As written for Technorati
In 2008 I was giving a presentation to a group of airline executives in Dubai. My topic? Virtual currency. Back then my talk was met with a whole lot of blank stares and doubters. Perhaps it was before its time, or just a really ugly PowerPoint (you can decide).
Today’s virtual currency has gone from concept to Pip. An Ozmott Pip, to be more precise.
Mid-west mobile start up Ozmott is a mobile platform built to connect brick & mortar retail merchants with mobile consumers. The company’s mobile app acts as a tool for any on-the-go shopper to find the best nearby offers.
So what’s the big deal, all sorts of mobile apps offer merchant deals?
Ozmott’s system of automatic “sharing” of redeemed discount offers, and a unique gamification element that uses the “Pip” as virtual currency, are what make the solution quite unique. And while most of the major current players in the mobile retail market use systems where the shopper is rewarded before purchasing a product, Ozmott’s system rewards shoppers after they have purchased a product.
The app’s GPS tracking allows consumers to access an “Exclusive Offers Suite” and find stores in their area where they can take advantage of in-demand offers. The app allows shoppers to collect and redeem virtual product discounts during the physical, in-store shopping process.
By sharing or claiming an offer, users earn the redeemable Pip virtual currency. Ozmott Pips unlock exclusive top tier Luxe Offers. Consumers are encouraged to share deals with their friends to earn additional Pips that can be applied toward otherwise out of reach products from all sorts of merchants using the same platform.
For the merchant, the product provides a real-time marketing and metrics channel that taps into the reach of mobile Internet. And as a mobile application focused on location and merchant-selected offers, Ozmott provides a solution to frustrated advertisers who have difficulty identifying the effectiveness of their mobile campaign, daily deals and coupons.
According to Joseph Walker, Ozmott’s CEO, the entire product concept was borne to address the deficiencies of the daily deal model in the first place. While merchants largely lose money with a traditional daily deal promotion, Ozmott charges a fixed micro commission at the actual time when an offer is redeemed and shared in-store.
This means, no merchant liability for promotions sold but unfulfilled. With Ozmott, it’s all point-of-sale.
Mobile Marketing Challenges
That’s one main benefit to retailers. But according to Walker, Ozmott helps solve four other mobile marketing challenges, as well.
1. Tracking the Right Metrics
Traditional online metrics such as “unique visitors” and “hits” are holdovers from desktop-related products. These measurements don’t generate deep enough insight into the “mobile visitor’s” behavior. Ozmott was designed to deliver mobile-meaningful metrics related to the physical act of shopping at a retail storefront,like “in-store visits” and precise location data.
So, while many businesses may have difficulty tracking their in-store visits, purchases and coupon redemption. With Ozmott’s single platform, each purchase is tracked and maintained within the system.
2. Understanding Consumer Context
While consumers using the web are easily tracked through cookies and search history, mobile users are much more complicated. Cookie tracking isn’t nearly as reliable on a smartphone as a PC, but brands still have the ability to gather valuable information about their consumers. The Ozmott sign-up process is simple and requires a zip code, categorizing each user into a concentrated marketing area. Merchants are able to view not only the user redemptions, but the location these users originate from, and the time and place they used the offer. This means that Ozmott can deliver information to the user that is both the “right message” and of focused value.
3. Measuring the Effectiveness of Mobile Ads
How do you truly determine the reach of a mobile advertisement? How effective are they, really? Our goal was to create one user-friendly platform to allow multiple merchants to advertise specials and offers through one location-based application. Ozmott’s mobile advertising method for merchants is straight-forward and simple; every individual user within the area of the business is able to view the store location and their Offers Suite. Instead of redundant commercials, radio ads and pop-up Internet banners, Ozmott’s social media presence and cross-marketing builds both reach and awareness to their user community.
4. Delivering a Responsive Marketing Campaign
Combining desktop web-surfer user data with the mobility of a smartphone allows marketers to deliver timely communications of high contextual relevance. Ozmott’s product model enables real-time metrics gathering that is used to determine a shopper’s immediate context, and in turn, deliver relevant marketing information while the shopper is standing in the store.
Here’s a video overview of the entire Ozmott product.