SMS Masterminds Announces Strategic New Hires for Major Global Expansion

in Mobile, News on May 8, 2014

Growth Continues At SpendSmart Payments Company

SMSMM SpendSmart

San Luis Obispo, CA (PRWEB) May 08, 2014

SMS Masterminds, a division of publicly traded SpendSmart Payments Company, Inc. (OTCQB: SSPC) and the emerging global leader in next generation mobile loyalty marketing, is pleased to announce a major expansion of its business.

This announcement follows steady growth over the last year and aligns with one of SMS Mastermind’s strategic initiatives centered on geographic expansion and retail sales. The company continues to expand its focus into new territories and has appointed Spencer Cooper as Territory Development Manager and Amit Mehta as National Retail Sales Manager to cover the United States, Mexico and Canada markets.

Spencer, a UCLA graduate with a degree in economics and over 20 years of experience in new business development, competitive market share expansion, and customer relationship development, will focus on interfacing with licensees to help them achieve strong market penetration.

Amit comes to SMSMM with a widespread list of big brand sales experience, including Subway, Whole Foods, Adidas America, to name a few. He will be actively working with the company’s national network of 110 licensees in specific territories to draw in even more major regional and national brands to the company’s loyalty and mobile marketing solutions programs. In this role, Amit will lead the continued account sales growth in addition to overseeing brand relationships.

CEO, Alex Minicucci states, “We are thrilled to have Spencer and Amit join our team and lead our expansion into key markets. We have been experiencing significant growth over the last year and the establishment of these key roles demonstrates our commitment to our current and future clients in these area.”

SMSMM’s expansion is due in large part to the recent acquisition from SpendSmart Payments Company. The merger initiative signed in mid-February is expected to increase the company’s product offerings with prepaid cards focused on shaping spending habits as well as strengthen their overall market share.

SMS Masterminds also provides SMS-based Mobile Loyalty Solutions primarily to small and medium sized businesses, addressing a worldwide mobile advertising market forecast to reach $11.3 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer.

“This is a very exciting time for us and for our clients,” Minicucci said.

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Big Expectations for Mobile This Holiday Season

in Mobile on November 26, 2013

20 under 40 headshot - 2013We’re at the point of the holiday season where people are focused on shopping, and holiday traffic is expected to be larger than ever. Many stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving this year to accommodate the rush of shoppers.

The latest Online Insights study asked 993 US online adults about how and when they plan to shop for the holidays, and the results couldn’t be more positive for mobile. Nearly one-half of consumers will use a smartphone to shop this year, up 51% from the 2012 study.

Capturing the Holiday Rush

The answer is simple: mobile. Imagine being able to capture the holiday shoppers during the slow winter months ahead. Imagine being able to give them special offers for their patronage. Imagine those customers coming back, over and over, simply because you’ve made them feel special for shopping with you. These things and more — that’s what mobile can do.

During the holiday season especially, consumers look for deals. That’s the whole point of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, right? People try to be the first to the store, the first to get in line, the first to get the deals. Mobile can take these deals further.

Offering a special deal to your most loyal customers will make you soar over your competitors. Sales, coupons and promotions are a marketer’s best friend during the season.

What Should I Do?

If you’re a retailer, take advantage of all the mobile shoppers. Shoppers are going to continue looking for deals and discounts into December as they’re finishing up their holiday shopping, so make sure to leverage mobile marketing to reach those consumers by doing the following:

  • Create a mobile-friendly website for shoppers surfing the Web for deals on their mobile devices.
  • Issue mobile coupons through text messaging to target the consumers looking for deep discounts.
  • Implement QR codes at the point-of-sale to encourage customer interaction.
  • Consider the different ways in which consumers interact on their mobile devices, including peak days of the week and times of day that they browse the Web, send text messages, look for coupons, etc.

Retailers, businesses, and brands— gear up for the holiday season. Shoppers are going to be active on their mobile devices browsing the Web for deals, searching for coupons, and making payments.

Take advantage of users’ increased mobile engagement during the holidays by creating an integrated campaign that reinforces your message, raises awareness, and creates excitement so that consumers will want to engage with your brand.

What’s Next?

After the holiday season is over, retailers tend to see a sharp decline in sales. If you utilize the right tools during the holiday season, you’ll be able to reach those customers who came in to shop. Capturing a database of customers who opt-in to receive deals and specials from you during the holidays could prove to be invaluable as you navigate the last months of winter. Offering deals for being a holiday shopper and informing those customers of clearance inventory will bring them back into your store, even after the holidays.

How do you plan to implement mobile this holiday season? Tell us in the comments!


