Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category
This year’s NRF “Big Show” was big indeed — larger than life, in fact (it filled up the Javits center quite nicely). A huge range of companies, ranging from ecommerce platforms, digital development, cloud marketing, and near-field communication services, to offerings from hardware vendors such as beacons, point-of-sale registers and receipt printer companies were represented… and that’s just to name a few.
With so many companies in one place vying for the attention of the wandering ‘golden’ retailer with deep pockets and open purchase orders, it is no surprise that each vendor booth is trying to outdo the next to rise above the noise and get noticed. The result is a sensory assault of bright lights, big signs, gimmicks, giveaways and a general hustle to get yet-to-be-customers to bite. All which can be a little overwhelming at times.
At shows like this, it’s very easy to get distracted and waste one’s time. So it’s important to go in with specific objectives in mind. Ours were to reinforce relationships with existing partners and to connect with potential partners. Often, these partner meetings held are on different floors with restricted access, or in private meeting rooms that overlook the conference floor. I would equate this to being on the floor of a casino, then moving to high-rollers area or table to do your business.
Our business conversations at the show were laser-focused on our ability to provide performance and bandwidth optimization for responsive web design — an approach to web design that is getting increasing attention from retailers. All of our meetings were planned well ahead with specific outcomes in mind. We learned that most, if not all, of our partners are being asked by their customers to implement responsive web design. Even though these partners are trying to educate their customers about the performance challenges inherent with this approach, their customers often still want to push ahead. Which is where Trilibis comes in: we can assist by providing a plug-in technology that automatically optimizes performance and bandwidth on responsive sites across all mobile devices.
One side effect of being so focused at a show like this is that the big trends, professionally marketed or generally inferred, are somehow subconsciously absorbed or read about later on the plane back home. To bastardize a John Lennon quote, NRF trends are what happen while you’re making other meeting plans at the show. That said, as I look back, there were some pretty cool trends and announcements — here are a few worthy of note:
- IBM’s Watson is now a Personal Shopper – IBM’s omnipotent big data machine now helps personalize the shopping experience, reducing shopping cart abandonment.
- HP announced its ElitePad Mobile Retail Solution – a tablet solution to help streamline POS checkout. It plugs right in to HP Retail Expansion Dock and accepts third-party payment entry devices.
- Panasonic introduced the Powershelf – this is basically a smart retail shelf with the ability to auto-change shelf labels, indicate the shelf is low on product inventory, provide mobile advertising through embedded beacons, and more.
- Verifone and Samsung announced a global partnership – aimed at delivering advanced, Android-based mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions to multi-lane and enterprise retailers.
- SAP SE announced plans to launch the SAP Assortment Planning for Retail application – this enables retailers to cluster stores based on attributes to help maximize profits.
- Tyco Retail Solutions and Creative systems are partnering to accelerate delivery of RFID-based inventory visibility applications for retailers globally.
- Beacons and NFC are the next phase in tying together brick-and-mortar stores with the digital shopper – this was probably the biggest trend and noise at the show.
- Consumers are mobile and social – this is so 2013!
- Loyalty programs work when executed correctly – and they also work when executed poorly.
- Beacons, beacons, and more beacons!
Sounds like a pretty cool show; I wish I had been there. Oh, wait a second…
Whether it’s “Mobile Web is Dead” or “Mobile Apps Will Soon be Dead“, the last two years have seen some sensationalist opinions by journalists on both sides of the web versus apps debate. And the argument erupted earlier this year after Mark Zuckerberg made a searing statement claiming HTML5 to be Facebook’s biggest mistake.
This past Tuesday evening the battle raged on, albeit in a less apocalyptic tone, as I had the pleasure of attending a good old fashioned mobile web vs apps debate hosted by Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer from Walmart Labs (@WalmartLabs).
Sidenote: I’ve seen Ben and Dion (former key WebOS team members at Palm) present a couple different times over the years and they do a great job in making things interesting and bringing a lot of history into the discussion—Tuesday’s meetup was no different.
Shopping season, aka the holiday season, is once again upon us and we are all enjoying the barrage of promotional emails flooding our mailboxes. Like many travelers during the Thanksgiving week, I only carried my phone and tablet—no laptop. As such, I was forced to consume the content retailers were sending my way mobile style.
Fresh off the plane, coming back from Breaking Development conference (@bdconf) in Dallas, packed with 3 days of stimulating presentations and discussions with such Web thought leaders like Brad Frost (@brad_frost), Lyza Gardner (@lyzadanger) and Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) to name a few. Right off the bat, 2 points were clear to me. First, how far Web technologies have come in the past couple of years and second, how hard we still need to work to bring mobile Websites to 2012.
What do I mean by bringing mobile Websites to 2012 you ask?
We’ve written several articles, hosted a number of discussions and argued on numerous panels against miniaturization. The reason is quite simple – shrinking down web assets and stripping features to a minimum to fit a smaller mobile screen significantly limits engagement opportunities. Miniaturization also ignores that mobile user behavior is influenced by the inherent characteristics of the mobile device – location, click-to-call, text messaging, barcode scanning, swiping or tapping. So if the website’s content is simply miniaturized for mobile, it fails to take advantage of some of the powerful features that tablets and smartphones offer.
While I can go on-and-on about the problems with miniaturization (and its twin brother, screen scraping), for once, I’ll use a comic to illustrate our point of view (shared by Brad Frost during this week’s Breaking Development Conference in Dallas). Cheers!