From Shanghai To São Paulo: A Comparative Look At eCommerce In China And Brazil

Zia Daniell Wigder

Over the past few weeks, I spent several days in both China and Brazil speaking with eCommerce executives about the opportunities and challenges in their respective markets. Despite the vastly different market sizes – China’s retail eCommerce market reached $440B in 2014 while Brazil’s came in at $18B – these two countries are similar in that they both dwarf other markets in their regions in terms of online sales.

There are many different ways to look at eCommerce in China vs. Brazil; below are just a few areas in which these markets differ and where they show similarities:

Mobile evolution is at different stages. In China, Alibaba's Q1 2015 results showed mobile to be 51% of GMV across its marketplaces, up from 27% a year ago. In Brazil, by contrast, eCommerce players of all types tend to see lower figures in terms of both GMV and total transactions via mobile. B2W, for example, one of the top players in online retail in Brazil, reported that 16% of orders placed in Q1 2015 were via mobile. As the percentage of mobile revenues grows in both markets, so will expectations of companies’ mobile experiences.    

At Alibaba, overall sales are shifting heavily toward mobile 

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Fitbit IPO: The Road Ahead

Julie Ask

Fitbit made its S1 filing coming off a quarter of astounding growth: $336.8M in revenue – up from $108.8M in Q1 2014. The enterprise generated $48M in net income. Last week we learned it hopes to raise $100M through an IPO. Why would Fitbit IPO now?

There are any number of traditional reasons - raise capital, return money to investors, etc. But what is interesting to debate, however, is the timing of Fitbit’s IPO. Fitbit may have chosen to IPO now so it can:

  • Draft off Apple’s wave. Fitness bands and smart watches have been on the market for years, but sales have been limited – especially for smart watches. Apple’s entry and marketing spend will drive awareness of the category from early adopters on the west coast to mainstream consumers. The tide will lift all boats, as the saying goes.
  • Raise capital at a possible peak. The smart watch may kill off or stymy the growth of lower end fitness bands. The cameras on early mobile phones were not as good as the digital point and shoot cameras or SLR’s owned by consumers, but a camera on hand is better than the one at home in a drawer or closet. The pedometer and sensors on a smart watch may not measure activity with the same precision as a dedicated device, but it may be good enough for many consumers.
  • Take advantage of a market with few IPO candidates. Few small companies will mature enough – let alone show the financial strength – to take their companies public. Many entrepreneurs are building services that make great features rather than great businesses. Their exit strategy is to sell to a Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, or SAP.
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Associate Enablement Is The Unsung Hero Of mPOS

Adam Silverman

As far as digital store initiatives go, iron-clad success stories are notoriously hard to come by. Mobile point-of-service (mPOS) is one of the few digital store technologies that has garnered the attention and investment dollars of retail executives—but the return on investment has been nonetheless elusive. Adam Silverman - Forrester - Principal Analyst - mPOSDespite large-scale deployments by a number of leading players (including Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and Bloomingdales, among others), key questions such as “will this drive incremental revenue?” and “which use cases deliver the most customer and retailer value?” remain. Our newly published report “The Business Case For mPOS Is Associate Enablement” answers these questions and addresses common opportunities and challenges for eBusiness leaders rolling out an mPOS program. In the report, we find that:

  • Consumers expect digitally-enabled associates to facilitate in-store engagement. Retailers must change their thinking and start to view mPOS as more than just a “mobile cash register.” When shoppers see a store associate armed with a mobile device, they expect to receive contextualized assistance when and where they want it. In addition to ringing up sales in aisle, your associates should be prepared to use their devices to access enterprise inventory, provide product information, and give personalized product recommendations.
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US B2B eCommerce Will Reach $1 Trillion

Susan Wu

B2B eCommerce is growing, and it’s growing quickly. In fact, at Forrester we estimate that it will reach more than $1 trillion in the US by 2020, double the size of B2C eCommerce. B2B buyers are rapidly gearing their researching and purchasing activities toward true digital platforms. B2B sellers are similarly shifting their resources toward providing an eCommerce portal to better reach and engage with their customers. 

