“One of my favorite trends from the survey comes from a
question we literally added at the last minute,” Ellen Davis,
an NRF vice president and spokesperson, stated in the report.
“Knowing that retailers were ramping up their mobile apps and
Web sites — and understanding that iPhones and Droids are
all the rage — we wanted to get a sense of how mobile devices
would impact holiday shopping this year. So we asked people
with smartphones if they planned
to use their devices to research or
make holiday pur- chases from a
The consumer survey paral-
leled NRF forecasts. A quarter of
respondents with smartphones
said they would shop, research
and hunt for
their mobile The As Seen On TV Official App is just one way the direct response industry is integrating mobile technology.
devices. That number skewed higher (nearly 45 percent) among
18- to 34-year-olds.
Shop.org, the NRF’s digital division, investigated Cyber
Monday trends in the U.S. and found that 106.9 million people
planned to shop on Cyber Monday, up from about 96.5 million
in 2009. The majority of shoppers said they would use their
home computer (89.5 percent, or 96 million people). However,
more than 7 million people ( 6. 9 percent) planned to use a mobile device, nearly double the estimated 4 million who shopped
mobile in 2009 ( 3. 8 percent).
Comparison shopping was especially important in 2010
as holiday spending slowly recovered and judicious shoppers
searched for discounts. According to the NRF, 61.7 percent of
shoppers said that the economy would impact their spending —
more than 54 percent looked for sales and used coupons, and 30
percent did comparison shopping online.
A variety of mobile coupons and smartphone applications
or "apps" incentivized shoppers to visit brick-and-mortar retailers. By having their smartphones on hand, they could "kick the
tires" in the store and make purchases by phone. Price Check,
Amazon’s latest app, uses the iPhone’s camera to scan barcodes,
check prices and return product inventory on its own site and
others. Shopkick, another free app, rewards shoppers with gift
cards and other perks just for visiting retailers in person and
scanning product bar codes.
The Evolution of ‘As Seen on TV’
Comparison shopping may seem counterintuitive to the energy and impulse of direct response, but the industry is integrating mobile technology in various ways to complement existing
Internet analyst and former managing director at Morgan
Stanley, Mary Meeker delivered a “State of the Web” presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit in November 2010 demonstrating
that mobile users are growing 11 times faster than desktop Internet users and will outpace them by 2015.
Brad Feldman, president and developer of the As Seen On
TV Official App, available for free in the i Tunes App Store and
also for Android phones, believes that all signs point to mobile
apps as being the next frontier of direct response shopping.
“What we’re seeing is that the preferred way to engage with
your mobile device is through apps,” says Feldman, who is based
in South Pasadena, Calif. “So if you have smartphones growing
really fast, and mobile commerce growing really fast, and the
preferred way to use mobile is apps, then the question becomes,
‘How do you, as a small company — a DRTV company — take
advantage of this platform?’”
DR marketers merchandise their products on the app for free
and pay a service fee for each transaction. Back-end logistics and
order fulfillment stays the same. For further integration, market-
ers can embed the As Seen On TV Official App icon within an
existing commercial along with a keyword, such as the name of
the product. Consumers log into the app, find the product and
click to call or click to buy, or they can use the app to browse
product categories and discover deals.
The app launched in October, coinciding with the Electronic
Retailing Association’s annual conference. BJ Fazeli, president
of Irvine, Calif.-based BJ Global Direct, was the first marketer to
help actualize Feldman’s vision. He put several of his products
behind the mobile storefront because, as he explains, after marketing his products on TV, online and in the movies, the only
screen missing was the smartphone.
“We didn’t want to just make an app for ourselves,” says
Fazeli. “We wanted to make sure that this is a platform for the
industry. There are a couple of other people that have already
done their individual app, but it’s not the same when it’s the
industry ‘mall’ on the smartphone. So every marketer can tap
into the same technology, and by promoting this one site, we
can get a lot more market willingness and more and more people