"Let's just say I'm not lost when it comes to data . . . but I could be more found . . ." – (eBusiness team member at a top 50 US bank)
Digital teams are surrounded by data and metrics — from KPIs to customer analytics. Yet I often hear from clients who wish they were just a little more comfortable knowing what the data is really saying, or which metrics are most important.
We just published a brand new report on The Mobile Banking Metrics That Matter which outlines how mobile strategists at banks can put the right metrics in place and work with their analytics teams to get data outputs that guide them toward smart business decisions.
Writing this report got me thinking about which books, blogs, and articles I’ve found most useful when it comes to really getting data and metrics. Here are five I think might help you too:
The Tiger That Isn’t. Probably my personal favorite book about stats and measurement. Written for a mainstream audience, the book works as a guide to thinking through what a given stat or data point really means — and when to trust or doubt such data. It’s also a great read, full of interesting nuggets and statistical oddities (like how the vast majority of people have an above-average number of legs). The book’s thesis is that people who consume data should be skeptical but not cynical about statistics. From there, it helps the reader more easily contemplate and act on the data and metrics they encounter.
Last year, we introduced our framework for how eCommerce markets evolve: Consumers come online to connect and entertain, then start to engage in eBusiness basics like online banking and travel.** Only later do they tend to start purchasing physical products online, with readily comparable goods like mobile phones, computer hardware and books being some of consumers' first online purchases. The final phase involves consumers buying across a wide variety of categories online, including those with a strong “touch and feel” component to them:
Clients can access our recently updated report on this topic, which includes lots of new forecast data and notes how countries have moved through these phases. Brazil, for example, which was solidly in phase 3 last year, has started moving toward the final phase, where categories like apparel and beauty start to become a much more critical piece of the eCommerce market. A look at the shift in MercadoLivre’s GMV category ranking in 2012 gives one snapshot of this evolution:
Also included in our updated report is a look at how online retailer offerings in each market tend to differ depending on the phase the country is in. This report forms the vision report chapter of our upcoming eCommerce globalization playbook.
It’s been more than two years since eBay’s $2.4B acquisition of GSI Commerce and behind the scenes a lot has been happening. Gone is GSI’s entrepreneurial founder Michael Rubin and in his place sits a new executive team that is now strategically aligned with eBay’s senior management and corporate strategy group. Historically, eBay has been a C2C company, but yesterday’s re-branding of GSI signifies that eBay is now deadly serious about providing a holistic suite of enterprise technology and services to leading retailers and brands beyond their core Marketplace and PayPal payment services.
On paper, the new eBay Enterprise is a "jack of all trades." For retailers and brands, eBay Enterprise represents a one-stop shop for enterprise commerce technology, commerce services, marketing services and outsourced fulfillment and customer care. Let’s take a closer look at these offerings and what they mean to eBusiness professionals:
Commerce technology. With eBay Enterprise, eBay is stepping up to compete with industry heavyweights in the enterprise commerce technology market. On offer are three core product lines:
Magento, the ever popular open source eCommerce platform purchased by eBay in 2010.
ECP (Enterprise Commerce Platform), GSI’s new platform (formally known as v11) which after almost four years of development is now finally operational and running live client sites.
A home-grown order management solution supporting omnichannel retailers managing order fulfillment and distribution across channels.
This is a guest post from Lily Varon, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals
Today, eBusiness professionals are struggling with how to engage their clients around the globe via a website that meets varying language and cultural needs. Additionally, they’re faced with deciding between the different technical implementation methods with language service providers. Forrester has recently published a report to help eBusiness professionals navigate the maze of solutions and vendors at hand to help implement their translation and localization strategy.
Before evaluating solutions and signing contracts, eBusiness professionals must consider these important questions:
What is the right mix of translation methods? There is no replacement for translation done by a professional translator in terms of quality output, but the sheer volume of website content, the increasing demand for quick turnaround, and the number of languages needed far exceed the capacity of using all human translation. Many enterprises use a combination of translation methods (e.g., human translation, machine translation, human-aided machine translation, crowdsourcing) to execute on their international initiatives and fulfill their translation needs while keeping project costs under control.
With the global economy thawing out after the long winter of the financial crisis, the small business market is on the rebound. And it's not just in the US. In markets extending from Canada to Australia, small business owners are starting up, borrowing to expand, and they’re hiring staff, all of which are driving the need for commercial insurance to protect assets and employees. And just where are these busy small business owners doing their research and, in many cases, shopping? Online. So with all this digital shopping and buying, just what changes will these digitally sophisticated small businesses drive for insurers? For starters:
Typical consumer online features are creeping into commercial insurance sites. In the US, small business owners are more likely to go online to research, renew, and service their policies than the average online consumer. What’s driving these small businesses to digital insurance? Business owners and their staffs bring their consumer experiences with them to work, prompting business insurers to rethink the content, usability, and functionality present on their business insurance sites. For example, Hiscox’s online site features not only simplified packaging that makes quoting easy but also the ratings and review functionality that we are used to seeing on direct personal insurer sites like Progressive Casualty Insurance’s site.
