose logos are proudly laminated on retail doors across America.

TAP-to-buy NFC wallets are superbly elegant but are in early trials and do not have the ubiquity to be seamless and shopper friendly. Isolated APPs on the desktop are function rich but not centralized or standardize and in many cases are lost on the phonetop.

Amazon’ Kindle Fire is paving the way. The device is a game changer as it has bundled its one-click checkout with a commerce portal and made it both affordable and small enough to be carried into the mall. Amazon is perhaps the closest to the checkout-of-choice for shoppers.

Quick check out, unit cost and size are all factors that will drive adoption. And while we wait for the store to read our phones at the cash register, the final factor that will win the shopper is always on, always ready check-out in the digital cloud.

The Cloud it where it is at!

  • Amazon will win because their Kindle Fire “wallet” is bundled with a store. It has convenient form factor with a frictionless check-out in the digital cloud wherever and whenever you need.
  • Apple will win because it already has a cloud wallet called iTunes. It will dominate if it can expand this wallet to enable NFC card-present checkout in the digital cloud.
  • Google will win if it moves its wallet focus away from bricks-and-mortar and focuses on its strength across all screens in the cloud.
  • Visa will win if it can leverage its investment in PlaySpan to create a quick password-based checkout eliminating the clumsy number entry to leads to abandon shopping carts on the small screen.

PayPal, CorFire, Billing Revolution, Admeris and countless other will win if they can emulate the impulse nature of the handheld.

Mr. Costanza, What do you think?

Two Fisted & One Fisted Mobile

Discussion with Prepaid Press on mobile commerce.
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“The mobile shopper is a fundamentally different animal than the bricks & mortar and online shopper.   In a world where everything seems to be converging, you have the words ‘digital’ and “cross media”. It goes across tablets, traditional mobile handhelds. We talk about PCs as being mobile. We even talk about televisions as being powered by mobile connectivity.It seems to be a battle for screens. If you don’t understand how to engage strategically with the mobile shopper specifically, you’re not going to drive your objectives. The book looks at how to deal with the specific target audience who is attention challenged.  They are walking down the road, coming into stores and darting out. They are picking up their kids and then barreling out to some other event.  How do you intercept them to purchase? How do you get them engaged?

Prepaid Press: Let’s break this down a bit. First, what is the biggest difference between mobile and bricks and mortar consumers?

GS: I talk about a two-fisted consumer and a one-fisted consumer.  A two-fisted consumer is somebody who needs to have the interactive device, but the interactive device takes up two of their hands. The reason I made that distinction, is if you have a two-fisted device, like a tablet or PC, you are not really mobile. You’re portable. You can lean against the wall, you can sit down at the mall, but you are in a thoughtful, engaged interactive session.

A one-fisted consumer is somebody who has a handheld, who can multitask, who can interrupt their experience in the aisle to look down, grab an alert, and continue with their day. That is a fundamentally different kind of consumer.

Prepaid Press: So the two-fisted consumer has to concentrate on the device, right?

GS: They are not a pure, multi-tasking consumer. They are multitasking on the screen, but they are not multitasking with the environment, not as fluid as the one-fisted consumer.

Prepaid Press:  One-fisted is someone with an Android, or an iPhone, doing something else at the same time?

GS: If you want to engage with somebody who is a shopper, who wants to buy prepaid cards, wants to spend money on their card, you need to understand that they are lost in the screen experience. That they’re not really good shoppers. They are good at shopping for some things in a virtual mall, in a storefront on that device, but they are not really great at shopping at the prepaid mall, at the POS in the local C-store. You’re immersed. What you need to do is engage with them in an interactive way while they are doing other things that are shopping related. That’s why you need a smaller screen experience. You need something that buzzes in someone’s pocket. They take it out and say, ‘oh! I have a coupon’ or ‘my balance is X’ or if buy something with my gift card, I get an extra bonus. Or, they have accrued points with a loyalty card and can spend them now. That kind of impulsive engagement. On a dime, I can turn and make that decision to spend money.

