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Posts Tagged ‘Smartphone’

My Perilous Path-to-Purchase the iPhone 5s

In Apple, iPhone on September 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

RJL official shotOur intrepid Brand Editor, Robert Liljenwall,
shares his Homeric quest for his very own iPhone 5s

Time:  9:22 a.m. PDT – Sept. 19, 2013

Called AT&T and they immediately had a message that if you wished to order an iPhone, “please go to our website, ATT.com.”  Which I did.  Discovered they had purchase options for every phone except the 5s and really no mention of it … all of their in-store phones were posted.  I think they could have had a posting of the 5s with the notation that orders will not be taken until Sept. 20.

Time:  9:30 a.m. PDT – Sept. 19, 2013

Called Apple to find out the best way to order an iPhone 5s.  ”Order it over the phone because we will probably run out of inventory Friday in the stores and the insure that you get the best chance of picking up a 5s right away is to order for store pick up. ”  OK – that’s my path.

Time: 9:35 a.m. PDT – Sept. 19, 2013

Called Jeff Sandgren, my BTN partner to inform him of the ‘path’ (order on phone) … and then he hit me with – “what time zone are they talking about, New York time?”  Hell, I don’t know.

Called them back immediately.  ”Sir, it’s Pacific time.”

There you have it.

Time: 1:15 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 

When to call?  Apple told me it is probably best to call ahead of midnight – long queue and you will probably not get connected right away.  I’m slitting my own throat on this recommendation – so please wait until I get my iPhone 5s before you call.  I will notify BTN immediately when I have confirmation.

Time: 1:23 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

Talked with Apple again regarding the requirement to have iOS7 on your existing phone to transfer data to your new iPhone 5s or 5c.  You don’t need it.  I have downloaded it anyway onto my current iPhone 5, and not thrilled with the interface.  But that’s my preference – at least I want to be able to read better-reading font that isn’t lightface.  Let me know your opinion … Calendar is especially weak.

Time 3:49 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

Been navigating the new iOS7 on my iPhone 5.  Clean, slick but of course, you can’t read half of the content because the designer specified a light-face font that is used on all standard Apple applications (calendar, weather, mail, contacts). The trouble with their design, which will annoy anyone who even has 20/20 vision, will be that the type face, when used in a secondary treatment, is converted to color gray, and the font is then apparently screened back to 20 percent, which means, simply, you cannot read it quickly or easily. This is extremely annoying and I consider this a major design flaw that will endanger the acceptance of the new iOS7 interface. The Apple tech rep I just talked with said – “well that’s the way it is. It cannot be changed.” So there you have it. Be prepared to struggle with readability. I am a huge Apple iPhone fan, but this design alteration is going to cause the company problems.

Time:  7:15 p.m., PDT, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

Apple Store – Pasadena.  Frustrated with the interface look/feel, I decided to descend upon the Apple store in Pasadena (#2 store to open) … ranted a bit with an employee who had no idea what I was referring to … asked for manager.  ”What’s the problem?”  I told him gently and calmer this time:  ”I find that the interface design on Calendar, Call screen and Address book, along with several other apps, were terrible – type is too light…you can’t read the thin-faced font that is 20 percent gray (like on the phone record for time called; calendar (Saturdays and Sundays).”  I show him what I meant … and Steve (the Manager), agreed.  He was calm, helpful sympathetic and empathized with me – “I agree with you.”  He said he was a part-time app developer and already noticed this deficiency and had notified Apple about the color scheme.  He said hopefully they will fix this soon … and I told him I think this is similar to the “map” fiasco … I would shoot the graphic designer responsible for this.  There are numerous issues with color, backgrounds and contrasts – but I won’t go into this now.  It’s set.  Nothing we can do about it tonight.  I’m still moving forward in buying the 5s tonight (after midnight), so I am not giving up on Apple.  But I wasn’t the only one to complain – seems like there were about 45 other customers in Apple with the same complaint … we’re not alone.  See you later … Are you listening Apple? 

Time: 12:22 a.m., Friday, Sept. 20

Called Apple at 11:38 p.m. to check on “best time to call” and this lovely miss from Austin, TX . “Best to call around 11:58 … so you’re not held in the queue too long.”  So I did.  Slammed shut.  ” … due to the high call volume …”  Well, you know the drill.  I even contemplated driving to the Apple store and waiting in line, but my late-in-life maturity kicked in.  So, after 35 calls later, I’m in the queue now. Yes … I’m “in” … and I’ve been on this call for 8:05 minutes so far and counting.  I’ve gone from depression to elation. (You see, how whip-sawed Apple treats us?)  I’m not there yet … but hopeful.  Keep you posted.

Time:  12:50 a.m., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

I am somewhat elated – after 35 calls, holding for 21 minutes, I got through to an Apple rep in Portland who was very helpful.  I did get a ‘gold’ 5s because I could … and 32GB … and with Apple Care, which came to $475.  However, it is being shipped (as all orders are over the phone according to the Apple rep) … which means I get it in three weeks or so.  Not happy about that.  I honestly thought I would be jumping into my car and standing in line to get a phone, but the line was long already at 4 p.m. today and I thought it was crazy for me to head down there at midnight and stand there – perhaps if I was 30 again … but I’m more than twice that age now, and that was a deciding factor.  I can wait … done it before.  The point is: I do have a 5s coming.  BTN will be covering the progress/success of iOS7 as well as how the new iPhones are selling.  Apple was OK – and frankly, I’m getting use to iOS7 a bit more.  As I was waiting to dial tonight, I called my friend Eric Kuhne in London who is also a big Apple fan – and he just raves about the new iOS7 and shares some of my concerns about the color scheme and font treatment.  I will say this, the iOS7 is super-fast and I can’t wait to test out the other features when I get up Friday.  It’s almost 1 a.m. here in Pasadena … so it will be another Day of Adventure with Apple.

