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Global Web Users: A Work in Progress

25 Aug

Recently, the International Communication Union, a UN agency conducted research on Web usage around the globe. Click here for a PDF of the highlights of its 2016 report based on this research.

Statista has devised an interesting chart from the ICU data. [See below.] And its Felix Richter  offered these insights:

“25 years ago, August 23, 1991, a British computer scientist made the World Wide Web available to the public. Tim Berners-Lee, who was then working at CERN, could not have imagined the impact his actions would have on the world over the next two-and-a half decades. Honoring this milestone in the history of the Internet, August 23 has become known as Internaut Day.”

“However, even 25 years after what some call its inception, the World Wide Web is not nearly as universally available as its name suggests. According to the latest estimates by the International Communication Union, a UN agency specializing in information and communication technologies, only 47 in 100 world citizens use the internet these days. While Internet access in regions such as North America and Europe has become a commodity not unlike electricity and running water, people in less-developed regions often still lack access to what has arguably become the most important source of information of our times.”

 

Infographic: The Not So World Wide Web | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista.

 

Best Free Sites to Use in Blogging

23 Aug

One of the reasons the developing a personal, company, or nonprofit blog is so popular is that (a) many sites are available to host blogs for free and (b) these sites typically offer user-friendly free templates to set up and administer the blogs.

Recently, Codeable Magazine identified and described a number of blogging sites. Here are those blogging sites, in alphabetical order:

 
Click the image to read more.


 

The Consumer’s Path to Purchase by Category

22 Aug

We know that consumers shop differently for various goods and services. But we can always learn more.

Millward Brown Digital recently produced a report entitled “Demystifying the Consumer Journey?” A free download is available with a simple login.

The chart below summarizes the average length of a shopper’s journey (in days) and  the level of involvement accompanying a purchase decision (in other words, how hard the consumer was willing to work to make a purchase decision). Millard Brown concluded that:

“The risk of making the wrong decision is a powerful thing. When a wrong decision could result in significant financial loss or impact personal safety, consumers invest more time and care in the decision-making process. As a result, the average journey length for an auto purchase, for example, is nearly 10 times longer than that of a beauty purchase.”

“A ‘marketer-centric’ approach to budget and resource allocation is often the easiest option. However, by placing the consumer at the center, marketers can tailor budget allocations to the digital touchpoints that drive real consumer action.”

 


 

Nike’s “Unlimited You” Airs During Olympics Opening Ceremonies

5 Aug

Nike has been widely known as the “Just Do It” advertiser and the world leader of sports apparel and equipment — but soon not in golf equipment.

In the past, it was also an “ambush marketer” (not an official sponsor, but one who tried to appear as one) at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Noel Young reported then that:

“It was one of the most prominent non-sponsors of the Olympics – yet Nike managed to hi-jack the greatest show on earth with an amazing yellow-green neon shoe. The man behind the Volt Shoe was Martin Lotti. The shoe is described in an Ad Age cover story: ‘The beautifully crafted, incandescent kicks that whizzed by on the feet of 400 Olympic athletes, including USA’s Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, Great Britain’s Mo Farah, and France’s Renaud Lavillenie.'”

 

For the 2016 Rio Summer Games, Nike is an official sponsor — paying millions of dollars for this privilege.  And to kick off its Olympics advertising, Nike is running the extended-length “Unlimited You” ad shown below during the Opening Ceremonies on August 5.

As Ann-Christine Diaz reports for Advertising Age:

“Nike goes way beyond ‘Just Do It’ in a new spot airing during the Rio Olympics opening ceremony that depicts athletes both unknown and famous in a real-meets-unreal spectacular. The Olympics spot, ‘Unlimited You,’ picks up in the crib of a baby and then onto scenes of athletes struggling on the small stage — an amateur golfer, a young tennis player, a toddler playing basketball in his living room. ‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ actor Oscar Isaac provides the voice-over, predicting that these folks aren’t going to be newbies forever. ‘All of these athletes are terrible now, but they’ll all do big things one day,’ he says.”

 


 

Ma and Chenault: An Interview with 7 Major Points

18 Jul

Jack Ma, who started life with very little, is now one of the richest people in the world. He is the  founder and executive chairman of retail behemoth Alibaba Group, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

In an interview with Kenneth Chenault,  chairman and chief executive officer of American Express, Ma enumerated seven key points. These points are valuable to those at any point in their careers:

  1. Rejection comes with benefits. “When Ma graduated university, he applied to 30 different large companies — and no one would hire him.  So, he started a translation agency, earning $50 his first month. Years later, in 1999, he gathered 17 investors in his apartment, explaining to them his vision to use the Internet to help small-business owners sell. With $50,000, they started Alibaba.”
  2. Get your business global. “Innovative products and services bring those small and medium-size companies to China. I would say China, in the next 20 years, will become the largest importer country in the world because China’s resources can never support such huge demand.”
  3. Don’t wait to innovate. Ma said: “Repair the roof while there is still sunshine. “When the company is good, change the company. When the company is in trouble, be careful. Don’t move. Just like if the storm comes, don’t go up and repair the roof.”
  4. Learn from the failures of others. “For Ma, it’s the mistakes that business owners should really learn from. ‘A lot of people fail for the same reason. If you know why people fail and you learn [from] that, you can make a correction.'”
  5. Be passionate. “If you’re just in the business for money, you’re going about it wrong. Ma and Chenault both emphasized the need for passion in what you do, and agreed that that fervor is a hallmark of successful small-business owners.”
  6. Customers come first. Ma said: “The ones supporting you are not the shareholders. Not government. It’s the customers, the people, the employees. Focus on the customer. Focus on making employees happy. And focus on integrity to everything you’re committed. That is the only thing.”
  7. Help build strong leaders. “If a business is to continue after the owner has moved on, the younger generations must understand and embrace its vision and values. ‘Give them the chance to make mistakes. Listen to them. Respect them,’ said Ma.”

