December 1st, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

Although text messaging services and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat have rapidly risen in popularity, the platforms are not without their risks.

95 percent of employees send work related information from their smartphones, according to information gathered by secure text messaging provider TeleMessage. Furthermore, 75 percent reported sending sensitive or confidential information in this way, and just 13 percent said that their organizations have policies in place  that regulate the use of texting for work-related materials.

With many businesses incorporating messaging platforms into their daily operations, TeleMessage has several suggestions for those looking to secure the information sent via those channels. End-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages are both solid options, while remote data wipe services can assist when devices are lost or accounts are deactivated.

November 28th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Online and mobile sales hit an all-time high this Black Friday, according to shopping data* Adobe released on Saturday. In 2016, for the first time, customers spent more than $3 billion on the net, accounting for a total of $3.34 billion and a year-over-year growth of 21.6 percent. More than a third of these purchases ($1.2 billion) were done via mobile devices, making Friday the first day in retail history to break the mobile billion dollar mark.

While two thirds of the online transactions were completed on desktops, the majority of people are using their handhelds as a starting point for their purchases. 55 percent of visits to digital retail destinations were done on smartphones and tablets, Abode’s data finds.

Large retailers have been the biggest beneficiaries this holiday season, as they’ve seen a 50% larger growth in online sales than small retailers. Unsurprisingly, those companies who’ve made investments in mobile, email, and social support have seen 30 percent more sales on average, and 25% bigger average order sizes. Firms also saw a boost in profits coming in through “Shopper Helper Sites” such as RetailMeNot and CNET, which made up for 16.5 percent of the sales, and lagged just behind email (17.3 percent) and search ads (38.3 percent).

“Shoppers hit the buy button at unprecedented levels as conversion rates were up nearly a full percent across all devices in the evening hours on Black Friday,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement.

Gaffney adds that “Black Friday may have just dethroned Cyber Monday’s position as the largest online shopping day of the year.” I suppose we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

*Adobe’s report is based on data from 22.6 billion visits to retail websites. The vendor measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers (a list compiled annually by Internet Retailer), which is more than any other technology company, Adobe claims.

November 21st, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Forrester Research predicts that in the United States online sales will reach $112 billion dollars this holiday season, an increase of 13% from last year’s $99 billion.  

One reason for this growth is that economic indicators are positive. Unemployment is relatively low, and so are gas prices.Online retail sales have grown faster during the first three quarters of the year than they did in 2015.

forecastAnother reason for the boom is that, this Christmas, it’s expected to be colder than it was last year, when the Northeast region hit record-high temperatures of almost 30 degrees above average. As a result, online sales for seasonal products–such as clothing and footwear, for instance–suffered. And, granted that the weather made it more enticing to get out of the house and do some real life shopping, that might have also factored into people’s decisions to shop at brick-and-mortar locations. Nevertheless, since 2008, the growth in online retail in the months of November through December have shown a steady year-over-year growth. In 2015, the nation saw an 11% increase in online sales from the previous year.

 

Forrester’s data shows that customers are starting to shop earlier this year, prior to November, which means that retailers have had to prepare holiday marketing collateral sooner than they normally would. Unfortunately, this won’t translate to an overall increase in sales–it simply means that people have begun to tap their budgets and plan their purchases ahead of time.

The data also indicates that more people are using their mobile devices to shop this year. In 2015, roughly 30% of online buyers used their mobile phones, while this year, that number has grown to 40%. While smartphone commerce represents only a small fraction of online retail sales, its influence on offline purchases is estimated to be in the trillions. 

November 17th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

51 percent of consumers have experienced a security incident in the past year, according to a report from account security provider TeleSign. These incidents include having an account hacked, a password stolen, or personal information otherwise compromised. Moreover, the report found that nearly a third of consumers value their online life at $100,000 to priceless, and 55 percent consider businesses to be primarily responsible for ensuring the security of their accounts.

This presents a challenge to companies, as consumers aren’t always careful when it comes to their online life. The report found that on average, consumers reuse passwords for seven online accounts, meaning that 71 percent of online accounts are protected by passwords that are used across multiple sites. Furthermore, 46 percent of consumers use passwords that are older than five years.

“When you consider what comprises an online life—email, banking and social media accounts, personal information, photos and more—these assets are extremely valuable, even ‘priceless’ as some reported,” Aled Miles, CEO at TeleSign, said in a statement. “With the majority of consumers looking to businesses to keep them safe online, companies need to prioritize providing strong account security or risk losing valuable users. In fact, our report shows 1 in 3 victims of account compromise stopped doing business with the impacted brand.”

November 14th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

New research from Salesforce.com reveals that customer experience (CX), cross-team collaboration, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be top priorities for sales organizations in the new year.

For its State of Sales Report, the CRM giant surveyed 3,100 global sales leaders to identify the trends and technologies driving their efforts to navigate today’s business landscape.

According to the findings, sales teams are being significantly impacted by the rising standards of their customers. Partly because customer retention is so important right now, sales professionals are being asked to go beyond the act selling, and to tend to peripheral concerns. For instance, 70 percent of the teams surveyed said they’ve shifted focus to ensure they are providing clients with real-time feedback and responses.

Sales teams are also being forced to work better together, and connect across organizational silos, in order to access a uniform view of the customer. 79 percent of high-performing teams noted that their ability to access a single view of the customer was either “outstanding” or “very good.”

Increasingly, Salesforce finds, companies are also turning to intelligent technologies to help them make better decisions during sales cycles. Among those high-performing teams who are using intelligent selling tools, more than 40 percent have seen a growth in pipeline generation and increased close rates. In the next three years, adoption of artificial intelligence tools is expected to grow by upwards of 100 percent. 



 
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