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IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC Retail Insights  today announced the availability of a new report, “Business Strategy: Big Data and Analytics Lay the Foundation for Revenue Growth,” (Document # RI250177) which describes the Big data and analytics (BDA) foundation for revenue growth and charts the likely rapid evolution of new capabilities. The report presents a framework for understanding successive generations of product intelligence, leading to a new paradigm — participatory commerce. This paradigm trains evolved market intelligence on a much larger opportunity — the triple win of merchandise economics, promotional spend, and customer satisfaction.

  • ClicktoTweet, “@IDCInsights #IDCRetailInsights Presents #BigData&Analytics Foundation for #NextGeneration #RevenueManagement – will propel #BDA”

BDA will increase revenue growth through optimized pricing, and create new opportunities to improve assortments, new products, marketing, and other demand generators. Product intelligence creates new facets of market and competitive insight through price discovery in the near term, with broader reach into assortments, private labels, and management of private label and national brands. Within five years in the context of “give-to-get” shoppers, combined with forces like supply chain collaboration among retailers and brands, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing, product intelligence will lead to participatory commerce.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • In 2013, approximately 50% of retailers were aiming BDA at pricing strategies, market intelligence, and customer acquisition. More retailers will join their ranks over the next two to three years.
  • Price intelligence, a subset of product intelligence, is emerging as the initial set of capabilities aligned to support these BDA initiatives. Beyond discovering prices and supporting better pricing decisions, product intelligence sheds light on competitors’ pricing strategies and tactics, assortments, localization, and channel strategies as well as on consumer decision making when combined with psychological techniques.
  • Price discovery gives retailers a countermeasure in the “spy versus spy” world of price transparency, providing them an analytical advantage but leaving consumers with the edge when comparing prices online in the context of their purchase journeys. Next-best-action analytics remain a seller’s key tool against the consumer’s contextual advantage.
  • As already evident in the 2013 holiday shopping season — supported by price discovery, predictive analytics, and real-time ecommerce price management — high-speed algorithmic pricing will break constraints on price change cadences and create breakneck “channel chess” competition.
  • In the context of supply chain collaboration, give-to-get consumers, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing product intelligence will create opportunities for participatory commerce — marketplaces wherein transactions based on the buying, selling, and buying intentions of participating retailers, brands, and consumers will improve merchandise economics, returns on promotional spending, and customer satisfaction.

“In particular, one application of product intelligence, price discovery, gives retailers a countermeasure versus the ‘spy versus spy’ price transparency of retail today,” said Greg Girard, program director at IDC Retail Insights. “Next-generation product intelligence in consumer decision making, competitor tactics, and market conditions will propel BDA-based revenue initiatives beyond pricing further into marketing, assortments, buying, and product development.”

For additional information about this report or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Greg Girard, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 orsarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

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Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

eMarketer

The “internet of things” (IoT) is coming. But are businesses ready for a completely connected future?

177221 Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

According to a May 2014 study by Edelman Berland for GE, the majority of business executives worldwide had at least heard of the IoT; however, familiarity was low, with more than half of respondents who had heard of the IoT saying they weren’t sure what it meant. Meanwhile, 44% had never even heard of the concept.

Edelman Berland/GE defined the internet of things as “the next generation of internet, integrating complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software.”

177222 Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

Looking at a breakdown by industry, the survey found that preparation and planning for the IoT varied greatly across sectors. Unsurprisingly, high-tech/IT sector business execs were the most prepared to optimize the IoT, with 34% of respondents from that industry saying so. Nearly one-quarter of professionals in that group were planning to prep for this new world—the highest percentage out of sectors once again. Telecoms execs were the second most prepared (31% of respondents), but interestingly, those who weren’t set to take advantage of the IoT were the least likely to say they were planning to—and the most likely to report that they had no intention to do so.

Meanwhile, both healthcare and manufacturing landed at the bottom in terms of preparedness, with just 21% of respondents from each of these industries saying they were ready to optimize the IoT—and nearly half never having even heard of it.

5 Measurement Pitfalls to Avoid

Mashable

Say your goal is to increase the number of customers you serve each day. Perhaps you run a city office processing food stamp applications, or maybe you’re offering technical support for your company’s product. How many customers do you serve online, in person and over the phone? What’s the average time to resolve a problem in each of these channels? Which types of customer requests take the longest, and which can be handled expediently?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even begin to try.

Data-driven decision making is a way of life these days, from city hall to the corporate boardroom. If you have the numbers to dictate a course of action, the thinking goes, why would you use your heart or your mind? But in the quest to back up every move with cold, hard data, it can be easy to mistake any old numbers for useful numbers. Not all data is created equal, and the best way to ensure you’ll be collecting the right data is to develop the right set of performance metrics.

