Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘holiday shopping

Happy Thanksgiving Black Friday

leave a comment »

Well, it’s that time of year here in the U.S.

Time for giving thanks…briefly…before the real fun begins, shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and all points in between.

I’m only partially joking. For many retailers, this several day period can also be a time for giving thanks and making up for other soft periods throughout the year.

The good news, consumer confidence is high, the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and the Walmarts and Targets and Amazons and Apples and all the other retailers are ready to rock n roll for the full stop start of this year’s holiday shopping season.

My predictions for this year: I’ve learned not to get too far out over my skis on predictions, but I will say I believe mobile shopping (via tablets and smartphones) will continue to grow, more omnichannel opportunities will be taken advantage of so consumers don’t have to fight their way through crowded stores (i.e., buy online only to pick up at the store later), and based on my own personal experience these past few days, Roku and Amazon Fire streaming devices are in high demand.

As for my own shopping proclivities, I don’t have anything tech-related that’s trying to burn a hole in my pocket. I bought a used iPhone 7 Plus off Gazelle earlier this year, and a Google Pixelbook earlier in the year which I really, really like (yes, you can consider that an endorsement). And I’ve had my Air Pods for over a year now, and don’t know how I lived without them (another endorsement).

But if YOU are looking for some help with the holiday shopping onslaught, particularly as it relates to tech, I found the Wall Street Journal “Best Tech Gifts 2018” list helpful. I’ve also become a big fan of The New York Times Wirecutter reviews, and they, too, have a helpful shopping list for electronics and a whole host of other retail categories.

But for today, let us give thanks. For good friends, for family, for great food and abundance, and for each other. Sure, all this stuff can bring some joy to our lives, and I’m also thankful for the benefits technology provides.

Yet as we’ve surely witnessed over the past few years, any technology — including digital technology and social media — can be used for both good and ill.

On this day, the day of giving thanks, I’m going to choose to celebrate the good of those technologies and be thankful for how they keep me closer to my friends and family and enrich my life and theirs.

For despite all the negativity and division, we should step back and realize we live in amazing and wondrous times, with great possibilities and promise ahead, technologically and otherwise.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And try not to stampede your fellow shoppers at the Walmart this year!

 

Written by turbotodd

November 22, 2018 at 10:51 am

Holiday Shopping And Streaming

leave a comment »

Santa brought Turbo a new (used) set of vintage 1988 Ben Hogan "Redline" blade golf clubs...whether or not they'll do anything to help lower his handicap remains to be seen!

Santa brought Turbo a new (used) set of vintage 1988 Ben Hogan “Redline” blade golf clubs…whether or not they’ll do anything to help lower his handicap remains to be seen!

Well, I hope you and yours are having a happy holiday season, wherever in the world you may be.

I just returned from a wonderful visit to see my parents and some extended family up in my hometown of Denton, Texas, where we were treated to our first white Christmas in three years, the snow billowing down starting around mid-day Christmas Day, and plunging the Dallas/Ft. Worth roads into a virtual ice skating rink.

As for the Christmas holiday shopping season, Sarah Perez with TechCrunch just reported that Amazon.com once again came out on top, in terms of online satisfaction.

No big surprise there.  I conducted a large portion of my own holiday shopping via Amazon, and received everything I ordered within a few days. I also treated myself to a set of Ben Hogan 1988 “redline” blade golf clubs, which I discovered on eBay for a very agreeable price. Unfortunately, the weather in Texas has kept me off the golf course (now back in Austin, I hope for that to change in the next few days!).

Of course, if you were trying to watch movies on Netflix on Monday, you might have found yourself watching a blank screen. Due to an Amazon Web Services outage, Netflix viewers were treated to bags full of coal starting around 3:30 PM on Monday, AWS’s third major outage this year.

Myself, I went on a “Redbox” binge over the holiday, discovering some recent titles for $1.20 a pop (including the latest Spiderman!), only to discover they’ll be bringing some competition to the streaming realm with the introduction of “Redbox Instant,” expected to go into private beta sometime soon. Redbox Instant is expected to match Netflix’s monthly streaming subscription price of $8 U.S.

Whatever your preference, it certainly looks like more and more Americans will be viewing filmed entertainment on devices other than their TVs. Another TechCrunch story reports that one in four Americans now owns a tablet computing device, with such devices now even having overtaken the number of e-reading devices like the Kindle (again, I did my fair share here over the holidays, giving out two Kindle Fire HDs as family gifts. Now I can only cross my fingers my family will use them!)

Regardless of your preference, the story goes on to say that one in three people in the U.S. now owns some kind of tablet or e-reading device, and this data before the full gamut of holiday shopping data has hit analysts’ spreadsheets.

One such analyst, Strategy Analytics, has Apple’s iPad still leading the pack, with Amazon and Samsung quickly narrowing that lead.

