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Top 10 interactive mcommerce initiatives of Q1

At the start of 2016, many brands pledged to continue leveraging mobile to promote one-to-one experiences with consumers before hitting them with a strong incentive to purchase, a strategy that was evident in campaigns from Sephora, Starbucks and more.

Interactivity was at the forefront of major marketers’ minds this past quarter, with more than a few implementing features such as live chat and virtual reality options into their mobile applications and sites. Others preferred to rely on attention-grabbing tactics including shoppable music videos and event-themed contests on social media, playing into consumers’ growing tendencies to consume snackable content on their smartphones.

Additionally, one-on-one mobile quizzes reigned supreme with consumers in Q1, presenting a wide opportunity for brands to market their products based on each user’s end result. This strategy will likely hit its peak later this year, especially as messaging platforms and chatbots become more pervasive.

Here are the top 10 mobile commerce interactive initiatives of 2016’s first quarter, in alphabetical order.

Ace Hardware’s Facebook chat drives sales with paint product assistance
Ace Hardware expanded on its innovative strategies for connecting shoppers to home improvement help with a mobile-first 31 Days of Color campaign that included the ability to chat with paint experts via Facebook.

Consumer could partake in a month-long contest, available on the brand’s social media accounts and mobile-optimized site, which featured a new paint shade each day. Participants were tasked with guessing whether the shade’s name came from Ace Hardware’s own product line, with one daily winner receiving a $100 gift card.

To promote even more one-to-one interactivity, individuals could chat with the brand’s esteemed design experts, Katie Reynolds, Julie Richard and Nathan Fischer, about various home improvement tips and tricks.

Best Buy plugs scan-to-shop search feature into Android app
Best Buy unleashed an interactive spin to its catalog-browsing experience by implementing mobile visual search technology into its Android app, letting users hover their smartphones over any picture to view that product and make an instant purchase.

The retailer joined forces with visual search platform Slyce to leverage the scan-to-shop options, which brings catalog items to life on consumers’ personal devices. Instead of Googling information regarding an interesting product seen in the weekly circular, individuals can point and shoot with their cameras to shop it immediately, showcasing how marketers can drive impulse sales with new solutions.

This tool also eliminates the need for shoppers to manually search for the product in question and potentially sift through hundreds of related items on Best Buy’s site or app. Visual search is bound to take off among more retailers this year, especially those seeking to streamline the path to purchase.

Cargo Cosmetics brings augmented reality product trial to mobile browsers
Cargo Cosmetics allowed beauty fans to virtually try on makeup by implementing FaceCake Marketing Technologies’ augmented reality platform into its mobile and desktop browsers, thereby removing the need to download yet another standalone app.

The marketer tapped the CAKE shopping platform for this initiative, which lets consumers try on various products within a mobile or desktop browser – in real time – by uploading an existing image, or taking a new photo with a webcam.

Consequently, users can have an offsite experience that mimics an in-store one. Customers can also virtually test out various shades and determine which products best suit their skin tone before making a purchase via Cargo Cosmetics’ mobile site. Moreover, fans can grab a selfie during their experience and share the image across their social media networks.

Clinique uncaps mobile sales via pop star-centered shoppable music video
Clinique enticed millennial cosmetics enthusiasts by introducing a mobile-optimized music video starring musical artist Zara Larsson, allowing viewers to toggle through various beauty looks and instantly buy the products shown through Clinique’s mobile site.

Clinique, which sponsored ads on Instagram to promote the campaign, hosted the video on a mobile-optimized microsite, where visitors spotted four panels, each featuring a side of Ms. Larsson’s face, with a different colored lipstick emblazoned across the bottom of the screen. Each lipstick shade corresponded to a style of music: country, pop, acoustic and dance.

After viewers tapped their favorite shade, the video began to play. Consumers could then toggle through the other color options to watch the video change in accordance with the theme, before browsing the featured makeup items and checking out.

