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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By Dr. Kiseol Yang
(Third in a Series on the Holiday Shopping Season. For the Complete Package Go to the Bottom of this Post.)
The sales and consumer shopping patterns that came about on Thanksgiving and Black Fridaydemonstrated that consumers are more technologically empowered when it comes to finding better deals across channels.
This was evident in a 17.4 percent and 20.7 percent increase in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, respectively. When compared with the same weekend in 2011, an increasing number of consumers chose to shop online with their PCs, smartphones or tablets as opposed to waiting in lines at brick-and mortar stores.
Two weeks ago I sent my oldest son off to college. Leading up to this moment, we spent a lot of time (and money) stocking up his freshman dorm room with things to make him feel at home. Like any mom, I’ve spent the past 18 years shopping for my kids.
Well, that’s all about to change. I now have an empty bedroom in the house and a little bit of extra time to spend money on myself. While my son has his nose in the books this fall, my nose will be sniffing out updates to my wardrobe and home décor to spruce up my new guestroom.
According to IBM’s latest analytics-based retail forecast for Q3, I’m not the only mom who shares this sentiment. Here are a few of our predictions:
Category Percent Increase
Women’s Clothing 8.81%
Last year, we saw great increases in men’s categories, but this year’s projected numbers show a category swap. With men outfitted in a new wardrobe last year, women are taking advantage of the bit of extra money to spend on themselves.
Who said banking was boring?
Let me explain first … before you conclude that banking is indeed boring. Banking is typically regarded as a low involvement product, a boring product. Based on some interesting research, however, we discovered that people actually have a lot of emotions and feelings when banking.
We recently asked and observed retail and business customers about our products and service – what they liked and disliked. It was part of a joint project with our Marketing team to study customer human emotions such as anger, boredom and surprise to see what affect if any they had on the ING brand.
Here’s what we found.
With routine banking, our research shows that customers feel bored and safe and have minimal emotional reaction. With complex banking products, more extreme emotions such as fear, hope and nervousness play a role. With complex banking products, customers feel emotions and feelings about fear and hope.
It may not come as a surprise to most that emotions play a significant role, but from a banker’s perspective, it was a great insight. The research clearly showed that we needed to pay more attention to the customer experience. In a very short time we had a banking crisis, and now we are dealing with the Euro crisis. So it’s understandable that customers today are insecure about their financial future.
Within ING, we had always focused IT on creating more efficiency and effectiveness. When dealing with other people’s money, we can’t afford any mistakes in our processes. Dealing or developing products was mostly about solving a problem from a technical standpoint.
The past few years have taught us that efficiency in customer interactions is not enough. To become the preferred bank for customers, we have to build a relationship of trust by delivering excellent products at a fair price and mitigating negative emotions surrounding personal finance. We’re now building a culture where we solve problems from a customer’s perspective vs. just from a technical standpoint.
I’m very enthusiastic about the possibilities that current technology will give us in the coming years, and this will only improve. CMOs and CIOs together must forge a shared agenda to drive marketing innovation, blending the art of marketing with the science of technology. As a CIO today, for instance, it’s important to consider how technology affects all departments in addition to managing traditional IT management responsibilities. Success for ING is not only doing things in a more efficient and effective way. It’s also taking into account the emotions when dealing with our bank and putting technology to work in creating great customer experiences.
On Tuesday, September 4th at 1 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CET, Ron van Kemenade, CIO ING Bank Netherlands and Yuchun Lee , vice president and general manager for IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Group will participate in a twitter chat about how Smarter Commerce plays a role at ING, what it takes to market to the digital customer, and the why it’s so important for the CMO and CIO to forge a solid relationship. To join the conversation follow the hashtag #GetRealChat or follow @INGnl_Ron and Yuchun Lee and @IBMSmrtCommerce.
From digital marketing and mobile commerce, to web sites and social media, marketers are exhausted by data, 2.5 quintillion bytes of which are being generated every day. Within the marketing community there is almost unanimous agreement that an integrated technology suite is the CMO’s best bet to regain control and remain connected to consumers.
Yet if I were to ask a room of marketers how many have such a system in place, very few would raise their hands.
So what’s your excuse?
by Dr. Björn Christensen, Chief Executive Officer of meteolytix
A rainy day can generate a sudden spike in cupcake sales while a hot summer day can generate a surge in the sales of panini’s.
These are some surprising trends hidden in mountains of information that analytics can unearth to help businesses understand their consumers better and seize the unexpected business opportunity.
Consumer-focused businesses know all too well just how much weather shifts can affect consumer demand. Retailers, restaurant chains and consumer product companies often point to the weather as a key factor driving positive and negative variations in sales.
So how can your business manage weather’s impact to predict consumer buying trends more effectively?