So what did Santa bring YOU for Christmas, and better yet, what did Santa YOU give others???

Written by turbotodd

December 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

(Not) Home For The Holidays

leave a comment »

I’m pretty happy I don’t have to travel today.  I’m going to wait until tomorrow, when all the turkeys have gotten off the road.

Of course, watch out for Wal-Mart and other big retail parking lots.  The consternation about having to work on Thanksgiving is pervasive, and I wouldn’t want to see any customers attempt to play Frogger in those big parking lots.  It’s dangerous enough just trying to get through the doors and into the store!

As always, my wise counsel is to shop from the comfort of your couch.

Walt Mossberg, the ever-dependable tech journalist with The Wall Street Journal, has written an article about “Making Sense of All the New Laptop Flavors.”

He goes on about the various flavors of Windows 8 PCs and tablets, before concluding that the “least costly Mac laptop” is the 11-inch MacBook Air, for $999.

I bought one just about a year ago, and I maintain it’s still the best, fastest, lightest, most dependable computer I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned plenty.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have splurged for more SSD, but that’s it.

If you want to make sure your personal shopping engine is fully revved before Black Friday, Gizmodo’s providing its Ultimate Black Friday guide for geeks, grouping deals by category, and offering a list of when every retailer is slated to be open on Black Friday, just in case you prefer shopping in a mosh pit.

As for an update on my new Apple Mini-me “mini,” otherwise known as the 5th generation iPod touch, I can only say I have no buyer’s remorse, even now after having seen the iPad mini in the flesh.

The retina screen and the small form factor on the newest touch are working perfectly for me thus far. I bought a new “Need for Speed” racing game just to be able to check out the graphics in full force, and the retina screen is simply stunning (as are movies and Netflix streams). I’ve always read what a great gaming platform the touch is, but playing that racing game has cemented it.

Over the next several days, if you want to keep pace with IBM’s annual holiday campaign “Digital Analytics” benchmark, just follow IBM’s e-shopping analytics guru, @jay_henderson (a fellow Texan!).

Jay and his team will be working and posting reports throughout the weekend and into next week to keep us all informed how the holiday e-retail season is going. Jay’s already indicated we can expect to see growing numbers on the mobile and tablet shopping footprint this year.  You can read Jay’s holiday set up piece here.

That said, don’t ignore those retail emails piling up in your in-box — email continues to be the e-retail Trojan Horse, with lots of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already being distributed. From Amazon to Golfsmith, I’ve received a number of holiday email deals, and it’s all I can do to keep my credit card filed away in my anti-scanning wallet!

If you’re looking for gainful employment this pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday, you might want to try somewhere other than LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Website had a “service unavailable” message this morning, and TechCrunch has been reporting a LinkedIn site outage.

As for me, I’ll be (mostly) disappearing from the cyber maze over the course of the next week. It’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and I’m taking them on a cruise in the Caribbean to celebrate. I may send a post or two via email if I’m so inspired, but mostly I’ll be spending some quality time with my parents and some extended family, and gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico in a pina colada-induced haze (virgin pina coladas, of course).

For all of my readers here in the United States, I wish you a very happy and restful holiday weekend. For those of you outside the U.S., enjoy the email and conference call silence from your U.S. colleagues…it won’t last long!

Holiday Shopping Chatter

leave a comment »

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.

Showrooming With Santa

leave a comment »

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!

Written by turbotodd

October 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Santa’s Virtual Elves

leave a comment »

I’ll be jetting off to Singapore early in the A.M. for the IBM InterConnect event, where I’ll be both blogging and broadcasting (via LiveStream and YouTube), interviewing a variety of IBM execs, partners, and clients.

Tune your TweetDeck now to hashtag #ibminterconnect to keep track of the festivities.  The event officially kicks off next Tuesday, October 9th.

As I was scanning my newsfeeds to catch up on what I’ve been missing all day while preparing for all those interviews, I saw that Facebook reached 1 billion users, although some of their recent moves, including the alteration of their algorithm to minimize brand page posts being seen by those who have opted in to “liking” that page, may start sending those numbers due south.

I also discovered that Microsoft is slated to launch its new Surface tablet at midnight on October 26th.

Midnight?  Really??  You guys couldn’t come up with something more original than that? 12:15, maybe? Or 12:30, even?

Sorry, dudes, I’m all tabletted out, although I will be keeping an eye on the horizon to see what gives with the iPad Mini.

Speaking of holiday shopping, the National Retail Federation released some important holiday shopping forecasts earlier this week that bear sharing.

The NRF’s 2012 holiday forecast expects sales will increase this season by 4.1 percent ($586.1 billion), well above the 10-year holiday average, but behind the 2011 season of 5.6 percent.