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The Future of Money and Mobile Commerce [INFOGRAPHIC]

in Mobile, Platforms on May 2, 2012

If you’re over the age of 20, you’ve likely used a credit card, counted change and maybe even written a check. But is all that about to change?

Mobile payment hasn’t become the de facto method of financial transactions just yet, but it is projected to overtake those archaic checkbooks and bank notes you’ve been lugging around.

Three types of mobile payments dominate the marketplace today: m-commerce (uses a mobile browser and online wallets), m-payments (uses mobile apps), and m-wallets (replaces your entire wallet). Furthermore, consumers can access several forms of transaction on their mobile devices, including scannable barcodes, mobile coupons and self-checkout.

But are consumers ready to wholeheartedly adopt the latest in mobile payment technology? Adults who are unbanked, for instance, may face a barrier to mobile transactions — there are currently 17 million unbanked adults in the U.S. But many smartphone users welcome the convenience of mobile payments (87% in the UK), while others worry about the privacy factor (79% in Asia). Still, 49% of consumers in the U.S. found shopping on a smartphone awkward.

Then again, many people found paper checks awkward and credit cards confusing the first time around.

Where do you fall in the mobile payment debate? What kinds of transactions do you handle on your smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Pew Says Mobile Payments May Replace Cash and Plastic By Decade’s End

in Mobile, Platforms on April 19, 2012

The world could be a dramatically different place by 2020. In only eight short years, cash and credit may be gone from our daily experience. In their place? Mobile payment platforms that will simplify and expedite how we pay for goods and services.

“As adoption of advanced mobile devices such as smartphones has exploded in recent years,” a new Pew study reads, “consumers have grown increasingly comfortable using their phones to transfer money, purchase goods, and engage in other types of financial transactions.”

Recent Pew Internet surveys find that one in ten Americans have used their cell phone to make a charitable contribution by text message, that more than one-third of smartphone owners have used their phones to do online banking services like paying bills or checking a balance, and that 46% of apps users have purchased an app using a mobile device.

Incredibly, some sixty-five percent of the technology experts surveyed by Pew believe that mobile wallets will be fully trusted and adopted by consumers to such a degree that they will replace cash and credit by the close of the decade.


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Starbucks Can’t Get Enough Mobile

in Mobile on April 11, 2012

Starbucks Cant Get Enough Mobile 300x217 Starbucks Cant Get Enough Mobile

Just as loyal coffee enthusiasts can’t get enough Starbucks, the folks at Starbucks can’t seem to get enough of anything related to mobile.

From mobile apps to mobile payment platforms, Starbucks is on the vanguard of mCommerce advancements that may soon be far more pervasive throughout the retail space than they presently are.

According to new details that have come to light this week, Starbucks has already processed more than 42 million mobile payments. That’s not bad considering that the program just began last year.

From VentureBeat:

In December 2011, Starbucks revealed that it had processed 26 million mobile payments. Adoption continues to grow exponentially, the company said.

“You’re going to see us as a company that will push the envelope around mobile pay,” Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman told VentureBeat. “We want to innovate in that area before others catch up.”


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PayPal Payments Lets Small Business Take Your Money Any Way They Want

in Mobile, Platforms on

Wednesday PayPal announced the next move in its revamp of its product line: PayPal Payments, which lets you take customers’ money in person as well as online and on mobile devices.

“The heart of PayPal is small business,” Peter Karpas, North American VP of customer engagement told Mashable. “The lines between online and offline and mobile are totally blurring for them. This comprehensive revamp of our products allows small businesses to get paid however they do business.”

Labeled Standard, Advanced, and Pro, each tier offers some of the same basic functionality. Payments can be accepted in 25 different currencies from 190 countries, and can be taken from PayPal accounts as well as via credit card or check using PayPal’s new PayPal Here app.

PayPal announced PayPal Here earlier this month. Going up against Square in the mobile payments space, the app offers businesses a card reader so they can accept on-the-spot payments. The app can also accept checks by taking a photo of them, and can be used for invoicing and keeping track of cash payments as well.

Customers who use PayPal can also check in to a business using the traditional PayPal app on their phones, and pay for purchases by simply saying “Put it on PayPal” and having the merchant select his or her name and photo from their own merchant phone or tablet.

The Standard tier of PayPal payments is free for businesses to use. The Advanced tier adds the ability for customers to pay for purchases without leaving your website for $5 per month, and the Pro tier lets you design and host your own checkout pages for full control, as well as accept credit card via phone, fax, and mail.

PayPal checkouts are also optimized now for mobile, so when customers visit a small business’ website to make a purchase, they don’t have to pinch-to-zoom or manipulate the website in order to complete their purchase.

