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Social Media's Next Act
April 9, 2019
A little over 10 years ago, we were toasting social media as the great innovation that would enable CRM to traverse the mythical last mile between vendors and customers. Every analyst had something positive to say about social and its future role in CRM. I wrote a paper forecasting that social networking and analytics would be tightly interwoven into the fabric of the vendor-customer relationship.
10 Steps to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Business
April 9, 2019
During the last year, longstanding brick-and-mortar retailer chains such as Toys "R" Us, Payless, and Diesel USA have filed for bankruptcy. Failures like these happen despite the fact that U.S. consumer spending currently is high, and the unemployment rate is low. Why is that? We cannot address this topic without first taking a good look at Amazon and the massive power it represents.
The Power of Influencer Marketing
April 5, 2019
Influencer marketing uses the popularity of people who have many followers and a wide reach to sway opinions. It's very much a strategy for the social media age. "Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels today," said digital strategist Shane Barker. "It involves leveraging social media influencers or key leaders to get more people to trust your brand."
Stocks and Flows, in Brexit and CRM
April 4, 2019
In one way or another, CRM is the heart of the digital disruption, or the modernization of business. CRM was the first front office system to help organize significant staff doing important but far from routinized things for the business. You could rely on back office apps to organize various aspects of production, but the front office was the Wild West before CRM.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Extreme Customer Experience
April 2, 2019
CRM guru Samson Lee has a new idea about customer experience. I don't know that I agree with it, but Lee has a way of making you question your assumptions and possibly change your viewpoint. Lee describes extreme experience as the inevitable pain you have to go through to reach nirvana -- that is, get the product or service you want from the vendor you want.
Retail Tech for Millennials
April 2, 2019
It's time to get strategic about winning over Gen Y. Members of the millennial generation were born roughly between 1980 and 2000. They're the largest age cohort in human history, making up about 25 percent of the entire global population. When they're mentioned in headlines, however, the news sounds bad for business: They're broke. They're self-obsessed. They're definitely not buying your stuff.
Wayfair v. South Dakota: How Amazon Played Both Sides
April 1, 2019
In the late 90s, Amazon began expanding its offerings beyond books, quickly embracing the Internet and leveraging technology to boost sales and exploit dated tax laws. Thanks to the proliferation of the Web and a rise in the popularity of e-commerce, Amazon rapidly scaled its business to offer a range of products and services directly to customers anywhere in the nation.
Using the Contact Center to Help Build Brand Loyalty
March 29, 2019
In 2018, 8.8 percent of all retail sales globally, totaling more than $2 trillion, were made online. As the total number of online purchases grows, a compelling case can be made that e-commerce customers expect to receive support that is as good as or even better than those who purchase the very same products in a store. In person, it is very easy to verify the proper set-up and operation.
How to Reinvent E-Commerce Personalization in 2019
March 28, 2019
You'd be hard pressed to find a tactic more capable of winning and losing customers than personalization. In the past, bad personalization has cost businesses three-quarters of a trillion dollars. In the future, smart personalization could enable businesses to boost their profits by up to 15 percent. Today, personalization is everywhere -- in B2B, B2C, e-commerce, SaaS -- the list goes on.
CDP Early Days
March 26, 2019
Here we go again, right down the hype cycle and into new product land. In the last week, two major enterprise software companies, Oracle and Salesforce, announced customer data platform products. Oracle announced its product last week in Las Vegas at its Modern Customer Experience event. This week, Salesforce announced that it is building a customer data platform.
AI-Powered Inventory Management: A Make-or-Break Tool for Retailers
March 22, 2019
Retail is facing battles on all fronts. Up against Amazon's streamlined operations on one side, and a higher demand for flawless customer service and experience on the other, it's either think or sink for many. However, AI has thrown some early adopters a lifeline. As Amazon has proven with its stranglehold on the retail industry, online shopping is unquestionably the future.
Oracle MCX
March 21, 2019
Oracle held its Modern Customer Experience conference in Las Vegas this week, and it was eye-opening. This is the fourth MCX conference and an important milestone for a company that came to the cloud later than its competition. No doubt about it, Oracle has done much in a short time to develop and deploy its customer experience vision, so it is now possible and fair to critique the company's progress.
Boosting E-Commerce Sales Through Storytelling
March 18, 2019
Storytelling is a central part of e-commerce marketing, and it's vital that brands both know their own stories and understand how to tell them. Everything from brand loyalty to purchasing decisions relies on a company having an engaging and well-told story. "Facts tell, but stories sell," remarked Samantha Reynolds, president of Echo Storytelling Agency. "We decide what to buy based on emotion."