To which I say, “Bah, Humbug.” I do most ALL my holiday shopping online, so I’ll be doing my personal best to get those numbers up.  And I expect to pick up a few IBM “Smarter Commerce” tricks of the trade at the sessions next week in Singapore, which I’ll share.

Although I am inclined to show up on Black Friday to run at Wal-Mart with the mortar shopping “bulls!” Nothing like a little full contact holiday shopping, taking down a few eager shoppers to grab that last “Tickle Me Elmo!”

Kidding!

All these holiday tidings come just ahead of today’s news by Thomson Reuters, which reported that back-to-school sales growth slowed in September after “a strong August,” according to The New York Times “Economy” section.

Little Johnny don’t need no more pencils, Mom.  Get in line and buy that kid a Nexus 7!

But the story doesn’t end there.

AlixPartners’ Joel Bines is also quoted in the story as saying this doesn’t necessarily bode badly for the holiday shopping season, as no “conclusive” ten-year correlation between back-to-school and holiday sales seems evident.

As for me, as I fly Eastward, I’m going to have to start giving some serious consideration to my own Christmas holiday shopping list for Santa.

Of course, I’ve been extremely bad this year, which is par for the course, but hey, it never hurts to ask!

Next stop, Singapore, where I hope NOT to participate in any caning demonstrations.

But keep an eye out on YouTube just in case.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Orlando: IBM’s Jay Henderson On The IBM Holiday Benchmark Online Shopping Analysis

with 2 comments

Jay leads product strategy within IBM’s Cross-Channel Marketing team. His team is responsible for market analysis, customer insight, and industry marketing functions. He came to IBM through its acquisition of Unica, and has over fifteen years’experience in multi-channel marketing and customer analytics. Previously, he served in various marketing roles at predictive analytics leader SPSS (also part of IBM), web analytics pioneer NetGenesis, and management consulting firm Cambridge Technology Group. Jay holds degrees from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the Sorbonne (Paris IV).

Jay Henderson has been there, done that, and got the t-shirt when it comes to marketing analytics…one he probably bought online.

Currently the strategy program director at IBM Cross-Channel Marketing, Jay’s team is responsible for market analysis, customer insight, and industry marketing functions, and I had the privilege of sitting down with Jay last week at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit to talk many things analytics.

Jay’s heritage pre-dates his tenure at IBM, joining Big Blue through its acquisition of Unica.

Jay has over fifteen years’ experience in multi-channel marketing and customer analytics, and prior to joining Unica, he ran marketing for text mining pioneer ClearForest, the technology from which was later acquired by Thomson Reuters.

Jay’s most recent claim to fame has been the preparation of the IBM “Holiday Benchmark,” a near real-time analysis of the e-commerce retail activity during the annual holiday shopping season.

If you want the inside skinny on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other key shopping inflection points, the IBM Holiday Benchmark provides some excellent benchmark statistics. During our chat, Jay also made some news when he revealed that IBM is also going to be issuing soon some new reports, including a “back to school” retail analysis.

So, wanna know about major trends in the e-commerce realm? Watch the interview with Jay and find out!

Santa’s E-Commerce Play

leave a comment »

Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas!

IBM Benchmark data revealed that online shopping jumped 16.4 percent on Christmas Day, compared to last year, and the dollar amount of those purchases that were made using mobile devices leaped 172.9 percent!

And apparently, it was.

I didn’t try to track Santa via Santa Norad, but apparently Santa didn’t need nearly the help he might have.

According to some more IBM Benchmark e-commerce tracking numbers from the holiday shopping season, lots of folks were ready for more virtual commerce even on Christmas Day.

I count myself among the guilty.

The IBM data discovered that online shopping jumped 16.4 percent on Christmas Day, compared to last year, and the dollar amount of those purchases that were made using mobile devices leaped 172.9 percent.

IBM tracks shopping at more than 500 websites (other than Amazon.com, which is where *I* was shopping!).

It also found a huge increase in the number of shoppers making their purchases via iPhones, iPads and Android-powered mobile devices. In fact, nearly 7 percent of all online purchases were made using iPads, just 18 months after the tablet computers were released by Apple Inc..

The online shopping increase continued on Monday. As of 3 p.m. Eastern time, shopping was up 10 percent over Dec. 26, 2010, and the expectation was that the pace of buying would increase as the day wore on and consumers clicked on sales at various retailers.

The data did not show what portion of purchases was made using gift cards, which typically see a big bump just after holidays as folks start cashing those gift cards in and make purchases (online and off).

Speaking of online gifts, IBM has been making some pretty heavy duty investments in Santa’s e-commerce play, what we’re calling “smarter commerce.”  Between the numerous acquisitions and continued organic investment, IBM’s smarter commerce effort recognizes that the final sale is just one aspect of the overall commerce experience.

