Tap And Track: How Big Data, Games, And Auctions Are Maximizing Mobile Commerce

Author

Dishman, Lydia

August 16, 2013

Better, faster, more customer friendly. This week, a slew of apps and e-commerce boosters were announced, each relying on big data to home in on the sweet spot that converts browsing to buying.

Drync

You sipped a crisp, white burgundy with your entree at a local bistro last night. This afternoon, you’d like to get another bottle to have at home. The problem: you can’t remember the name of the producer, much less the vintage.

In the past, you’d have to resort to a bleary-eyed scanning of shelves at the wine shop in effort to jog your memory. Now, a free iOS app dubbed Drync, that uses image recognition technology plus e-commerce, lets you snap a shot of the label as you sip, and shop (or discover others to sample) from your mobile phone.

Drync aims to combine the search and discovery capabilities that Shazam offers for music and TV shows (you can scour by text, too) and the instant gratification of Amazon’s click-to-buy and home delivery. The discovery function may be the most compelling proposition on this app, as the company claims that approximately 160,000 wines come available each year. Drync’s custom curated wine lists include over 900,000 wines. 30,000 of which are available for home delivery.

Frank & Oak’s StyleScape 

Personalized product recommendations, user-generated inspiration boards and social sharing are not new concepts in e-commerce. Sites such as Modcloth tailor landing pages and product recommendations to each shopper thanks to automated deep dives into big data.

What sets Montreal-based Frank & Oak (somewhat) apart is that their effort is for the notoriously tough consumer: a guy. Men don’t typically browse as much as women do, either online or in stores. Frank & Oak’s already rolled out a subscription-style effort to engage regular customers on a monthly basis. StyleScape aims to capture their fancies through more personalized product suggestions, free shipping, and monthly at-home try ons. As the company plays both supplier and retailer, social sharing will be used to inform future assortments.

Fashioholic’s Fashion Eye 

Calling itself the “missing piece in your marketing puzzle,” the folks behind Israeli startup Fashioholic are convinced that female consumers are looking for new ways to engage with fashion brands and that way is gaming.

The Fashion Eye app available on Android and iOS offers tastemakers a chic tool to tap their way to discovering new things to by. There’s a reason the company’s dubbed them “Serious Games.” It’s a “social turn-based game” meaning you can play against your friends and compete by selecting the highest priced pieces from pairs of items in the shortest amount of time (remember the Price is Right, anyone?).

Designed to be irresistible to women, the game pulls together users’ preferences to offer items that best suit their personal style. The more you play, the smarter the app gets at showing you stuff you really want to buy from among thousands of items –and the more information participating brands can gather about their target customers.

Tophatter

Flash sales and eBay auctions are getting some mobile competition in the form of 90 second bidding events from Tophatter. The Palo Alto startup launched on the web in 2012 (the company was originally Blippy, a social sharing site focused on consumer reviews) but is now focusing on more on mobile, so people can bid on the go. The iPad app takes the mobile experience a bit deeper –or bigger– in an effort to showcase the products better.

Dwindling attention spans coupled with eBay’s shift to more “buy it now” products, mean the time is ripe for Tophatter to spark mini bidding frenzies on the dozens of minute and a half “show downs” on designer jewelry, handbags, makeup and pre-owned electronics. Chat rooms give Tophatter an edge over flash sale sites where buying is a solitary pursuit.

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