How to Bring Relationships Back to CRM
March 16, 2019
Customer relationship management is a term you've likely heard if you have worked in the tech space. CRM software solutions have not always been as far-reaching as they are today. Over the last 40 years, CRM has evolved from a range of disparate business solutions developed for various customer needs. The earliest CRM tools were devices like Rolodexes, which you can hardly even find these days.
From Virtual to Value: Building Meaningful Experiences With Gamification
March 15, 2019
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification.
Amazon Drops Lowest-Pricing Rule for Third-Party Sellers
March 13, 2019
Amazon reportedly has removed the price parity contract clause that barred third-party vendors on its platform from selling their products at a lower price elsewhere. The company long has been accused of anticompetitive behavior and has come under considerable political pressure because of its use of the price parity, also known as "most favored nation," restriction.
Millennial CRM
March 13, 2019
Trying to do business without also having a modern CRM system is like walking around naked. You can do it, at least for a little while, but people will begin to think you're weird -- and the trouble is, those people are all potential customers. CRM is essential today because, despite our reverence for the free market, it's really more like free markets -- plural.
A Lesson From Amazon: Alternative Revenue Streams Work
March 11, 2019
There's a reason that Amazon's stock skyrocketed 28 percent in 2018, a notable outlier amid the broader market trends. The behemoth retailer is bolstered by a few key differentiators when stacked against the competition -- but let's backtrack for a moment to examine the state of the current online marketplace. In truth, there's an expectation in the market that buying online is cheaper.
Is Your Site Mobile Perfect? How to Catch Buyers Who Never Stand Still
March 9, 2019
Mobile search and buying continue to grow as the chosen means for consumers' online shopping, with the market set to reach an estimated $218 billion in 2019. By 2021, it's estimated that 72.9 percent of online purchases will be made on a mobile device. If you factor in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, virtually all sales soon will be mobile-generated.
Augmented Reality and E-Commerce: Bridging the Physical-Digital Gap
March 8, 2019
I grew up thinking the Mall of America was an unbelievable epicenter of retail commerce. Touted as the biggest mall in the world -- even equipped with an amusement park -- the Minnesota complex boasted stores of all kinds: toys, clothing, furniture, home furnishings. Then this thing called "e-commerce" came along and basically made the Mall of America seem like Main Street in small-town America.
Google Images Now Display Shoppable Ads
March 7, 2019
Google wants to become your digital shopping catalog through shoppable ads. The company on Tuesday said it is testing a new format on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers. Merchants can highlight multiple products available for sale within a sponsored ad among Google Images results. Google is testing this approach on broad queries surfacing on searches like "home office ideas," "shower tile designs" and "abstract art."
Target Hits the E-Commerce Bull's-Eye
March 6, 2019
Target has reported higher gains in last year's holiday sales, largely due to improved e-commerce strategies and store makeovers, and has offered an upbeat outlook. Its stores fulfilled nearly 75 percent of its fourth-quarter digital sales. Holiday sales increased 5.3 percent. Physical stores open for at least 12 months saw a sales jump of 2.9 percent. Online sales soared 31 percent.
Pitney Bowes Launches Self-Service Tool to Drive Post-Buy Revenue
March 6, 2019
Pitney Bowes has unveiled Consumer Connect, a self-service post-purchase marketing solution for retailers and brands. "Retail marketers spend a tremendous amount of time and money attracting consumers and getting them to click the buy button only to leave them in the hands of third-party shipping partners for tracking and notifications until the package is delivered," noted Pitney Bowes EVP Lila Snyder.
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
Learning Online: Getting Down to Business
March 4, 2019
Online learning platforms have made it easier than ever to offer workshops, courses and educational content of all kinds. In addition to the growth of online learning in traditional educational spheres, there's been growth in the business world. Companies increasingly have been using online learning platforms both to train employees and to educate customers.
Michael Cohen and the Creation of a Deep Learning AI Lie Detector
March 4, 2019
Like many of you I was fascinated by the Michael Cohen testimony last week in what was more performance art than fact-finding. It tends to be fascinating to watch disgruntled ex-employees testify, but they often aren't the most reliable witnesses. The personal nature of their termination tends to push them toward exaggeration, and many were fired for legitimate reasons.
Amazon Brings Big Guns to Battle Against Counterfeit Products
March 1, 2019
Amazon has announced Project Zero, a program that empowers vendors to help drive counterfeits down. The anti-counterfeit campaign will employ Amazon's advanced technology, machine learning and innovation. Amazon will partner with Project Zero's participating vendors to protect their intellectual property by detecting and removing counterfeits of their products.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
Peddling Analog Tools in a Digital World
February 25, 2019
From fountain pens and high-end pencils to unique paper notebooks, analog writing tools have legions of fans, even though we're living in a primarily digital world. It's precisely the physicality of analog tools that makes them appealing to many people immersed in a digital reality. They're grounding and real in a world that has become increasingly ephemeral.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.