According to a recent article from Forbes, the three hottest trends in retail for 2013 are:
Mobile -- Ninety-three percent of mobile developers anticipate that it is "likely to very likely" that most retail companies will have enabled mobile commerce in 2013, and two thirds of developers believe that consumers will make more purchases via their mobile phone than their credit card in 2013.
Integration of online and offline shopping -- Today's consumers are often in a brick-and-mortar store while online sharing photos with friends, researching, and comparing products. Figuring out how to make the most of that online/offline dynamic is going to be key for retailers this year.
Social, social, and more social -- No surprise here since trends one and two both have a social component. What is interesting is how more and more retailers are using social channels to generate customer "delight." For example, Target recently awarded gift cards to a number of customers who were tweeting about them over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Common to all three trends? Data, which is getting bigger and bigger, flowing in from mobile, social, online, and offline shopping. What's a retailer to do?
The best place to find out is at the retail industry's BIG event, the NRF BIG Show in New York City January 13 through 16. Stop by Booth 753 for expert advice from SAS on tackling big-data and what you need to do to stay competitive. There are several exciting opportunities during the conference that you won't want to miss:
In addition to all that, you can charge your devices for free in the SAS booth charging station, refresh yourself at our in-booth coffee bistro, and register for a chance to win an iPad and a smart cover -- we're giving away two!
For a full agenda of SAS activities at the NRF BIG Show, click here, or check out this video from SAS founder and CEO Jim Goodnight.
Noreen writes I was also sorry to see netbooks fade away
So-called "netbooks" are/were actually somewhat stripped-down mini-laptops. They don't/didn't have all the performance of most large laptops, but I've found my netbook adequate for all my needs — Internet, Email, Word, graphics editing, Excel, Powerpoint, general writing, editing, and research.
Like most, mine came with just 1 GB of RAM, but I upgraded it to 2 GB — can't do that with tablets, as far as I know. Tablets also seem to come with only about 8 to 32 GB onboard storage — my current netbook came with 160 GB, and new one has 320 GB. Also 3 full USB ports — you're lucky to get one with a tablet, and only a mini-port if that. And, of course a workable keyboard and mouse are a necessity for me.
The small size, lightness, and 8-hour battery life are also major advantages. I could never use a full laptop on a bus — not enough space — but the netbook is just right. Ditto on a plane. The long battery life means I can use the device for long plane trips, and also don't have to haul the power supply with me in town if I deposit myself at, say, a Starbucks. I've found I can just routinely keep the netbook in the "courier bag" I carry over my shoulder everywhere with me.
Basically, my netbook is a high-productivity machine. I see advantages to tablets, but I can't see achieving the same level of productivity without a keyboard and mouse (yes, I know you use your fingers, but there's a difference) and the ability to store large amounts of data.
Maybe the manufacturing gods will perceive the residual market for a small netbook-size laptop, maybe with more heft to appeal to a broader swath of users. Or maybe the industry whiz kids that are trying to totally expunge keyboards and mice (and E-readers, byt the way), in favor of "entertainment" devices, will triumph. Just have to wait and see what they all deign to hand down to us...
Unfortunately, I was wrong — Acer apparently has joined the herd (as of beginning of 2013) and is ending netbook production.
I cling to a hope that perhaps in a couple of years, something like an updated netbook will re-emerge ... small, light, hopefully even thinner, with long battery life, and with the basic functionality of a PC, multiple USB ports, camera and other A/V, plus maybe GPS (like tablets have). Maybe a mini-Ultrabook? Even if it costs more than the current bargain-basement price of a netbook, at least it would be available.
But who knows what the herd will be chasing after in 2 years...
I agree that fads seem to take over the various marketing departments. While mobile shopping is increasing, it seems remarkable that it will outshine credit card use in 2013 as noted. The use of social media by retailers and customers seems a bit overblown at this time. While there is a lot of what I call "time wasting" on social media, time might well quell the novelty of it all, but who know how much and when.
Rbaz writes ... flocking torwards predicted trends in packs is the reality for consumer product manufacturers. Best to exit a line prematurely than to hold on to it too long.
Well, this is about what I figured — I see this as a kind of herd mentality.
But where are the analytics?
If major auto manufacturers had followed this trend-based strategy a few decades back, they'd probably have dropped all production of sedans, coupes, etc. and concentrated all production on churning out SUVs. Seems they were at least a bit smarter than that.
For all its high-tech blinginess, the computer and electronics manufacturing industry seems remarkably driven by fads rather than savvy data-based analysis.
Lyndon, flocking torwards predicted trends in packs is the reality for consumer product manufacturers. Best to exit a line prematurely than to hold on to it too long. So it's not the money they can make this year building netbooks, but how much will they loose subsequently by not jumping in time to tablets. The other factor to consider is manufaturing supply chain which may change in cost and availability. Manufaturing is high risk/reward.
