3 Questions For TheFind's CEO On Tablet Shopping

We discovered some interesting information about how consumers are using tablets in recent research with Bizrate Insights: that shoppers who have tablets often prefer to browse and buy on those devices and that tablet ownership increases the amount of time that people spend online altogether.  One company that caught onto that trend even before we fielded our data was Siva Kumar, CEO of the shopping aggregator TheFind.  I ran into Siva several months ago at Channel Advisor's Catalyst summit where he showed me an impressive demo (on his iPad, natch) of Catalogue, a magazine-like compendium of all my favorite store catalogs (see below).  Given his hands-on experience bringing a multiretailer tablet experience to life, I thought it would be interesting to get a t-commerce pioneer's POV:

Siva, do you think tablet commerce will be something retailers need to explicitly watch?

Absolutely yes. Online shopping today is very much a chore. It is search-driven, and while search is useful, expedient, and powerful, it is not particularly fun or exciting. More importantly, search leaves little room for retailers to do what they do best, which is to merchandise their wares to consumers.  Conversely, tablet shopping, with its high-resolution graphics, touchscreens, and more tactile interactivity offer game changing potential that may create the means by which eCommerce could grow to be as much as 20% of retail commerce by 2020. 

What are the most important things to watch in developing content for a tablet device?

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Are You On The Insights Value Path?

I just returned from keynoting a conference on the ROI of Market Research in Chicago. Prior to going, I expected to walk into a minefield of very divergent views on how market insights professionals can show their value. Instead, what I found was a “convergent validity” of the views forwarded by Forrester on how to show and build the value of research and insights.

What this means is that there is a clear future path for market insights. Market insights leaders at companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepperidge Farms, General Mills, Schwab, among others, are already getting on what Forrester is calling the insights value path and are positioning themselves to be able to jump over a high performance bar. What do high-performance market insights organizations know and do?

  • Run market insights like a business. Be accountable to your funders, be focused on being a value-driver (versus a cost center), and show the value you bring to the company.
  • Use ROI to optimize the business. Use ROI to show value-add but also to optimize efforts and insights (which avoids waste and creates a competitive advantage).
  • Focus on relationships as well as formulas. Build perceived value of research (through relationship-building and delivering insights aligned to stakeholder needs) while capturing tangible value through ROI calculations.
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Tablets Cannibalize Portable Game Players, Small TVs

There's a lot of attention being paid to tablets cannibalizing PCs. As we've said in the past, we think PC cannibalization from tablets is overstated. But the cannibalization phenomenon is real: We wrote in a June report (The Products That Lose When Tablets Win) that we expect tablet cannibalization to accelerate in the next six to 12 months as slightly less affluent consumers buy tablets and have to make tough tradeoffs. Several predictions we made in the report are already coming true. We made the call that:

"Portable game player sales will go off a cliff. Portable game players (PGPs) like the Nintendo DS already have huge penetration, so there's a natural saturation point that PGPs are reaching anyway. That saturation combined with cannibalization from tablets and smartphones, which fulfill the same casual, on-the-go gaming scenarios but also multitask with email and other applications, spells trouble for PGPs. The Nintendo 3DS is already reporting weaker-than-expected sales, and we expect this trend to continue."

Much to Nintendo's chagrin, this prediction is proving accurate, as Nintendo reported that its 3DS sales plummeted to 710,000 units this past quarter from 3.6 million units the quarter before.

In the June report, we also wrote that game console sales would not be negatively affected by tablets and could actually see a boost from increased interest in gaming as mainstream consumers find joy in games like Words With Friends and Angry Birds. 

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The Data Digest: Interest In Mobile Payments

PayPal recently shared its new peer-to-peer payment functionality that allows Android users to pay each other by tapping two Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled devices together. A user enters the transaction information and then taps her phone up against another phone also equipped with the same PayPal widget. After the phones buzz together, the recipient can decide to send or receive money by entering a PIN number.
Sounds very interesting, but are consumers interested in this functionality?

My colleague Charlie Golvin recently blogged about the Google Wallet initiative and its hurdles, one of them being lack of consumer interest. In fact, our Technographics® surveys show that interest in mobile payments is low and has not translated into activity in the US: Less than 6% of US online adults have ever used any type of mobile payment. Over the past three years, Forrester has seen interest in mobile payments continue to grow slowly.

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Forrester’s New 2011-2016 US Online Travel Forecast: Restrained Growth Ahead

We just published Forrester’s 2011-2016 US online leisure and unmanaged business travel forecast report (if your firm is a Forrester ForecastView subscriber, you may download the complete detailed forecast here). The forecast covers spending for airline tickets, hotel/motel accommodations, rental cars, cruises, and tours, with year-by-year amounts for each in the report. The forecast doesn’t include travel spending on mobile sites or apps, nor does it include ancillary product sales (such as airline checked baggage fees or hotel Wi-Fi) and destination activities and services, like sightseeing tours.

