Could Refund Of Virtual Goods Soon Be Viable?

Read original story on: The Verge

Virtual goods, which include a wide range of digital products from audiobooks to in-app purchases, have mostly been non-refundable transactions. But Steam, the popular online games platform owned by Valve, might just change that with an updated Refund Policy that now allows its users to “request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam — for any reason”, as long as the game was purchased within the past 14 days and played for less than two hours.

Compared to physical products, it is considerably more difficult to handle the return and refund of virtual goods due to its inherently intangible nature. Yet it doesn’t exactly stand as a legitimate reason for blocking purchasers from exercising one of their fundamental rights as customers. Steam is able to allow refunds partly because it can verify the usage of purchased games on its platform, and that could be easily expanded to other types of virtual goods through app tracking.

Yet, it is important to not that, while refund of virtual goods is certainly practicable, the complexity of implementation might just keep it from becoming a reality in the near future. Nevertheless, brands selling virtual goods need to be aware of its viability and actively work to improve after-sales service.

By The Numbers: Mobile Purchase Habits

As mobile usage continues to rise, mobile spending is correspondingly increasing, growing 42% annually over a four-year period. Therefore, it is important for brands looking to conquer the mobile space to understand how and when average users are making purchases on mobile devices and hopefully discover some behavioral patterns that can help inform brands’ mobile commerce strategy.

1- Applovin_RevenuebyHour

Whether in games, retail, travel or other commerce apps, users are much more likely to make purchases before and after work, according to a study from AppLovin and TUNE. The study found that, on an hourly basis, mobile revenues and usage spikes to a daily high around both 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during weekdays, discrediting the myth of “lunch break shopping”.

2 -Applovin_RevenuebyWeekdayjpg

Similarly, on a day-to-day basis, mobile spending peaks over weekends, while Wednesday marks the lowest. Although it is generally established that Mondays are generally the best revenue for online retail, Fridays and Sundays take the top spots for most in-app purchasing and spending.

3- Applovin_UsagebyWeekday















It is also important to note that mobile spending revenue pattern doesn’t necessarily correlate to mobile usage. While Wednesdays, the lowest day in terms of revenue, do register the lowest mobile usage of the week, Friday, second slowest day in terms of usage, is also the second highest in terms of revenue.

4 - Applovin_UsagebyHour

Likewise, on an hourly basis, evening is when usage and spending both hit their daily peaks, whereas the morning hours post similar spending but less usage. The bottom line here is mobile commerce is not the same as general ecommerce, and marketers need to find ways to programmatically increase win rates during peak hours and weekends that fit the mobile spending patterns.

All featured charts courtesy of AppLovin Blog.


SXSW 2015: E-Commerce Is The New Publishing

With the total democratization of ecommerce, Rachel Youens of Wanelo believes online retailers should look to publishing for advice. When online media first appeared and proliferated, tools lowered the entry barrier to effectively zero. Blogs enabled content creation to be so easy that for awhile, it became almost impossible not to be a publisher.

The downside was that there were too many places to consume content. Blogs diffused across the Internet, and didn’t consolidate well. Social media changed that — instead of an XML or RSS feed, social feeds like Twitter enable a curated stream of media. This has led to some scaled success, like BuzzFeed, and some consolidation. Whatever the media revolution was, it is no longer that easy to become a publisher.

Youens thinks ecommerce is following a similar trajectory. Tools like Etsy and Shopify have enabled a revolution, allowing a massive proliferation of small online retailers. At the same time, it is difficult to scale such an industry. This is why platforms like Amazon, Pinterest and Polyvore — so-called shopping search engines — are gaining in popularity. Successful ecommerce businesses are creating different profiles on each site, much like publishers did with social platforms during the second phase of the media revolution.

The tipping point, Youens believes, has arrived. In order to stay ahead of the curve, ecommerce needs to adapt to become part of the new ecosystem — robust feeds, native platform integration, accessible messaging, as consolidation won’t be far behind.

Pinterest Dives Deeper Into M-Commerce

Read original story on: TechCrunch and Re/Code

Pinterest is about to give mobile apps a visual boost: the company just announced a partnership with Apple that would allow mobile users to download iOS apps without leaving Pinterest’s app. Apple has opened an official “App Store” account on Pinterest to showcase curated apps.

Moreover, Pinterest is also looking to launch a “buy” button in the next 3 to 6 months, further integrating mobile commerce into its framework. Twitter rolled out its “buy” button about 7 months ago to lukewarm receptions. But if Pinterest could leverage its great visual designs into its m-commerce contents, it might work like magic.

Event Recap: Retail News From NRF’s BIG Day 2015

The NRF’s BIG Day is a little like CES for retail: there are big tech announcements, thought-leading keynotes, and large showcases at New York’s Jacob Javits Center. Here’s a recap of a few of the larger news reveals:

  • NCR is releasing a new touchscreen pay kiosk, called SelfServ 90. With a small and nimble form, it’s meant to upgrade the self-service checkout experience. Wincor Nixdorf also premiered its new moPOS system, as did Panasonic.

  • Panasonic also premiered PowerShelf, an electronic shelving unit equipped with beacons that can be enabled for both advertising and inventory management.

  • Lots of partnerships this week: Samsung is integrating with tagging/payment system PowaTag. Gimbal, which is also premiering its new Series 21 Beacon, is partnering with audio recognition giant Shazam and mobile offers solution Koupon Media.

  • Spearheading the intersection between retail and tech, Intel has a big booth this year. It is showcasing beacon solutions, mobile payments, a Beef-o-Brady tabletop tablet payment implementation for Beef-o-Bready, its SteadyServ iKeg system for intelligent bar inventory, and its Memory Mirror apparel virtualization tech (on display at Neiman Marcus).

  • IBM released a suite of sales apps, called MobileFirst. Developed by Cognitive Scale, the apps will be Sales Assist (for customer acquisition + management), and Pick & Pack (smart inventory via beacon integration).

Stay tuned for more product news—this is only the beginning of retail innovation in 2015.

Walmart Pilots QR-based eCommerce in Toronto Bus Shelters

Drawing comparison’s to Tesco’s pilot program in the Seoul subway system, Walmart has launched 50 bus shelter ads in Toronto that are meant to drive eCommerce sales.

The ads are laid out like a store shelf with featured P&G products. Users can scan the QR codes for the products to add them to their mobile device basket, and then check out right on their phones. The items are then delivered to the user at home. A Walmart official is quoted as saying “This campaign allows us to help Torontonians shop for essentials on the go, anywhere, at any time.”