Payments via PayPal were previously called “website payments standard” and “website payments pro,” and as of today PayPal is also dropping the “website” terminology from the name. Comparing it to Apple’s decision to remove “computer” from its named in 2007, Karpas says the company is dropping the website terminology to indicate that the company is moving to accepting payments however you do business.

Let us know what you think about PayPal Payments in the comments.


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Mobile Adds a New Dimension to a Customer’s Value

in Mobile, Platforms on March 27, 2012

Best Buy Co. Inc. has found its more valuable customers are ones who don’t just visit the e-commerce site or the bricks-and-mortar store. They also shop using their smartphones  and tablets.

How valuable are these customers? The multichannel Best Buy consumer who uses a mobile device makes 15% more e-commerce purchases than the non-mobile consumer, said Chris Moroz, Best Buy associate manager for digital analytics. And, for in-store purchases, the mobile Best Buy consumer is 25% more valuable.

Speaking at the Adobe Digital Summit 2012 in Salt Lake City, Moroz said Best Buy calculated these figures by measuring three sets of data. One was connecting the visitor data to its database of registered customers. Another was the result of surveys sent to e-commerce visitors who filled their shopping carts, but abandoned the sale. The third was a survey at the point of sale about the consumer’s shopping experience. The data then was screened through digital analytics software from Adobe Systems Inc.

“We found that on any given day a visitor is more likely to purchase in-store,” Moroz said. Of consumers using a mobile device to visit Best Buy’s m-commerce site, one-fourth were found to make an in-store purchase within two weeks of their visit, he said.

Best Buy, incidentally, fared best in a recent survey by market research firm ClickIQ of the behavior of consumers using smartphones in stores.

To find out what happened after the in-store research was complete, survey respondents were asked to state where they eventually purchased the product they were researching. Best Buy did the best job of retaining the sale. 35% of those that researched at Best Buy ended up purchasing at the Best Buy store with another 14% purchasing at However, 21% purchased the product from The rest did not purchase.

At the conference, Moroz said the next step for Best Buy is to automate much of the data collection process and to get more data about how consumers use Best Buy’s smartphone apps. “The mobile-savvy customer needs to be heard,” he said.

Best Buy is No. 11 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and No. 16 in the Mobile Commerce Top 300.

Lynn Lanphier, director, digital analytics, Best Buy Co. Inc., will speak this June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session titled “The new age of analytics: Creating a data strategy that leads to increased sales.” And learn more about the Mobile Workshop at IRCE 2012.

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4 Ways Restaurants Should Use QR Codes

in Mobile, Platforms on March 13, 2012

Despite criticism, the QR code continues to be a major player in the evolution of mobile commerce.

But while many Fortune 500 advertisers may have embraced the QR code in their marketing efforts, the restaurant industry has proven a relatively late adopter of the technology.

When used to power speedier transactions and provide timely information, the QR code is a useful tool for restaurateurs seeking to augment the customer experience. On takeout menus, dine-in menus and real world advertising, the QR code has a purposeful place in the restaurant experience.

As any supporter of QR codes, near field communication (NFC) chips, or augmented reality will tell you, the key is the destination, not the mode of transportation. It doesn’t matter if information is delivered with zero friction, if the information itself isn’t wanted, it won’t pay off.

Are QR codes just a marketing fad, or can the mobile technology deliver real value for restaurants and consumers at the right place and at the right time? Here are four ways QR codes can be effectively leveraged in a restaurant environment to improving the overall dining experience.

1. Mobile Ordering

Ordering food from a smartphone is incredibly convenient. It is sub-optimal to have to speak to a live person, who is juggling multiple roles in a restaurant, dealing with customers face-to-face and handling several ringing phone lines.

Enter the QR-coded takeout menu. Restaurants realize that the printed takeout menu is still one of the most effective ways to elicit food orders. It’s tangible, colorful, holds a lot of information and is easily shared. Adding a QR code to the menu triggers a mobile ordering experience. That way, restaurants can marry the best of old and new technology and make the traditional takeout menu digitally interactive.

Or prompt a customer to complete a takeout order online, at which point she’ll receive a custom-generated QR code to be scanned at the point-of-sale. The Melt handles orders by generating QR codes that help consumers skip the ordering line.

2. Links to Photos and Social Media

Ever stare at a text-based menu and wonder what a particular dish actually looks like? A QR code strategically placed on a dine-in menu has the ability to take consumers to additional information. The QR code could lead to photos with dish names, to the restaurant’s Yelp listing, or to Twitter and Facebook links to encourage social media sharing.

On takeout menus and any real world advertising, the QR code can trigger links to a wealth of useful information. In this manner, the QR code is not a marketing gimmick, but a bona fide mechanism to provide interested parties with information on which they can act.

