Why Sharper Image Embedded a ‘Buy Now’ Mobile Capability Into its Catalog
In an effort to make it simpler for consumers to simultaneously browse its print catalog and research and buy from their mobile devices, Sharper Image embedded a “Buy Now” capability into its holiday preview catalog. The catalog is chock-full of electronic, recreation, fitness and travel products, and was sent to 4 million households and businesses on Nov. 4.
The “Buy Now” capability centers around an invisible digital watermark embedded in the catalog that's powered by the Digimarc Discover platform. This platform enables mobile devices to "see and hear" media content using built-in cameras and microphones.
Here's how the technology works: Shoppers launch Sharper Image’s Catalog Click mobile app and use the camera on their iPhone or iPad to scan a product image they’re interested in. (All of the images in the catalog are watermarked). Once they do this, they're instantly connected to a mobile-optimized product site. Consumers can then add the item to their cart, review customer ratings, see additional images of the product or save it to their “wish” list. Shoppers can also share their find with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.
This print-to-mobile experience is directly advancing Sharper Image's m-commerce strategy, a market projected to reach $31 billion by 2016.
“We wanted to launch an app that would take catalog shopping to the next level," says Sam Grossman, director of marketing at The Sharper Image. “This app makes the shopping experience faster, easier and mobile friendly.”
What’s more, Grossman says that Sharper Image wants to be at the forefront of the mobile trend, especially since more and more of its customers are using mobile devices such as tablets and phones to buy merchandise. Sharper Image isn't the only retailer with more mobile shoppers: eMarketer predicts m-commerce sales on tablets will account for 9.4 percent of all retail e-commerce sales in 2013 and 16.9 percent of the total by 2016.
Sharper Image decided to roll out the "Buy Now" capability after testing it with a subset of customers in the spring when its Father’s Day catalog was mailed. “We received great feedback about the app and noticed higher average order values from customers using it, so we decided to move forward with it," Grossman says.
The company also plans to include the "Buy Now" capability in its holiday catalog, which will be mailed the week of Nov. 25.
Sharper Image was attracted to Digimarc's Discover technology because it provides the retailer with engagement metrics, including which items are most popular in the print catalog. The metrics also include how many times a product was scanned and how many unique devices scanned each product. Unlike tags or QR codes, imperceptible digital watermarks don’t require any real estate on the page and don’t mar the design of the catalog.
“The Sharper Image catalog is a great representation of how retailers are blending their print and mobile experiences together into a seamless experience for consumers,” said Ed Knudson, executive vice president, sales and marketing at Digimarc, in a company press release. “Beyond catalogs, retailers can ‘mobilize’ direct mail, magazines, product packaging, signage, television commercials, radio ads and more. Doing this they’re able to collect the same engagement metrics from print and audio that they collect from their online campaigns.”