Last year, IBM researchers surveyed more than 500 economists worldwide and estimated that our planet’s system of systems carries inefficiencies totaling nearly $15 trillion, or 28 percent of worldwide GDP.

Much of this waste is found in our systems of commerce — in inventory backlogs, failed product launches, wasted materials and ineffective marketing campaigns.

Today’s customers have no patience for this kind of waste. They will not remain loyal to products or brands while the cost of inefficiency is passed along to the buyer. And it will not take them long to find the same product or service from a competitor.

These customers are empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital and mobile means.

They want a consistent experience across all channels. They compare notes. And they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse.

Nowhere is this shift more visible than in the retail industry, where companies are rapidly adapting to this new reality, integrating their  marketing efforts and using analytics to better understand their new, more fickle customers.

But retail is only the beginning. It is merely the front line of a customer revolution that will eventually reshape the entire value chain, from the way raw materials are sourced to the way they are manufactured, distributed and serviced.

Keeping up with today’s customer will take more than an email marketing campaign and a Facebook page.

It’s going to take a better system of doing business. It’s going to take smarter commerce.

Just as with traditional commerce, the customer is at the center of all operations, and smarter commerce turns customer insight into action, enabling new business processes that help companies buy, market, sell and service their products and services and, in the process, make for happier customers.

Smarter commerce reaches deep within the businessto-business supply chain, integrating business partners, suppliers, and vendors, enabling the entire value chain to anticipate customer needs, not react to them.

And it identifies and addresses the unsustainable inefficiencies of our global systems of commerce.

Visit here if you’d like to learn more about IBM’s smarter commerce strategy.

In the meantime, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Santa’s post Christmas holiday sales!

Written by turbotodd

December 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Turbo’s Crazy Christmas Gifts

leave a comment »

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!

From Black Friday To Cyber Monday: It’s All In The Clicks

leave a comment »

Well, that day of the year has finally arrived.

That day where we all slink into our offices after four nice, long, official holidays where (mostly, we hope) people stay away from their computers and mobile phones and tablets and God knows whatever other else connected devices just long enough to make it feel like you got some real rest (even though many of you were probably dealing with unrelated, but similarly frustrating, realities —you know, like screaming kids and antagonizing in-laws).

And all you could do was think about how nice it would be to come back into the nice peaceful and quiet office on Monday so you could get back to…shopping.

Yes, boys and girls, cyber Monday has arrived.

But judging from the results of the IBM Coremetrics Benchmark Black Friday e-retailing analysis, you really need not worry about coming into the office anymore just so you can get yourself an extra slurp of broadband.

This is 2011, yo, all you gotta do is break out that iPad and you’ll be standing in front of Macys women’s wear or Best Buy’s electronics section in seconds!

But while you’re out there figuring out your Cyber Monday strategy, I’m going to hit the highlights reel for the weekend in e-shopping.

E-Retail Shopping: Hit ‘Em Early and Often

U.S shoppers apparently took great advantage of early sales this holiday, driving a 39.3 percent year-over-year increase in online Thanksgiving day spending while setting the stage for 24.3 percent online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year.

Here’s a quick snapshop of the other key trends:

  • Consumer spending increases. The aggressive shopping we witnessed on Thanksgiving Day this year carried over into Black Friday, with online sales increasing 24.3 percent annually.
  • Mobile Bargain Hunting. Black Friday also saw the arrival of the mobile deal seeker who embraced their devices as a research tool for both in-store and online bargains. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3 percent (compared to 5.6 percent last year).
  • Mobile Sales On the Getgo. Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent (a tripling from last year’s 3.2 percent).
  • Apple’s One Stop Shop. Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4 percent and 4.8 percent respectively). Together, the iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.2 percent of all online retail. Apparently, it ain’t easy bein’ an Android on Black Friday.
  • The iPad Factor. Shoppers using the iPad led to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices, leading one to wonder about the real estate to deal closing ratio. The bigger the device, the larger the average order value?  Possibly, but this number can’t lie: Conversion rates for the iPad were 4.6 percent, compared to 2.8 for all other mobile devices. The iPad was this weekend’s e-shopping mobile king.
  • Social Influence. Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.53 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, with Facebook leading the pack and accounting for a full 75 percent of all social network traffic.
  • Social Media Chit Chat. Boosted by a 110 percent increase in discussion volume compared to 2010, top discussion topics on social media sites immediately before Friday showed a focus on the part of consumers to share tips on how to avoid the rush. Topics included out-of-stock concerns, waiting times and parking, and a spike in positive sentiment around Cyber Monday sales.
  • Surgical Shopping Goes Mobile: Mobile shoppers demonstrated a laser focus that surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3 percent bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1 percent.

This data came from findings of the IBM Coremetrics fourth annual Black Friday 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 get more background on the study here.

%d bloggers like this: