By Michael Haydock
Making a buck is becoming progressively more challenging for brick-and-mortar retailers. Nearly two decades after Amazon.com and others began to chop away at the underpinnings of the traditional retailing business model, the pervasiveness of smartphones, the emergence of the digitally-empowered consumer, and the prospect of one-day delivery make the future of physical retailing seem ever more tenuous.
I use the word “seem” advisedly, because I believe smart retailers will learn to thrive in the future through a combination of Big Data analytics, omni-channel strategies and continuous reinvention.
These high-stakes issues are top of mind this week as the National Retail Federation stages its annual convention in New York City. IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, is delivering today’s keynote address. She’ll describe how Big Data and changing consumer expectations are intersecting with a confluence of cloud computing, analytics, social and mobile to fundamentally reshape commerce—with huge implications for retailers. Continue Reading »
By Shashi Bellamkonda
The mobile revolution isn’t only having a profound influence on the lives of consumers, it’s also changing the way business owners—especially small business owners—are marketing their business.
Research has found that 42 percent of small business owners say it would be a huge challenge to operate their businesses without mobile services. An additional one-in-three business owners say their businesses could not survive without some type of mobile service.
So how can small businesses stay ahead of the mobile curve?
Think about how you, as a consumer, go through your day with your smartphone or tablet. You may scan comments, compare prices, and shop on the go. As you work, sit in the doctor’s office, ride the train, and even stand in line at the grocery store, it’s never been more important for the businesses you frequent to have your information up-to-date and accurate across all online channels. Gleaning analytic insight on all this mobile Web activity and seeing what kind of content, feedback and posts are driving the most engagement will be key. Continue Reading »
By Jay Henderson
With another peak holiday shopping season upon us, retailers and marketers across the country have high hopes for another record-breaking weekend of online sales.
They may very well get their wish.
Based on early data from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Thanksgiving Day online sales grew 19.7 percent over 2012, led by department stores, which increased 60 percent using the same comparison. As expected, mobile was once again a key driver of that overall growth, increasing 49 percent year over year as a component of all online sales.
As holiday shoppers become more diverse, connected and digitally savvy, retailers are looking to cloud, mobile and big data analytics to deliver personalized experiences for millions of consumers. The winners this year will be those that rely on real-time insight to adapt their mix of in-store, online and mobile promotions to make the sale whenever and wherever their customers choose. For retailers like Moosejaw, that means building a connected physical and digital shopping experience that is integrated, from the ground up, across the entire commerce cycle. Continue Reading »
By Brian Ng
As businesses mature and scale, cohesive digital and social integration becomes ever more critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, especially in today’s customer-centric world. Every customer and, increasingly, every interaction matters even more. The pressure is tremendous to deliver consistent, high quality customer experiences tailored to everyone, in whatever context imaginable.
Just as we build relationships with new friends or interested partners, we similarly become invested in the products or services that work well and delight us. We grow connected to the things we use and interact with on a daily basis. But unlike friendships, often one misstep with a product or service could mean the end of the relationship.
One company that prioritizes superior customer service in all of its channels is Bonobos, a leading online apparel company. They started off selling one pair of perfectly fitting khakis and have since grown their product line to include dress shirts, suits, and outerwear. The differentiator for them is the customer experience team, which it calls the Bonobos Ninjas. Continue Reading »
By Josh Rochlin
As consumers around the globe increasingly turn to mobile devices to buy products, connect with their favorite brands, and discover new ones, they are fundamentally altering the role of the CMO. Today it is crucial for CMOs to arm their organizations with tools to capture mobile consumers’ attention, influence their intent, and engage them with relevant content.
The key to mobile commerce success is delivering relevant, actionable content at the right time to improve mobile sales, drive in-store traffic, and engage customers.
With today’s announcement of IBM’s acquisition of Xtify, a leading provider of cloud-based mobile messaging tools, IBM is expanding its mobile capabilities to include mobile campaign creation, content targeting, dynamic real-time segmentation, and analytics for all mobile devices and browsers. 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 Martin Fleming
In a recent New York Times article, reporter James Glanz asks: “Is Big Data an Economic Dud?” Mr. Glanz seems to answer his own question skeptically. The “data era,” he suggests, will not match the earlier revolutions in manufacturing, domestic life and transportation.
In addition, the Wall Street Journal posted a blog discussing that Big Data is at, or near the peak of the Gartner “hype cycle” and “big data technologies are now soon to be due for a fall into the ‘trough of disillusionment.’” Continue Reading »
By Billy Yuan
As smart phones become an indispensable part of our daily lives, companies in every industry are trying to develop ways to make this “second screen” enhance their marketing efforts, extend their reach, and most importantly, better serve their customers.
The purpose of the second screen is to augment the primary experience, whether that’s watching the game, grocery shopping, or buying a cup of coffee, and help connect the user to the brand.
A growing number of leading brands understand this and have embraced the second screen into their marketing strategies. ESPN has done a stellar job of serving its customers through multiple channels with their “Sportscenter” and “Watch ESPN” apps. No matter where the ESPN viewer is, he or she can follow the game by either streaming it or following the scores. If the user is watching the game on TV, the smart phone becomes a social tool and an encyclopedia all in one – tweet about a game-winning basket and look up that player’s stats in a matter of swipes and taps. 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 »