Ben Rund

Ben Rund

Retail Business Technology Expo Trend Blog – The Fantastic Five

Retail friends – sorry to say it was not a surprise that reinventing the store and making it more digital impacted the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) in London this week. I saw a similar trend at the National Retail Federation Big Show back in January, which I discussed in this blog post.

With that being said, I was not shy finding the fantastic five that thrilled me in the Olympia Hammersmith center hall.

Here they are:

Engaging Spaces: Their booth was making the most noise with interactive touchable wooden walls, which emphasize interaction with sound and lights. No booth was inspiring more people taking pictures than this one. I took the liberty to record this short clip

Engaging Spaces was surrounded by lots of fancy digital signage vendors to display products in-store. Some demos did not work, or did not come with comprehensive product details and are still not personalized.

Panel: Optimizing the supply chain and omnichannel experience are twins. Moderated by Spencer Izard and completed by Craig Sears-Black from Manhattan Associates and Tom Enright from Gartner, showed that the lines between retailers and CPG companies are blurring. Retailers become eTailers and brands act like retailers.

We learned that consumers don’t care where they buy from, but they always expect trust! The experts see co-existence, overlap and changes for partnering between vendors and retailers. Analysts said that retail organizations are still siloed on the internal structure, which prevents omnichannel execution. We expect that a balance of power will take place between brands and retailers.

panel

Orderella: Let the phone do the queuing. This app is perfect for people like me who hate waiting in line for lunch.. The app connects with PayPal, soI was able to order my snack and drink from my phone, and to my table. It was delivered in 1 minute, and I was able to monitor the process within the app. In addition, they also delivered to each both with localizing your phone and offered a 6 bucks voucher for each new deal. Great combination of location, real-time, product and customer data.

orderella

Red Ant: The seamless in-store experience. The app sits on top of ecommerce tools like Demandware, hybris, Intershop, Magento, Oxid, Oracle ATG or IBM WebSphere Commerce, which are used by many of our customers tosupport barcode scanning and flexibility in the checkout process. It also supports the in-store assistant to complete the transaction. Red Ant is very easy to use for our eCommerce clients, who already fuel their commerce with perfect product information.

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Iconeme: Again for digital in-store experience. The app uses iBeacon to help users see where the product is in the store, share it, view looks (product bundles), a virtual dressing room, and of course, check out payment. Definitely something to take a look at.

in store app

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Asia-Pacific Ecommerce surpassed Europe and North America

With a total B2C e-commerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013, Asia-Pacific was the strongest e-commerce region in the world in 2013, as it surpassed Europe ($482.3bn) and North America ($452.4bn). Online sales in Asia-Pacific expected to have reached $799.2 billion in 2014, due to latest report from the Ecommerce Foundation.

Revenue: China, followed by Japan and Australia
As a matter of fact, China was the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, only behind the US ($419.0 billion), and for 2014 it is estimated that China even surpassed the US ($537.0 billion vs. $456.0 billion). In terms of B2C e-commerce turnover, Japan ($136.7 billion) ranked second, followed by Australia ($35.7 billion), South Korea ($20.2 billion) and India ($10.7 billion).

On average, Asian-Pacific e-shoppers spent $1,268 online in 2013
Ecommerce Europe’s research reveals that 235.7 million consumers in Asia-Pacific purchased goods and services online in 2013. On average, APAC online consumers each spent $1,268 online in 2013. This is slightly lower than the global average of $1,304. At $2,167, Australian e-shopper were the biggest spenders online, followed by the Japanese ($1,808) and China ($1,087).

Mobile: Japan and Australia lead the pack
In the frequency of mobile purchasing Japan shows the highest adoption, followed by Japan. An interesting fact is that 50% of transactions are done at home, 20% at work and 10% on the go.

frequency mobile shopping APAC

You can download the full report here. What does this mean for your business opportunity? Read more on the omnichannel trends 2015, which are driving customer experience. Happy to discuss @benrund.

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Lovenomics: The Price of Love This Valentine’s Day, Cash In on the Hopeless Romantics

retailers

Lovenomics: The Price of Love This Valentine’s Day, Cash In on the Hopeless Romantics

This blog post was originally featured on Business.com here: Lovenomics: The Price of Love This Valentine’s Day.

After the Blue Cross sales that dominate January, Valentine’s Day offers welcome relief to the high street. Valentine’s Day marks the end of Christmas sales and the first of the year’s seasonal hooks providing retailers with an opportunity to upsell. According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, American consumers plan to spend a total of $4.8 billion on jewelry and a survey high of nearly $2 billion on clothing this year. However, to successfully capture customers, retailers need to develop an omni-channel strategy designed to sell the right product.

