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Deloitte released a report indicating this holiday season will see a bump in shopping search performed on mobile devices (in addition to social and other online media).

Specifically, 19 percent of survey respondents claim they’ll use mobile search for gift shopping. The breakdown within this sample is 55 percent for store locations, 45 percent for price comparisons, 40 percent for product specs, 32 percent for coupons and 31 percent for reviews.

This bodes well for local shopping engines — particularly those that offer real-time inventory and pricing, such as TheFind and ShopSavvy, and the “magazine apps” of NearbyNow.

Media Bundles of Joy

Speaking of which, NearbyNow has announced that it will aggregate many of the data from its magazine apps into one uber holiday shopping app. For those unfamiliar, NearbyNow powers shopping apps for retail-centric consumer magazine such as Lucky, Seventeen and Runner’s world.

As we’ve examined, this is a great way for magazines to continue the engagement levels with their magazine readers and push them further down the purchase funnel. This is underscored by NearbyNow CEO Scott Dunlap’s claim that some of these apps have seen more downloads than the magazine itself has subscribers. That’s huge.

This all has implications for magazine advertisers — at a time when advertiser retention is vital for traditional media. The appeal lies in bundling a measurable component with what was otherwise an impression based media. More bang for their buck in other words.

This also happens at a time when the term of the day in mobile marketing is “cross media integration.” Lots of talk about this at mobile conferences from ad agencies and networks. NearbyNow is one of the few companies pulling it off from the publisher end.

Will It Work?

One downside is that the app’s usage ramp has the potential to be lost after the holiday season, when its holiday-centric branding falls out of context. The company could, however, channel this usage into its other magazine apps with strategic branding and linking.

This reminds me of speculation I’ve made in the past, which hasn’t fully panned out in any way that I can prove, but I stand behind its logic: The holiday season has the potential to drive people to mobile shopping products where they’ll see the benefits and return for non-holiday uses.

In other words, this time of year can cause a bump in mobile usage that accelerates overall adoption curves we see in the market. Lots of possibilities here. I’ll give the NearbyNow app a thorough test drive and report back. Download it for yourself here (link opens iTunes).

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. In my twenty years working with magazines and shopping centers, it’s my impression NearbyNow does the best job yet of connecting the worlds of retail and magazine media. Universal shopping occasions – such as Christmas – force people to explore new ways of finding things, and once learned, people tend to lean on these tools for other shopping occasions, such as Valentines Day, Moms/Dads/Grads, and so forth.

    The secret is in NearbyNow’s use of a call center to fill in the gaps between reality and science fiction. Many companies over the years have attempted to do what NearbyNow does by simply pooling real-time inventory availability. Unfortunately, that endeavor has been a fools’ errand for many years, as many prominent retailers with state-of-the-art inventory management systems still face hurdles in utilizing that data for cross-purposes such as “I saw that scarf in Lucky Magazine. I want it.” Call centers allow third parties to call and talk to an individual, directly, to get availability information, and more importantly, provide routing vectors to facilitate the shopper’s next decision.

  2. Thanks Brian. That’s good perspective. You’re right there are some physical challenges and bottlenecks that still exist at the store level. Seems the ball is moving forward though.

  3. Thanks for sharing your perspective everyone.

    Being in charge of the R&D behind the Holiday Gift Guide built by Nearbynow, I’ll share some thoughts with you on the present and the future of this app.

    First of all, we built a platform that extends far beyond the client interface in the form of the iPhone app. Behind the scene there is a comprehensive solution for content aggregation, inventory management, customer communication and notification system, ad targeting system, as well as reporting and analytics. Just think about all the efforts required for daily management of content from such diverse sources as magazines, retailers and brands. Then add to it aggregating and managing the availability information for all the products (just because the magazine editor selected an item for this season’s gift guide, doesn’t mean it’s actually sold anywhere ). Then add real time content update, including prices, stores and store hours, images and videos. Then add all technology required for push notifications, availability and reservation systems with different retailers. Then add all the viral components allowing mobile users to share their products with other mobile and non-mobile consumers. Then the system for tracking and analysis of real time traffic (much dipper than Fleury does for you)… pretty soon you’ll get the idea of the complexity involved in producing this platform.

    It would be interesting to know that some retailers have gone pretty far to ensure that consumers will actually benefit from this app. For example, Macy’s invested in integration of their real time in-store inventory system with Nearbynow.

    Of course, we are not going to stop there. After all, this is not the last holiday in our lives. The roadmap for this app and the platform is very exciting, tons of new features. Most importantly, this app and the platform brings together Media, Retailers, Brands and Consumers in the way that was not done before – location aware mobile solution with rich user experience. And the numbers prove it – double digit conversion and ad click-through rates.

    Lenny Blyukher
    VP of Engineering
    Nearbynow, Inc.

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