Recently named one of the best places to work in the Puget Sound, perking employees talents with such amenities as a free on-site gym, staff lunches, chili cook-offs, a virtual bowling competition, and the less visible rewards of 100% medical, tuition reimbursement and stock options, Metia Seattle, (the ‘geo-marker’ is “officially” planted in Kirkland), has ripened its agency offerings to several leading brands in the region, including a recent Octoberfest harvest of mobile apps for AmazonFresh.
The North American hub for a digital marketing agency anchored in London, Metia is the second UK agency import (the other being Distilled) to open up shop on Northwest shores. Two other Metia offices drop pins in the map in New York and Singapore.
In the Northwest, Metia clients include AT&T, Microsoft,and AmazonFresh, among others. The firm just wrapped its second mobile app for AmazonFresh, adding iPhone to the Windows Phone companion app it developed.
If you can get past squeezing cantaloupe, sniffing watermelon and waiting in checkout lines, you’re going to love the convenience of AmazonFresh. We checked out both the digital mobile app and the upwardly mobile digital agency with Metia veep and digital marketing blogger and tweeter, Andrew Martin. (@andrewcm)
Seattle24x7: How are you enjoying the greater Seattle lifestyle in contrast to your old stomping grounds in London town?
Martin: I’ve been in Seattle for just over two years. While there is some similarity in climate, Seattle is very different from a lifestyle perspective. It’s incredible what the region offers just outside your doorstep. It’s a very peaceful part of the world.
Seattle24x7: Besides London and Seattle, Metia also has offices in New York and Singapore. What was the inspiration for choosing Seattle as your North American hub?
Martin: Being a technical and Internet capitol was a major part of it, of course. Microsoft is also a client of ours in Europe. The location seemed very intuitive for those reasons.
Seattle24x7: How would you describe Metia’s unique offerings?
Martin: Metia is capable of executing on all the different aspects of digital marketing for our clients. Ultimately, it’s less about technology and more about results. We strive to differentiate ourselves by delivering very meaningful, measurable results. And we have a deep heritage working in the high technology sector.
Seattle24x7: What are the agency’s strong suits?
Martin: What Metia offers is a multi-disciplined approach. From strategy and planning, to design, creative, UI, technology and extending through email marketing and social media. Our clients come to us because we combine killer marketing instincts with technology solutions that work.
Seattle24x7: Would you describe your development approach as user-centric, data-driven or more design-oriented?
Martin: All of the above. We look at personas and develop product strategies based on the life cycle of those user experiences. To us, it’s about understanding each client’s business objectives. Understanding the audience they’re trying to reach. And looking at how we can intersect the two. In some scenarios, it may call upon a straight data-driven approach. In others, it’s more experiential. In all cases, we tie our approach to the client’s goals and KPIs to deliver the results that they need most.
Seattle24x7: How did you approach the mobile app development for AmazonFresh?
Martin: In this case, it was very much a hybrid approach. We had built the Windows Phone version for Amazon. Then they built the Android version in-house. So we had the benefit of early user feedback at that relatively nascent point in the product’s short life. For example, we were able to look at the store data and see how people were connecting through, how they are using the information, and use that information to design and develop an ideal user experience.
Seattle24x7: How do you put together your dev teams on projects like these?
Martin: We are very lucky to have a fantastic development team here who are able to pick up a lot of different technologies. It’s a continual challenge to stay current, because things move on at such a fantastic pace. We know that mobile is a critical part of digital marketing now and into the future – so our team is ready to run with mobile apps across the full spectrum of platforms.
Seattle24x7: Amazon has set a gold standard when it comes to online shopping. How does the mobile experience compare?
Martin: With grocery, a user is not typically seeking to buy something unique in each session. People buy eggs, bread, and milk week after week. It’s more a question of making it easy to do your weekly shopping, and restock the pantry. For example, one of the features of the AmazonFresh app lets you capture a product bar code with your camera. You can simply scan an item in your fridge or your pantry and instantly add it to your shopping list.
Seattle24x7: I imagine product information is also just a click away?
Martin: That’s right. After finding an item, shoppers can simply tap it to view the product page, which includes details such as ingredients and nutrition facts or add it directly to their order.
Seattle24x7: Ease of use is the driver in this case?
Martin: It has long been recognized, “designing simplicity is the hardest possible thing to do.” It is essential in a mobile environment where you are working with a small form factor and people on the go.
Seattle24x7: People seem to do a lot of grocery list building over time. Thinking of items at home, at work, or on the go.
Martin: Exactly. The AmazonFresh app lets you create multiple upcoming orders that you can manage in various ways. With AmazonFresh, you can also order non-grocery items and still have them delivered in the very quick delivery window AmazonFresh provides.
Seattle24x7: How is delivery arranged?
Martin: Also easy. You get to choose your delivery slots and it can be amazingly quick. I’ve placed an order in the morning and had it delivered that afternoon, which is incredibly convenient. Another variation on that scenario is ordering late at night and having the order turn up on my doorstep the next morning.
Seattle24x7: What is your feeling about the triangulation that exists right now in the mobile space? Is the market going to support three different platforms?
Martin: In the long run, having Windows Phone, Android and iOs is a big win for customer choice. It is more challenging from a development perspective to be sure, but we thrive on those challenges. There’s also mobilized websites, which are a great solution for some brands and their users. Apps are hot, but mobile websites are cross-platform and can deliver great UX if done right.
For more information about the AmazonFresh iPhone app, go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/amazonfresh/id474067631?ls=1&mt=8.
For more information about Metia, visit www.metia.com/seattle.