retail

Showrooming is Down, But Retailers Need to Exploit Big Data to Connect with Consumers

Posted by Dale Buss on January 13, 2014 11:07 AM

Showrooming is way down, sharing is way up. Those are two pieces of good news for retailers from a new study by IBM about consumer behavior in and expectations about the new era of "omnichannel" retailing.

Yet huge challenges remain for retailers that want to optimize relationships with their customers using big data and digital technologies. "You have to be able to gather all the unstructured data and understand what is the next best action for you as a retailer," Keith Mercier, associate partner in the IBM Retail Center of Competence, told brandchannel. "That's where they're trying to build the next phase."

The new IBM study—shared today at the National Retail Federation's annual conference—surveyed more than 30,000 consumers around the world. It showed a nearly 40 percent drop in online purchases resulting from showrooming, Mercier said.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

CES 2014 Recap: Tech Connects to Get Up Close and Personal with Consumers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 10, 2014 07:16 PM

As the International Consumer Electronics Show wraps up its annual spectacle in Las Vegas, it's difficult to make the call on who or what exactly 'won' CES 2014. With brands (and marketers) big and small from nearly every sector presenting impressive tech, it's hard not to call everyone a winner—especially consumers. 

Still, this year's show presented some key themes, the most apparent being "connectivity." As consumers adopt more technology into their lives, the task at hand is to now connect those technologies—create an ecosystem of sorts that allows for seamless control and enjoyment. 

On that front, the automotive and mobile industries made a strong showing at CES, where Google's Android unveiled the Open Automotive Alliance and connected-car platform with nearly 10 major automakers signed on, including GM, Honda, Audi and Hyundai. The Alliance, meant to develop connected-car innovations with the same standards, plans to see the first vehicle with Android integration by the end of this year. 

Similarly, AT&T announced its own connected-car platform and new AT&T Drive Studio in Atlanta, where the company will partner with developers to create specialized apps for automakers like Audi and Tesla. 

But the car wasn't the only environment to get the connected treatment.Continue reading...

tech innovation

CES 2014: IBM Puts Watson to Work as Tech Consultant with $1B Investment

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 10, 2014 12:55 PM

IBM remains bullish on Watson, its supercomputer made famous on Jeopardy!, but it is having a hard time leveraging the super-smart artificial brain beyond trivia and into revenue-producing businesses.

IBM maintains that Watson has revolutionary real-world applications in a variety of verticals including health care and investing, with CEO Virginia Rometty projecting that Watson would generate $10 billion in annual revenue within 10 years. But according to Wall Street Journal, as of last October, Watson wasn't meeting revenue hopes, generating "only" $100 million. Setbacks include costs in “training” Watson “to master the particulars of various businesses.”

To better realize its potential, IBM announced at CES this week in Las Vegas that it is investing $1 billion into making Watson the centerpiece of a new business group based in New York—a group that will build out a productive and profitable ecosystem for the super-computer. Already employing 2,000 people, IBM projects the unit to create $20 billion in revenue by 2015.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Target, IBM, Kate Spade and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

Target now says 70 million were hit by data breach.

IBM's Watson group unveils cloud services for big data. 

Fifth & Pacific adopts Kate Spade as new corporate name.

AB InBev switches CMOs as new Bud Light campaign gears up.

Apple flows devices into corporate world.

Applebee's revamps kids menu.

Barnes & Noble digital sales drop but bookstores show signs of stabilizing.

Caribou Coffee debuts new loyalty program.

Daimler reports 10 percent rise in Mercedes-Benz 2013 vehicle sales.

Ford looks to Fiesta to increase sales in Japan as Mulally says he's staying put.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yahoo, Alibaba, McDonald's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 8, 2014 09:23 AM

In the News

Yahoo overhauls its advertising platforms as Mayer puts on a show at CES

Alibaba integrates its payment service with China's Sina Weibo.

McDonald's looks to use sustainable beef by 2016.

Airbus names new US chief.

Amazon makes it difficult for new hires to stick.

Barnes & Noble promotes Nook head to CEO.

Bentley sees steady luxury sales in 2014.

BlackBerry renews its vows to the smartphone keyboard.

Boeing must slash costs of building Dreamliner.

Comcast halts erosion in video subscribers.Continue reading...

tech innovation

IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 05:43 PM

As the year readies to close out, it's time for the annual onslaught of year-end lists of best ofs, worst ofs, and 2014 look-aheads. So in due course, IBM has released its annual 5 in 5 annual technology predictions, highlighting what the company thinks will come to the forefront in the next five years. 

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Bernie Meyerson, VP Innovation at IBM, told VentureBeat. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

Among the expected innovations in cloud computing and smarter cities, IBM expects there to be significant changes in the way the medical community treats illness, and how our digital lives are made more secure.

The new list of tech trends and innovations that IBM expects to impact our lives in the years ahead:Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

IBM’s Supercomputer Watson is Now Your Best Shopping Companion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 28, 2013 03:22 PM

It’s been more than two years since IBM’s Watson made its hit TV debut on Jeopardy! And now, Watson is the latest “cognitive, expert personal shopper” developed by an early stage partner in the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, digital shopping company Fluid.

Their Watson-powered app—the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper—marries Watson’s transformational cognitive computing that provides dialogue-driven assistance with product recommendations and content, letting consumers make queries using Watson’s natural language processing (NLP). 

But, “Watson’s natural language capabilities are not what make it special,” Brooke Aguilar, VP Global Business Development at Fluid told brandchannel. “The big differentiator is that Watson is a learning machine and one that quickly learns from and adapts with each interaction. In the context of digital shopping this presents a tremendous opportunity for Fluid to give consumers highly engaging and rich shopping experiences that are personalized and become more so with continued use.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: GM, Crocs, Snapchat and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

GM could see exit of CEO Dan Akerson next year, Reuters says.

Crocs considers ways to go private.

Snapchat becomes one of most sought-after tech businesses after reportedly turning down $3 billion buyout from Facebook. 

AT&T creates mystery of locked, used iPhones.

Alitalia prepares restructuring aimed at getting more resources out of Air France.

American Airlines and US Airways set up major-airport route grab with their merger as deal cruises through courts.

Ateliers Pleyel stops piano production in France.

Baidu faces suits over video piracy.

Boeing sees unionists reject new labor deal for 777X production.

Burberry is weighed down by beauty business.

Cisco tells of big revenue dropoff in emerging markets.

Cracker Barrel shareholders reject activist's third bid to be on board.Continue reading...

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