By Jill Puleri
These are crucial times for brick-and-mortar retailers as they evolve to put the consumer at the center of all that they do. Those that make good decisions are going to prosper; those who don’t are going to slip to the back.
Central to retailers’ ability to remain relevant is their response to the mobile opportunity. Mobile commerce is expected grow 115 percent over the next 12 months. Though the opportunity is clear, capitalizing on it is full of complexity as retailers integrate web sites and supply chains together with the numerous mobile devices that consumers are using to shop.
Just a few years ago, many retailers were working feverishly to push out shopping applications for mobile devices. There was good reason for the rush: tens of millions of consumers are jumping on the smart-phone band wagon and using them to shop. Continue Reading »
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 »
Mobile shopping also played a large role this past holiday as consumers reached for their smartphones and their tablets to shop. Overall sales from mobile devices increased 43 percent over 2011 and mobile site traffic increased close to 69 percent over the same period. It’s clear that more and more consumers are engaging in “couch commerce,” buying clothes, home goods, and other items from the comfort of their own couch. As consumers shop with the swipe of a finger, the iPad continues to be the device of choice, making up 35 percent of all mobile traffic – more than any other device. Continue Reading »
By Karen Lowe
The beginning of every new year is a fresh opportunity to define strategies for success in the year ahead. Once again, I look forward to discussing the state of the retail industry with clients and influencers at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) BIG Show when it kicks off this weekend.
This year, IBM continues its focus on making retail smarter, enabling retailers to put their customers first. One of the most profound challenges facing retailers today is the need to allow customers to connect and shop anywhere, anyhow and anytime.
We all know that technology has driven major changes in how we browse, compare and purchase products. Shopping from mobile devices is increasing exponentially. In fact, 70 percent more consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site on Cyber Monday in 2012 than 2011, according to the IBM Digital Analytics benchmark. Continue Reading »
By Katrina Read
For retailers, the busy holiday season brings the opportunity for significant revenue, but also the added stress of making sure shelves are stocked to provide maximize returns. Which begs the question: how do you know what products should be stocked in which stores?
The use of predictive analytics in the retail industry is not new – in fact it was one of the first commercial industries to really adopt the use of mathematical algorithms to predict future sales. And yet, I often find myself standing in front of empty shelves wondering how they could get it so wrong.
While this is the giving season, my gift to you, fellow retailers, is this advice: WWW. No, I’m not talking about the World Wide Web. WWW is short for, Who, What and When – the three W’s that every retailer must focus on in this new world of smarter commerce.
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By Kathleen Ryan
Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are part of our everyday lives. Whether we’re checking out groceries at the supermarket, getting medicine from the pharmacy, or shipping a package, the bar code and scanner are standard technologies for capturing and registering pricing and other retail information.
But it wasn’t always this way. Before bar codes, the process of pricing was laborious, time consuming and a drain on resources. Prices were placed on individual products by hand, usually with the thump of a price “stamper,” and then read by a cashier who then tapped the price into the cash register, by hand. Weekly price changes started the process all over again.
That all changed in June of 1974 when a clerk scanned a pack of Wrigley’s gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The technology rapidly took hold and today it shows up on virtually every retail product. Today the non-profit governing body for bar codes says that uniform standards for UPC codes are used by more than one million companies around the world.
One of the pioneers of bar code technology, retired IBM employee N. Joseph Woodland, died this week. He was 91.
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By Craig Hayman
We’ve seen some interesting holiday shopping trends again this year. Consumers took serious advantage of early promotions, driving a 17.4 percent increase in online sales on Thanksgiving Day. This set the stage for 20.7 percent growth on Black Friday. And the biggest surge came from mobile consumers, with sales hitting 16.3 percent.
Impressive stats – which made for some happy retailers – to lead into the holidays. But where do these numbers come from? What are they based on? And who do they represent?
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