Are you the type of person that goes into a shop sees a product then does a quick Google or use a comparative shopping app to see if you can purchase it cheaper online for a competitive site?
My local upmarket home wares store must be experiencing this retail practise as yesterday in the store I noticed a small laminated sign stuck in strategic places around the shop.
“Please do not take photos”.
I occasionally shop at this store and had never seen this sign before. I was very tempted to whip out my phone and take a surreptitious pic of the offending notice for this blog post but feared I might get a tap on the shoulder from the rather ardent shop assistant asking me to stop “showrooming”.
And let’s face it showrooming and ways to ‘combat’ the showroomer is a topic currently getting considerable coverage in business publications and blogs (see below).
Showrooming is the “practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the product,”[Wikipedia|.
Just recently IBM conducted a study -” From transactions to relationships: Connecting with the transitioning shopper “ where they surveyed 26,000 shoppers in 14 countries to learn how consumers perceive and interact with retail channels.
One of the core findings of the research was “retail softness” or as they described ”the emergence of a small but influential group of consumers who shopped in the store but purchased online – sometimes from a different retailer.”
Then last week the New York Times carried an article about showrooming and suggestions from Ron Lieber a columist about using shaming as a way to stop the practise. His suggestion as a sample script retailers could use if they caught an active showroomer in their store was:
“I appreciate the value of your dollar, but we are a local retailer bringing vibrancy to this district. If everyone did what you did, we could no longer afford the Main Street rent that those Web retailers do not have to pay, and we’d be out of business. Then this space becomes another chain drugstore or branch of a megabank. Is that what you want?”
No, it is not what I want Mr Lieber. And if a retailer did actually say this to me I’d most likely walk out and probably never shop or enter that store again.
And therein lies the problem. What are retailers to do?
Many media articles written about showrooming convey a general tone of retailers being fed up and wanting to shame and blame the potential customer (or if you prefer ‘showroomer’) for trying to see a more competitive offer. That the showroomer is somehow a freeloader and the activity needs to be combated, killed, stopped in it’s tracks. But confronting individual customers is probably not the most productive way. There has also been reports of retailers (ski shops) charging a fitting fee for trying on products and boots and reimbursing the fee if the customer purchases the product.
But strategies that research indicates might help include:
In essence the general view from industry experts seems to be for retailers to stop the ‘analysis paralysis’ and change perspective. See the showroomer not as a freeloader but rather as a potential customer. Not shaming showrooming but rather embracing it.
What’s your thoughts on this practise? Would love to hear.
There has has been a lot happening in the digital and technology world per se the last few weeks particularly in the field of virtual and augmented reality. But one area in particular that’s stood out for us as missing some attention in all this media hype surrounding the launch of Google Glass and Oculus Rift is cyberpsychology.
Cyberpsychology is the study of human mind and behaviour interaction in the context of human / technology interaction or if you prefer “the effects of cyberspace on the behavior of humans and of society in general”.
(Above: A 90-year-old woman was recently handed an Oculus Rift to try out, and her experience with it was recorded. This insightful and rather lovely recording has received over one million views on YouTube to date).
It’s not a term or even a discipline in very common use in Australia – at the moment. For example, many of the major Australian universities currently offering Psychology as an area of study do not offer specific qualifications in terms of a Masters or PhD programs in Cyberpsychology.
However, researchers at the University of California have recently found that getting a rat to respond to a virtual reality (VR) environment is not the same as getting them to respond to a physical environment.
In short, people navigate their environment by more than just visual cues. This raises all sorts of questions about how “immersive” can a virtual experience really be and that we need more than just headsets and thread mills for people to feel immersed in an environment. (Judging by the Grandmothers reaction on the video above though maybe it’s also got to do with expectations?)
To accompany these two articles you might also find it interesting to check out The Psychology of Cyberspace by Prof John Sueler of US Rider University.