Forrester's ForecastView team recently conducted a pioneering study on the B2B eCommerce market where we explored nine product categories and their evolution toward online buying. We define B2B eCommerce as a digital, transactional exchange between companies that takes place over a website. We exclude spending that flows through traditional electronic data interchange (EDI) channels or back channels.  The majority of B2B spending takes place through wholesaler and distributor channels, which provide a varying array of value-added services such as storage, packaging, sorting, and labeling. The future landscape of B2B commerce is changing on several fronts that could potentially impact how wholesalers and distributors traditionally do business, especially online: 

  • There’s an increased need for automation. As independent establishments continue to merge and give way to larger firms, companies seek to cut distribution costs through their increasing purchase power and economies of scale (see figure below). This alleviates the need for distributors and wholesalers but requires a more automated mechanism to handle larger volumes.
     
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The Real-Time Interaction Management Space Is Dizzyingly Fragmented

Rusty Warner

Back in February, I published a brief on Demystifying Real-Time Interaction Management, where I reviewed evolving requirements for building a contextual marketing engine, capable of engaging empowered customers across real-time channels. These requirements include: customer recognition, contextual understanding, decision arbitration, offer orchestration, and measurement and optimization. 

As promised then, I have been researching the RTIM space, and you can now read my latest report Market Overview: Real-Time Interaction Management, published last week. In this market overview, I look at four distinct – yet all critical – approaches to RTIM:

1.      Enterprise marketing technologies address all five RTIM requirements, though offerings vary widely by vendors who focus on enterprise marketing software suites (EMSS), cross-channel campaign management (CCCM), marketing automation, business process management (BPM), customer relationship management (CRM, and loyalty programs.

2.      Advanced analytics is a prerequisite for successful RTIM execution, addressing all requirements except offer orchestration.  The broad analytics spectrum includes customer profiles, predictive models, and digital intelligence for web analytics, tag management, and identity management.

3.      Digital marketing solutions address personalization for websites and social media channels, and include advertising technologies such as data management platform (DMP) and demand-side platform functionality for paid media targeting and re-targeting.

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Small Business Insurers: Are Your Digital Sites Open For Business?

Ellen Carney


Small business is booming in the US.  The US Small Business Administration declared this week as “National Small Business Week” to promote the role that small business plays in the US economy.  Why should insurance companies pay close attention to the needs of small business? For starters, small businesses mean:

  • Big economic impact. Small business spells substantial opportunity. These small businesses comprise about 49% of private sector employment, and about 43% of private sector payrolls.[i] And as small business grow, that growth translates into the need for more insurance to cover employees, vehicles, and other liabilities.
  • New revenue streams.  With self-driving vehicles tests planned in 30 cities by 2017, there’s trouble ahead for the industry’s cash cow, private passenger auto insurance.[ii] Small business insurance is one revenue stream that insurers can increase to counterbalance premium declines.
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Keeping Everybody "On Message"

Lori Wizdo

Well, the 2016 US presidential race has begun in earnest.  Every day a new candidate enters the race on the quest to headline the Republican or Democratic ticket.  I am a bit of a political junkie: not because I am a policy wonk, but because I am a marketing wonk. I love (ok, sometimes hate) to watch the unfolding strategies to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the electorate. What interests me most is the struggle to stay ‘on message’.  The candidate wants the dialogue to be about the ‘brand message’: “Don’t Swap Horses When Crossing Streams”, Lincoln, 1864; “Return to Normalcy”, Harding, 1920; “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago”, Reagan, 1980; and, of course, “Yes, We Can” Obama, 2008.  But, it’s tough.  Political discourse requires a political platform of messages on issues and topics that are targeted to micro-constituencies.   Political operatives, surrogates and donors can get it all terribly muddled.  And when they inevitably do, the damage control often rises to an art form.

