Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘cyber monday

Holiday Shopping Chatter

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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.

Turbo’s Crazy Christmas Gifts

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Now that things are slowing down a bit here in IBM-land, but recognizing there are still a few shopping days left before Christmas, I thought it might be constructive for you, and psychologically assuaging to me, for me to sit down and make a list for Santa.

You know, a kind of “Technology Gifts For The Geek Who Already Has (Almost) Everything.”

In so doing, I decided to identify those gadgets, thingamabobs, widgets, and other tech wizardry that, were I not to have to worry about price constraints, would inevitably wind their way into my gadget portfolio.

Which, being nicknamed “Turbo,” I can assure you, is already vast and expansive.  I could also open a small personal technology history museum with devices gathering dust in my various closets, but hey, this is about the future, not the past!  Stop dwelling on dollars spent previously in the great expense of being an early adopter and look into the holiday electronics abyss for the next new thing!

1) Video glasses.  I’m not yet sold on which brand or SKU, as there’s still some controversy, it seems, in the area of video glasses, as to whether they’re worth the investment or not.

iTV Googles new WideViewXL model provides a 72" virtual display, so while all the other suckers in coach are watching that runty TV, you're back in the exit row watching "Avatar" in full steroscopical, HD bliss -- and looking like the geek you truly are while you're watching it!

But, remembering this is a wish list of stuff I don’t necessarily need but would like to have, and assuming the moolah’s not coming from my pocket, it seems to me no self-respecting technology geek in the 2010s should be without a good pair of video glasses so that I can ignore people on airplanes while I watch the latest version of “Jackass” in 3D or play “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” all up close and personal.

And I mean REALLY up close.  So for now, I’m going with the ITG-WideView XL Edition.  Amazon cost: $369.99

 2) Kindle Fire.  Let’s face it: I don’t need anything else to read.  I subscribe to more print magazines than I care to admit to (yes, me, “Dr. Digital,” still traffics in parchment), I have an iPad with more books I’ve downloaded than I can read, and my MacBook Air serves in a pinch for watching content on the road as well.

But hey, you can’t ignore how big that frickin’ Amazon Cloud is, and there’s a reason they’re selling the Fire for a mere $199 (and apparently at a loss).

What they lose in volume they expect to make up in razor blade margins — content razor blades, I mean to say.  And with 19 million movies, TV shows, magazines, and books, with the Kindle Fire, the flames won’t go out in Amazon’s content cloud anytime soon! Amazon cost: $199

According to Panasonic "the VIERA ST Series Full HD 3D Plasmas create an all new viewing experience by putting you inside the action and creating a new world of TV viewing realism." The really cool fish are sold separately.

3) An Internet-Ready TV.  It’s pretty obvious to me where TV-land is headed: Straight for an interstellar crash with all things IP.  Which means the more Internet-ready my next TV is, the more TV-ready I’ll be for the coming Internet content wars.

Not that I need a new big TV, mind you: My 6-year old Sony Bravia 55”-inch is still working just fine, and with the recent addition of a Roku box, combined with an Apple TV, a WII, cable, and a Sony Playstation hooked to the thing, I’ve got more content than I can keep up with.  But this is about conspicuous-consumption, and the next big thing is Internet-ready TV, and I’m simply not ready!

So, enter the Panasonic Viera TC-P50S30 50-inch 1080p plasma HDTV. When I get bored with that Kindle Fire small fry screen, I can rev the Viera up on the Panasonic and grab me a content smorgasbord, built-in, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Pandora, Napster, and Facebook integration.

Could the Panasonic be my next new computer??  At $799.99, it could be the TV-top deal of the century! Amazon cost: $799.99

4) A Portable Hard Drive.  I cannot tell a lie: I have too much digital stuff.  And it’s all over the place. On multiple computers.  Multiple clouds.  In multiple universes.  Or was that meta-verses?

In any case, I’m well into digital overload, particularly now that I’ve learned how to make iMovies on my MacBook Air.  I need an overflow valve, so-to-speak.  And the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive could be a step in the right storage direction for helping me pack away all those exciting skateboarding bulldog videos.

The upside: It has up to 3X transfer rates via USB 3.0  The downside: It’s saying it only supports USB 2.0 on Snow Leopard (nothing about Lion!).  And that’s assuming the floods in Thailand haven’t put a damper on supply.  Amazon cost: $169.00

5) A Gaming Laptop.  Let’s face it, with a nickname like “Turbo,” I can’t ever have TOO much processing power in any of my computing devices.  The more horsepower, the better, I say.

The Battalion 101 X7200 from iBuypower says it will "give you an absolutely amazing gaming experience every time. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics card, 6GB of DDR3 memory and Intel Core i7 760QM processor give this computer plenty of power to handle even the most demanding games on the market. " Yes, I know, you're just waiting to ask: It will handle any variety of "Angry Birds" just fine!