Post edit: The development o f the Oculus Rift also raises interesting issues around the advancement of Virtual Reality Exporsure Therapy (VRT) and its uses in mental health. Dr. Albert Rizzo, a research scientist at the University of California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and developer behind Virtual Iraq (currently found at over 60 US military sites,military bases and university center’s) is reported in The Verge recently as saying ”I have no question that Oculus will revolutionize virtual reality for clinical purposes”.
An area definitely to watch….
(Note: b + c in collaboration with Real Visual can provide virtual reality solutions tailored to your specific requirements. We are currently developing applications for use with the Oculus Rift immersive headset. For more information check here).
Big Data. It’s a term we rather like. It somehow manages to sound shockingly simply and yet oddly jargony all at the same time.
Our attention was brought to this growing area last week as Melbourne hosted the first conference on Big Data in the biomedical and health care setting. We didn’t attend, but we would have liked to.
The aim of the conference was to introduce clinicians, healthcare executives, information professionals, health policy makers, and academics to the world of Big Data and how it can be leveraged to deliver better services and more importantly better outcome for the population.
So. What does “Big Data” actually mean?
Big Data is data sets that are so complex that they are difficult to process and make sense off using current data management tools,[Wikipedia].
It all becomes more obvious when we stop and think that every digital interaction or communication we have leaves a trace of where we were, what we did, what we bought, how well we are. For example if you’ve been discharged from hospital and next day checked in on Four Square to your local pub, chances are you are probably up and about and not lying at deaths door at home! (Case in point take this recent and rather strange titled article in Monday’s Business Insider “We Know The Boston Bombers Sleep Cycle”).
You could say in the context of health care it is personalised medicine.
Big Data is a trending topic in health care at the moment not just in Australia but globally.
HealthDataManagement.com recently carried a post where Elizabeth McGlynn, director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research commented that:
“There’s not only the data we create, but what’s on social media sites, or data about people’s shopping or driving habits, what’s happening demographically in a given neighborhood…hospitals trying to reduce their readmission rates might want to know what social support networks are available in the patient’s community..combining all the available information can create a picture of which patients are at greatest risk for readmission and what interventions are most effective at keeping them healthy and out of the hospital.”
Big Data in other industries
But it’s not just health care where Big Data can be of use. It can be also be applied to most if not all industry sectors – urban planning, architecture or even facilities management for example.
With facilities management question arise of do you know how people actually use the building your managing? What parts of the building are more trafficked than others? Why might this be so? How can you encourage people to use parts of the building or office they don’t normally use? How can you identify faulty equipment? How can you use the information from heating, lighting and air condition systems to improve building efficiencies?
According to recent research by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, of MIT, “companies that inject big data and analytics into their operations show productivity rates and profitability that are 5% to 6% higher than those of their peers”.
There’s a lot written about the topic of Big Data and why decision makers ought to be paying more attention to it. A quick Google will no doubt reveal articles of interest to you. In the meantime here’s some articles we came across that piqued our interest:
The Case for Crafting a Big Data Plan
Making Advanced Analytics Work for You
Find Revenue In Big Data In Months, Not Years
Big Data: The Management Revolution
Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity
If you have other articles on this topic please feel free to share the links below and we will add to this posting.
We would be the first to admit that most (all?) designers can be…changeable at times. An aesthetic, an approach that was was once lovingly incorporated into designs can just as quickly be something that is regarded as out of date and no longer relevant.
Probably no more so than in the area of fashion design. But one area we don’t tend to see this, let’s call it changeability, so quickly applied is with architecture. Until now.
Yesterday the New York Times reported that American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, which opened only 12 years ago is going to be demolished. The building was bought by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2011 and they are reported to have decided to, well knock it down.
According to the article MoMA officials said the building’s design “did not fit their plans because the opaque facade is not in keeping with the glass aesthetic of the rest of the museum. The former folk museum is also set back farther than MoMA’s other properties, and the floors would not line up.”