Target the indecisive

For the most part, the majority of Valentine’s Day shoppers will be undecided when they begin their purchasing journey. Based on this assumption, a targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) will be increasingly important. Not only do retailers need to track and understand the purchasing decision of every customer as they move between channels, but they also need to have a real-time view of the product lines, pricing and content that the competition is using. Once armed with this information, retailers can concentrate on delivering personalized ads or timely product placements that drive consumers to the checkout as they move across different channels.

Related Article: 11 Cheeky Business Valentine’s Day Cards for the BFF In Your Office

Start with search

Consumers will start their shopping journey with a search engine and will rarely scroll past the first page. So brands need to be prepared by turning Valentine’s Day product lines into searchable content. To capture a greater share of online traffic, retailers should concentrate on making relevant products easy to find by managing meta-information, optimizing media assets with the keywords that consumers are using, deploying rich text and automatically sending products to search engines.

Next generation loyalty

Retailers and restaurants can now integrate loyalty schemes into specialized smartphone apps, or maybe integrate customer communication to automatically deliver personalized ads (e.g., offers for last minute gifts for those who forget). However, to ensure success, brands need to know as much about their customers as consumers know about their products. By being able to monitor customers’ behavior, the information that they are looking at and the channels that they are using to interact with brands, loyalty programs can be used to deliver timely special offers or information at the right moment.

Digital signage

Valentine’s Day represents an opportunity to reinvent the in-store experience. By introducing digital signage for special product promotions, retailers can showcase a wide range of eclectic merchandise to showroom consumers. This could be done by targeting any smartphone consumers (who have allowed geo-located ads on their phones) with a personalized text message when they enter the store. Use this message to direct them to the most relevant areas for Valentine’s Day gifts or present them with a customized offer based on previous buying history.

Related Article: Small Business Marketing Tips for Valentine’s Day

Quick fulfillment

supermarkets have become established as the one-stop shop for lovers in a rush. Last year, Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, revealed that 85 percent of all Valentine’s Day bouquets were bought on the day itself, with three-quarters of all Valentine’s Day chocolates sold on February 14.

To tap into the last-minute attitude of panicked couples searching for a gift, retailers should have a dedicated Valentine’s Day section online and provide timely offers that come with the promise of delivery in time for Valentine’s Day. For example, BCBGMAXAZRIA is using data quality services to ensure its email list is clean and updated, keeping its sender reputation high so that when they need to reach customers during critical times like Valentine’s Day, they have confidence in their data.

Alternatively, retailers can help customers by closely managing local inventory levels to offer same-day click-and-collect initiatives or showing consumers the number of items that are currently in-stock and in-store across all channels.

Valentine’s Day may seem like a minor holiday after Christmas, but for retailers it generates billions of dollars in annual spending and presents a tremendous opportunity to boost their customer base. With these tips, retailers will hopefully be able to sweeten their sales by effectively targeting customers looking for the perfect gift for their special someone.

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The Magnificent Seven Facts on B2C eCommerce in North America

The latest North American B2C e-commerce market report is out now. For my followers I took the freedom to summarize some “Magnificent Seven Facts on B2C eCommerce in North America” in a short blog.  The report covers United States, Canada and Mexico, but as well comparisons to Europe and Asia. According to this report, North American B2C e-commerce market is expected to reach $494.0 billion in 2014.

The Magnificent Seven Facts

  1. 122.5 million households in North America
  2. 336 million internet users in North America
  3. North America makes up 29.2% of the total global online sales ($1,552.0bn) in 2013.
  4. In terms of global B2C e-commerce, North America ranked third in 2013, behind Asia-Pacific and Europe
  5. North American consumers spent on average$2,116 online in2013. This is significantly above the global average of €1,280.
  6. With an average spending per e-shopper of $2,216, American consumers spent most online in2013. Canadians ranked second with an average spending of $1,577, while Mexican e-shoppers on average spent $1,133 online in2013.
  7. Canadians are more likely to shop mobile

Mobile Commerce: Canada Leads the Pack

Within North America, mobile commerce is most popular in Canada, with more than half of the online purchases per week being made through a mobile device. At 38.2%, US Americans still make their mobile purchases in the safe surroundings of their homes.

What are the barriers preventing mobile purchasing?

barriers mobile shopping north america

Free downloads available now

Would you like to find out more about global e-commerce? The free light versions of our Regional/Continental Reports can be downloaded here.