And now that I’m trying to learn to fly via my computer, just any old laptop won’t do.  My poor Dell laptop is chugging along, and I fear I may crash into somebody else’s airplane in virtual space due to limited computing horsepower.  I did a little checking, and the Battaliion 101 X7200 seems to be a very highly rated, and somewhat affordable (remembering we don’t care about money in this list!) portable gaming maachine.

It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics card, 6GB of DDR3 memory, and an Intel Core i7 760QM processor — all of which ought to get me off the ground from the virtual Austin Bergstrom International and off to Charles DeGaulle for evening cocktails at Harry’s New York Bar in no time at all. iBuypower cost: $1,959

Of course, it took some serious restraint not for this list to go on and on and on and on.  There are so many gadgets across so many galaxies far, far away that I could have included, and yet, so little time. And, even affording myself the luxury of no cap on spending for my gift list, it still feels wrong, like we’re having ourselves a very merry but still austere holiday season.

So, Mr. Klaus, I hereby respectfully request that you deliver my coal this year in the form of some multi-carat eco-diamonds — manmade, no labor issues, easy to transact.  If I’m going to take my coal, I’m going to take it in style, thank you very much.

But I also wouldn’t argue if you just dropped me off an iPad 2, Santa.  I’ll even sit on your lap, if I must.

I’m already a generation behind with this first run iPad and I’m starting to get paranoid that I won’t be able to keep up with the virtual Joneses!

IBM Benchmark: Cyber Monday Online Spend Increases By 33 Percent Over 2010

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So the IBM Benchmark is in for Cyber Monday’s online shopping extravaganza, and it appears that shopping from the office continues to king.

So much for post-Thanksgiving productivity at work!

Me, the only Cyber Monday deal I bought was a new version of VMWare Fusion for my MacBook Air.  I’m a geek, and I like running multiple operating systems at the same time, what can I say?  It also gave me a good excuse to try out the latest flavor of Ubuntu Linux (11.10).

Online sales for Cyber Monday stayed in line with previous years until a late afternoon surge pushed sales up 33.0% over Cyber Monday 2010.

But I was apparently in the minority.  The U.S. Online retail sector delivered strong growth on Cyber Monday 2011 compared to the same period last year.

Here are the Cyber Monday headlines from the IBM Benchmark analysis:

  • Cyber Monday 2011 Compared to Cyber Monday 2010 (year/year)
    • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 33.0 percent over 2010, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $193.24 to $198.26 for an increase of 2.6 percent.
    • Shopping Peaks at 11:05am PST/2:05pm EST: Consumers flocked online, with shopping momentum hitting its highest peak at 11:05am PST/2:05pm EST. Consumer shopping also maintained strong momentum after commuting hours on both the east and west coast.
    • Mobile Sales and Traffic Grows: On Cyber Monday, 10.8 percent of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from 3.9 percent in 2010. Additionally, mobile sales grew dramatically, reaching 6.6 percent on Cyber Monday versus 2.3 percent in 2010.
  • Cyber Monday 2011 Compared to Black Friday 2011
    • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 29.3 percent over Black Friday.
    • The Mobile Bargain Hunter: On Cyber Monday mobile traffic averaged 10.8 percent compared to 14.3 percent on Black Friday.
    • Mobile Sales: Consumer sales on mobile devices reached 6.6 percent versus 9.8 percent on Black Friday.
    • The Apple Shopper: Apple’s iPhone and iPad continued to rank one and two for mobile device retail traffic (4.1 percent and 3.3 percent respectively). Android maintained its position in third at 3.2 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 7.4 percent of all online retail traffic versus 10.2 percent on Black Friday.
    • The iPad Factor: Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 5.2 percent compared to 4.6 percent.
    • The Social Influence: Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.56 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday versus 0.53 percent on Black Friday. Similar to Black Friday, Facebook led the pack, accounting for 86 percent of all social media traffic.
    • Social Media Chatter: Discussions on social media sites leading up to Cyber Monday increased in volume by 115 percent compared to 2010. Top areas of discussion focused on consumers sharing tips about using price comparison websites while avoiding cyber scams, Cyber Monday deals for international consumers and conversations about Black Friday in-store shopping experiences.

“Cyber Monday was once again the big winner for the Thanksgiving holiday shopping season, with a record number of consumers focused on finding the best online deals,” said John Squire, Chief Strategy Officer, IBM Smarter Commerce. “Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend.”

This news is based on findings from IBM’s fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark which tracks more than a million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide.

With this data, IBM helps retailers better understand and respond to their customers – across the organization – improving sourcing, inventory management, marketing, sales, and services programs.

You can download the latest Cyber Monday IBM Benchmark report here.

You Can’t Take A Guess? And Don’t Call Me Shirley

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Needless to say, I was totally bummed to hear that Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen passed away over the U.S. holiday weekend.

I was a big fan of Nielsen’s stretching all the way back to the original “Airplane.”  Man, that movie still cracks me up, and I was a wee lad when it first came out and probably had no business watching it at that young ripe age.

