Retail

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Google Is Listening To Its Users

If you are becoming increasingly wary of voice activated in-home devices, then you aren’t alone. The uncertainty around how much the speakers are hearing and where that information goes has become a major privacy concern. Speaker listening when not prompted in light of the recent leak of confidential data security policies has many wondering what is being recorded, saved and heard by real people 

Google’s product manager for search did in fact confirm these suspicions were rooted in truth but not for reasons many feared. However, the explanation for such practices was positioned as a way to help the user experience. Google insists conversations are reviewed by language experts in order to advance search query technology and advance product capabilities and speech recognition. The audio snippets used for these purposes are not associated with a user account and conversations not directed at Google should not be transcribed.

However, the concern that the devices could be “listening” to conversations when not being directly prompted or engaged in what Google calls a “false accept,” increases questions around the company’s practices These can be heard without any action from the users but still may be reviewed as part of the desire for product and voice recognition advancement.

While Google claims just 0.2 percent of all audio snippets are being accessed by language reviewers, there’s no way to confirm the validity nor if there are any user actions being inadvertently taken to prompt the recording.

As the industry continues to face mounting privacy and data monetization concerns, the confirmation that voice data is not being used strictly for AI but can be accessible to a live human may increase the wariness. Questions remain about that data then being leaked or used for malicious purposes with little to no trail leading back to the culprits.

Technological advances are creating increasing conveniences but at what cost remains unknown. Companies are recognizing the mounting dissent and are faced with trying to find ways to increase user’s trust. Confidence in a brand’s integrity is becoming paramount.

https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/google-is-absolutely-listening-to-your-conversations-it-just-confirms-why-people-dont-trust-big-tech.html

Prime Week for Retail

The 2019 Amazon Prime Day sales figures are still uncertain but are predicted to have surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. With shoppers eager to snatch up deals at discount prices, the effect of the sale on retail as a whole is becoming apparent. No longer are the low prices exclusive Amazon. Instead, companies are embracing the hype for their own sales in an attempt to ride the momentum. According to Adobe Analytics, retailers with over $1 billion in annual revenue saw their own spike in sales on day one of Amazon Prime Day of up to 64%, compared to an average Monday. Proving the Amazon effect extends much further than the platform itself.

As the online event continues to gain popularity as a staple for summer shopping, other companies are leveraging the sale to promote exclusive savings of their own. Many of their offers extend longer than just two days in an effort to capture those eager buyers throughout the remainder of the week. Overall, visits to online retailers as a whole accounted for a 66% lift in revenue so far this week. With RetailMeNot reporting 35% of competing brands using clever marketing to play off Amazon’s messaging such as “Prime Savings” or “Prime Deals,” the impact of the strategy seems to be benefiting retailers across the board.

While competition continues to increase for what is now one of the biggest sales of the year, it appears Amazon’s reach combined with two day shipping continue to lift the company above the rest. However, as brands continue to refine their approach, it will be interesting to see who gives Amazon the best run for their money.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/heres-how-the-first-24-hours-of-prime-day-shook-out/

Facebook Guides Advertisers Through The Holidays

Media companies are increasing their arsenal of planning tools to help advertisers strategize and reach consumers more effectively. With the biggest shopping time of the year quickly approaching, this week Facebook released several tools that highlights trends, past insights, and tricks for gaining an edge on the holiday market.

The announcement included the release of an insights tool which is a compilation of previous year’s finding on how people shop and types of ads that drove purchases. The tool is an incredibly helpful aid for planning holiday marketing strategies. While it’s only July, marketers should already be reviewing their plans and budgets for the holiday season. Leveraging this data can assist in creating a campaign structure that is both impactful and cost effective for ad dollars.

In addition, a 2019 Holiday Marketing Guide was also unveiled. The guide walks through the consumer journey and how shoppers can be nurtured along the way to complete a purchase. Facebook also highlights its reach and influence throughout the process. The 63 page marketing planning tool covers through everything from important dates, in-depth analysis about how people shop, and step-by-step instructions on how and when to strategize as well as what’s needed at each phase. 

The goal of providing such resources is to help marketers which in turn, helps Facebook’s bottom line. Many other big tech platforms realize distributing this information comes with huge benefits for everyone. While Facebook did a similar guide in previous years, Snapchat released their own guide which walks advertisers through key events, including holidays on a much higher level as an assistance to marketers. The insights are incredibly valuable and are sure to help brands across platforms.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-launches-new-holiday-season-insights-guide-to-assist-in-campaign-p/558982/

6 Ways Amazon Has Changed Buying Behaviors

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Consumers love to shop online because it's easy, comfortable, and often comes with a significant price savings. It hasn't always been this way, but over the last 20 years Amazon has successfully changed the way people shop all over the world.

The world's largest online retailer has grown from its humble bookselling beginnings to influence nearly every aspect of the consumer buying experience, from browsing to ordering to returning. Here's a look at the top six ways Amazon has changed buying behaviors:

1. Checking Amazon First and Last

Running low on printer ink? You might reach for your phone to check Amazon's replacement price before considering another retailer. Have those ink prices made you consider buying a new printer? A bigger purchase might prompt you to consider "showrooming," or getting a feel for the printer at a brick-and-mortar store before ordering it online for a lower price.

2. Shopping by Voice

With the introduction of Amazon's Alexa, the company has become a major player in making it possible for people to shop by voice. Now there's no need to even lift your phone to order that replacement printer ink. Just tell Alexa and it will show up at your door.

3. Buying Groceries Online

The convenience of shopping online has disrupted weekly trips to the grocery store with Amazon Prime, Prime Now, and the Whole Foods merger. Consumers are increasingly ordering both perishable and non-perishable groceries online for quick pick-up or home delivery.

4. Buying Clothes Online

Prime Wardrobe makes it easy for people to purchase clothing online by decreasing the time spent finding the right item and returning any wrong items. Consumers are growing increasingly likely to purchase higher quantities of clothing at a time due to the ease of returns.

5. Ease of Returns

Whether it's clothing, furniture, or a simple book, Amazon has streamlined the return experience to ensure a return is almost as simple to make as a purchase. By simplifying a return to just a few clicks, buyers are more likely to make a purchase with which they'll be satisfied.

6. Endless, Searchable Aisles

Brick-and-mortar stores are physically limited to the number of different products they have available for purchase. Through their extensive network of warehouses and other drop-shipping practices, Amazon offers a seemingly unlimited selection of items that is searchable with a single click, rather than hunting through a crowded store.

While many of these changes may feel sudden, Amazon has been influencing consumer buying behaviors since 1994, allowing the company to affect an entire generation of purchasing decisions. Traditional retailers today are challenged to build a response to Amazon's disruptions by listening to the needs of their customers, whether it's through an exceptional in-store experience, a desirable loyalty program, or a curated product selection that can't be replicated.

In Rapidly Evolving Digital Age, Retailer Success Stems From Personalization

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Our VP of sales and strategic accounts and the creator of Quantum, Brian Kroll was recently featured in a Total Retail Article focusing on retailer's success using personalization.

As retailers scramble to keep up with an ever-changing media landscape and constant technological advancement, the need to adapt and embrace new models has become abundantly clear. In order to stay ahead of the curve — and possibly to stay in business — retailers must not only listen to evolving consumer demands and habits, but respond to and anticipate them. Today’s consumers are perpetually omnichannel and “always on” with digital media, so the key to thriving in this challenging retail environment is adaptive personalization within your omnichannel customer experiences.
— Brian Kroll

Kroll dives into what personalization means, how to put it together and what's in store for retail. Read the full article here.