2011 Retail Holiday Analysis [Infographic]

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As the powers of smartphones and the web continue to develop, shoppers will grow more savvy in comparing prices and seeking the best deals. While retailers point to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as key discounting days, the rise of price comparison apps is bringing forth a new era of discounting strategies. Now, retailers must adapt to make every day Black Friday.

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Social Commerce: The New Era Of E-Commerce -Part I

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scommThe following article is Part I of a two-part series covering Social Commerce: what it is, why it is important to the retail industry and how leading merchants are using it.  Part II will appear in the February 14 Newsletter.

As mobile technology and social media rapidly converge, retailers are faced with a seemingly infinite number of ways to unite with customers who are continually connected, browsing, comparing and buying.

This convergence has facilitated the development of the next evolution of online shopping: social commerce. Retailers selling through social media may generate as much as $3 billion in the U.S. by the end of 2012 ― but that’s loose change compared to the $14 billion projected by 2015. Worldwide, social commerce is expected to explode from $9 billion in 2012 to a whopping $30 billion by 2015, according to Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm.

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Debunking The Black Friday Discount Myth: Retailers Need a 24/7/365 Pricing Strategy

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alex_photo_1Black Friday and Cyber Monday ― best known for glittering price offers and festively wrapped deals — attract gift-minded customers like a wreath to a front door. But these purchasers aren’t one-and-done shoppers: They’re cost-comparing and buying 24/7/365, clicking into their mobile phone apps and searching out the best deals wherever those deals happen to be. What’s more, these apps let shoppers save this price information for future reference.

What are shoppers finding with their new sleuthing technology? Between November 20th and December 24th, 2011, Gazaro analyzed a sample basket of 40 products in multiple categories that were expected to draw well on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and through the holiday season. Comparing the data to other months in 2011, Gazaro found that in68% of the cases, prices were actually lower in the months preceding Black Friday. 

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Bringing More In-Store: How Mobility And IT Investments Impact Customer Satisfaction And Loyalty

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Rad_sethuramanWhen you really think about it, mobile technology has transformed just about every facet of our lives.  It has changed the way we communicate; when and how we access information; and how, when and where we shop.  With the vast number of mobile applications now available on any platform, today’s consumers can have information their way, wherever they are.

Nowhere have the implications of the mobility revolution been felt more than in the retail arena.  It’s estimated that mobile shopping could total $120 billion by the year 2015.  According to Gartner’s “Cool Vendors in Retail 2011” report, big retailers are continuing to focus on investments that enhance their ability to support a cross-channel selling environment. The combination of an innovative software application paired with more mature technologies, such as touchscreen-based kiosks and real-time analytics, is creating new ways to engage with increasingly connected shoppers.

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Strangeloop Mobile Site Optimizer Speeds Content Delivery For Enhanced User Experience

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strangeloop_logoGiven the continued rapid growth of mobile device adoption, shoppers expect a stellar, mobile-optimized experience from the e-Commerce web sites they visit. Industry insiders note that whether or not a retailer intends to “go mobile,” it’s a natural progression for consumers to expect e-Commerce sites to be optimized for mobile devices. In fact, a recent Tealeaf survey found that 85% of mobile users expect sites to load at least as fast, if not faster, on their mobile devices. Frustrated by the lack of ease-of-use, shoppers often abandon non-mobile optimized web sites.

For retailers, there are significant obstacles to delivering this content and user experience, including huge pages, low bandwidth, poorly powered devices and network limitations.  The Strangeloop Mobile Site Optimizer is a front-end solution, available as either a service via the cloud or an appliance in the datacenter, designed to work around these obstacles to deliver pages up to 3.5 times faster, automatically.

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iPerceptions Introduces Concept Clouds For More Accurate Retail SEO Campaigns

Web-based Voice of Customer (VoC) analytics provider, iPerceptions, recently announced the addition of Concept Clouds to its 4Q Suite and webValidator Continuous Listening solutions. The Concept Clouds integration is designed to create accurate grouping of the open-ended feedback. “Concept Clouds are an improvement over simple Word Clouds, which rely on basic term frequency counts,” said Claude Guay, President and CEO of iPerceptions. “Comprehensive yet flexible concept libraries based on verbatim feedback from actual visitors ensure the most visually accurate representation of our data.” The new solution uses concept libraries derived from actual visitor responses based on surveys collected by iPerceptions over a four-year period, and combines words with similar concepts. A selection of iPerceptions customers includes BMW, Dell, Forrester Research, LG and Samsung.

e-Dialog Launches Conversation Manager To Increase Data Retrieval

Digital marketing solutions provider, e-Dialog, recently introduced Conversation Manager within its Precision Central™ Marketing Suite. The new solution is fully integrated into the e-Dialog Precision Central Marketing Suite, and offers retailers the ability to use existing data to drive list segments through a particular marketing sequence, such as profile data, event data or random audience splits for testing. Conversation Manager allows retailers the ability to create and deploy multi-touch customer lifecycle campaigns via its user-friendly interface. “Conversation Manager is a great example of how e-Dialog is executing on our vision to provide marketers with more efficient ways to develop and implement highly complex targeted campaigns,” said Christian Wright, CTO and GM of North America, e-Dialog. “This tool simplifies the campaign development process, giving marketers complete control over how they engage with customers.” In June 2011, e-Dialog announced a partnership with Travel Holdings, a travel inventory supplier, to improve campaign relevance and efficiency while also driving new customer acquisition.

TouchPoints TV: Scott Clements, Tyco Retail Solutions

Scott Clements, Tyco Retail Solutions

Clements shares his thoughts on key industry trends around connecting with consumers. Store associate engagement, in connection with social networking and mobile technology, must combine to offer the most meaningful in-store experience. He also discusses how to connect information streams and data to solve problems and drive productivity in the store environment.

TouchPoints TV: David Landau, Manhattan

David Landau, Manhattan Associates

Landau accepts a Customer Engagement Awards appreciation certification for Manhattan Associates’ work with David’s Bridal. He also discusses industry trends related to fulfilling customer orders effectively and employing best practices with store associates. Finally, Landau describes the “three-act play” on display at the MH booth to help customers walk through the shopping process.

New Study Helps Retailers Reach Millennials [Infographic]

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To thrive and survive in the competitive marketplace, retailers must have a firm understanding of the shopping preferences, and browsing and buying behaviors, of young, tech-savvy consumers. New research from Bazaarvoice, in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics and Kelton Research, shares the unique attributes of Millennial shoppers and the critical role of social media in the browsing and buying process.

Characterized as people currently in their mid-teenage years to mid-30s, Millennials trust the opinions of peers and strangers more than messages released and promoted by brands, according to research findings. In fact, 65% of this group found that user-generated content (UGC) is more honest and genuine than other information they find online. Moreover, a vast majority (86%) of Millennials indicated that UGC is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service or product.

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