It’s something any B2B marketing exec can relate to. Keeping everybody on message is never an easy task. Despite the hours spent in claustrophobic conference rooms discussing mission and vision and value propositions, key stakeholders just seem to go rogue when communicating in practice: the CEO wings it in press interviews; the SVP of engineering explores the nuances of fascinating, but irrelevant features with a prospective buyer; marketing managers write content that misaligns benefits and customer problems; agencies propose promotional taglines that are slick but won't stick; and sales reps create their own special spiel (and use it faithfully regardless of client context).  

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We’ve Hit The B2B Marketing Ground Running

Peter O'Neill

Our new B2B marketing role pages are just one month old, and we have already published new reports on B2B channels, marketing through communities, B2B metrics that matter, and thought leadership programs. All topics at the sharp end of B2B marketing.

Our team was also present at Forrester’s two Marketing Leadership Forums held in New York and London. In addition to giving topic presentations there, we ran a 90-minute consulting workshop for over 100 B2B marketers in New York advising attendees on how to formulate their target personas and potential content for thought leadership programs and providing methodology and tools.

This week, Kim Celestre is presenting to thousands of marketers at the National Automotive Parts Association Expo in Las Vegas (yes, that is also B2B!). In fact, at our last research meeting, we discussed what’s the same across all different B2B industries and what varies. Here are some highlights from that discussion, some of which will appear in future reports. We hear that all B2B marketers feel that:

  • Digitally empowered buyers are disenfranchising sales (see this report)
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Don't Just Ask What CX Leaders Do; Ask Why It Works For Them

Megan Burns

Last week, I stayed in two different hotels in the greater Atlanta area. One was a Ritz-Carlton, and the other a Marriott.* Hearing those two brand names, you might be tempted to assume that the guest experience at the Ritz was far better than the one at the Marriott. But it wasn’t — at least not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, the Ritz was beautiful. But one aspect of the experience there drove me nuts. Every time that I stepped off the elevator into the lobby I was swarmed by no fewer than three extremely friendly, extremely eager employees. They bombarded me with questions about whether I wanted coffee (which I don’t drink), a donut, help with my luggage, or anything else my heart desired. Now in theory, I love that the staff was so attentive. But they missed a pretty important need of mine — the need for personal space. When I travel for work, I want to be greeted by friendly people. And I want to know that I can easily find an employee if and when I need help. But otherwise, I prefer to be left to my own devices. That’s exactly what I got at the Marriott.

This example serves as a great reminder that no experience is inherently good or bad. CX quality is a function of how well each brand aligns its CX vision with the needs, wants, and preferences of the particular set of customers that it chooses to serve (AKA its customer strategy).

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Announcing The Speakers For Forrester's CX Forum In New York, June 16th And 17th

John Dalton

At last, it’s spring. Even here in Boston, the bloom is on the forsythia — finally. And that means it’s time to announce the confirmed list of speakers for our biggest event of the year: Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals in New York (CXNYC), June 16th and 17th. We’ve got a doozy of a show on tap this time around.

This year’s event features more guest speakers, from a wider range of industries, than ever before. As your host for this forum, I’m thrilled to share such a strong lineup:

  • Raul Leal, CEO, Virgin Hotel Group.
  • Charlie Hill, distinguished engineer and CTO for design, IBM.
  • Beth Ann Kaminkow, CMO, Westfield Group.
  • Rasesh Patel, SVP, customer experience, DirectTV.
  • Rachel Shechtman, founder and CEO, Story.
  • Adam Weber, SVP of marketing, Dollar Shave Club.
  • Mark McCormick, SVP of customer experience, Wells Fargo.
  • Melody Lee, director, brand and reputation strategy, Cadillac.
  • Blaine E. Hurst, EVP, chief transformation and growth officer, Panera Bread.
  • Chris Brown, executive director, guest experience, New York Mets.
  • Kit Hickey, cofounder, head of experience, Ministry of Supply.
  • Parrish Hannah, global director, human machine interface, Ford Motor.
  • Scott Zimmer, head of design and innovation, Capital One.
  • Liz Crawford, CTO, Birchbox.
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