Best Practices in Data, Analytics and AI

By Staff
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:59 PM Findings from the Annual Data & Analytics Global Executive Study by MIT SMR Connections on behalf of SAS provide insight into organizations’ activities in data, analytics, and AI. More than 2,400 business leaders and managers worldwide responded to a survey that was designed to identify where recognized best practices are becoming more mainstream and where they may still be exceptional. The researchers found that respondents who have advanced their analytics practices to incorporate AI-based technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing “work in organizations that do the most to foster data quality, safeguard data assets, and develop cultures of data literacy and innovation.”

Losing the Love: Bad Experiences Drive Customers Away Quickly

By Staff
Friday, February 15, 2019 1:46 PM One bad experience can make or break a brand experience. And, as expected, several bad experiences with a brand likely is a deal-breaker. These are among the findings of a survey and report, “Experience is Everything,” by the consulting firm PwC. “Give customers a great experience and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends,” PwC noted in its overview of the 2018 survey’s findings. “That’s what every company strives for. Yet, so many consumers seem disappointed. Call it an experience disconnect: companies tout the latest technology or snappy design, but haven’t focused on—or invested in—the most meaningful aspects of customer experience.” On granular basis, PwC said the results of its survey showed that retailers and/or brands don’t have many chances to get things right for the consumer. Indeed, the firm estimated that a brand or retailer could lose one-fifth to one-third of its customers in a single day by virtue of a single bad experience. “Even if people love your company or product, in the U.S. 59 percent will walk away after several bad experiences [and] 17 percent after just one bad experience,” the report noted.
A copy of the PwC report can be downloaded here.

Steady Rise for Women in STEM But Gender Gap Remains

By Staff
Thursday, February 14, 2019 2:49 PM The number of female students awarded a STEM degree or certificate in the U.S. has steadily risen over the most recent 8-year period, according to NCES data cited by Statista. The number of male students awarded a STEM degree or certificate in the U.S. has also increased in that same period. Due in part to the consistent rise in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ) graduates overall, the gender gap continues and, in raw numbers, is larger than it was in the 2008-2009 school year. Looking at the percent change, female students are turning to STEM. The number of male students who have been granted a STEM degree or certificate increased by 38 percent between the 2008-2009 and the 2015-2016 school year, while the number of female students who achieved the same degree or certificate increased by 48 percent.

The National Retail Federation Asks ‘Is Love Still in the Air?’

By Staff
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 2:58 PM Despite the prevalence of red and pink hearts and the innumerable boxes of chocolate, Valentine’s Day in 2019 looks very different than it did a decade ago, according to a recent feature from the National Retail Federation. Ten years ago, more than 60 percent of adults planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day; today, that’s dropped to just over half. At the same time, spending for the holiday has continued to rise and is projected to reach more than $20 billion this year. Driving these opposing trends are several critical shifts in how consumers view and celebrate love’s official holiday. Even as fewer consumers have official Valentine’s Day plans, those who do celebrate are spending more than ever. Between 2009 and 2019, the average amount consumers planned to spend on Valentine’s Day gifts increased by $60.

Empowering Employees to Provide Excellent Customer Experiences

By Staff
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:50 AM Excellent customer experience starts with superior employee experience. That’s a key takeaway from PwC’s Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18. According to the survey results, human interaction matters now—and 82 percent of U.S. and 74 percent of non-U.S. consumers want more of it in the future. That makes it crucial that the technology supporting human interaction is unobtrusive and works seamlessly across platforms. Today, 59 percent of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. And there’s a mismatch between customer expectations and how employees deliver: only 38 percent of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs; 46 percent of consumers outside the U.S. say the same.

Who Needs a Business Plan?

By Staff
Monday, February 11, 2019 1:47 PM A recent Women In Optometry  Pop-up Poll provided insight into how some female ODs approach business planning. The majority of respondents said that they do craft business plans, but 37 percent of respondents said that they do not. One-third said that they actually have multiple business plans—short-term and long-range plans. Most who do have a business plan update it at least once a year. Forty-four percent of respondents said that they anticipate increasing their revenues by up to 10 percent in 2019, and 26 percent expect 2019 revenues to be the same as 2019. Nearly 15 percent are projecting growth of more than 10 percent.

Consumers Rank Email as Their Preferred Channel of Communication With Retailers

By Staff
Friday, February 8, 2019 3:47 PM Retail is a challenging business sector, due in part to the evolving nature of the consumer. Indeed, brick-and-mortar retailers closed nearly 7,000 stores last year, according to a recent Yes Marketing report, “Surviving the Retail Apocalypse.” The marketing firm outlined eight strategies that it believes can help retailers adapt to this difficult operating environment, even as they are faced with a growing threat from online giants such as Amazon. “More and more, consumers turn to the internet to shop, forcing traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to pivot or lose business,” the report noted. “The good news for marketers is that they can compete with Amazon in certain areas, especially when it comes to shopper demands for better personalization, exclusive mobile offerings and quality in-store experiences.” A copy of the Yes Marketing report can be downloaded here. Email is an important “personalization” tool for brick-and-mortar retailers to utilize, according to the Yes Marketing report. In fact, the report says, marketers earn $44 in ROI for every $1 spent on email marketing. One reason for this is that nearly half of consumers (47 percent) rank email as their preferred channel for communicating with retailers, the reported noted.

What Are Generation Z’s Social Media Preferences?