Time: 7:28 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

 This is the last communique regarding the pursuit of the iPhone 5s.  I have it in hand.  But it was a circuitous route, filled with intrigue, mystery, discovery, luck, and a couple of good Samaritans along the way.  It is a happy ending … but the journey to finally have the iPhone 5s in my possession was also fraught with danger and some chaos.

To cut the 5s chase, I found that I could get “immediate gratification’ at the Pasadena Apple store who had 5s 32GB still in inventory Friday afternoon.  I canceled my “midnight order” because it would be shipped in October … what were they thinking?  I decided to drive by the Pasadena Apple store and only a relatively small crowd was milling about … were there 5s phones available?  Yes, there were! I got in line and after 45 minutes, I was given a personal Apple “support” person to assist my purchase.  I canceled my previous order … and the entire transaction for the 5s was completed in just a few minutes.  An AT&T rep was there to assist … and I asked if she was busy…”not at all.  Apple really has their act together this time around.”  I was so impressed with the ease and seamless process.  I was ‘in and out’ within 20 minutes.  The Apple personnel were incredibly helpful.  Yes, I believe the iOS7 system is plagued with design challenges – but I am really impressed with the speed, the intuitive insight they have designed into each program … and I am getting use to the graphics.  At the end of this journey, I’m a very happy 5s owner.  Powerful, sleek and smart.  That’s the 5s. The Apple brand is “safe” for now … stay tuned. – RJL

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New Valassis Survey Reveals Fresh Insights on Millennials’ Shopping Behaviors

In brand-building, mobile & tablets, retail, Shopper Marketing on September 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

by Jeff Sandgren

This week Valassis released the results of its Sixth Annual RedPlum® Purse String Survey, to gain insight from today’s shoppers and learn more about their shopping behaviors – especially where and how they look for deals. The study, based on insights from more than 5,100 respondents, found something surprising about Millenials in particular: although they are more ardent digital devotees (no surprise there), they prefer good old paper coupons.

Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement

Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement

“The RedPlum Purse String Survey results are somewhat counter intuitive from what you might expect based on what we know about Millennials,” said Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement. “While they are heavy digital users, this group also embraces tried and true methods for savings, as much as any other age group … they area a true testament to the use of savings from both print and digital sources.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, 51 percent of Millenials indicated that print is their first choice for savings. Unlike other groups, they rely slightly more on in-store coupons and deals than retail circulars; but like other groups, their top four sources are newspaper, emails/coupon alerts, Internet searches and their mailbox.

We wanted to learn more, so we were fortunate enough to get some Q&A time with Lisa Reynolds. Here’s what she had to say.

BTN: Millennials are seen as being less brand loyal than other demographics.  What strategies do your most recent findings suggest for Retailers and CPGs to at least hold ‘share of wallet’ with this segment?

LR: When asked to self-identify as promotion sensitive, price conscious, brand loyal or time crunched, Millennials like all other respondents indicated they were promotion sensitive (69 percent  versus all respondents 75 percent). Given their desire to seek out savings from a variety of sources and the multitude of influencers along the path to purchase, retailers and CPGs must utilize an omni-channel approach, using not only digital but also print and in-store initiatives to reach this consumer.

BTN: You mention various vehicles for conveying offers – have you observed any correlation between offers types and conveyances?  i.e., what types of offers work best as retail circular deals versus mobile coupons?

LR: While we didn’t specifically ask a question correlating offer type, what we do know is that Millennials use their smartphones to a higher degree for savings and in a variety of ways. For example, 45 percent (compared to 24 percent all respondents) of Millennials accessed a coupon in an email on their smartphone; 38 percent downloaded a savings app (versus 21 percent of all respondents); and 36 percent compared deals on their phone (versus 20 percent overall). The RedPlum Purse String Survey also found that these promotion-sensitive Millennials are getting their savings the same way as all other consumers across age groups and income levels with 51 percent indicating newspaper is their first choice for savings.

BTN: You note several differences between Millennials and all age groups.  What trends are you observing in these gaps – are Millenials pulling away from the herd and becoming more distinctive in their behaviors over time, or are any other age groups (if so, which) becoming more like Millenials, closing those gaps?

LR: The RedPlum Purse String Survey confirmed Millennials’ penchant for all things digital. They are leading the way using more mobile coupons and using their smart phones to access a coupon in an email, a coupon code, compare deals and download a coupon to a loyalty card. These trends will continue. We also found some distinctions between the Haves (those with an income over $60,000) versus the Have-Nots (those with an income under $60,000). Haves spend about 10 percent less time looking for deals to achieve the same savings. Both use their savings for basic necessities; the Have-Nots to a higher degree (65 percent versus 52 percent for Haves). Next, the Haves use their savings on dining out while the Have-Nots put it toward paying down debt. As a result, besides groceries, the Haves are more interested in coupons and deals on dining out and entertainment.

BrandTech News View: Regardless of demographic, consumers embracing digital coupons still rely heavily on paper coupons. Wise retailers and brand marketers need to tightly integrate their omni-channel offers and messages to make sure they engage all consumers at the Zero Moment of Truth.

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