Prepaid Press:  So the two-fisted consumer is proactive and initiating the activity, where the one-fisted consumer is having something pushed at them?

GS: Yes, absolutely. On a small screen, you don’t really have an immersive experience. People spend a lot of time on those units, but it is primarily an immersive game environment. If I want to buy the best PC on the market, I need to research it, I will engage with that on the large screen, because it is a better experience for me. I can see more, go onto social media and see reviews.  I can do all these things with multiple windows on a larger screen format. On a small screen, I am going in, in a very targeted way. I’ll go in and get a nugget of information, but I’m not going around and doing a lot of due diligence. Usually it is the store interrupting me, based on a profile or preferences. The relationship is now directed and interrupting my day, but I asked for it. I started that back and forth somewhere else – online, in the store, wherever.

Prepaid Press:  You talked about a battle for screens. What is that?

GS: Andrew Harrison, the CEO of Best Buy UK, talks about the new battleground. The new battleground for him is the battle of screens. There are so many different screens around us now as consumers. In addition to the large and small format screens, you have television, billboards, interactive signs, all these different screens, all vying for a consistent messaging experience. The battle is to understand how to engage the consumer in a very smart way, and a very consistent way across all those screens. That is the new battleground.

Prepaid Press:  I would assume that you have to be very careful about branding with all these new screens, right?

GS: What branding has to do is work out how to take their product or service across those screens so the consumer is presented a fluid and productive engagement. Understanding what the consumer is looking for at each juncture in their day on a given format screen.

Prepaid Press:  But, you have to create different experiences for each type of screen, right?

GS: Yes, people are looking to interact in different ways at different times on  different media. For example, in an online, thoughtful environment, you would not want to say, ‘here is a coupon, buy me.’ They are going to say, ‘hold on a second, tell me about yourself. Give me examples, a video. I want to explore. Show me comparisons.’ They are expecting a deeper dive because I am in a thoughtful environment, whereas on the mobile device, I’m happy to just get a coupon. It’s a very targeted interaction based on my relationship with you. A relationship between a brand and a loyalist is just like a relationship that we have interpersonally. We are just using a different media and we have to be thoughtful about that.

Prepaid Press:  So, if we were in Las Vegas and you offered to buy me a martini, if it was 5 PM, I would probably do it, but if it was 8 AM, probably not?

GS: That’s a really good example. Context is everything and media is very contextual. You expect certain things and you need to have brands deliver on that expectation.

Prepaid Press:  Doesn’t the mobile experience make context easier? You know what time it is, and you may know where the consumer is.

GS: That’s why the CPM (Cost Per Thousand) in traditional media has plummeted to the floor. Brand has a higher expectation than an impression count. They want to know more about the consumer. They want to interact with the consumer. Interactive media has changed expectations. Media has gone through a sea change and brand expects a targeted contextual engagement. The ROI factor has gone up. So, don’t just give me a CPM, give me a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). Give me a CPS (Cost Per Sale).

Prepaid Press:   When you target your audience on a mobile medium, is it a challenge or an opportunity, or both, to tweak your message?

GS: It is an opportunity, but one that we have to navigate in a very circumspect way. It is not an opportunity to buy lists. It is not an opportunity to find people based on a location, invade privacy. A mobile device, especially a one-fisted small impulse device is very invasive because, if my phone buzzes in my pocket while I am walking down the street, I will absolutely take it out and see who is contacting me. If you are interrupting my day in a way that will make them glad to hear from your brand, OK, but it is also an opportunity to make them angry. It’s a double-edged sword. That buzz in your pocket could be a family member trying to contact you and you need to respond. A few brands that you will include in that circle of trust, you don’t mind if they interrupt. They mean a lot to you.  I opted in, I expect  it. I am not surprised. I may not even mind, based on proximity, learning about a few things that are happening in the local mall, or getting some special deals. That targeting is the holy grail, but it comes with a lot of trust and expectations. If you abuse those relationships with the consumer, you will never be able to get their trust again.

