January 26th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

92 percent of consumers visiting a retailer’s website for the first time will do so for reasons other than making a purchase, according to a study from digital experience platform provider Episerver.

More than 1,100 consumers were surveyed for the report, which found that 45 percent of those visiting a website for the first time are seeking out a product or service, while 25 percent are comparing features and prices, and more than 10 percent are looking for store information. Moreover, the study found that 98 percent of shoppers have elected not to complete a purchase on account of incomplete or incorrect information on a company’s website.

The report also found that when consumers intend to make a purchase on a website or mobile app, 60 percent go directly to the item’s product page, while 18 percent first look at sale items and 7 percent consult customer testimonials.

“The content customers see and the experiences they have while interacting with a brand online are crucial to shaping their purchasing behavior, James Norwood, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategy at Episerver, said in a statement. “While not every consumer visiting a brand’s website is there to make a purchase, brands must consider how the experience of their websites—from navigation to checkout—supports engagement.”

January 23rd, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

At NRF’s Big Show in New York last week, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson joined Kip Tindell, cofounder of the Container Store, on stage for a conversation.

After entering the conference hall to great fanfare, Branson, who oversees more than 400 companies in 50 countries, and employs more than 60,000 people, dove in to share some insights from 50 years of professional experience.

“It’s a tough business,” Branson said, when asked what he made of the retail industry in its current state. To break the ice, he recalled an April fools prank he tried to play, years ago, when he announced a music box which would contain all the world’s recorded albums and singles, and promised to change the industry for good. This was only a few years before Steve Jobs would unveil Apple’s iPod, putting countless record stores (including Virgin’s Megastores) out of business in the process. “Beware of jokes,” Branson warned. “They can backfire on you.”

But despite the misfortune of its Megastore chain, Virgin has flourished in a number of industries besides music (travel and hospitality, to name just a few). When asked how such a large entity  keeps a loyal customer base, Branson said it was important to make sure that each venture enhanced the brand–which he described as a “way of life” brand. “By and large, I think we’ve got that right,” he said. “We haven’t succeeded in all our ventures, but I think people have enjoyed the way we’ve done it, and the passion we put into everything we do. Over the years, I think the brand has gotten stronger.” Virgin’s clients don’t mind seeing the brand trying and failing, so long as they’re not left in debt, and their reputation is intact, Branson said. And, “fortunately, we’ve had more successes than failures.”

A major failure for Virgin was its foray into the bridal business, Branson joked, suggesting that perhaps this was because there is a lack of demand for Virgin Brides.

But, joking aside, Branson attributed much of Virgin’s success to open-mindedness, and a willingness to expand into new territories, including mobile phones and video games. He stressed that “people who own retail stores should not think of themselves as forever being retailers.” Instead, “they need to be entrepreneurial and spin off business on the back of retail, maybe to make money to help the retail stores to survive.”

January 19th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Although workforces are becoming increasingly mobile-savvy, they are hampered by outdated processes, according to a report by portfolio and work management software provider Changepoint. The company surveyed more than 800 global project managers, executives, and IT professionals in order to develop a better understanding of how mobile technologies have shaped today’s workforce.

95 percent of respondents reported using mobile technologies for work related tasks, with 35 percent indicating that they bring three to four devices with them to work. Additionally, the study identifies an “epidemic of multitasking,” with 97 percent of team members allocated to more than one project, and 62 percent of managers responsible for four or more projects. Furthermore, 83 percent of respondents say that their organization tracks time. Of those that do not, 81 percent said they would if it were easier.

“We use our smartphone to check the weather, confirm flight info, read the news, call an Uber, or order coffee,” said Eric Bergman, vice president of product management at Changepoint, said in a statement. “Mobile is second nature but some of the most agile, tech-forward businesses still use spreadsheets and paper to collect business-critical data despite its impact on staffing and project decisions.”

January 12th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

80 percent of marketing executives believe artificial intelligence will revolutionize marketing by 2020, according to a survey conducted by account-based marketing provider Demandbase, in conjunction with Wakefield Research.

Marketers identified a number of possible benefits from artificial intelligence, according to the results. 60 percent speculated that the technology will yield better insights into accounts, while 56 percent ventured that it will provide more detailed analysis of campaigns compared to current methods. Additionally, 53 percent believe that the technology will be of assistance in identifying prospective customers, and 53 percent said that it will expedite daily tasks.

Nevertheless, respondents noted several potential challenges in adopting the technology. 60 percent expressed apprehension about integrating artificial intelligence capabilities with their existing technology, while 54 percent cited training employees as a source of concern. Furthermore, 46 percent said that there could be difficulty in interpreting the results that artificial intelligence produces.

“As someone who has been studying AI for many years, I’ve recognized the promise of AI and B2B marketing for some time, which makes it really rewarding to see this vision is now shared by marketing executives,” Aman Naimat, SVP of technology at Demandbase, said in a statement. “This data reveals that in order to be successful, marketing leaders need to lead the charge and present opportunities for AI instruction and experience for their teams, to ensure implementing it into their B2B technology stacks is effective.”

January 10th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Last week, France introduced a new law requiring that companies with more than 50 employees establish clearly defined business hours, after which employees should not expected be to check their work email accounts. The goal of this, in part, is to reduce the burnout that results from unlimited digital connectivity.

But while easy access enabled by technology certainly has its drawbacks, it’s hard to deny that employees have benefited from its perks. According to a Forrester Consulting report commissioned by collaboration software provider Prysm, for instance, more than 60 percent of enterprise information workers work from home at least once a week. And because these workers are free from distractions, two-thirds of employers reported increased productivity from their telecommuters.

The report suggests that the consequence of not having everyone on the team in the same room, however, is that group interactions are bound to suffer. Still, 83 percent of those surveyed said that with the right collaboration technologies, they could cooperate at full potential regardless of their time and location.

According to Prysm, what is needed is a “cloud-based workspace” that serves as a repository where distributed teams can upload, review, and annotate shared files. These technologies also integrate seamlessly into the existing technology in a company’s stack. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Prysm recommends that companies seek out these technologies, and outline strategies that would help them overcome including time zone, communication,and isolation barriers.

“For a company to succeed today, it must accept that the traditional 9-to-5 in-office work day is a thing of the past. To thrive, companies must provide the right collaboration technologies to support teleworkers, mobile workers and distributed teams,” Paige O’Neill, Prysm’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “As the Forrester Consulting study finds, to keep employees happy and flourishing, businesses need to integrate collaboration tools that help their employees feel fully engaged whether at the office, at home or on the go. It’s a collaborate or perish kind of world today.”



 
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