 

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Executive Tour – Retail Innovation in NYC

MF-Executive-NewYork-468x60p

Working with executives in retail, distribution and CPG has always been a passion for me and our team. Our MDM in NYC (February 24) is dedicated the theme of “Driving Value from Business Critical Information” and comes with special break out room from 10.30 am – 5.00 pm focussing on “Omnichannel & Product Information Management”.

Customer speakers include:

  1. How product information in ecommerce improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products (Triple Award Winner) – Speaker: Mike Plourde, IT Director of Data and Analytics
  2. Harrods: Improving Customer Experience with Product Information – Speaker: Peter Rush, Head of Governance Planning

Informatica & Management Forum present:

Executive Tour – Retail Innovation in NYC

This time, I am proud to have a special partnership in place which allows you to visit an attractive list of retail stores in Manhattan: The list includes Bloomingdale’s, Target, Glossybox, This is Store, Indochino and much more. Did you know, re-inventing the store, was one of the hot topics at NRF, retailers big show early January.

Business partners of Informatica will get a discount for this Executive Tour and will also get free access to Informatica’s MDM Day. If you are interested in the store-tour using the discount for Informatica, please drop me an email.

 

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Digital Signage helps Reinventing the Store

Reinventing the store was one of the key topics at NRF. Over the last three to four years we have been seeing a lot push and invest for ecommerce innovation and replatforming ecommerce strategies. Now the retail, CPG and brand manufacturers are working on a renaissance of the store and show room, driven by digital. And there is still way to go.

Incremental part of the omnichannel strategy of our PIM customer Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is digital signage for in-store product promotions. This selfie was shot with my dear colleague Thomas Kasemir (VP RnD PIM & Procurement) at the NRF booth of Four Winds Interactive.

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Four Winds serves about 5,000 companies worldwide and I would consider them as one of the market leaders. Alison Rank and her team did show case how static product promotions work and how dynamic personalized product promotions can look like, when John Doe enters the store.

John Doe’s Personalized Purchase Journey

John Doe and his wife are out and about in the city; with the advice from his son, John has created a pro-file on Facebook and Foursquare with his new generation smartphone enabling him to receive any special offers in his vicinity. Mr. Doe has voluntarily agreed to share his data for the specific purpose of allowing retailers to call to his attention any special offers in the area. As both of them have interest in visiting the store they respond to the offer.

At the entrance to the store he is advised to start up the special store app and is promised a “personalized shopping” experience. As John Doe enters the store, a friendly greeting appears on his digital signage screen: “Welcome Mr. Doe, the men’s suits are on the 3rd floor and we have the following offers for you.” Upon reaching the 3rd floor, the salesperson is already standing there with the right suit. The suit is one size smaller than usual, but it fits John Doe. After the fitting, the salesperson even points out the new women’s hat collection in the women’s department. Satisfied with their purchases, Mr. and Mrs. Doe leave the store.

For me it is clear assuming that the future of shopping will look something like this, due to the fact that all of these technologies are already available. But what has taken place? The reason why John Doe receives location-based offers has already been explained above; the point that needs to be made is that there is now the ability to link personal and statistical data to customers. By means of the app, the store already knows whom they are dealing with as soon as they enter the store. Or can messaging services be used to send an alert to a shop assistant that a A-Customer with high value shopping carts has just entered the store.

To this point, stores can leverage both personal information as well as location-based information to generate a personal greeting for the customer.

  • What did he buy? In which department was he and for how long?
  • When did he purchase his last suit(s)?
  • What sizes were these?
  • Does he have an online profile?
  • What does he order online and does he finish the transaction?

All of this analytical data can be stored and retrieved behind the scenes. 

Catch Me if I Want

The targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) is considered to be increasingly important.  This type of communication is becoming dynamic and is taking precedent over traditional forms of advertising.

When entering the store today, customers are for the most part undecided. Based on this assumption, they can be influenced by ads and targeted product placement.  Customers are now willing to disclose their location data and personal information provided there is added value for them to do so.

Example from Vapiano Restaurant

A good example is the Vapiano restaurant chain. Vapiano restaurants take an extra step further than the tradi-tional loyalty card by utilizing a special smartphone app where the customer can not only choose the nearest restau-rant along with special offers and menu, but also receive a kind of credit after payment via barcode. After collecting 10 credits, the restaurant guest receives a main course for free on the 11th visit. Sound good? It sure does, and from the company’s perspective this is a win-win situation. These obvious benefits move the customer to disclose his or her eating habits and personal data. The restaurant chain now has access to their birth dates, which is rewarded as well. This data aggregation is definitely recommendable, since it requires the guest’s explicit consent and assumes a certain degree of active participation from the guest to be eligible for the rewards offered by the restaurant.

