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OfficeMax personalizes virtual holiday greetings via app

The OfficeMax ElfYourself app will be available in mid-December. The holiday effort also includes new Web and social media components.

“OfficeMax wants to be the customer’s shopping destination of choice this holiday season,”  said Steve Braun, vice president of ecommerce and mobile at OfficeMax, Naperville, IL.

“We’re focused on providing customers and businesses with a multichannel way to shop and make purchases with OfficeMax, and mobile certainly plays a big role in that,” he said.

“We’re leveraging mobile as part of an omnichannel approach to providing our customers with great deals for the holiday shopping season, and to reinforcing our value and delivering key promotional products and services to the shopper when, where and how customers and business are seeking this information to help make their shopping and purchase decisions.”

Mobile joy
The ElfYourself app is compatible for iOS devices.

Users who download the app can create their own holiday greetings.

The app includes five videos that consumers can choose from. Each scene includes different music and users can add up to five different characters into a scene.

From there, consumers can share their holiday greeting to friends and family via email, Facebook and Twitter.

OfficeMax is using a freemium model with the app to drive revenue. Consumers can buy additional dances to customize their greetings for .99 cents.

OfficeMax tapped Oddcast to create the Web and mobile components to ElfYourself.

In addition to mobile, OfficeMax is also leveraging its partnership with social video platform The retailer has its own channel – – where users can add holiday elements to uploaded videos.

“Long-term, it’s part of OfficeMax’s overall business strategy to leverage the latest technology to provide a faster, easier and more personalized shopping experience,” Mr. Braun said. “Part of that success lies in reaching and engaging the customer where, when and how they shop, which is increasingly through mobile devices.”

In-store traffic
OfficeMax’s ElfYourself program is primarily for brand-building. However, the company is also driving in-store traffic through it this year.

Each consumer who creates a virtual holiday greeting will receive a promotional code, which can be redeemed for a free 2013 calendar in-store.

Additionally, once consumers sign up for the ElfYourself program, they are sent an email with an offer for $10 off of a purchase of $40 or more. The email contains a promotion code that can be entered online or at the point-of-sale in-store. Users can either show the email on their mobile device or print the email to show a store employee.

OfficeMax has been active in the mobile space for a while.

Two years ago, OfficeMax rolled out a Holiday Party Bingo app to let consumers connect people with their coworkers with holiday party nominations and photo sharing.

Similarly to this year’s initiative, consumers could then visit an OfficeMax store to pick up a customized calendar (see story).

Additionally, OfficeMax partnered with Google last year to incorporate Google Wallet into its point-of-sale terminals to speed up the check-out process (see story).

“It appears that OfficeMax is building up an email database, since you have to submit your email address to view the video that was just created,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.

Ms. Troutman is not associated with OfficeMax. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

“The flash components of the program don’t allow this to work via the mobile Web, which is why an app would make sense as an option,” she said. “There really should be a promotion of this program on their home page of their PC site for promotion and when the app is launched a promotion to download the app on their mobile Web site.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York