But some say this is more than just about the tearing down the bricks and mortar of the Museum and moving it elsewhere but rather, as this 2011 article by Roberta Smith describes also about bigger issues of how society and the art elite view folk art (read self taught) as opposed to modern or contemporary art.
But back to the building or rather it’s demise.
Obviously knocking down buildings a decade or so after they are built as the aesthetic has changed is not something that is standard practise. Yes, there has been ongoing discussions between the preservationists and the developers in any cities on building preservation but it is rather unusual to see buildings only a decade or so old to be put on the chopping block. But maybe it shouldn’t be so unusual? Leaving aside the small issue of cost and let’s face the bigger issues of reduce, reuse and recycle, why shouldn’t architecture follow fashion design’s lead? Why should architecture feel the need to be so – permanent?
Only last year this discussion was going on in NY regarding the value of preserving Brutalist architecture. (In Melbourne think the National Gallery of Victoria and World Trade Centre).
Between those seeing Brutalist designed buildings as important parts of a cities history and others seeing them as “absolutely hideous, like scouring pads on the retina,” (Theodore Dalrymple, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute).
It’s an interesting debate an in the case of the American Folk Art Museum maybe it’s not going anywhere soon.
What’s your thoughts on the knocking down of this building? A ludicrous idea to even contemplate or a bold move reflective of the “agile” times we live in?
Should we preserve ugly buildings
Are some buildings too ugly to survive
Architecture’s Ugly Ducklings May Not Get Time to Be Swans
The case for saving ugly buildings
On the case for saving ugly buildings
The worlds ugliest buildings
Digital integration, Digital readiness and Digital disruption. Buzz words in management but what do they actually mean for your business?
This week we thought we would look at ‘digital disruption’ and give you the heads up on some articles that are catching our attention on this issue.
The word “disruption” is not new in the area of technology.The term was first coined by Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Clayton Christensen in 1995 in relations to technological development. But the term “digital disruption” and ‘digital disrupters’ are terms coined by US based market research company Forrester at their 2012 Leadership Summit.
“Digital disrupters’ is a term used to describe companies that leverage digital platforms to take advantage of customers’ increased expectations leading to delivering a more compelling product or a service experience at a lower cost and by doing this threaten “traditional” business models, (Forrester Research).
Personally I’m not a fan of the the word “disruption” preferring “evolution”.Most of us knows broadly what “evolution” means. It doesn’t have to be defined or spelt out. ’Disruption’ on the other hand needs to be defined and suddenly the concept seems more complicated than it should be. (Plus when I hear the word childhood visions of the naughty kid who was always getting in trouble for “disrupting” the class spring to mind. But I digress…)
But whether you call it “disruption” “evolution” or like Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter ”revolution”, for non-technological companies who up to now may have been able to evade the need for throwing their hat in the digital and social media arena so to speak, it now appears to be a a simple choice between disrupt or be disrupted.
For established companies digital disruption can be about creating a digital evolution strategy so to speak, in which the company decides which emerging technologies should be harnessed and invested in. But of course with the speed which digital evolution is happening this can mean the need to create this strategy and act on the resultant decisions more faster and more dynamically than ever before.
It’s interesting times ahead.
Focus on Customer Experience to Navigate Digital Disruption | Forrester Research
2013 Digital Future in Focus Series | Comscore.com
Five Ways Digital Disruption Will Impact The Customer Experience | Forbes.com
Digital Wisdom: Thought leadership for a Connected Word | Amazon
Digital Disruption: Short fuse, big bang | RundelMall.com
Digital Disruption is a bigger deal than you think | Forbes.com
7 weapons of Digital Disruption | DisruptionMatters.com
The difference between Revolution & Disruption | DigitalTonto.com
The Disrupters Handbook | Forrester
Disruption is driven by Human Needs | SocialSquare
B2B Digital Evolution | Google.com
Meet the digital disrupters | Forrester Research
What’s your thoughts? Would love to hear.