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OfficeMax mobile social app drives calendar sales among holiday party-goers

Office products retailer OfficeMax Inc. has introduced the Holiday Party Bingo iPhone application that works alone or in conjunction with the companion Facebook application to engage holiday party-goers.

The application lets people connect around upcoming events, nominate friends or coworkers for various tongue-in-cheek categories and share party photos in real-time. Application users can then upload those pictures to create a personalized calendar, which they can print out and buy for $9.99 at OfficeMax.

“As is often the case with what we do during the holidays, this app is about building brand affinity by sharing holiday fun—we’re most renowned for,” said Jeffrey Haddon, mobile team lead at OfficeMax, Naperville, IL. “We wanted to make sure we translated the product that is especially relevant for the season, and it worked out really well with calendars.

“As you build your bingo board, that translates nicely to a calendar that you can easily upload and print out at any OfficeMax as an extension of the holiday fun,” he said. “Everyone knows that OfficeMax sells office supplies, but we want holiday shoppers to know that we’re also a great place to go gift shopping.

“We’re targeting people who go to holiday parties and want to share and preserve those holiday memories.”

OfficeMax specializes in both business-to-business and retail office products. The company provides office supplies and paper, in-store print and document services through OfficeMax ImPress, technology products and furniture to businesses and individual consumers.

OfficeMax customers are served through direct sales, catalogs, ecommerce mobile commerce and approximately 1,000 bricks-and-mortar stores.

Holiday Party Bingo, 2011 calendar
Holiday Party Bingo is a free iPhone application available from the App Store and accessible on Facebook.

To start, users create their event at Holiday Party Bingo on Facebook, invite friends or coworkers and customize their Holiday Party Bingo board by selecting twelve categories.

Categories include “Last Man Standing” “Most Elftastic,” “Appetizer King” and “World’s Wildest Dancer.”

Those who are invited by the host are directed to a special event page on Facebook where they can make predictions about the holiday party by nominating friends or coworkers for a category on the Holiday Party Bingo board.

Party-goers who visit the Facebook page also receive a special code giving them access to the Holiday Party Bingo board on their iPhones.

During the live event, guests can view their custom party board, take photos upload photos to Facebook.

After the event, party-goers have the chance to view and tag party photos in a special Facebook slideshow and view the winners for each Holiday Party Bingo category.

Guests can also order a keepsake 2011 calendar through OfficeMax ImPress featuring the photos and categories to preserve the holiday party memories.

Holiday Party Bingo was created by OfficeMax’s mobile team in collaboration with Rosetta, a direct and digital interactive agency.

The retailer is promoting the application on and via email blasts to its opted-in database.

“We wanted to make sure it was as easy as possible to give people the most flexibility, so they can upload photos to the cloud and they are given a code, then they can call ahead with the code or present it in store and have a personalized calendar printed for them,” Mr. Haddon said.

Mobile Web, iPhone, Android
At end of July, OfficeMax launched its first iPhone application, and it recently relaunched it with new features.

In addition, the first OfficeMax Android application debuted just before Thanksgiving.

The applications provide access to offers from OfficeMax’s weekly ad, application-specific deals, a store locator and complete integration with the retailer’s MaxPerks loyalty program, letting members access rewards data, redeem rewards from the phone and see their purchase history.

In addition, OfficeMax has a commerce-enabled mobile Web site featuring all of the functionality of its PC Web site, including a complete product catalog, store information, ratings and reviews and full ecommerce capability.

Mobile Web visitiors can sign in to their OfficeMax account or shop anonymously—the mobile site works just like OfficeMax’s PC Web site but with a mobile-friendly view.

“The fascinating thing about mobile is that it is such a powerful channel that is very personal to users, and we encourage them to interact with us through apps, our SMS alerts program and our mobile-friendly Web site,” Mr. Haddon said.

“These are all channels through which customers can interact with us in new ways, and we can share savings opportunities in more meaningful ways than we have in the past,” he said. “We are exploring different ways mobile can be used and how we can best serve our customers.

“It is very important to us.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily