Digital trends round-up August 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Digital Business Update – a summary of innovations, new technologies and the latest digital trends to help you navigate today’s fast-paced, tech-enabled world. This month we’re looking at the Co-op’s tech-enabled trolleys, Facebook’s  ‘Buy’ button, easyJet’s iBeacon trial and Westpac’s plans for an augmented reality banking app.

Co-op seeks customer feedback through tech-enabled trolleys

The Co-op has introduced tech-enabled trolleys in 33 stores as part of a pilot project to gain feedback from its customers. Each trolley is fitted with a tablet which triggers questions on everything from store layout to product ranges as shoppers reach specific areas of the store. Whilst collecting in-the-moment insights from customers in-situ will undoubtedly prove valuable to the supermarket, elements of the Co-op’s approach are questionable. Will busy shoppers be willing to participate in the research? And is it possible to capture in-depth insights mid-shop? Mobile research could have been a better solution, enabling the Co-op to pose follow-up questions to in-store tasks and providing a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.

Facebook tests ‘Buy’ button to facilitate one-click purchases

Facebook is testing a ‘Buy’ button that will enable users to make one-click purchases from within the social network. The feature is currently being tested with small businesses in the US who do not pay to use the feature. In the long-run, however, Facebook could charge brands a fee to use the button as a way of monetising the social network beyond advertising revenue. The ‘Buy’ button will also provide Facebook will additional data on users’ purchasing habits, enriching its comprehensive understanding of its customer base. But the benefits of the tool extend beyond Facebook. The ‘Buy’ button will have immense value to marketers, helping to boost conversion rates and increase ROI on social advertising.

easyJet trials iBeacons in the UK and France

EasyJet has become the latest in a series of brands to trial iBeacons, having announced plans to install the technology at London Luton, London Gatwick and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports. The airline will use iBeacons to detect when customers reach particular points in the airport, triggering an appropriate smartphone notification. For example, when a customer arrives at bag drop or security, they will receive a reminder to have their passport to hand. EasyJet’s initial plans for iBeacons aim to enhance the customer experience, but the technology could also be used to send targeted marketing messages to customers or to conduct market research. To find out more about iBeacons and the use cases for the technology, check out our blog post on the subject.

Westpac New Zealand to launch augmented reality banking app in September

Westpac New Zealand has announced that it is developing an augmented reality banking app ready to be launched this September. To activate the app, customers simply slide their bank card underneath their iPhone and turn on the camera. This launches a 3D interface where customers can view their balance, recent transactions and make payments. The app can also be used in conjunction with the phone’s camera to locate nearby branches and ATMs. The augmented reality app, a product of one of the bank’s crowdsourcing competitions, is being used as a means of obtaining customer feedback on augmented reality, ahead of plans to integrate the technology into a new banking platform later this year.