Nokia, Carrefour test new mCommerce tools

14 December 2009

PARIS: Nokia, Carrefour and Franprix are among the companies that have experimented with innovative mobile commerce services in an effort to assess shopper interest in this emerging platform.

GS1, the technology specialist, recently organised an event discussing the latest innovations in the field of mCommerce.

Deloitte, the consultancy, presented the results of a survey of 6,300 consumers in Europe, which found that 28% of this panel would consider scanning a product with their mobile.

A further 17% expressed an interest in making purchases via their handset, 1% more than agreed with this statement when it came to social networks.

Between late September and mid-November, over 68,000 people visited Carrefour's dedicated mobile website, despite the fact it enjoyed no promotion outside of an insert in one of the retailer's circulars.

The areas attracting the highest levels of attention included store opening times, and items like a €50 microwave and a €149 LCD TV.

In order to increase awareness of, and traffic to, this arm of its operations, the hypermarket giant will initiate an internal and external communications drive this month.

Moreover, in January 2010 it will launch a system giving customers access to additional online information about a range of goods when they take a picture of the barcode with their phone.

Nokia, the Finnish telecoms company, conducted a trial of similar technology with Alko, the wine retailer, applying to codes placed both on shelves and individual bottles.

Users "snapping" the appropriate code could view details about the product in question, as well as independent reviews, and suggestions as to what food would be appropriate as an accompaniment.

Data drawn from more than 2,000 people who had taken part in the test showed that they scanned an average of three bottles of wine per visit to one of Alko's stores.

More than 80% of this sample regarded the system as being easy to use, while four in ten said they would rather this application was advertiser-funded, rather than paying for it.

Nokia has also carried out smaller assessments with Lee Jeans and Disney's DVD service, with over 70% of consumers in each case stating they would be happy to pay a small amount to use these tagging tools.

Franprix, which is owned by Casino, the retail group, launched a live mobile application across 750 stores in "Wine Season" in mid-September, based on a similar theme as the Nokia–Alko example.

More than two-thirds of people who used this property described it as being useful, while 23% said they would install it to their phone.

Overall, these programmes are argued to demonstrate that "extended packaging" holds considerable promise, but cross-industry work is also thought to be required to ensure consistency.

Vanderlei Roque dos Santos, co-chair of the GS1 MobileCom group and eBusiness leader at Nestlé, argued "extended packaging is a reality for consumers."

"It's our job to make sure the services we offer reach the widest audience. That's only possible with the right standards in place."

Data sourced from GS1; additional content by Warc staff