The mobile landing page launched by the QR code on a takeout menu could include hours, contact information, a map and directions. Special offers and feedback forms could also be part of the mobile-optimized experience.

Additionally, most QR readers have a history tab that logs previously visited sites, so the information, once scanned, could be referenced later.

3. Different Restaurants, Different QR Code Applications

The QR code can be utilized effectively by a variety of different restaurant types, from fine dining to casual, from fast food to food trucks.

A fine dining establishment might wish to use the QR code in a city guide advertisement, which leads to its online reservations system and photos of the interior of the restaurant.

A fast food restaurant could add the QR code to a table tent ad, leading to a special promotion in exchange for an email address.

And food trucks could affix a QR code to the side of the vehicle to help people skip the line, should they wish to order and pay through their smartphones.

4. A Word About Aesthetics

A common objection to QR codes is that they are ugly and unbefitting of a nicely designed marketing strategy. It is true that the standard out-of-the-box QR code isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing, but brands can improve the appearance with clever design tricks that ensure scanability and beauty.

By going with a custom-designed QR code, restaurants can represent their style, while also reassuring customers that the restaurant has put some thought into the experience.

As consumer smartphone adoption continues to surge, QR code usage is becoming more sophisticated. In particular, QR codes are transforming from a mere advertising hook to an integral part of mobile infrastructure. From boarding passes to takeout menus, the QR code is becoming less novelty and more utility.

One challenge for restaurants is always staying fresh in the minds of consumers. The restaurant that embraces mobile technology intelligently will demonstrate its cutting-edge commitment to excellent user experience and customer service.

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Why Mobile Commerce is on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]

in Mobile on March 12, 2012

About 30% of mobile phone users spend an average of about 27 minutes each day text messaging, using the telephone and video chatting, according to retailer The company put together an infographic that highlights the bright outlook for the mobile commerce industry, helped along by the massive growth of smartphone adoption.

As CultureLabel looked to expand its own mobile strategy, the company compiled stats to reinforce the need to grow its m-commerce channel. According to its findings displayed in the online art retailer’s infographic, 5.9 billion out of the 7 billion people (87%) worldwide already have mobile phones. Smartphone sales are up 63.1% from 2010, and a whopping 488.5 million devices were sold in 2011.

Meanwhile, one in seven searches are made with a mobile device. More people are accessing social networking sites this way too. In fact, Facebook mobile users have quadrupled in two years from 50 million in 2009 to 200 million in 2011.

The infographic also points out that mobile commerce is expected to experience significant growth by 2015 from the six previous years — jumping 99-fold from $1 billion in sales in 2009 to more than $100 billion

Do you think mobile commerce will every surpass e-commerce? Do you think these channels will ever surpass in-store shopping sales? Let us know in the comments.

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Smartphones, and Tablets and Apps—Oh My!

in Mobile, Platforms on March 6, 2012

Last week, mobile enthusiasts congregated in Barcelona to participate in the annual Mobile World Congress—a celebration of the current state of mobile and its promising future.

The event is comprised of a thought-leadership conference with keynote speakers and panel discussions, a mobile technology exhibition, the Global Mobile Awards, and the newly added mPowered Brands—a program where global marketers and agencies share mobile marketing knowledge.

It’s no surprise that they added this program to the agenda, seeing as though mobile is now a force to be reckoned with in the marketing realm.

mPowered Brands seems like a great opportunity for the marketing professionals lucky enough to be involved. It focuses on accelerating marketers’ use of mobile as a marketing medium and gives professionals across the mobile marketing ecosystem the opportunity to gain practical insight and knowledge from some of the most innovative mobile marketing companies today, such as McCann Worldgroup and Nielsen.

Aside from the mobile marketing component of the event, the keynote speaker series featured a hefty lineup of innovative speakers that hold some degree of clout in the mobile industry. Speakers included Ralph de la Vega, President & CEO of AT&T Mobility, John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay, and Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, among many others.

Another cool part of the Mobile World Congress is the exhibition, where mobile aficionados can sneak a peek at the new phones, tablets, apps, accessories, and other emerging mobile technologies.

About 1,500 different companies showcased their products, and over 12,500 app developers participated in App Planet, which focused on the latest technology within the apps industry. The App Planet exhibition was hosted by big players like BlackBerry, IBM, IMGA, Nokia, Samsung and WIP.

The event also included forums and seminars related to mobile industry topics such as augmented reality, mobile cloud, mobile security, mobile spam, mobile privacy, and more.

The vast amount of information and insight shared at Mobile World Congress 2012 would certainly be beneficial for mobile professionals across the globe. From what I can gather, the event seemed like a great resource for experts in the mobile industry to educate themselves and share their knowledge and expertise with others.


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