My interview with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently appeared in preparation for Data Innovation Day. The topic of discussion was Applied Big Data for the physical world.
At the recent Search Engine Strategies show in San Francisco, I was interviewed about in-store analytics and RetailNext for the Search Engine Strategies YouTube channel. Check it out.
If you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth, there is documentary evidence that I have not – in the form of my appearance today as a quoted source in a Time Magazine article on Big Data and retail shopping. The article reads in part,
In the era of Big Data, it’s those physical stores that seemed destined to be left out in the cold. But the vast majority of purchases – somewhere around 90% — still occur in a traditional retail setting. And brick and mortar retailers are looking towards big data to help them stay relevant.
One company that hopes to give traditional retailers the kind of analytic tools available to ecommerce firms is RetailNext. The firm has developed a computer program that uses a store’s security cameras to give managers all kinds of information about how consumers interact with the store. Using this program, RetailNext can show exactly how many customers are in a given store at a time, which parts of the store they explore, which specific items customers spend a lot of time perusing — and which they do not. RetailNext can combine this information with other variables like staffing levels, weather, product assortment and placement to determine what does and doesn’t boost sales. Luxury retailer Montblanc has used RetailNext’s services to improve its staffing levels and its product arrangement within its stores, increasing same-store sales 20% in the process. Retailers like American Apparel and Family Dollar have also successfully utilized RetailNext’s services to improve the layout of their stores and increase same-store sales.
In fact, it’s possible that traditional retailers could one day have a better understanding of their customers than ecommerce firms do. That’s at least what Tim Callan, Chief Marketing Officer at RetailNext, argues. He says that for customers in physical stores the “decision making capability is infinite, while there are only so many things they can do online.” In other words, given the right tools, a retailer can glean much more about a shopper from watching her peruse a traditional retail aisle than he can watching her click through links on a webpage. His firm is working on computer programs that can accurately distinguish — through video cameras — whether a shopper is male or female, and believes in the future this sort of technology could interpret customers’ facial expressions and other gestures that will help retailers understand why someone did or did not buy a certain product.
Yesterday ICANN put its gTLD application portal back up, after taking it down on April 12 due to a security hole. The system reportedly already holds 2091 applications with an additional 214 registered applicants that haven’t submitted anything yet.
I’m guessing that we’ll see “unveiling day,” when ICANN publishes the list of who applied for what strings, about a month from today. That will be a super interesting moment in the internet’s history, and I for one will be glued to my monitor while I check out who applied for what.
Last week I presented an invited article on ZDNet’s Big on Data blog by Andrew Brust. As a cool tidbit, the say it went live if you searched Google News on the phrase “big data,” it was the first result.
Dig my new invited article in LP Magazine. The article discussed how stores can combine Loss Prevention (thus the LP acronym) and in-store analytics into a single system to drive increased profitability. And if you hurry up you can see my smiling face on the magazine’s home page.
Here’s a LinkedIn reply from my friend Irvin West, who is a Symantec sales professional:
The seal rollout will be phased over a period of 2 weeks and be completed on April 30th. It requires no action on the part of existing merchants. During this rollout phase, we are gradually transitioning to the new seal globally. During the transition phase, end consumers may experience seeing either the existing VeriSign seal or the new Secured by Norton seal. This is expected behavior, and by April 30th all seal displays will have transitioned to the new format.
Nonetheless, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until they’re all switched over.
As you know, the VeriSign Secured Seal is scheduled to change to the Norton Secured Seal this month. Well, it seems to have happened, at least partially. On my wife’s Macintosh, we see the Norton seal:
While on both my PCs we see the VeriSign seal:
They both have the Norton-branded verification page:
I’m not sure exactly how long it takes the seal to propogate. I cleared my browser cache and still got the VeriSign version, but that may have to do with caching further upstream. Or maybe Symantec is sniffing browser versions and has rolled it out the Mac first. Kind of a phased approach.
Anyway, it’s just a matter of time before the more than 100,000 web sites displaying the seal are sporting the second, yellow version in place of the original red one. I’ll let you know when I can get a Norton seal on my PC.