But I did — on videotape, no less.

For those of you who don’t know what a VCR videotape is, it’s kind of like the audio version of an 8-track tape, except it didn’t switch scenes in the middle of the tape like the 8-track did for music.

And for those of you who don’t know what a hospital is, it’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now!

Ah, what the kids these days missed out on!

Mr. Nielsen, we salute you and hope you Rest In Peace, preferably with that ubiquitous flatulation machine you liked traveling with during your last years.

And don’t call me Shirley.

Meanwhile, back at the IBM holiday shopping bean counting ranch, the data wizards at IBM Coremetrics have an update from “Cyber Monday.”

As of 12:00 AM PST last night, here’s what they’re seeing in terms of trends and points of comparison:

Cyber Monday 2010 Compared to Black Friday 2010

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 31.1 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value (AOV) up from $190.80 to $194.89 for an increase of 2.1 percent.
  • Luxury Goods Continue Comeback: Jewelry retailers reported a significant jump of 60.3 percent in sales.
  • Social Shopping: The growing trend of consumers using their networks on social sites for information about deals and inventory levels continued on Cyber Monday. While the percentage of visitors arriving from social network sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors — nearly 1 percent — it is gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Mobile Shopping: Consumers continue to use mobile as a shopping tool. On Cyber Monday, 3.9 percent of people visited a retailer’s site using a mobile device.

Cyber Monday 2010 Compared to Cyber Monday 2009 (year/year):

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 19.4 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value (AOV) up from $180.03 to $194.89 for an increase of 8.3 percent.
  • Luxury Goods Report Big Gains: Affluent shoppers opened their wallets wide, driving sales of luxury goods up 24.3 percent over 2009.
  • Shopping Peaks at 9:00 am PST/Noon EST: Consumers flocked online, with shopping momentum hitting its peak at 9:00 am PST/noon EST. But consumer shopping maintained stronger momentum throughout the day than on Cyber Monday 2009.

“Cyber Monday came in as the biggest shopping day of the year so far,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Coremetrics.

“Consumers this year appear much more willing to open their wallets and are turning to online stores for the convenience of shopping wherever and whenever they like,” continued Squire, “but also as their primary source of information about products and inventory levels. Retailers have done an exceptional job across the board of appealing to consumers with highly personalized promotions and a slew of free shipping promotions.”

According to an analytics-based forecast from IBM’s Global Business Services division, in-store sales in the consumer electronics and appliances sector are expected to increase 3.5 percent this year compared to last, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November.

U.S. consumers have been increasing their savings relative to disposable income, from 2 percent in 2007 to nearly 6 percent today, leading to strong pent-up demand this holiday season for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in the present-day economy.

So, for those of you who were asking why the American consumer was spending more this holiday season, this should help at least partly explain it.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this last small back and forth from “Airplane” (Nielsen’s character was Rumack):

Rumack: “Captain, how soon can you land?
Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Written by turbotodd

November 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Back In Black Friday?

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For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had yourselves a very happy (and long) Thanksgiving weekend.

They’re never long enough.

So did anybody out there go and do a little shopping?

It seems that quite a few of you certainly went shopping online.

Me, I beat the rush, heading over to Amazon on Thanksgiving Day to buy a couple of new photography toys.

But it was Black Friday, as we’ve come to coin the shopping day after Thanksgiving, where things really heated up.

comScore just released its numbers overnight, and indicated that Black Friday reached $595M U.S. in U.S. online holiday spending, up 11 percent over last year.

For the first 27 days of November, $10.57B had been spent online, a 3 percent increase over the corresponding days last year.

For Black Friday deal seekers, it was clear the discount shoppers were out in force, with the number of visitors to coupon sites growing 17 percent over last year, at 3.3M visitors.

And it was ShopLocal.com which ranked as the most visited comparison shopping site on Black Friday (2M visitors on Friday), helping turn local Web inquiries into local “brick and mortar” sales.

Now for the drumroll….the five top online retail properties surpassed four million U.S. unique visitors on Black Friday, with Amazon garnering a 28 percent increase unique visitors over last year, followed by Walmart (22 percent), Apple.com (39 percent), Target (2 percent), and BestBuy (24 percent).

Overall, a strong start to the holiday shopping season, but as they ask on Broadway, does it have legs?

Larry Dignan over at ZDNet cites discounts and promotions as having led to the early pop, and it’s clear that the Amazon v. Walmart match is proving to be the event of this holiday season.

Of course, it’s way too soon to tell who has been naughty, nice, or profitable, and who’s simply giving away the online store to get customers in and spending.

Santa still has plenty of rounds to make, including today’s round of “Cyber Monday,” when we worker bees head back to the office corporate networks to shop during our lunch break.

But the early holiday online shopping signs at least offer some hope that the kiddies will get more than charcoal this year.

Written by turbotodd

November 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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