Tag Archives: SMS

Redbox – The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Redbox Touchscreen Interactive Out-of-Home Kiosk

I’ve explored many examples of what I would consider to be the 11th Screen solutions here – those that are in some way interactive, by nature, and occur outside of the four walls of your home or office.  That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but the result of interactivity outside of your home is bridging the real world with the virtual world. And as you might have seen here, or observed on your own, there are many different ways that the bridge can be built.

I think one of the simplest examples of this bridge is Redbox (the red movie kiosks). I’m sure you’ve all seen many different Redboxes along your daily journey. I probably have 6 of them on my way to the train station to/from work. In many ways, Redbox is the quintessential 11th Screen example. It’s an Interactive Out-of-Home (IOOH) solution that is enabled by touch. You don’t have to own the device to participate in the experience. It’s a solution that has achieved (mass) scale and perhaps most of all, it’s a revenue generator. There might not be a better utilitarian kiosk solution out there.

Recently, I’ve noticed a few additions to the Redbox kiosks near me and I find them fascinating. Because they’re scratching the surface of becoming effective multi-channel devices. They’re only scratching the surface, though, and I wonder if Redbox is at crucial tipping point. With the introduction and accessibility of live streaming through services like Netflix, the act of renting movies is becoming more and more about the convenience than anything else – more than the true cost associated, more than the experience, and more than the physical disk. And while Redbox has served as a convenient and accessible utilitarian device, the game is constantly changing, in terms of technology and consumer expectation. So, these additions that Redbox has introduced and continues to explore are good, but they have some bad and just plain ugly characteristics that they need to address – and in short order – to have a chance in this rapidly evolving technological world of ours.

First, let me start with the GOOD – as I mentioned, I’ve noticed their effort to become more accessible cross-channel. It makes perfect sense because the one thing that everyone carries with them when they’re outside of their homes is their mobile phone. So, they’re likely to have it right there with them when they interact with the Redbox kiosks. Over the weekend, I saw a special promotion on the front of the Redbox kiosks that drove people to use a SMS shortcode for special offers.

Redbox Interactive Out-of-Home Kiosk Shortcode

This is not a new tactic, but an effective one, especially for a physical kiosk like Redbox. The shortcode promotion instantly provides another channel to drive people back to the kiosk.

In addition to the shortcode, Redbox is using QR codes to make it easy on people to download the Redbox mobile app for iPhone and Android.

Redbox Interactive Out-of-Home Kiosk QR Code

There could be a better way to drive people to the apps, but say what you will about QR codes, they provide instant, easy access directly to the app. And I think they’re more actionable than a standard text call-to-action.

Once you download it, the app is pretty handy. It shows you all of the Redboxes in your vicinity and allows you to search movies, which is an important feature since they’re not stocked with the newest releases right off the bat (which I think is one of the major downfalls).

All in all, these two extensions/gateways through mobile are both solid ways to keep people connected to the Redbox experience and drive them deeper in it.

But in my opinion, they are missing a major piece as it relates to connection, which is the glaringly BAD. Watching movies is a social activity. Where are any of the social hooks in the Redbox experience?

In many ways, the Redbox experience is a 1.0 web experience. There are no ways to connect with other people with similar interests, yet the sheer act of watching movies is a shared interest. What would this experience look like if the sign-up mechanism were initiated through Facebook Connect? Not only would sign-up be streamlined, people would have the ability to instantly let their friends/family know what they’re watching, what they like or dislike, and even tell or see others what they think about the movies. And I think that’s just the beginning of something like that.

IntoNow – the audio-recognition mobile app – does a good job of providing a deep experience on a seemingly surface-type of action. There, once you check-into the show that you’re watching, you have the ability to learn more about the show, the actors, the episodes, etc. They include a direct link to imdb.com, which is a deep experience into itself, especially for movie buffs. They’ve gone beyond the audio recognition and incorporated many smart social features, more than just sharing. What if Redbox had some sort of check-in and/or deeper “learn-more” experience like IntoNow?

Maybe Redbox has done just fine the way it’s been operating, in its 1.0 experience. But aren’t we at the point where playing the game has gotten more intense? Aren’t consumer expectations way beyond this type of experience?

I know I want more.

Then, there’s the UGLY. Redbox is an efficient machine. The fabrication and engineering of the box is really top notch. I think it’s a model for so many self-serve kiosks. But in all its glory, what is up with the sun flap?

Redbox Interactive Out-of-Home Kiosk sun flap

That is the most awkward piece of fabric that I’ve ever had to deal with – even more than the baby sun shades for your car. If they would just create a simple latch, the process of renting movies in the sunlight would be so much more enjoyable.

The sun flap is an afterthought. And afterthoughts, to me, are short-term solutions. And short-term solutions tend to turn into headaches. This is what I think Redbox is dealing with now. A headache that perhaps they don’t want to get rid of.

But here’s the question – in the game of convenience, why create an experience that might just be good enough? In the end, that’s what I walk away from Redbox with – it’s a good experience.