By Staff
Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:50 AM For Generation Z, social media has always been a part of their lives. In fact, they don’t view it as media at all. For them, it’s how they connect, learn, debate, date, express themselves, and so much more. Social media connects Gen Z to the world around them, but it also connects the world to Gen Z, according to this feature from Jared Boucher on www.genhq.com the Center for Generational Kinetics. Given that social media is so important to this generation, they wanted to find the answers to some of the most popular questions people have about Gen Z and social media. For example, social media is not one-size-fits-all for Gen Z users. There’s no one-stop shop. While certain platforms are more popular with Gen Z, they don’t exclusively prefer a single social media platform. However, Gen Z is very particular about which platform they use for specific interactions and outcomes. For instance, Gen Z uses Facebook to create or check a group event, Snapchat to post or send a video or a selfie, and Instagram to follow brands.

Facebook: From Zero to 2.3 Billion in 15 Years

By Staff
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 1:38 PM 15 years ago, on February 4, 2004, 19-year old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, along with some of his classmates, launched a little website called Thefacebook, according to this feature from Statista. "Thefacebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges", the original website greeted its visitors back then, explaining that it would enable them to "search for people at your school, find out who are in your classes [sic], look up your friends’ friends and see a visualization of your social network." Confined to the Harvard campus at first, the service quickly gained popularity and was subsequently rolled out to other colleges. By the end of 2004, Thefacebook had more than 1 million registered users. After changing its name to just "Facebook" in 2005, the social network was opened to the general public in the fall of 2006, marking the start of one of the most remarkable growth stories in corporate history.

Is Blockchain a Solution for Preventing Ad Fraud?

By Staff
Friday, February 1, 2019 3:14 PM It’s conventional wisdom that there is an element of fraud across the digital advertising ecosystem. And some in the advertising sector hoped that blockchain technology, with its open and distributed ledger, would help to improve the monitoring of any unscrupulous activity, eMarketer recently noted. However, it seems it’s too early to determine if this is possible because not enough parties are using blockchain, eMarketer noted. “For blockchain to effectively combat ad fraud, all parties to a programmatic transaction must agree to use it—and use the same system,” according to eMarketer. “But only 11 percent of the 300 U.S. agency and marketing professionals polled by Advertiser Perceptions in May 2018 had ever completed a transaction using blockchain. One reason for the low adoption, according to 55 percent of those surveyed is that the technology is too slow to manage media transactions.”

Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 Global Healthcare Market Predictions

By Staff
Thursday, January 31, 2019 7:51 PM The convergence of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and digital health technologies will drive care delivery innovation, according to a new report by research firm Frost & Sullivan. By the end of 2019, up to 15 percent of the global health care spending is expected to be directed toward value-based care concepts, Frost & Sullivan predict. This will cause a surge in the number of risk-sharing contracts between providers and drug/device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), driving business value for providers. While developed countries will adopt the more sophisticated outcome-based models, emerging markets will employ the best practices most suited to their local needs. Digital health technologies enabling out-of-hospital care and monitoring are forecast to grow by 30 percent to cross the $25 billion mark. As the lines between retail, IT and health care industries continue to blur, digital marketplace providers such as Amazon and Ali Health will make further headway in the home health space.

Five Things Retailers Should Know About Millennial Shoppers

By Staff
Thursday, January 31, 2019 6:45 PM Millennials have been credited with upending entire industries, and retail is no exception. In a recent post on eMarketer.com data journalist Rahul Chadha pointed out five things retailers need to know about attracting and retaining consumers from a maturing generation of digital shoppers.

No. 1: Retailers Must Be Digital and Corporeal

The concept of omnichannel is simple—be where your customers are, whether that's online or in-store. But bridging the gap between digital and physical is easier said than done. Retailers that figure it out will be rewarded, however. A September 2018 poll conducted by Roth Capital Partners found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. millennials used some mix of digital and in-store to research and then make a purchase. Similarly, research from Alliance Data revealed that more than half of millennials surveyed also used a mix of online and in-store channels to shop for products across a wide variety of categories, including clothing, beauty items and even furniture.

Consumers Say They’ll Spend an Average $81 on Super Bowl

By Staff
Thursday, January 31, 2019 1:29 PM The Super Bowl is only two days away but many Americans have already opened up their wallets for some Super spending on office/bar pools, food and team apparel. A recently released survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics indicated that 72 percent of adults plan to watch the game, down from 76 percent last year. Among those watching, 79 percent plan to buy food and beverages, 10 percent team apparel and accessories, 7 percent decorations, also 7 percent for new televisions, and 4 percent furniture such as entertainment centers. “You don’t have to be a football fan to celebrate the Super Bowl,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. Spending is expected to be at one the highest levels we’ve seen. And retailers are ready whether you need food, team jerseys, decorations or a new TV.”

Government Shutdown Cost U.S. More Than Trump's Wall Demand

By Staff
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 3:07 PM The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the shutdown cost about $11 billion, at least $3 billion being a permanent loss. Lost productivity from furloughed workers and weakened economic activity during the 35-day partial government shutdown cost the U.S. economy at least $6 billion, according to a new analysis from S&P Global Ratings. On Jan. 28, after staff shortages caused disruptions at some of that nation’s busiest airports, President Donald Trump agreed to end the longest-ever shutdown without Congress fulfilling his demand of $5.7 billion for a border wall. Congress then passed seven stopgap spending bills to fund affected government agencies through February 15.

The Rise of Smart Cities

By Staff
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 12:58 PM The dramatic shift of the world’s population into urban areas is encouraging citizens, city planners, businesses and governments to start looking at visions of “smart” cities. According to the website Postscapes, just 3 percent of the world’s population lived in cities in 1800. By 1950 it had risen to 29 percent and by 2008 to 50 percent. By 2040, 65 percent of the world’s population are expected live in cities. These emerging and soon to be built metropolises contain an entire connected ecosystem that brings together the technologies, solutions, players and audiences in the smart city sector, including IoT, 5G connectivity, transportation and smart automotive, energy and utilities, health and public safety, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.