So how do you decide which metrics will help you and which will just distract you from the central issues? Here are five common mistakes people make when dealing with data, and some tips to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Just having metrics is enough

It’s true that measuring a little bit is better than measuring nothing. But too many people are satisfied upon merely being able to utter the word “metrics” to a supervisor, and too many supervisors assume that if their team is counting anything at all, they must be doing something right.

Data is only useful if it allows you to measure and manage performance quality. This means it’s not necessarily as important for, say, the Buildings Department to count how many buildings passed inspection as it is for it to know the types of citations that caused them to fail, the number of inspections each inspector completed in one day, and how many buildings corrected their violations within one or two months of initial inspection. This richer set of data will reveal inefficiencies in the inspection process and allow the department to work toward better safety standards.

Mistake #2: The more metrics, the better

A common misconception is that if something can be counted, it should be counted. I’ve made the mistake of laying out tabs and tabs of metrics on a spreadsheet, only to find that the effort required to collect the data is a drain on not only my time, but the time of the people assigned to carry out the very work we’re trying to measure.

You never want your performance monitoring to be so onerous that it actually hinders performance itself. When coming up with a set of metrics, it helps to start by brainstorming everything you could possibly measure, then prioritizing the top 10 indicators that will yield the most critical information about your program. Start with a manageable load, and gradually add more — as long as the effort required to collect the data will pay for itself in useful observations and opportunities for improvement.

Mistake #3: Value judgments should be assigned to volumes

On the surface, it may seem intuitive that more calls answered is better than fewer calls answered. But imagine that in order to squeeze in an extra five calls an hour, the quality of each call is compromised. Less information is gathered, and fewer issues are addressed. Callers aren’t satisfied with the first call, so they call a second or a third time, further increasing your call numbers but taking up extra time and failing to address the reasons why the calls are coming in the first place. Perhaps calls that last a minute longer but more adequately address the caller’s questions end up preventing repeat calls, thus rendering the more-equals-better line of thinking not just mistaken, but backwards.

It’s also important to realize that many metrics, when counted as absolute numbers,aren’t particularly helpful. Without context, a number is more or less meaningless. Any numerator deserves a denominator, and pure numbers should be represented as a percentage of the total. For example, moving 1,000 homeless individuals off of the street and into temporary housing is laudable. But if the goal is to create housing for 20,000 homeless people, then it’s important to recognize that you’re only 5% of the way there.

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How Did Promoted Tweets Do During H1 2014?

eMarketer

Promoted Tweets have been around for a while, and according to recent research, they’re the Twitter ad format of choice among marketers.

176240 How Did Promoted Tweets Do During H1 2014?

According to a June 2014 study by RBC and Advertising Age, nearly 80% of US marketers were using Promoted Tweets, up from 44% in 2013. Meanwhile, just 32% were using second-place Promoted Accounts.

How are Promoted Tweets performing? Looking at Twitter campaign activity run on its own platform, AdParlor found that for Promoted Tweets in North America, CPM, cost per click (CPC), and cost per engagement (CPE)—which includes clicks, follows, replies and retweets—had risen between January and June 2014.

During that timeframe, average CPM increased from $10.26 to $11.59. However, this metric fluctuated every month, moving up and down several times between January and June 2014, when it showed its second-highest level.

177403 How Did Promoted Tweets Do During H1 2014?

Meanwhile, CPC rates rose throughout the first half of the year (with the exception of May, when they dipped by 1 cent) and hit an average 29 cents in June 2014. Further, CPC averaged 25 cents in Q2 2014, compared with 11 cents in Q1 2014.

CPE also followed the trend, rising from 10 cents, on average, to 28 cents between January and June 2014. AdParlor noted that this made sense, since nearly all engagement with Promoted Tweets in North America was via clicks (95.8%).

UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

According to a recent study by xAd and Telmetrics which looked at the mobile behaviors of 2,000 UK tablet and smartphone users, up to 46% of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary tool for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research tool. From comparison shopping to looking up nearby store locations to searching for store contact info, consumers are doing more and more purchase research and general browsing on their mobile devices, even while at home with a computer nearby. In fact, according to the study, 60% of those surveyed reported being at home the last time they accessed their smartphones.

As consumers turn to mobile to meet their varying research needs, they are becoming more comfortable with these devices as a primary decision-making tool. Satisfaction with the information available on smartphones in particular increased 18% since last year’s study.  

