By John Mason
It takes a lot more than a good idea and a solid investment to succeed as a small or medium-size business today. It takes what psychologist, Urie Bronfenbrenner, described as a network of systems.
Bronfenbrenner introduced the idea of the microsystem, mesosystem, and exosystem, in his ground-breaking theory, The Ecology of Human Development, in 1979, and explained how each of these interconnected systems helps shape the individual.
As in society, the various parts of this ecology can be applied to SMBs to better understand their growth and development. Continue Reading »
By Peter Korsten
Customers today wield unprecedented power. Digital tools and an abundance of information allow the modern customer to expect incredible levels of personalization and individualized service. This power is completely transforming entire industries – including fashion, retail, media and entertainment and healthcare.
Companies have long used activities like customer focus groups to figure out how to sell customers what they wanted to offer. This one-way, nonreciprocal relationship will no longer fly. Enterprises can only succeed if they understand and provide what their customers want.
The C-suite is getting the message, judging by a new IBM study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value – a study which is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 4,000 CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CIOs, CHROs and CSCOs and across 70 countries and 20 industries. According to the study, more than half of C-suite leaders surveyed said customers now have a considerable influence on their enterprises. Continue Reading »
By David Rogers
Ever since the rise of online shopping sites like Amazon.com, brick-and-mortar-retail stores haved struggled with the threat of “showrooming” consumers – those who visit a store to see a product in person, but then opt to purchase it later online.
With the rapid adoption of smartphones, this phenomenon has grown even stronger. Today retailers operate in a world in which in-store shoppers have every competing offer in the palm of her hands.
Though retailers are not powerless, to survive, it is critical that they understand the true impact of mobile devices on shopper behavior. Doing so will enable them to shape a retail experience that gives consumers a compelling reason to buy directly from the brick-and-mortar store. Continue Reading »
By Michael Haydock
It’s early August, but back-to-school shopping is already in full swing. In fact, in some cases, it has been for a while. Retailers like Walmart began advertising before summer vacation even began in hopes of capturing consumer dollars in the face of economic uncertainty.
According to IBM’s new Big Data-based forecast, such moves led to strong growth in July. For example, children’s, juniors and other clothing segments were projected to be up over 12 percent, year over year, in July. Spending on this category is expected to dip down to just 1.4 percent in August before returning to a 12.3 percent growth rate in September. (That’s because students typically like to wait and see what their friends are wearing before completing their back-to-school wardrobes.) Continue Reading »
By Beverly Macy
As we look forward, one thing is clear –social business is no longer optional. From driving innovation, to providing essential client experiences, to enabling a dynamic and productive workforce, organizations are realizing they need to craft a social business strategy.
Even companies that have committed to using social technologies realize they are just scratching the surface in terms of the power of social business to transform the employee experience and the client/partner experience. They see the potential of tapping big data and turning that information into intelligence, so it’s easy to see why there’s a surge in innovation and new levels of productivity and creativity within the enterprise.
Here are three areas of focus to keep an eye on in the coming months:
By Michael Haydock
Jewelry sales are set to shine this year and expected to grow more than 11 percent in the second quarter and nine percent overall this year, according to a new Big Data-based retail forecast from IBM.
According to the analysis, improved consumer confidence, lower unemployment and enhanced stock dividends from the fourth quarter of 2012 have combined to leave people ready to start spending on luxury items again, like jewelry.
In addition, key retailers are buttressing the economic landscape and driving sales by leveraging Big Data analytics to better understand and respond to customers and trends. Sterling Jewelers, for example, which owns the popular Jared and Kay brands, overhauled its digital channels to better respond to changing consumer preferences. The move led to an increase in online sales of 49 percent this past holiday season. Continue Reading »
By Joanna Brewer, Writer/Communications, IBM
Growing up in a military family, Keith Mercier‘s fashion choices were limited to what was available at the military base exchange. At age 12, his love of fashion hit him like a bolt of lightning in the form of a bright red, v-neck, cashmere Lacoste sweater.
Dubbing himself the “fashionisto,” Mercier says, “In the fashion business you have to think like a fashionista – a truly devoted follower of fashion – if you are going to surprise and delight them and keep them coming back.” Continue Reading »