Making Insights Actionable: Combining the Consumer’s Voice With Artificial Intelligence
September 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm

The retail industry, like many others, is being disrupted and permanently changed by the ever-increasing capabilities and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). As I wrote in my last post, we're just beginning to see the benefits of AI and ML implementations in the retail sector, but they've already helped forward-thinking companies…

AI in Retail: Sizzle or Steak?
June 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

With all the buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) these days, retailers are naturally asking, “Is AI for real, or is it just a passing fad?” Nearly every retail technology company is now slapping the “AI” moniker on their marketing materials, but which AI applications are really moving the needle for retailers? A Gartner report released…

The Future and Consequences of AI and Voice-Driven Retail
September 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm

New research from Voicebot.ai reports that nearly one in five adults in the U.S. already has access to a smart speaker (e.g., Alexa, Google Home), although they might not necessarily have their own. This equates to roughly 47.3 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. adult population. Considering that Amazon.com didn’t release its Echo speaker until…

Chatbots With Personality
June 22, 2018 at 9:44 am

1966. That's the year the first “chatterbox” appeared. Fifty-two years later, chatbots are on the verge of completely changing the customer/retail shopping experience. Like site search in the 2000s, many of these emerging customer touchpoints are being automated using a combination of simple keywords and rules-based logic. On one hand, these messaging bots can streamline…

Digital-Native Brands: The (Almost) New Face of Modern Marketers?
May 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm

There's lots of buzz surrounding digital-native brands and what's making them so disruptive and relevant today. While the definition of digital native is evolving, they are companies that launch as web-only retailers with the belief that superior technology can be a differentiator. They often engender loyalty by projecting authenticity and effectively leveraging social media. More…

Marketing Stack From Hell
April 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Steve Jobs thrived at balancing the complexity that drives powerful computational systems with the simplicity required for utility. “Simple can be harder than complex,” Jobs said. “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move…

A Lesson in Personalization From Beauty By Design
March 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

As has been written about ad nauseam in this e-newsletter and countless others retail trade publications, personalization is the Holy Grail for retailers. After all, done right, personalization elevates consumers’ lives and promotes engagement by providing products and/or content that tune into and even anticipate the needs of customers. The benefits of personalization to the customer…

Black Friday is Dead … And Other 2018 Retail Predictions
January 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

Each day, the world seems bigger, more diverse and moves much faster. Predicting the future — always a dubious proposition — seems like a fool’s errand in this climate, given the dizzying pace of disruption. But as Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” For retailers, that…

A Chat With Tom Ebling, Former Demandware CEO
November 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

I was excited to interview Tom Ebling last week, a true retail technology leader whose stint as CEO of Demandware from 2010-2016 included growing the software company into a $300 million public company that was acquired by Salesforce for $2.8 billion in 2016. Prior to Demandware, Ebling was the CEO of Lattice Engines, ProfitLogic and…