Archive for November 2012
If you’re interested in gaining some insights into the upcoming holiday retail madness, you need to mark your calendar.
This coming Monday, November 19th, the IBM Smarter Commerce team, in partnership with Direct Marketing News, will host a Twitter chat.
Featuring IBM’s holiday retail analytics prognosticator, Jay Henderson, IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Global Strategy Program Director, and Richard Feinberg, Purdue University’s Professor of Consumer Sciences and Retailing, the Twitter Chat will be held Monday from 1:00-2:00 PM EST via the #smartershopping hash tag.
Allison Schiff, web editor for Direct Marketing news, will moderate from the @DMNews handle.
The topic? Key retail holiday trends, ranging from online sales to mobile and social trends, which Jay has already predicted will become even more dominant this holiday shopping season.
No need to line up outside your Apple store, or navigate the mobs at your local Wal-Mart.
Just open up your favorite Twitter client and follow the online retail mob into the far reaches of all things holiday shopping.
Jay’s already pulled out and dusted off his holiday shopping crystal ball in a post for the IBM “Building a Smarter Planet” blog.
In it, Jay posed some key questions we might just expect to get some answers for in the coming chat, such as whether or not mobile shoppers will continue take the lead this holiday season, and whether or not they’ll expand their use of social media.
Jay also mentioned that the latest IBM Retail Online Index for Q3 showed renewed growth with overall online sales increasing by 3.1 percent over the second quarter.
But to keep those numbers growing, Jay writes that consumers will expect personalized shopping and tailored promotions this holiday season, and those retailers “who can deliver an easy, integrated and personalized shopping experience both in-store and online” will be the ones who cash in on holiday cheer this year.
Follow the conversation Monday starting at 1:00 PM EST at #smartershopping
As a prelude, check out my interview with Jay at IBM’s recent Smarter Commerce Summit in Orlando, Florida, where Jay explained how marketing is in chaos and some of the course corrections retailers can make to adapt to this rapidly-changing consumer-centric world.
I awakened today to some disturbing news on the consumer packaged goods front: Hostess, longtime maker of Ding Dongs, Twinkies, and Wonder Bread — all three of which provided me sustenance through much of my mispent youth — is going out of business.
In a Wall Street Journal
story earlier today, it was reported that the “maker of iconic treats such as Twinkies” and other products is shuttering its plants and will “seek to liquidate the 82-year-old business.”
The story goes on to report that a work stoppage that began on November 9th affected about two-thirds of Hostess’s 36 plants, and made it “impossible” for the Irving, Texas company to continue producing baked goods.
It’s hard to imagine a world without Twinkies. Or Ding Dongs, for that matter. What are we Texans going to fry at the Texas State Fair, if not Twinkies???
Of course, what woke me up today was the endless barrage of helicopters. The F1 Grand Prix race weekend has arrived in Austin, and some 200,000 race fans are expected to make a pit stop here to check out the race.
This is the first Grand Prix to be held in the U.S. in some five years, and though an F1 may not seem very Austinish, I say bring it on.
It’s expected to have an economic impact of some $220 million, and hey, it helped bring Aerosmith and Cheap Trick to town for a concert tonight, so it can’t be all bad!
I just hope folks using the Apple Maps apps are able to find their way out to the track, because Google’s new Map App for Apple devices is still in test mode.
I never thought I’d write that we may be finding ourselves not in a great browser battle, but rather, the Great Mobile Map Wars of 2012.
Kind of has a nice ring to it, eh?
Let’s reflect on the tick tock: Apple released the new iOS 6, in which it replaced the Google Maps app that was preinstalled with its own mapping software.
People complained they couldn’t get where they were going with the new Apple map app. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was sorry, then fired his software lead, Scott Forstall, after he refused to say he was sorry.
And now we wait.
Both for the new Google map app (which is said to have turn by turn directions), and the improved Apple map app.
Me, I think I’ll stop by the truck stop on the way out to the F1 track this weekend and just pick myself up an atlas.
I just hope it will provide good enough directions to lead me to the world’s last Twinkie.
