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January, 4th 2009

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George Faulkner in

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Retailers are experiencing a dramatic shift in consumer spending influenced by negative trends in the economy.  Consumers have fundamentally changed the way in which they shop in recent years.  Advocates have grown in number, empowered by the ability to more deeply understand products and brands through online research and consumer community practices, and shoppers increasingly shift allegiance from vendor to vendor unlike ever before.

A recent study by IBM shows that traditional, competitive price-point, is not the key to consumer decision-making today.  Potential customers have a more varied set of desires and expectations when shopping. The manufacturers are no longer able to control and influence trends the way they have for many years, and the consumer is now truly the king. 

In this episode of Building a Smarter Planet, three experts in the field of retail take the time to share their thoughts on the current retail climate, developing trends,and some things retailers should be considering to remain competitive in this dynamic space. Doug Fleener, a retail consultant of Dynamic Experiences Group, Jim Blasingame, small business expert and host of the small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, and Rob Garf, a retail strategist with IBM Global Business Services all weigh in on how they see the world of retail today.

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Posted by: localizer method
January 13, 2009
11:12 am

This post is exactly about what I have been posting about for the ‘New Intelligence’ subject. Human decision-making is not rational. it is emotionally intuitive and can not be encoded in rules. Complex systems such as weather and economy are emergent and adaptive and defy logic and reductionism.
IBM can stop wasting its time with ‘cognitive computing’ that does no more than gather more data and crunch it with more power.
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Posted by: Max Pucher
January 6, 2009
8:48 am

Eric: Days prior to producing this podcast, I was shopping for a video game for one of my children. I felt like walking so did not research ahead of time, but after my third store visit where, in each, nobody was familiar with the game I sought, I just bought the game on my iPhone with the new Amazon Mobile app. Fast, easy, informative, exactly what the experts are talking about in this podcast…
These are changing times, and challenging retail scenarios continue to unfold.

Posted by: george faulkner
January 5, 2009
5:09 pm

Speaking of online experiences & expectations…
I’m a soccer fan, and after my favorite team LOST the championship last year, I got an immediate email trying to sell me the winning team’s championship t-shirt. Ouch!
In a retail store, it wouldn’t have bothered me to see those t-shirts, but the expectations are higher for an electronic relationship. There’s almost an obligation to use the data available to target the customer appropriately. Otherwise, there is no relationship.

Posted by: Eric Sall
January 5, 2009
11:30 am

Tiffany: One of the guests, Jim Blasingame, made a point I did not include in the podcast that basically came down to this… He feels that many retailers still do not fully understand how critical the online experience is. To your points, Jim suggested that many retailers should seriously consider devoting additional staff to further development and management of online storefronts. Specifically, Jim felt that tapping into possible employees who have grown up using online merchants and who understand the intricacies would be wise. I’ll let Jim weigh in, but his points are valid IMO. Too often our online experiences are created by developers, and not with enough consumer input, and it can be very important to get these things right from the start, not after people have had a bad experience.

Posted by: george faulkner
January 5, 2009
11:11 am

I love shopping – both in store and online. However, there are three online user experience inefficiencies that get to me that I have encountered just in the last week:
1) I have been asked to create a user id and password, yet when I return to the site it does nothing but gain me access (it does not remember my info from “registration” or my prior visit)
2) tells me a product is knee length (my knee is more than likely in a way different place than their model – # of inches people)
3) a Web site that sells shoes that does not show me the sole, esp when that is their specialty (i.e. looking for boots for my mom that will work well in the snow – how can i tell that without seeing the tread?)

Posted by: Tiffany Page
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