Hello and welcome to my Forrester blog. I've spent the last 15 years as an eCommerce and marketing leader in a number of retail organizations, and throughout my career I've frequently consumed Forrester's content. Whether it was leveraging a Wave report on eCommerce platforms to build a business case for a capital investment, or benchmarking my business against the industry, Forrester played a key role in my success, as well as the success of my team and my company. So it's with great pleasure that I join Forrester with the goal of returning the favor and helping eBusinesses succeed in a rapidly evolving landscape.
As Principal Analyst within the eBusiness and Channel Strategy group, my primary coverage area will focus on the strategy, operations, and technology that power digital commerce in an agile commerce world. Being a marketer at heart, I'll strive to provide guidance and insight that can yield real benefits to your customers and your bottom line. If there is anything I can help you with, or if you'd like to recommend a topic to be covered, please reach out to me. I'd be happy to hear from you.
The past few weeks have involved travel to a few different events, ranging from eTail Latin America in Miami to Internet Retailer Conference & Expo in Chicago to the Goldman Sachs dotCommerce Day in New York. Rather than summarize the events, all of which were incredibly valuable, I wanted to highlight some themes from conversations I had at these events with brands looking to expand into new markets.
Leading global brands are increasingly aware they need to vary their approach globally. A common assertion in articles about localization is that companies erroneously view Europe or Asia as “one country” and fail to take into account key differences between countries. My experience is that global brands have largely moved beyond this phase: The brands I spoke with are keenly aware that each market is different, and are anxious to understand how they’ll need to adapt their online offering. They may not understand all of the differences inherent in each market, but they know — or are learning — the right questions to ask. The challenge for brands is understanding which parts of their offering really need to change to meet local expectations (and therefore merit the investment required to make the shift) and which offerings will still resonate even if they differ from those provided by local players.
Maps are only growing in importance as they become the primary portal on mobile phones for a growing list of information and services. As Apple showed us last year, it's critical to own maps - and to do maps well, particularly as a growing percentage of time is spent discovering, accessing, and engaging content within maps. With that said, it's not immediately clear to me what justifies a $1B+ (reported) price tag for Google’s acquisition of Waze, but I'll assume they did great due diligence or offered a high price to get a deal done.
For instance, many companies do acquisitions for audience, but Google's audience - even just on Android or Google Maps is substantial. Waze's website says 30M users; other sources say 50M. Apparently, engagement among users is high ... but is it well distributed? Are there enough active users in each market for the same excellent experience?
However, Waze does add new features that Google Maps doesn't already have e.g., the ability of users to report traffic issues, police cameras, broken down vehicles - you name it. Layering user-generated content into maps in real time in a way that makes sense and is useful to everyone at that place at that moment is not typical. Mobile needs to be highly contextual in ways people are beginning to understand, but are really struggling to implement well. It also increases speed to market if Google/Android team were otherwise developing this on their own.
With maps integrated into every retail, travel, banking, insurance, (ok go down the list) app on your phone, I don’t think any company can have too much map technology, or too many engineers/developers for maps and navigation technology.
Coca-Cola recently announced that it is jumping into the red-hot Indian online retail arena by selling directly to consumers and small businesses, a first for a FMCG (CPG) company in India. While the Indian online retail story is still being written and Forrester is bullish about the long-term prospects for this channel, the immediate challenges need to be managed effectively.
Logistics and fulfillment are the largest challenges of them all in India, with more than half of all online retail sales being done using cash on delivery (COD). While COD is essential in a nascent eCommerce market, it can have a large negative impact on business margins. This is exacerbated in a nascent market where consumers are testing this new medium of ordering goods, as the return rates can be quite high. In India, reportedly, the return rates can vary from 5% to more than 25%, depending on the category, the demographics of the online buyers, and their online tenure (experience with the Internet).
We’ve seen significant investment from US retailers in this space. Lowes, Home Depot, Nordstrom, and others have all been spending heavily on developing the underlying infrastructures that they can then leverage to create in-store digital experiences. Store Wi-Fi, associate devices like tablets or smartphones, kiosk technology, and even more emerging technologies like ePaper signage and electronic shelf-edge labels are on some agendas. Even Amtrak is getting in on the act with its eTicketing initiative.