And the problem with good is that it’s not great.


JC Penney’s Simple Offline to Online Engagement

The topic on my mind most recently is “merging the offline with the online” and I’ve been hyper-aware of noting examples when I see it.  I think this is a practice that brands must work capitalize on when forming their cross-channel strategy.  We operate in an ecoystem so connecting with consumers wherever they are (and driving them deeper into the brand) is key, particularly in today’s world.  This is difficult to do, for sure – different departments are in charge of their own particular “house,” they each have different objectives, and in the case where they do work together to drive deeper experiences, there has to be a plan in place to keep people engaged.  Remember, this is a relationship that brands are trying to build, and it requires an ongoing dialogue.

So, JCPenny gets some props today.  We pulled out a JCP flyer from the mailbox this weekend and prominent on both sides of the flyer was a call-to-action for mobile engagement.

This is a simple way for JCP to use their existing collateral (they’re going to print and distribute these flyers anyway) to a) engage consumers in a different way b) keep an ongoing stream of communication, albeit only push messages and c) incentivize them to purchase.  Now, putting this on a paper flyer is one thing.  Communicating with the consumer is entirely different.  Frequency of communication, the offers, and the actual words is where the real thinking and work comes in.  Even with SMS coupon initiatives, brands still have an opportunity to speak their voice.  That voice is instrumental in defining the brand and the relationship.  They can’t push messages out too frequently, but they can’t disappear either.  I think with an engagement like this, consumers are more tolerant to updates, but they will turn them off if they’re coming too frequently or not enough.  As a brand, you really have to know your consumers’ behavior and attitudes to both mobile and shopping before you can really decide on the frequency.

So here, I applaud JCP for capitalizing on the “low hanging fruit,” but it will be interesting to see how they capitalize on the meat of the program.

Great Mobile Engagement from Kioskcom

Yesterday, I wrote about Pongr, a new mobile technology that I experienced over the past week and found to be valuable and easy – two traits that should aim to be the bedrock of any campaign, certainly any mobile campaign.  Today, I’ll show you another example, but from the standpoint of a brand doing this, through the use of another valuable & easy technology.

Kioskcom/The Digital Signage Show – the brand in this case – did a commendable job of extending the experience through mobile last week during their conference, particularly with the use MS Tags and SMS.  I was delighted when I registered and picked up the guide/agenda/planner and saw a MS Tag at the bottom of the guide:

With instructions, no less.  Again, it’s such a small thing that is often overlooked, but I think you can never be too detailed on instructions with new technology.  They provided step-by-step instructions so anyone (literally, anyone) could follow:

Since I’ve done work with MS Tags, I already had the app installed on my phone, so I immediately took a picture of it.  I was directed to the Kioskcom home page where I could navigate wherever I wanted.  This wasn’t necessarily what I found to be the most valuable.  It was when I opened the guide and saw MS Tags on every page:

This was where the value to me came in.  First, this guide was the only reference material that I used throughout the conference and I actually liked it.  It fit in my bag, was easy to manage, included everything I needed about the show, to the succint detail that I needed, and then with the use of these tags, I was able to get the one-off details that I needed, when I needed them.  For instance, if I wanted to see one of the speakers’ bios, I could easily access it through the tag.  If I wanted to see details on exhibitors, I could easily access them through the tag.  I didn’t have to thumb through a big, hard-to-manage show guide that most often comes with any of these shows.

And if that weren’t enough, they set up a special short code to “opt-in” to receive regular show updates via SMS.  So, instead of relying on any of the kiosks or digital signs (ironically enough) or audio announcements, I was again able to get the information I wanted when I wanted it, through the channel I wanted it on.

This, really, is a perfect example of a brand utilizing many channels to engage with their audience in the most appropriate way – here, the intention was to extend utility.  Mission accomplished.

I think the true power of “out of home” as an advertising and communications platform is that it can bridge the gap in the story – the story that you can get from your TV, then all of the different stories you can find on your computer, and now even more on your mobile phone.  Marketers utilize these channels on a daily basis and they’re engrained in the ecosystem.  I think traditional out of home is in this mix, too, but I think we have such a unique opportunity in front of us with all of the new technologies at our disposal that the true value is extending the story through interactivity outside of the home.  And “out of home” to me is not necessarily billboards or kiosks or “digital” signs.  It can really be anything that we interact with outside of our homes – tables, floors, cars, magazines – whatever.  Pretty soon, everything will probably be considered a “sign,” so I like to think of the space as extremely broad.  (Tangent – in fact, “digital signage” is still immature right now and I don’t know that we’ll see it become mature.  I think we have a great chance of leapfrogging its maturity and welcoming something entirely different to the mix.  This would be everything around us.  For another post, I know….)

Valuable and easy.  Two traits personified again through the use of mobile technology, thanks to Kioskcom/The Digital Signage Show – or should I say the new, appropriately named brand, Customer Engagement Technology World.

Shout if you have other examples of valuable and easy through mobile.  I’d love to hear them.