Mobile Advertising Has a Bigger Influence on In-Store Purchases Than You May Expect

Retail was the most popular category for mobile purchases, with 35% of survey respondents completing their transactions on their mobile devices. However, the impact of increasing mobile commerce activity isn’t limited to on-device or even online behaviors. Of those surveyed, 31% reported visiting a physical store at some point during their mobile search process. The study showed that mobile devices are frequently being used to not only research products and services, but also to find nearby store locations and store contact info. Ultimately, 37% of study respondents completed their purchases offline, with 20% of Telecom and Insurance shoppers completing purchases via phone.

Most Consumers Are Open to Influence, But Make It Quick 

When first turning to their mobile devices, less than 20% of respondents knew exactly what they were looking for, making 80% completely open to purchase influence. Consumers are also expecting purchase gratification more quickly than they have in the past. Nearly 50% reported wanting to make their purchase within a day and 30% are looking to make a purchase within the hour (up 52% since 2013).

Competitive Pricing and Easy Access to Store Contact Info Are Biggest Purchase Drivers for Mobile Consumers

According to the study, three out of four UK consumers used their mobile devices for price comparison and 39% made a purchase because the product/service was the right price. Store proximity and easy access to contact info are also important factors. Over 50% of respondents expect to find a location within eight kilometers of their current location, underscoring the importance of accurate location data, while up to 40% of shoppers made phone calls to the businesses they searched.

Fore more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Majority of Latin America’s Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

eMarketer

Where are smartphone users most likely to report purchasing products or services on their handsets? The answers may surprise you—especially the answer to the question, “Where aren’t they?”

176331 Majority of Latin Americas Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

May 2014 polling by IDG Global Solutions found that 78% of smartphone users in Asia-Pacific had made a mobile commerce purchase, compared with 70% in North America. It makes some sense that a relatively less developed ecommerce market would place high according to this metric, however: Overall, smartphone penetration in Asia-Pacific is relatively low, meaning the share of such users who have made a purchase is likely to be high. Across a broader swathe of the population, mcommerce penetration would look lower.

Latin America is another standout by this metric—an outright majority of smartphone users reported making a purchase. That compares with significantly lower penetration rates across the population of consumers and internet users who make ecommerce purchases at all (including on the desktop).

And while Latin America is behind the Middle East and Africa—another region where smartphone penetration reaches a fairly small share of the overall population, and smartphone users are therefore a select and advanced portion of the market—it placed ahead of both Eastern and Western Europe, places where smartphone penetration is higher, according to eMarketer’s estimates.

A buyer’s view on native advertising and transparency

Digiday

Attitudes toward native advertising in its various forms continue to divide the industry. Some view it as publishing’s savior while others see it as the final nail in journalism’s coffin.

Nick Cohen is managing partner and head of content at MediaCom U.K. and oversees content-led campaigns for its clients, some of which include GlaxoSmithKline, Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble. Cohen gave Digiday his view on the native advertising debate, how it’s being managed, and he told us what he made of that now-infamous John Oliver skit lambasting the tactic.

What did you make of John Oliver’s critique of native advertising?

I thought it was very funny. He very astutely highlighted the shoddy end of it. It’s easy for people in advertising to lose a sense of perspective. It’s right that we constantly question things.

What’s your take on native?
Personally, I think the term “native advertising” has been a bit unhelpful. It confuses more than it illuminates. We don’t really actively go out to clients and say, “You should be doing native advertising.” We just talk about content and how it can be used effectively to meet their business objectives.

Which campaigns have you been impressed by recently?
There was a nice example from MediaCom, which I don’t take credit for, where Audi and the Telegraph filmed a race to Le Mans. It’s great content and one of those where it makes sense for the publisher and for the brand: It’s not a square peg for a round hole.

All brands need to be thinking about how they can use content — be it on their website and social channels, through their physical distribution channels or through sponsored content with an external media brand. And there are ways of doing it well, and there’s ways of doing it badly. Focus on doing something everybody would be proud of.

Some publishers draw on journalists to help write ads, others have a completely separate studio and some let brands publish through a self-service model. What are the most typical approaches to sponsored content you’re seeing?
It’s mostly a studio model which we see, where it’s sales people involved in the process of pitching. I think for most publishers there’s still a separation between the sales and those on the editorial side, though as part of a commercial piece of work publishers might commission someone who also writes on the editorial side. For the likes of the Guardian and The Telegraph, who are very active in this space, I’d say the separate-studio model prevails. The likes of BuzzFeed, who we’ve been doing work with recently, use a separate team for commercial content too. AOL and the Huffington Post say that divide needs to evolve, but I think there is a realization that you do need to maintain a separation between the two things.

How overtly should advertorial be labeled as advertising?
If you’re reading a commissioned by-lined piece and it’s written by someone who is CEO of company X, you’d see that and understand that someone’s coming from a particular perspective and is coming from their specialist, informed opinion, rather than offering a completely unbiased perspective. As long as it’s properly labeled and transparent, I don’t think there’s a problem with it.

We always advise our clients that there’s a shared interest between the brand and the publisher, and those are typically around three areas of transparency, relevancy and quality. In terms of transparency, if you’re creating content that’s similar to other work produced by a publisher, you want it to be clearly labeled so it doesn’t look like you’re being underhanded. There’s also the need to abide by the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines, which has been pretty clear about this stuff. It’s not in the brand’s or the publishers’ interest to mislead people.

The content has to be relevant to the brand and something they’re legitimately able to talk about. It’s got to be relevant to the audience, and it has to be relevant to the publisher’s agenda. The last point is quality: making sure anything produced by a brand is as good a quality as what would be produced for that site anyway.

Have some publishers gone outside their comfort zone when it comes to posting commercial content on social channels?
If for whatever reason a publisher feels like they shouldn’t promote something, there are plenty of other ways of doing that through content-amplification services. It’s about having a really clear, honest discussion with the advertiser. If a publisher feels bad about doing something, they shouldn’t do it. Be clear with the client and the agency, and don’t do something you’re not completely comfortable with when it comes to branded content.

Neura’s novel approach: Baking intelligence into connected devices

CITEworld

A well-known problem in the Internet of Things is that many connected devices operate in silos. Your Fitbit doesn’t communicate with your Nest thermostat, for example.

One way some companies are trying to solve this problem is to create a hub, like Revolv. The idea is for all devices to connect to the hub, which serves as a central point for users to control all the devices and allows certain events to trigger activity in different devices.

Neura, a startup chosen as part of Microsoft Ventures’ accelerator program, has a novel approach to the hub concept. “The phone and potentially in the future the watch is how we treat a hub,” said Gilad Meiri, CEO of Neura.

Neura aims to be like a central clearinghouse for IoT data collected from fitness trackers, home automation products, and phones. But then it interprets that data into useful information that it supplies to other devices.

Here’s one scenario. Neura works around the idea of events in a person’s life. An important event could be waking up in the morning. Neura may figure out that a user has woken up based on information from a variety of devices like a sleep sensor, a Nest thermostat, motion sensors in a phone, and historical patterns.

Once Neura has detected such an event, it supplies it to partners that subscribe to that event data. For instance, a TV vendor might want to know a user has woken up in order to turn on the TV to the user’s favorite morning program. Waking up could trigger events like turning on the coffee maker or starting up the hot water heater.

“This is our model. To understand people and events and allow devices and services to subscribe to that,” Meiri said.

Neura offers its business customers a confidence scale around the information it delivers. For instance, the TV app may not want to turn on the TV unless Neura has 100 percent confidence that the user is awake because it wouldn’t be a great user experience if the TV turned on while the user is still asleep. But the app on the hot water heater might instead like to know when Neura is 60 percent sure the end user is awake since it takes some time to heat the water and it might be better to err on starting to heat the water before the user is awake.

Healthcare applications envisioned by Neura get even more interesting. Neura could detect that a user is driving to the gym and predict that in 20 minutes the user’s glucose level is likely to drop, based on historical data collected from the user’s glucose meter during previous workouts at the gym. The service can suggest to the user that it’s a good time to eat an apple.

Neura could also provide information to services so that, for example, a music service like Spotify can get a notification that a user only has 15 minutes left to her run so that the service can start playing music that might motivate her through the final stretch.

On the backend, Neura ingests the sensor data into its translation machine that it calls Harmony. It’s an abstraction layer that normalizes the data that’s coming from different sources. On top of that sits what Neura calls its Trac Event Machine which looks for patterns in user behavior. Its artificial intelligence layer makes sense of the data.

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Tablet boom helps digital magazines boost sales share

Marketing Week

Total digital sales increased 26 per cent year on year to 369,040, a slowdown on the 59 per cent growth seen in the same period last year. This was in part due to a slowdown in the number of magazines reporting digital sales, which only increased by 10 per cent to 95 magazines, compared to a 43 per cent increase in 2013.

That sales growth was enough to outpace the market, meaning digital publications now make up 2.9 per cent of magazines’ total circulation, up from 2.3 per cent a year ago. That is still just a tiny proportion of overall sales, with print circulation at 12.22m, a 3.8 per cent fall year on year and an acceleration of the 1.9 per cent drop seen in the same period a year ago.

However, a number of publishers have questioned the veracity of the ABC figures given that many now have a wide-ranging audience across the internet and mobile devices, not just through digital editions.

Barry McIlheney, CEO of the Professional Publishers’ Association, says the growth of digital editions is “encouraging” for the sector and highlights the growing demand for digital content.

He adds: “The figures in this report reiterate how shifting consumer media habits continue to impact upon today’s modern, multi-platform magazine brands. The growth of digital editions is encouraging for the sector, and it should also be remembered that this ABC report does not include the increasing number of other ways – websites, live events, social media, etc. – in which the magazine brands of today engage directly with their consumers.”

NME, which saw its average print circulation drop under 15,000 for the first time, claims to reach more than 3.6 million people across the UK.

Marcus Rich, CEO at NME’s owner IPC Media, says: “Our core focus is on expanding the overall reach of our powerful, market-leading brands. We continue to look for even more ways to satisfy and engage our consumers’ passions and in the past 12 months have launched new events and experiences, products and apps in a variety of sectors. We also look for new and exciting ways to leverage our portfolio of brands for the benefit of our advertising partners.”

The Economist’s digital edition saw the biggest increase in sales, up 72 per cent to 21,780, helping it overtake Private Eye as the most popular news magazine overall with average sales of 223,730. Total Film had the second highest average circulation at 14,091, an increase of 16 per cent, followed by BBC Top Gear magazine with 13,553.

TV choice remains the most popular paid-for magazine with total sales of 1.3 million, although its circulation dropped slightly, by 5.2 per cent. Northern & Shell’s magazine suffered a tough quarter, with OK!, New and Star all reporting double-digit declines.

5 Tweaks to Your Website That Could Increase Sales 300%

Mashable

A company website is a must-have in today’s Internet-driven economy. But while most companies have a website, few use them to their full potential to drive sales and revenue. That’s a shame, because websites are often a major investment in terms of time and money, and they can be a lot of work to keep updated.

So if you aren’t maximizing the return on investment of your site, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Luckily, there are a few relatively simple updates you can make to your website that can have a huge impact on customer attraction and retention, sales, revenue and long-term brand loyalty. These steps don’t require hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment and can be implemented by small companies and multinational corporations alike.

There are five common areas that most company websites can improve upon and expect to see an immediate boost in revenue. Taken together, they have the potential to increase your revenue by 300% or more (depending, of course, on your industry, location and a variety of other factors).

1. Add video content

Consumers love video — and so should you. Our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so ditch the long-winded product descriptions and opt for dynamic video content visitors can engage with on your website. Videos on your landing page can increase conversion rates by 86%, and 44% of customers purchase more products on sites that provide informational videos — and these numbers are only rising.

Customers also tend to stay longer on sites with videos, and even better — they are more likely to return. Engaging product videos, customer testimonials and even tours of your work space can help increase conversions.

Potential opportunity: Up to 86% increase in sales

2. Go global and multicultural

The global economic potential of online communication totals $45 trillion. But if your site only offers content in English, you miss out on a whopping two-thirds of that market potential. Making your website available for multilingual — and multicultural — audiences will help you reach a much bigger slice of the pie, improving your overall market potential by as much as 200%.

Choose a translation management system that integrates into your site; it’s much more efficient than manual translations, which often require time-consuming email communications with translators. New translation tools make it easy to roll out and maintain translated websites for the long-term.

Beyond translation, it’s important to be sensitive to the different cultural norms of your markets. Make sure you don’t make the same blunders as companies like Pepsi, whose light-blue branding alienated an entire market of consumers who associated the color with death. By preparing your site with localized content, you open a world of new opportunities to your business — literally.

Potential opportunity: Up to 200% increase in sales

3. Prevent downtime

On Cyber Monday, Amazon sold 36.8 million items worldwide. Minutes of downtime could have cost the company a big chunk of change. Same goes for your site. If it isn’t loading fast enough, you can lose customers before they even get a glimpse of your content and products. In fact, 57% of visitors abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. It’s important that your website is resilient and scales to meet demand, since 24% of people cite downtime as the reason they abandoned their shopping carts.

Improving your site’s scalability will prevent slow load-times and downtime, ultimately keeping more customers on your website and driving more purchases. Make sure to build your website on an elastic cloud platform that maintains your content and application quality, even when major traffic surges hit. And make sure to frequently test out your page speed on Google.

Potential opportunity: 24% increase in sales

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