Summary

If John Doe allowed my as brand manufacturer in my showroom or as a retailer to catch him, companies will need to ensure that they are really able to identity John Doe wit this all channel customer profile to come up with a personalized offer on digital signage. But this needs to be covered in an additional blogs…

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Product Intelligence: How To Make Your Product Information Smarter

As we discussed at length in our #HappyHoliData series, no matter what the customer industry or use case, information quality is a key value component to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.

In my blog on 2015 omnichannel trends impacting customer experience I commented on product trust as a key expectation in the eyes of customers.

For product managers, merchandizers or category managers this means: which products shall we offer for which price? How is the competition pricing this item? With which content is the competition promoting this SKU? Are my retailers and distributors sticking to my price policy. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling content and for better customer facing service.

Recently, we’ve been spending time discussing this challenge with the folks at Indix, an innovator in the product intelligence space, to find ways to help businesses improve their product information quality.  For background, Indix is building the world’s largest database of product information and currently tracks over 600 million products, over 600,000 seller, over 40,000 brands, over 10,000 attributes across over 6,000 categories. (source: Indix.com)

Indix takes all of that data, then cleanses and normalizes it and breaks it down into two types of product information — offers data and catalog data.  The offers data includes all the dynamic information related to the sale of a product such as the number of stores at which it is sold, price history, promotions, channels, availability, and shipping. The catalog data comprises relatively unchanging product information, such as brand, images, descriptions, specifications, attributes, tags, and facets.

product intelligence indix informatica

We’ve been talking with the Indix team about how powerful it could be to integrate product intelligence directly into the Informatica PIM.  Just imagine if Informatica customers could seamlessly bring in relevant offers and catalog content into the PIM through a direct connection to the Indix Product Intelligence Platform and begin using market and competitive data immediately.

What do you think?  

We’re going to be at NRF and meet selected people to discuss more.  If you like the idea, or have some feedback on the concept, let us know.  We’d love to see you while we’re there and talk further about this idea with you.

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2015 Omnichannel Trends for Customer Experience

In my point of view, heavily influenced by the customers and analyst I am meeting, these 5 trends are impacting omnichannel commerce for better personalization and customer experience in 2015 and beyond.

Omnichannel Trends 2015

  1. Issue of the informed purchase journey:  A Google study (*Google ZMOT Handbook) shows that, on average, across all categories, shoppers use 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. This includes, among other things, watching TV ads, looking up manufacturer websites, talking to family and friends, reading reviews, and checking Amazon. Customers are increasingly visiting websites across multiple devices, and the final location where they make a purchase can be very different from the initial point of interaction. When do they have enough information to buy?
  2. Three levels of Trust : Customer expect three levels of trust – SOCIAL TRUST, PRODUCT TRUST and BRAND TRUST. Social trust: means what do my friends recommend? Conversions go up by 133%* when trusted people recommend products. Brands  and retailers can sell more with relevant information, including social data (aggregating and reusing). Sorry but this is again one more votum for tanking BIG DATA seriously.  I believe customer-centric organizations are going to use a combination of data management and big data analytics to improve the quality and accelerate the business value of their big data projects. In particular, companies will apply these capabilities to greatly improve their ability to acquire, retain and grow their customer share of wallet with more personalized marketing.  For example, one insurance company we work wants to better understand their customers, household and prospects through real-time customer and prospect profiling on Hadoop. This data management and big data analytics initiative will improve their marketing campaign effectiveness by targeting specific people with relevant offers. They will be able to answer questions such as:
  • How many of these people are customers vs. prospects?
  • Who else lives in this household?
  • Which products do they already have?
  • What relationships do they have with other customers, beneficiaries, prospects, agents?
  • Which offers have they responded to that we sent them in the past?
  • What life events, changes to address, income or employment have they experienced?
  • Which customers are likely to churn?

Product trust: which products shall we offer for which price? Or the customer wants to know if he buys the latest version of the digital radio or the cable. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling contentr and for better customer facing service.

Brand trust: the brand experience is so important. Brands and retailers need to be more efficient when creating market ready products, with videos, content and all what creates emotions.

3. Store fulfillment & in-store experience will become a big investment area, and retailers will look to omni-channel solutions that can provide provide transparency into inventory to help manage customer expectations. Use the store as warehouse and ship from the nearest store. The use if digital devices and information panels will gain much more attention. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2016 more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.

