Customer Loyalty Startup Front Flip Raises $3.75 Million For Its Digital Scratch Cards Platform

Scratchies for smart phones rewards! Clever.

TechCrunch

Although a number of mobile customer loyalty and rewards companies have debuted over the years, a good many of these new efforts have been focused on taking the offline concept of the 10-hole punch card and transitioning it to mobile. Another startup called Front Flip, which today is announcing $3.75 million in Series B funding, has a different take on loyalty – it wants to make these programs more fun, and more like a game you play than a task to complete.

This latest round of funding comes from Peter Brown (former chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment), Gary Fish (CEO of FishNet Security), Lance Melber (sold eSmartLoan.com to Capital One for $155 million), and the Brandmeyer Family (founded and sold Enturia to Cardinal Health for $490 million).

FF_Unopened_GiftThe year-old company was started by brothers Sean (CEO) and Matt Becker (head of product), the former a serial entrepreneur and…

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Time Spent In Retailers’ Mobile Apps Grows More Than Five-Fold In A Year, Flurry Finds

TechCrunch

shopping-apps

Consumers spent six times as much time in retailer apps in December compared to a year earlier, showing that shopping and commerce is finally beginning to take off on mobile platforms.

Flurry, the mobile analytics startup, looked at about 1,800 iOS and Android apps from December 2011 to December of last year. They also broke it down into five other categories including Retailer Apps, Price Comparison, Purchase Assistant, Online Marketplace and Daily Deals.

Time spent in apps overall grew by 132 percent year-over-year, so as you can see above, basically every category except for daily deals outpaced growth in the rest of the ecosystem.

Retailer apps like ones directly from Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Gap and Saks 5th Avenue, grew the most in terms of time spent. Time spent in ‘Price Comparison’ apps like eBay’s RedLaser and Grocery IQ grew by 247 percent year over year. At the same…

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M-Commerce Boom Over Holidays: One-Third Of E-Commerce Traffic Was Mobile; Sales Up 171%, Conversions Up 30%

Huge increase in use of mobiles for shopping

TechCrunch

According to new figures released today from mobile commerce startup Branding Brand, mobile commerce over the 2012 holiday season saw major gains, with visits to m-commerce websites up 109 percent year-over-year, page views up by 116 percent, conversions up 30 percent, and sales up by a whopping 171 percent.

The company pulled the data from 84 mobile websites across a number of verticals, including apparel, health and beauty, and home goods. As usual, its report offers an interesting slice of the overall e-commerce industry and associated trends, as Branding Brand works exclusively with retailers to build smartphone-optimized mobile sites and mobile apps. That means the data it collects reflects the behavior taking place on mobile-friendly websites, as opposed to non-optimized desktop sites that users happen to visit on their mobile phones.

Branding Brand’s clients also include many big-name brands. Although the company is not permitted to reveal its full client…

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Watch out, Square: PayPal and NCR team up for mobile payments in a big way

That whole closed loop from promotion to actually closing a transaction has really rendered point of sale dead, because there’s really no point of sale any longer — they’re all multiple points of service which starts from the time you’re browsing the web, to the time you’re near a store, to the time the purchase is complete.

How To Use Big Data For The Retail Industry – Infographic

The Main Street Analyst

Retailers already know how to use customer data to run their brick-and-mortar operations. And they’ve been digging through reams of website analytics for at least a decade now. But data didn’t really get “big” until an explosion in smartphone use and social media addiction, resulting in the need for more agile, relevant marketing.

Thanks to consumers’ increasing use of mobile devices and social media, the volume and variety of data points continue to mushroom at a dizzying pace. What are the challenges and opportunities around leveraging Big Data, and how can retailers put together a plan to harness its power?

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The Need For Mobile Money Spawns A Startup Ecosystem Across Africa

While the developed world is scratching its head, working out how to break the middle-class’s credit card habit in an attempt to introduce contactless payments, there is no doubt that serving the emerging middle class in Africa is a mobile money play.

TechCrunch

Editor’s Note: Vanessa Clark is the co-founder of Mobiflock, a mobile safety and security company offering parental control services for smartphones and tablets. She is involved in the mobile industry in Africa. Follow her on Twitter.

Zimbabwean Tawanda Kembo, 25, has been employed for more than two years but still doesn’t qualify for a credit card. This is the result of banking restrictions on issuing credit cards, he says, and around 70 percent of his fellow Zimbabweans are in the same boat. This is not unusual across the entire African continent, which has a similar unbanked or underbanked rate, according to the World Bank.

Kembo’s issue with not having a credit card is not about having access to credit or the convenience of having more than one way to pay for something. Nor is it about the increased security of being cash-free: mobile money has…

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