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Top 10 Q3 mobile and social commerce activations

As mobile devices increasingly become the primary space in which consumers spend their time, retailers are responding with bringing a variety of innovations into the platform to continue sales growth. However, within the last few months numerous retailers have showcased that social media buy buttons and unique mobile applications are moving to the forefront of the industry.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have introduced buy buttons on their apps and Web sites, which have attracted retail partners to jump aboard. Many retailers have leveraged these platforms but various others have introduced their own usage of mobile apps to jump interesting endeavors.

Here are the top 10 mobile commerce innovations of the third quarter of 2015, in alphabetical order.

Express transforms app into one-stop shopping companion for loyalty, payments
Apparel retailer Express reconstructed its mobile app into a shopping haven, which unites social media, loyalty, payments and geotargeting into a one-stop platform as it geared up to drive sales during the upcoming holiday season.

The retailer also merged its loyalty program, Express Next, with the app to enable shoppers to conveniently sign up, access accumulated points and received available rewards while on the go. Shoppers who use the brand’s credit card program can also engage in contactless payments at bricks-and-mortar locations by scanning their smartphones, alluding to a mass-market retailer shift towards this strategy.

Express’ innovations came at an ideal period for the apparel retailer, as other brands raced to optimize their mobile platforms prior to the busy holiday shopping season, which kicks off in full force on Black Friday.

Facebook hits the Like button for updated mobile shopping pages
Facebook upgraded its Pages feature to better assist businesses to strengthen their mobile presence and sales via impactful call-to-action buttons, updated interface and new divisions for congregating relevant information to users.

The social network joined the onslaught of networks diving further into the trend of social commerce by securing its Pages as mobile-optimized to fulfill the full potential amount of sales and brand awareness. Call-to-action buttons in particular emerged as a staple for social media apps, as consumers of today are constantly on the go and appreciate the possibility to seamlessly click through to purchase buy after seeing a service or product which interests them.

Facebook sees more than one million users visit business and brand Pages each month, considering the platform as an imperative channel to tap for marketers, which are hoping to boost their mobile strategy.

KLM’s new mobile app is contextual, real-time and personal
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched an updated mobile app including analysis capabilities designed to anticipate guests’ needs without prompting, such as optimal flight seat suggestions while users are booking.

The new app, designed to coincide with AKQA, allows KLM to appeal to consumers’ personal needs and produce a more comfortable and streamlined traveling process. A more convenient booking tool allows users to pick a destination and pay for flights directly within the app, as well as save credit card information for faster checkout.

Impromptu travelers are enticed by the quick booking functionalities, which allows users to pick a destination and then browse a variety of flights, dates and fare types suggested by the app.

Kohl’s showcases monetization potential of live-streaming apps
Kohl’s capitalized on mobile live streams for its misses brand LC Lauren Conrad, showcasing the possibilities of apps such as Periscope and Meerkat for more than connecting with fans, but to drive sales as well.

LC offered fans a front row seat to its first-ever runway during New York Fashion Week in September through its new mobile-optimized Web site which showcased a live-stream of the show and options for viewers to shop the apparel featured on the runway in real time. As live-stream apps are continuing to increase in popularity with marketers, Kohl’s developed a method to profit directly from them.

Live-stream apps are now a staple in marketing, but are just now establishing a presence in commerce. Kohl’s could be alluding to a future for these apps in retail.

Old Navy matches flip-flops to emoji use in summer promotion
Old Navy’s campaign for summer sales this year put a new twist on emojis with a mobile-optimized site that predicted shoppers’ ideal pair of flip-flops based on their icon use within social media.

The retailer created a mobile-optimized generator platform to have fun with consumers this past summer and is encouraging them to engage with the brand by providing a chance to win a free pair of flip-flops or a vacation. After calculating which shoes and vacation spot best coincided with the user’s mood based off of emojis, Old Navy then showed apparel-choices that coincide with the pair and location.

The summer campaign took a different take on emojis, a trending topic seen often with brands and social media.

Pinterest competes with Amazon for iPhone users with buyable pin search
Pinterest also jumped further into the retail space with its feature for its iOS application that allows users to search for buyable pins, contending with major mobile commerce apps such as Amazon and Etsy.

Users on Pinterest on mobile Apple devices can now search for specific products to purchase, as if they are shopping on a retailer app. The addition to the app brought the social platform into the front line of mobile commerce, and gave Amazon and Etsy competition.

The personalization on Pinterest emulates an experience for users that drives spending. Many users come to the platform for inspiration and recommendations, which is the perfect time in the customer journey to motivate spending.

Sally Hansen polishes mobile sales via ManiMatch app
Sally Hansen bid for mobile sales through an introduction of its ManiMatch app, which serves nail art fans a scanning feature to test out more than 200 nail polish colors and then receive individualized color recommendations to purchase.

The brand used augmented reality technology in the app to allow users to scan their hands through mobile devices and find their own color choices for a digital manicure. Once consumers choose which shades appeal to them, they can purchase them within the app, a strategy that likely strongly impacted the brand’s mobile sales.

The endeavor allows users to work right within the app, rather than have to go through multiple steps to use the feature.

Target’s pop-culture trivia game on Instagram scores mcommerce points
Target implemented a playful game with its Instagram followers and, in doing so, drove digital sales, bumped up its use of mobile video and heightened its image as trendy through pop-culture trivia.

Target shared videos on its Instagram account, which invited followers to speculate which character from pop culture fiction it was referencing based on a variety of items that followers can then buy. The strategy exhibited how Target is furthering its social media presence as a destination for unique, playful and innovative content.

Social media provides a method for marketers and retailers to connect with consumers in creative and attention grabbing manners. Target known for its innovation in this space, and is continually distributing content to fans with innovations they are excited to engage with.

Walgreens’ new app anticipates users’ needs with intelligent messaging
Walgreens preempted customers’ needs with the first update of its mobile app in several years, using widgets to serve relevant contextual, up-to-date messages on its home page for users to get in and out as quickly as possible.

The intuitive messaging feature provides one-touch access for shoppers to use with whatever message is shown such as prescription refills, prescription ready for pickup notifications, pill reminders and Balance Rewards. Centering on the anticipation of consumers’ needs in the mobile space coincides with the current trend in mobile marketing also being adopted by Google, Apple and others.

Sephora muscles into subscription services with help from mobile offers
Sephora had faith that mobile could ensure its success in the subscription service space, with strategy which includes mobile offers, Spotify playlists and codes for accessing content via smartphones when it starts testing beauty boxes this fall.

The beauty retailer announced idea to launch the Play! By Sephora box in several test markets this fall, including Boston, Cincinnati and Columbus. Although Sephora will see a variety of competitors from marketers who are already established in the subscription field, such as Birchbox and Glossybox, the brand aimed to add mobile to its service to ensure customer engagement and drive purchases of full-size versions of the featured items.

Sephora hoped to distinguish itself from competitors through the inclusion of mobile-only offers in the boxes, with the designer sample products that makeup enthusiasts can look forward to receiving.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer