Archive for the ‘retail’ Category
It’s that time of the year.
The year when all the smart, rich, famous and well-connected show up in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
I’m sure it’s nothing personal, but once again for as many years as I care to remember, my invitation never showed.
That’s okay, as things are pretty busy around here as we get off to a fast start in 2013.
However, I did really enjoy Alison Smale’s big picture set up piece for Davos this in The New York Time’s DealBook.
And if I were in attendance, that’s the type view I would be eagerly seeking — What are the general macroindicators and movements that smart peeps think are going to shape the year?
Some will be currents we can’t yet see, and as Smale observes, “Our footing is uncertain, as on this ski resort’s slithery streets, and we have steep slopes to climb, as the Magic Mountain will remind the global elite this week.”
Troubles in north Africa, the challenge of free information in China, anemic growth in Germany, the averted fiscal cliff but once again looming U.S. debt ceiling…”Crisis, in short,” writes Smale, “is the new normal.”
Speaking of Germany, also increasingly normal is the threat of cyber intrusion, according to a panel at the DLD conference ending today in Munich.
In coverage by Frederic Larinois from TechCrunch of Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, the Internet security firm, and F-Secure’s chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, it became readily apparent that cyber intrusion sophistication is reaching new levels.
Kaspersky spoke of recent cyber attacks like Stuxnet and Red October, suggesting such efforts have reached the equivalent of the “space station” in terms of their sophistication and impact, while Hypponen said the “happy hacker” of the 80s and 90s was long, and that instead “we now have to deal with criminals who try to make money from their malware and botnets, hacktivists who try to protest and governments attacking their own citizens and other governments for espionage and full-scale cyber warfare.”
The cyber genie, in other words, is well out of the virtual bottle.
So, let’s forget about all these woes for a few, shall we, and go shopping instead?
IBM’s new study of 26,000 global consumers will be coming out soon, and the early skinny has it revealing some interesting insights, including the fact that 35 percent of shoppers are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online.
Talk about a confused consumer!
It also revealed that nearly half of online purchases result from “showrooming,” a growing trend whereby consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.
You’ve done that before, haven’t you? You just didn’t know there was a fancy name for it!
Ultimately, consumers are seeking an integrated shopping experience. So, in response, retailers need to connect their online and physical stores, blending the benefits of each — from research to purchase to building brand loyalty, to that ultimate golden chalice of retail, repeat sales.
IBM is helping through its analytics capabilities, helping retailers measure sales metrics across digital channels to spot consumer buying patterns and visualizing product display, promotions, and even coupons in new ways.
Visit the IBM Smarter Retail web site to learn how your organization can create an integrated shopping experience.
Me, I’ve got to run down to the Amazon store for some new typewriter ribbons.
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.
ON the topic of Smarter Commerce, I’ve seen two stories today….count ‘em, TWO…about the intent for numerous retailers promising to match online retail prices at brick-n-mortar stores during the coming holiday season.
Found that Tickle Me Elmo for ten whole cents cheaper at Amazon???…just step right on up the Target cash register, because the Price is Right!
One of the stories was in The Wall Street Journal, and claimed that over the past few days, Best Buy and Target both had said they would match the prices offered by the online sites of some rivals, including Wal-Mart and Amazon.
This in an effort to combat “showrooming” (bet you didn’t even know there was such a word!), whereby shoppers checking products in stores then buy them on competitor’s websites, presumably for lower prices.
But, as the story goes on to observe, there soon could be trouble at the register, as these new policies require shoppers to both ask for and PROVE the existence of lowered prices.
“Mommy, Mommy, I just found the latest Furby on Amazon.com for a whole fifty cents less!”
Now, excuse Mommy while she fumbles around in her purse for her smartphone! Oh, never mind that line of people waiting around the store to pay full price for their Furbys!
You get the picture.
According to the Journal story, Best Buy’s going to go them one better, and provide their sales reps some discretion — if the SKU’s price is too low, you don’t get to go!…out the store with your Furby, that is.
All the more reason, I say, to stay in this holiday season, tablet or laptop in hand, with a nice warm cup of Egg Nog, and do ALL your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home!
Anybody watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games from London?
I don’t know about you, but I rather enjoyed them, in a British humor sort of way.
The testament to the National Health Service was a bit out of left field, but Danny Boyles made even that fun.
As for the image of the Queen skydiving with James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) into Olympic Stadium…well, cue the Bond theme, and shake up a martini, please, Miss Moneypenny, as that was a surprise indeed!
Across the English Channel and a bit further east, IBM recently partnered with major German retail hypermarket chain, REAL, to bring about its own recent surprise.
IBM and REAL have partnered to launch a new electronic coupon system throughout REAL’s 320 German stores, a first-of-its-kind digital coupon system developed with IBM Research to enable consumers to use their mobile phones to find and redeem e-coupons as they shop in stores.
This new capability delivers a convenient and personalized service to shoppers, even if they forgot their paper coupons back at home.
The REAL Deal
REAL hypermarkets sell about 80,000 different items, from food to electrical appliances to clothing, and already were conducting the largest coupon program in Germany through the company’s “Payback” program.
In fact, REAL cites customer loyalty programs like Payback as an important part of their business strategy in the highly competitive German retail market.
The REAL coupon program enables in-store Payback members to use their mobile phones to browse online coupons as they walk through the aisles. Shoppers can choose their favorite coupons from the REAL homepage or a Payback app on their smartphones.
In a maximum of 500 milliseconds, the system confirms their choice and transfers an eCoupon to the store’s “3V – Value Voucher Validation” coupon system in real time.
To redeem the eCoupon, customers then display their Payback membership card upon check-out and the transaction is automatically processed.
For REAL, this new electronic system offers a more personalized view of customers and the option to change coupon distribution in real time. Promotions can respond more flexibly to seasonal changes or fashion fads to appeal to ever-changing consumer tastes.
“In essence, we are simplifying and improving the coupon redemption process,” explained Bernd Hasenbank, Head of Point of Sale Solutions at REAL.
REAL expects that it will be receiving several hundred thousand eCoupon queries and eCoupon redemptions per day at the cash registers of it 320 stores. That is not an easy task for the underlying information technology (IT) architecture with a central server.
The new 3V coupon system at REAL is based on existing IBM solutions at METRO Group, which are compliant with the EPC Information Services Standard (EPCIS) of EPCglobal. The system is based on IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server, a high-performance data storage device, that is able to manage and analyze large amounts of data, integrate master data systems and provide data in real-time for internal and external applications.
If you’d like to learn more about IBM Smarter Commerce solutions, go here, and don’t forget the upcoming Smarter Commerce Summit to be held in Orlando, Florida, September 5-7. You can learn more about and register for that event here.
One of my first jobs in school was bagging groceries at a local grocery store. The irony was, it was one of those grocery stories where you were supposed to sack your own groceries, and, presumably, save some money doing so.
But the store was so popular when it first opened that it had its store assistants sack groceries to help move the lines along.
Those were the days when they didn’t have the fancy scanners — everything was still checked by hand.
So when I saw this announcement this morning IBM made that allows consumers to scan items as they move through the store, all I could think about was the Jetsons.
This new retail technology not only allows consumers to scan items with their mobile phones as they move about the store, it then lets them check themselves out at an IBM self-checkout station (yes, those exist today, but not with technology that allows consumers to scan the items as they’re shopping!)
Designed to help retailers provide a more customized in-store shopping experience for smart phone shoppers, the IBM Mobile Shopper application incorporates Honeywell mobile scanning technology capable of scanning virtually any bar code, no matter what background it is printed on, the direction it faces, or the packaging covering it.
The solution currently runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.
According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, self checkout is the preferred way to shop for most consumers today, and they are very specific about the way they want to use mobile technology while shopping.
More than 50 percent say they want to use a mobile device to scan while shopping, and to do final checkout at a self-checkout station. More than 40 percent want to scan samples and retrieve shopping items for pickup, or have the items delivered directly to their homes.
“Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers,” says John Gaydac, vice president, IBM Retail Store Solutions. “By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic.”
The new mobile phone application is powered by IBM ACE Store Integrator software and the newest release of IBM Self-Checkout software, which provides shoppers the same access to digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at self-checkout stations that is traditionally available at fully-staffed point-of-sale checkout lanes.
The IBM Mobile Shopper, or “digital shopping assistant,” incorporates Honeywell’s high-performance SwiftDecoder Mobile bar code decoding software, one of many patented technologies that have helped secure the company’s leadership in camera-based bar code decoding. Among them is the practice of decoding bar code-related information from a real-time video image, such as the display of a smart phone or other mobile device (U.S. patent 6,015,088).
The IBM Mobile Shopper solution with Honeywell mobile scanning is available immediately.