I realize this blog article focuses on issues of HOW retailers will do their selling, but related to this is WHAT they are opting to sell. The topic also seems to offer the closest thread to the issue I've been concerned with for several days — the computer industry's termination of netbook production in favor of tablets.
Particularly as a writer (among other roles), I've been dependent on my netbook. So, for about the past 18 months I've been looking for an upgrade, or at least a possible replacement, in the event my current Asus bites the dust. Instead, what's happened is that the industry seems to have stampeded into replacing netbook production with tablet production.
But tablets don't replace the flexibility and functionality of netbooks. A tablet right now would be of very negligible use to me personally, but I understand that it's a useful device for many of you. What I don't understand is why an entire industry has decided to carry out a shift from a device with the effective functionality of a PC to a device that eliminates a lot of this functionality. See, for example:
Particularly after reading the first article above, I decided I'd better try to get a backup netbook while I still could. I did find one (should arrive any day now), but I also found a veritable frenzy of other consumers racing to snap up netbooks, so that the number of available units seemed to decline almost as I looked at it.
While tablet sales have surpassed those of netbooks in recent years — latest figure I could find was for 2011, with 60 mn tablets vs. 32 mn netbooks sold — and while netbook sales are down from about 20% or the PC market to 10%, that's still 32 million consumers that seem to want netbooks. Yet production and retail have all but vanished.
... Which leads to my main point. On what basis does an industry like this gauge latent consumer demand? It seems to me that if you can sell 32 million of a product in a single year, there's a fairly substantial demand for that product, so why exterminate it?
One could infer that a 60-mn-to-32-mn preference for tablets looks like a 2-to-1 vote "against" netbooks, but that inference overlooks key factors (e.g., lots of consumers already had netbooks, netbook upgrading and production by the industry dropped significantly, tablets were a new gadget, etc.).
One might also argue that maybe netbooks are going the way of DVRs and film cameras. But both of these devices were replaced by superior technology with equivalent functionality — VCRs by DVRs, film photography by digital. So far, tablet technology looks like it replaces a basically creative functionality (netbooks) by a basically consuming functionality (tablets). (I don't mean to denigrate tablets — obviously, there's still a lot of functionality, and these devices have advantages such as excellent graphics processing, portability, cellular capability, etc.).
I just wish I could get a handle on what drives an entire industry, other than a kind of herd mentality, to consign a quite useful technological device to quasi-extinction.
No question that 2013 will be challenging for retailers to keep up with online marketing demands. In such a competetive environment, chosing and navigating the most effective tools will be crucial, and staying on the sideline will not be an option.
LEADERS FROM THE BUSINESS AND IT COMMUNITIES DUEL OVER CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
The Current Discussion
Visual Analytics: Who Carries the Onus? The Issue: Data visualization is an up-and-coming technology for businesses that want to deliver analytical results in a visual way, enabling analysts the ability to spot patterns more easily and business users to absorb the insight at a glance and better understand what questions to ask of the data. But does it make more sense to train everybody to handle the visualization mandate or bring on visualization expertise? Our experts are divided on the question. The Speakers: Hyoun Park, Principal Analyst, Nucleus Research; Jonathan Schwabish, US Economist & Data Visualizer
Dynamic data visualizations let analysts and business users interact with the data, changing variables or drilling down into data points, and see results in a flash. Advance your use of data visualization with tools that support features like auto-charting, explanatory pop-ups, and mobile sharing.
No doubt your enterprise is amassing loads of data for fact-based decision-making. Hand in hand with all that data comes big computational requirements. Can traditional IT infrastructure handle the increasing number and complexity of your analytical work? Probably not, which is why you need a backend rethink. Big data calls for a high-performance analytics infrastructure, as Fern Halper, a partner at the IT consulting and research firm, Hurwitz & Associates, discusses here.
Redbox's bright-red DVD kiosks are all but ubiquitous these days, located in more than 28,000 spots across the country. Jayson Tipp, Redbox VP of Analytics and CRM, provides an insider's look at how the company has accomplished its phenomenal nine-year growth.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a seven-brand global hotelier, has woven analytics into the fabric of its operations. David Schmitt, director of performance strategy and planning, shares IHG's analytics story and his lessons learned.
Elizabeth Barth-Thacker, a BI and informatics technology manager at Humana, tells us how her team is creating data transparency and building engagement with the business – with the help of an internal collaboration portal called Humanalytics.
Whether working in major league sports, financial services, or healthcare, analytics, and data, professionals are checking out how visual analytics and high-performance technologies can help them optimize their environments, shrink their cycle times, and improve decision making, as attendees at the recent SAS Executive Briefing in New York share with us.
Jim Davis, SVP and CMO at SAS, talks with us at a recent SAS Executive Briefing about how high-performance analytics and visual analytics take away the concerns over big-data and let companies get down to business with their data.