VM LIVE Presents How 'Tech’s Appeal' Can Seduce Customers With Digital Technology


David Chute (l) of i2C Ventures led a question-and-
answer session with presenters BIA/Kelsey’s Michael
Boland (c) and Mobiquity’s Scott Snyder, PhD (r).

LAS VEGAS—Mobile technology is everywhere, and the two leading technology speakers in VM LIVE’s “Tech’s Appeal” presentation shared how to use it to its best advantage for business. VM LIVE’s presentation of “Tech’s Appeal—Digital Tools to Seduce the Savvy Retail Customer,” held here on Sept. 16, 2015, at the start of Vision Expo West, shared insights from BIA/Kelsey’s Michael Boland and Mobiquity’s Scott Snyder, PhD, with a standing-room-only crowd of representatives of leading optical businesses.

Introduced by Vision Monday’s Marge Axelrad and sponsored by Adlens, the presentation began with Boland’s discussion of “hyperlocal” marketing. Starting with the numbers, he said that 50 percent of search queries are now on smartphones, and 50 percent of those have local intent. However, even though smartphone penetration in the U.S. is 77 percent, only 7 percent of retail spending is e-commerce. “The vast majority of U.S. spending takes place in brick-and-mortar stores,” he said.

To view a slideshow from VM LIVE's "Tech's Appeal," click here.

Still, mobile is growing in its impact on customer acquisition. “The name of the game is capturing,” he said, stating that “phone calls are the new click.” He cited the fact that Google and others are providing tools that place the phone number right at the top of the results of a search, lowering the friction for patients and customers to make an appointment.

James Chen, founder of Adlens, wore special glasses along with the rest of the audience to view his company’s 3D presentation.

He also named Facebook and Instagram specifically as optimum ways to get into social media and “inspire customers and users to capture and share their experiences.” Among the “shareworthy” events he noted in the optical space are getting new glasses, and he suggested holding campaigns that encourage people to post selfies wearing them. Other burgeoning platforms, particularly among Millennials, he mentioned were Periscope and Snapchat, all of which he said are going toward video.

Boland then shared a study of aggregated data from U.S. optical business, comparing three tiers of optometric practices—top chains, other chains and independents—and their immersion in mobile technology and social media. In this study of the “Digital Presence of U.S. Optometrists” he explained why digital presence makes a difference: “In order to compete with national optometric chains, independent and local optometrists need to adopt a digital-first approach.”

After a brief interlude during which Jobson’s Marc Ferrara introduced a 3D video of supporting sponsor Adlens describing its adjustable focus eyewear as a solution for both the “developing and developed world,” keynote speaker Scott Snyder, PhD, of Mobiquity presented a top of the trees view of mobile.

Representatives of leading optical businesses filled the room
to hear the Adlens-sponsored VM LIVE event “Tech’s Appeal—Digital Tools to Seduce the Savvy Retail Customer.”

Using today’s mobile technology, the world is coming full circle, he said, going from large campaigns to reach the masses to now reaching each individual locally. After sharing a slide showing a long list of traditional media and technologies replaced by smartphones and tablets, he said that when Apple launched its app store in 2009 it “democratized innovation” in which “anybody with a good idea can create an app. In your industry, it’s no different,” he said.

Focusing specifically on the impact of mobile technology, he said, “Mobile is not just a device. It’s influencing everything we do,” citing that the influence of mobile on sales is two to three times that of ecommerce.

He shared some examples of how mobile is having a real impact on the health care outcomes of patients, stating that WellDoc, a diabetes management app, was the first mobile app approved for reimbursement by insurance companies. Imagine that, he said, an app that outperforms pharmaceuticals.

Other aspects of health care and retail being impacted by mobile technology he mentioned included payments, aggregated data that reduces preventable health conditions, and Beacons that can act as a trigger to launch a shopping experience.

“Where is retail going?” he asked at the conclusion of his presentation. “Stitching experiences together,” he answered, stating that the ways to do so are with “consistency, pervasiveness, engagement, integration and knowledge/analytics. If you don’t capture analytics, you’re not taking advantage” of mobile’s full benefits.

A question-and-answer session followed moderated by i2CVentures’ David Chute, during which both speakers reiterated and added to their main points. “Make sure you’re on Facebook, make sure you’re information is correct in Google Maps, and be an avid user of these and other apps,” said Boland.

The best usage of mobile technology, according to Snyder, is to “get customers you didn’t have before, keep them once they are a customer, and make them an advocate for your business.”