Prepaid Press:  Are there particular demographics that are more open to one-fisted mobile marketing?

GS: There is no question that there are 3 buckets of commerce. Digital. You have the ring tone revolution, digital stuff that is consumed on the phone, games for example. The purchase of content on the phone and personalization of the phone has been in full force for 10 years. That is a younger demographic, personalizing my phone, personalizing my experience. What is emerging now is virtual commerce. I buy credits in a game. Gaming crosses a lot of demographic lines. That probably skews fairly young, but it crosses over into a range of other demographics.

The big challenge is in the physical world. That is a chasm from the digital and virtual to physical purchase over the phone is so huge. You can talk demographics. You can postulate that it is going to be older, but until that actually happens, it is really a moot issue. That will evolve. It will take about 4 to 5, or some people say, 10, years to evolve. It will take a long time to cultivate that in-store base.

Prepaid Press:  Who do you think will benefit from reading your book?

GS: The book is targeted to anyone who wants to understand this impulse consumer, from retailers to brands and marketers, but I tried to cater to the mainstream audience that is interested in this new economy.  In order to succeed in your business, you need to understand how to engage with that new consumer. That is what the book is focused on. •

Full article

Thank Google-ness, it’s Windows?

Mobility is a treacherous business. Cell phones are only used for an average of 18 months before dropping down toilets, falling off tables and general m-wear and tear drives the consumer back into the buyers’ market. For fashion and trend conscious consumer this cycle is probably shorter.

And mobile folk are a fickle bunch. While some may be diehard Apple or Android loyalist, the masses swap out the old for the new in rapid succession. Every time a screen smashes, a phone drops down a manhole or domiciles in a taxi (without you), there is a fresh opportunity for a handset manufacturer and an operating platform to woo the new shopper.

Of course, there is some stickiness. Consumers may be faithful to their Blackberry Messenger group, or the slick screen design of their iPhone, or the price point of their Android.

But when shoppers are back on the market they tend to be unchaste.

It is not just the device. Apple has made sure that the consumer is well aware that if you want APPs there is only one show in town. Developers worldwide are working hard to make sure that Apple and Android operating systems can market themselves and sell based on access to this wealth of content. RIM’s Playbook and Hewlett-Packard’s webOS never stood a chance without a preexisting content library.

Apple’s marketing genius continues to position the iPhone as the aspirational handheld, while Google’s open-android operating system on Samsung, HTC and Motorola continues to drive the bulk of smartphone sales. With Hewlett-Packard declaring defeat and Blackberry (RIM) and Nokia under siege, it looks like a two-horse race.

But recently things have become a little difficult to track.

Apple starts an IP war, litigating against Samsung and winning a stay of the release of its new TAB in Europe. Google’s purchase of Motorola, ostensibly for IP, suddenly makes the giant of the cloud a retail-bound cell phone manufacture.  This forces Samsung and HTC Android loyal hardware partners to reevaluate their strategy and possibly further diversify their operating systems.

The pressure of the looming patent war and Google’s unsettling role in the device market is opening the door for Windows reenter the market.

With the salvo of recent litigation, the Android operating system is turning into a liability.  Open-Android does not come bundled with an indemnification for the hardware vendors. Windows Phone’s does! This is becoming an expensive problem for handset manufacturers. Samsung and HTC have found themselves paying for their own legal defense and paying on any ensuing royalty settlement.

In the background, Windows has been quietly enforcing its IP rights globally. Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Microsoft will make nearly half a billion dollars in 2012 on royalties of $3 to $6 per Android device from vendors like Samsung and HTC.

Microsoft’s “Android” royalties is estimated to be TRIPLE the revenue earned on Windows Phone licenses.

With all these mobile machinations, Windows 8 may be powering your new device pick on the shelf next year. Microsoft may allow for light computing with more robust utility than Apple or Android.

Next time your phone-du-jour falls down the stairwell or is left at the bus station, a phone powered by a Windows operating system maybe the new flavor of the day.