4. The mobile conversion: revenue spend on mobile is growing. Forrester Research projects sales from consumers shopping on mobile phones will increase to $38 billion this year and sales from tablets will hit $76 billion, or about $114 billion in total in the US. Most Online Shopping Still Happens on PCs.  95% of smartphone users say they’ve searched for local information. 90% of those users take action within 24 hours. 61% of smartphone users called a business after searching. 59% visited a local business after searching. But conversions on mobile devices need to be improved. With better and more relevant information – I call it commerce relevancy.

5. Virtual Reality is taking customer experience to the next level. Augmented reality was a first step, but I believe virtual reality (VR) will take it even further. I learned from my colleague Nicholas Goupil, that Samsung Gear by Oculus VR and similar products will change the game of gaming. What are the potentials for brands and retailers to enhance customer experience?

What are your expectations on 2015 omnichannel trends?

Let’s chat @benrund or face-to-face during NRF in NYC.

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Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData

In case you have missed our #HappyHoliData series on Twitter and LinkedIn, I decided to provide a short summary of best practices which are unleashing information potential. Simply scroll and click on the case study which is relevant for you and your business. The series touches on different industries and use cases. But all have one thing in common: All consider information quality as key value to their business to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.

HappyHoliData_01 HappyHoliData_02 HappyHoliData_03 HappyHoliData_04 HappyHoliData_05 HappyHoliData_06 HappyHoliData_07 HappyHoliData_08 HappyHoliData_09 HappyHoliData_10 HappyHoliData_11 HappyHoliData_12 HappyHoliData_13 HappyHoliData_14 HappyHoliData_15 HappyHoliData_16 HappyHoliData_17 HappyHoliData_18 HappyHoliData_19 HappyHoliData_20 HappyHoliData_21 HappyHoliData_22 HappyHoliData_23 HappyHoliData_24

Thanks a lot to all my great teammates, who made this series happen.

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

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Posted in B2B, B2B Data Exchange, Banking & Capital Markets, Big Data, CIO, CMO, Customers, Data Governance, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Financial Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Manufacturing, Master Data Management, PaaS, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail, SaaS | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Virtual Reality – Bringing the Customer Experience to new Levels

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality and Customer Experience

Did you know that a large quantity of Ikea’s catalog images do not showcase actual products? In fact, a large portion of the catalog’s images are computer generated. Technological advancements have come a long way in a very short time. It’s important to note that catalogs aren’t alone in benefiting from a computer-generated face-lift. Product commercials, such as this one, can be 100% computer made. While computers have come a long way in what they can let us do, there are devices which leverage this content and provide us with a level of immersion rarely seen before. I’m taking about Virtual reality.

While virtual reality isn’t new, the technology has recently been picking up speed in the tech world. With Facebook’s purchase virtual reality company Oculus earlier this year, the momentum behind the technology hasn’t ceased to increase. With the commercialization of a consumer ready virtual reality product next year, what does it mean beyond the realm of gaming? Is it significant for brand manufacturers and retailers? Will VR be a trend, or reserved solely to gaming or will it reshape how consumers all over the world interact with brands and products?

I was only recently made aware of those new technologies, by my colleague Nicholas Goupil. He introduced me to products such as the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR, which are products poised to participate in revolutionizing the gaming industry. While not a “gamer” myself, it was nearly impossible not to think about the commercial possibilities.

Gaming aside, what does it mean for brands and retailers? Could this new wave of VR products provide customers with experiences that will redefine product merchandising?

Some thoughts on use cases for Virtual Reality 

  • Travel and Hospitality – Become a globetrotter from the comfort of your home. (Japan example)
  • Real Estate – Walk thought a house as if you were there.
  • Test drive a new car’s interior from the comfort of your home
  • Movies: forget 4K resolution, how about full 360 degrees 4K real time recording and playback?
  • Sport events: experience replays or the game in full 360 degrees motion
  • Concerts: Have the best seat in the house (no pun intended)

Clearly, VR products like the Oculus Rift are still in development, with consumer products promised for 2015. With the company’s recent acquisition of Nimbus AR, a company focused on making the VR experience a more natural and interactive one, the future of such a product seem endless.

What are your thoughts and expectations with VR? Do you think it will be life changing for consumers and businesses? Rendering large volume digital assets is no longer a issue today. For me Virtual Reality will open total new ways to envision customer experience in 2015 and beyond.

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