Vaynerchuk and Seibel discuss the next mobile breakthrough

An interview with Gary Vaynerchuk and Socialcam's Michael Seibel about how mobile can start influencing the purchasing decision. Photo:

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 — The next breathrough in mobile apps will be in retail, apps that influence purchasing decisions. Last year it was video. Socialcam CEO Michael Seibel reduced the barriers for people to share video, updating last week to include support for HDR, 720p HD, and a re-imagined suite of themes and filters. Autodesk acquired the app last year for $60 million. 

Gary Vaynerchuk always seems to be two steps ahead of the mobile curve. Last year, he was one of the first to rave about Socialcam in a June interview for this column. This time, he is providing his insight about mobile influencing the purchasing decision.  

Foursquare recently signed a deal with Master Card and Visa to sync cards to the app in exchange for incentives. Many are contemplating the future of Groupon after the exit of CEO Andrew Mason. Some say the daily deal model is dying, leaving room for potential new alternatives like Ozmott and other mobile shopping apps. Gap, Macy’s, Target and more have created their own exclusive apps. But one has to assume that consumers will eventually want one app that works in all stores, like an Ozmott, rather than a different app for each store. 

Consumer time spent in retail apps has increased six-fold in the past year. Large companies are recognizing this trend. Established apps are maneuvering to reach this space. Agile start-ups are working to create patent-pending solutions.

Barrett: What’s your feel for mobile as it relates to shopping?

Vaynerchuk: We will be stunned how second screen shopping will shape things. It will be the most valuable asset and platform for shopping marketing brands and consumer facing companies. It’s naive not to talk about Google Glass as well. It grossly changes the equation and is not too futuristic. 

Barrett: What will make new mobile shopping apps like Ozmott successful?

Vaynerchuk: The same old thing; awareness, rewards, strategic partnerships. Rewarding people is always going to work, just like the credit card industry has worked. Get people to download the app and have retailers support them.  

Barrett: What stands in the way?

Vaynerchuk: The sector is ready for it. However, there is general unawareness at scale. Some don’t realize how powerful their phone is and how powerful it will be – not thinking about that from the persepctive of shopping and experience. Facebook wouldn’t have been successful without Myspace. Competition sets the market and yields breakthrough. Foursquare and Yelp have done well, but now we need a breakthrough.

Wal-Mart, Target, Costco are in position to create a breathrough app or product at such scale that it can impact habits. Nerds know, MBAs know, Peter Texas doesn’t know yet. 

The biggest thing to understand is that the world is changing quickly – more than we think. Most things we talk about didn’t exist five years ago. It’s a stunning reality. I would rather lose my wallet than my phone. Five years from today everyone will feel the same. [O]ur phones will be signalling buying intentions, opening cars, [feeding us] information and more.  

Barrett: I have to ask you one question about the Jets. Trade Revis or keep him?

Vaynerchuk: Revis may be my all-time favorite Jet. Unless you get a long-term deal you trade him. 

Barrett: What’s new with Socialcam?

Seibel: We’re going back to the community, interviewing the top 25 users, and we posted a video asking for community feedback to make more improvements. It’s the first time we’re just calling on them. 

We’re above 20 million downloads, added to our team, bringing on two additional team members and soon a third. We’re still delivering on the core value and don’t think Vine has attacked the video problem or our other competitors. We’re still dominant. People like to take longer videos. We’re still very satisfied.  

Barrett: What do you think about Google Glass?

Seibel: I think Google Glass is great. I think that two things – how it looks from the outside and how dominant it is on your field of vision – could be problems. They are improving field of vision with a less is more and approach. Partnering with Warby Parker is a great idea…the design isn’t there. As a recent glasses wearer, I think that a few tweaks on the physical design and they are there. 

It’s harder when people take a leap and do it first. Very impressed. It’s the last 10 percent of the polish that looks like 90 percent of the work, but it’s just 10 percent that takes it there.  

Barrett: How can apps capitalize more on their current space in the market?

Seibel: What comes to mind with facilitating ecommerce is OPen Table – POS inside, web integration outside. I use Yelp all the time. I could see them start providing relevant operational services beyond advertising. They can provide solutions to drive business. Yelp is a trust source already. The customer and salesperson are using the same platform. A deeper integration with Yelp the more they can help - have an amazing opportunity to do that. I would sign up for appointments, etc. on Yelp. 

Barrett: What are the keys to apps influencing the purchasing decision?

Seibel: People are ready! The right solution needs to have two things. 1. It needs to be opt-in and 2. It needs to be a geo relevant act at the moment.

People advertise in all forms. There is not a big gap between a billboard and a push notification. I buy movie tickets on my phone and if there were a notifcation for $1 off popcorn instantly, I would use it. That wouldn’t be uncomfortable at all. If my United app, as a checkid-in at the airport, offered a special seat upgrade deal for $25 or something, I would find that to be a useful deal. Products have to get there but consumers are already there. 

Apps have to be able to take advantage at the moment. That’s the key. 

Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. CEO of Status Creative, 2012 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.  


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Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has previously written for Mashable and The Detroit Free Press. 



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