We believe several macro factors will affect the travel industry, and thus the revenue figures in our forecast, during the next five years. These include the state of the US economy and consumer confidence, a permanently high-priced energy environment (critical to the airline and cruise sectors), industry consolidation and the resultant restraint on industry capacity growth, and pricing, which we expect to remain relatively high thanks to capacity discipline (especially in the airline, hotel, and rental car sectors) and of course those high energy costs. We developed the forecast far before the current US debt ceiling crisis had become, well, a crisis. In preparing the forecast, we anticipated that though the US economy may be uneven, it would continue to recover, albeit at an uneven pace through 2012 (we anticipated that the US economy would be more stable from 2013 onwards).

A few highlights from the forecast:

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Promoted Tweets: How Paid Media Fits Into Your Social Media Marketing

Today Twitter announced it will be expanding promoted tweets into the user's timeline (they had previously only been in search results) on Twitter.com. Twitter is slowly rolling this out with some of its premier clients over the next few weeks. Ultimately, advertisers will now have three options for using paid media in Twitter:

  1. Promoted accounts suggesting new businesses (or people) to follow.
  2. Promoted trends.
  3. And now promoted tweets in search results and within the timeline of only users who follow them.
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Fake Apple Stores - Is This The Tip Of A Counterfeit Iceberg?

Last week a lone blogger broke the news that not one but three fake Apple stores had sprung up in the city of Kunming in China, though it appears the problem is fast becoming a worldwide one for Apple to deal with.

It’s no secret that counterfeit goods are commonplace in China, and there are moves afoot to attempt to tackle this issue, at least online. However, this is a very different beast. There has been an explosion of commentary in the press about these fake stores, mostly focusing on the fact that they exist, and mostly failing to draw any comment for Apple.

Action has been taken. According to China Daily, “A local authority had previously said that two of the stores were suspended for not having business licenses. But the local industrial and commercial bureau confirmed to the Shanghai Morning Post on Tuesday that one of them had in fact obtained a license on June 22 and thus could stay open.”

The general tone of the various reports is that the stores are selling genuine Apple products bought wholesale through genuine channels, and that the only reason they would be closed down is because they didn’t follow local laws to obtain a retail license. Not because of any IPR infringement. This will be an interesting story to watch play out -- because if that turns out to be true, it sets a gloomy precedent for other retailers who may be suffering the same challenge.

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Establishing Standards To Manage Battle Cards

During my daily conversations with technology vendors about battle cards, I am encountering leaders that are taking a different approach. Sales leaders are taking responsibility for the portfolio of battle cards – some larger vendors have hundreds – and assigning someone to “fix the problem.”

Individuals who get assigned to fix “the battle card problem” sometimes report into sales operations and other times into corporate marketing. Sometimes this individual has a background in competitive intelligence, but other times the person is completely unacquainted with battle cards. The one trait that these individuals do share is that they have empathy for sales teams.

Battle cards come from a variety of internal groups including product managers, competitive teams, partner alliances, industry groups, or others who want to educate sales reps to handle obstacles caused by competitors. Each group packages up battle cards differently so that sales reps experience differences in the quality of content every time they use a battle card. As I talk with individuals tasked with fixing “the battle card problem,” they tell me that when they look at their current collection of battle cards, they don’t even know where to begin.

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Are Marketing And IT Finally Having A Go At Working Effectively Together?

With the increasing richness and complexity that digital channels and social media bring to the marketing equation, senior marketers increasingly realize that, to be relevant in shaping their brands’ interaction with customers, their teams need to embrace new technologies with the help of the IT group.

In my latest joint research effort with my fellow analyst Nigel Fenwick from Forrester’s CIO role, I explore how marketing and IT can successfully work together in enabling organizations to master the customer data flow.

Our early findings were not very promising . . . What clearly emerged from our interviews with CMOs and CIOs was how deeply ingrained the stereotypes about the two teams are. We heard that:

  • IT is the department of “no” and does not care about customers or what’s happening in the market.
  • Marketing is having all of the fun and spending money without rhyme or reason.
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Q&Agency: BGT Partners

Welcome to Q&Agency! Each week, I talk to agencies small and large and get to hear (in their words) what differentiates them and the experiences they create. To help bring some of that information to you, I'm showcasing an ongoing series of interviews with small to midsize interactive and design agencies. If you'd like to see your agency or an agency you work with here, let me know!

On May 10th, I spoke with David Clarke, co-founder and managing partner; Andrea Fishman, partner, VP of global strategy and head of BGT Chicago; and Michael Marsowicz, partner and VP of client services at BGT Partners.

 

Forrester: Tell me a little bit about BGT Partners?

David: We were founded in 1996 so we're celebrating our 15th anniversary this year. That makes us one of the oldest interactive agencies in the country. We have over 165 people in our main office in Miami and our newer office in Chicago. We’re a partnership that’s wholly owned by our 10 partners. Our focus is on experience design, digital marketing, strategy, and analytics. People hire us to solve business problems like increasing conversion, lowering abandonment, or increasing the number of people coming into the funnel. Strategy is where we start, but we take a project all the way through execution to advanced analytics.

Forrester: What is your elevator pitch?

Michael: BGT is a leading global interactive agency that focuses on making the complex simple. That might be through user experience by making a booking process simpler, or it might be with analytics by looking at data and culling out the most important information. We advance brands with advanced interactions.

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