Hello there. I’m back in Austin, Texas, and no worse for the wear.
Las Vegas was…well, Las Vegas. Although I must say, I was most impressed with Wynn Las Vegas.
Steve Wynn has been a lightning rod of controversy during his reign as a resort mogul in Las Vegas (and, now, Macau), and having only seen him in interviews on “60 Minutes,” I can’t say as I had much of an opinion one way or the other.
But, after staying at his 60+ story hotel on the Strip these past few days, I can attest to the level of personal detail and attention he puts into his properties.
Upon arrival on Sunday, I waited a good 30 minutes just to check in. But, upon reflection, I guess that’s a good sign for Mr. Wynn and his couterie, and they were kind enough to bring me a bottle of water to myself and other customers who were patiently waiting.
But if hotels can do such a great job of enabling a streamlined checkout (video, phone check out, express checkout, etc.), there’s clearly still room for much improvement on better “processing” customers when they arrive. Smarter check-in, anybody?
But all in all, very impressed with the Wynn brand experience.
As for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit, I’m still processing all the great info I took in, and may dedicate a more thoughtful post on my experience about that later.
But, since I was pre-occupied for a few days, we’ve had some important IBM news that fell below my blogging radar.
The most notable announcement emerged earlier today, one for IBM Business Partners and their clients.
IBM announced today it is providing IBM Business Partners with $4 billion in financing for credit-qualified clients over a period of 12 months.
This financing, through IBM Global Financing, can make obtaining credit easier and more accessible to IBM’s global partner ecosystem and their clients to acquire advanced technologies such as cloud, analytics and PureSystems.
Also, IBM is launching a new mobile app as another step to simplify the way IBM’s Business Partners can apply for and secure financing for their clients within minutes via any mobile device.
This financing initiative builds on the $1 billion in financing IBM Global Financing made available through IBM Business Partners for small and midsized businesses in 2011, which resulted in 6,800 global companies using financing and enabling them to invest in some of these important emerging technologies.
To learn more, you can visit IBM Global Financing here.
There’s really nothing like the joys and vagaries of business travel.
Yes, I’m back in Las Vegas, this time for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit, but it was quite the chore getting here.
Never mind that my lowest offer air fair required that I leave at 7:20 AM on a Sunday… That I could deal with.
But as our airplane in Austin was taxiing towards the runway for takeoff, it became quite evident a disgruntled traveler was not a happy camper, and poised to potentially cause quite a bit of trouble during the flight. He was being very rude to the flight attendants, and was allegedly pontificating about terrorism to his fellow passengers (he was seated a number of rows ahead of me, so I couldn’t quite make out the details).
Thankfully, the American Airline’s staff was on top of the situation, and they weren’t about to take off with this guy and his pontifications, who was refusing to follow simple and reasonable directives from the flight staff (like not getting out of his seat to go to the restroom on an active taxi-way).
So, AA promptly taxied the plane back down the active runway, where the gentleman causing the ruckus was met by some of Austin’s finest security officials and very politely escorted off the plane.
Then, the Captain came on to explain the situation: “Ladies and gentlemen, at American Airlines we strive to be attentive to ALL our customer’s needs, and the customer who was just escorted off the plane had some very special needs we felt important that he get tended to. We’ll now be on our way to Los Angeles.”
I laughed out loud, as did a number of other passengers — in one quick moment, the captain reassured his very antsy set of passengers, explained the situation in just as much detail as was really needed, reassured us that the troublemaker’s baggage had been removed from the plane, and indicated we would be on our way shortly.
We could now take off with a clear conscience and no concerns.
So I want to say a big thank you to JoAnn, Queen, the Captain, the dead-heading AA pilot, and the rest of the crew of Flight 457 this past Saturday on the flight from Austin to Los Angeles (and on to Vegas).
Your professionalism and calm amidst that minor storm demonstrated to your passengers that you can only “Be yourself. Nonstop” when the planes are moving, and safely, and you made sure they did both on Saturday, and I just wanted to thank you for that.