The Knot unties mobile concierge booking service for engaged couples
Wedding resource destination The Knot tapped into the lucrative mobile booking sector by unveiling a concierge service that lets engaged couples receive personalized vendor recommendations, pricing help and tour scheduling via live chat, SMS and email.

Consumers can visit on their smartphone devices to test out the service. Upon perusing the site, visitors may see a small bubble appear, showing an image of one of The Knot’s wedding experts. If individuals are interested in receiving help with their decision-making processes, they may click on the bubble to expand the live chat box and speak with their assigned professional helper.

The concierge is meant to help couples stay on track with their wedding budgets while simultaneously suggesting potential vendors for their big day, a feature that could inspire them to use this service in lieu of hiring a third-party event planner.

Krispy Kreme gears up for social media-supported sales touchdown
Krispy Kreme laced up its sales strategy with a Super Bowl tie-in this past February, introducing two football-themed donuts and tracking their popularity on social media each day leading up to the big game.

The donut brand enabled fans to purchase donuts adorned with orange or blue icing, in support of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, respectively. Customers who bought one of the football-themed pastries were requested to show their support by tweeting via the #ORGvsBLU or #KrispyKreme hashtags.

Krispy Kreme kept track of the amount of units purchased, and reported the results daily. This helped promote friendly competition between the two teams’ fans, as they attempted to out-buy each other in donut sales.

Sephora adds glitz to Kik in bet on chatbot commerce
Sephora’s recent debut on messaging app Kik highlights the push toward conversational commerce via chatbots, and demonstrates how to inspire sales with the help of one-to-one experiences on mobile that mimic in-store interactions.

Fans can now purchase products from Sephora directly within the Kik app while conversing with a branded chatbot about any topic relating to beauty, including reviews, product recommendations and tips. The experience is similar to that of a conversation with a friend or store employee, and begins with a small quiz so that the program can serve up relevant content to the individual.

A video at the end of the experience walks consumers through a beauty tip that coincides with their interests, based on the responses given during the quiz.

Sephora uncaps color-correcting product sales via interactive mobile quiz
In another mobile win, Sephora leveraged sponsored content on Facebook to advertise its Color Correcting Crash Course, which enables consumers to discover their best-suited colors for combating issues such as undereye circles before inviting them to buy these items on the retailer’s mobile site.

The interactive quiz, each section of which takes under a minute to complete, asks participants to correct a beauty concern by guessing the right shade of makeup to counteract it. Afterwards, individuals are brought to another page showing a YouTube tutorial instructing how to use color-correcting products.

The last page of the quiz encourages consumers to solve another issue, or press the “shop now” button, which will bring them to a portion of Sephora’s mobile site dedicated to color-correcting cosmetics.

Starbucks percolates mobile sales via Twitter-promoted coffee finder quiz
Starbucks also hopped on the mobile quiz bandwagon by inviting Twitter users to take a quiz designed to uncover the coffee flavor best suited to their tastes before clicking through to a mobile-optimized shopping site to purchase a bag.

The three-question test asks consumers about their ideal flavors, palate sensations and coffee intensity before bringing them to the shopping section of Starbucks’ mobile site, where their results will be shown. Users will be able to read additional details about the suggested flavor and its place of origin before hitting the “Shop Online” button at the bottom of the description.

They may then choose the form in which they would prefer their coffee to arrive – such as K-Cup Pods, whole bean packages or ground coffee – and indicate the number of pounds they would like.

Victoria’s Secret matches bikinis with mobile on interactive shopping platform
Victoria’s Secret built up buzz for its popular swimwear line with a mobile-optimized platform on which users could mix and match bikini tops and bottoms, reflecting the growth of customized shopping experiences.

Its Facebook and Twitter followers were given the inside scoop during the sale, which advertised $39 mix-and-match bikinis. Users were able to look through products and enjoy a streamlined browsing experience, since they could pair different looks together.

This eliminated the need to sort through pages of products in order to find a desired style or color, and gave shoppers a better idea of how the swimsuit pieces would complement each other.