 
Click the AP Photography image to read more.
 

 

Small Firms & Pricing: Questions to Consider – Part 6

14 Jul

by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman

In this article, we wind up our six-part series on pricing in retailing. We hope our Q&A has been helpful. How would you answer these questions?

  • How are prices displayed? There are various options for displaying prices, depending on the pricing philosophy (such as a prestige image versus discounting): The home page of a Web site can present an image that is appropriate for the pricing strategy (limited stating of prices, emphasis on sale prices, etc.) Exterior store windows can show prices for selected sale items and/or highlight a store’s orientation (“Service that is a cut above the rest,” “The best brands at the best prices,” etc.). A small firm can compete by featuring selected sale items; but these prices must be promoted to shoppers so that they are aware of the good values at local stores. Interior store displays can emphasize or de-emphasize prices. To emphasize prices, a retailer can use large in-store signs that show prices of given items, promote a particular color price tag to indicate particularly good bargains, leave items in cartons, and have plain displays (such as dump bins) and fixtures. To de-emphasize prices, a retailer can use only small price tags that are attached directly to merchandise or have salespeople responsible for communicating prices (as done in upscale apparel stores and jewelry stores); there would be no overt references to prices in the store and the atmosphere would be stylish.
  • What payment method(s) do you accept? Until about 20 years ago, large firm were the most apt to accept credit cards. They saw the value of them and got good terms from issuers. Many chains even developed their own cards to stimulate more customer loyalty. Today, things have changed; and all types of firms (big and small, general merchandise and food, bricks-and-mortar and online, etc.) now accept credit and/or debit cards. Why? Issuers have lowered fees, credit cards are widely advertised and easier for firms to process, more consumers than ever before actively use credit/debit cards and consider if given cards are accepted prior to entering Web sites or stores (hence, the success of the Visa campaign against American Express), smaller firms can use PayPal which is any easy way for them to accept multiple cards, and cash payments don’t work online. In choosing whether to accept credit and/or debit cards, a seller should consider: Are prices of individual items high? Is the total customer bill (the sum of the individual items bought on one shopping trip) high? Am I interested in increasing the impulse purchases shoppers make? Do competitors accept credit/debit cards? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, credit cards should be accepted.
  • Do you understand both of these terms? Elastic demand? Inelastic demand? With elastic demand, shoppers perceive firms in the same category (such as gas stations, supermarkets, or pharmacies) to be rather similar. These firms must always be sure that their prices are competitive or they will lose business. With inelastic demand, shoppers perceive firms in the same category to be dissimilar, due to their locations, product assortments, customer service, etc. These firms can set premium prices since their unique characteristics encourage many customers to be brand/store loyal.
  • What do you think about everyday low pricing? This approach has enabled Walmart to maintain a discounter image, attract a steady stream of price-conscious shoppers, reduce advertising expenditures, and run less frequent sales. However, for the typical firm, the better phrase is really “everyday fair pricing.” This means that each seller must strive to set its REGULAR PRICES in a way that appeals to the chosen customer market and that fairly reflects the merchandise, customer service, ambience, etc. offered by that firm. From the customer’s vantage point, prices must be perceived as fair – every day.

We hope that as you think more about the way that prices are set (and that you do so at least once or twice a year), and that you will peruse our series on this topic and see the “big picture” of pricing.

 

Small Firms & Pricing: Questions to Consider – Part 5

13 Jul

by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman

This is the fifth in our series of six columns on hints for price-setting by small firms. How would you respond to these questions?

  • How do you use prices in competing with a larger firm? One of the most common myths in retailing is that small firms can never enter into price competition with the Amazons and Home Depots of the world. While it is true that small firms will generally have a tougher time if they try to compete on price across the board (due to the economies of scale of the discount chains), they can do so if they run sales or offer regular savings on selected items. By focusing on special prices for 10  to 25 noticeable items, small firms can highlight that they are viable options for their shoppers and attract customer traffic. This works best if a firm runs specials on different items than those featured by the large chains. Also, small firms may have a major advantage over these chains: The latter often often need some type of upper management approval to offer sales and individual outlets may not have the flexibility to match local firms.
  • Have you formed a buying group (cooperative) with other small firms to get better terms on your purchases? Large firms can get good terms from suppliers and make special requests of them because of the buying power they wield due to the volume of business that they do with the suppliers. Small firms can gain in their own dealings with the suppliers by forming buying groups; this will then enable the firms to account for substantial dollar purchases and lead to better terms. Buying groups are common for hardware, furniture, appliances, groceries, and consumer electronics. Check with your own trade association for further information — and be sure that forming a buying group is legal.
  • Do you use odd prices ($59.95) rather than even prices ($60)? Although the impact of odd pricing on customer behavior may be overrated (after all, most people do not consider a nickel off to be much of a bargain), there is one significant reason to use this practice: Consumers are more likely to believe that a firm plans prices very carefully and works hard to keep the prices as low as possible.
  • When you take a physical inventory, how do you compute the value of the merchandise remaining in stock? The prices set for the merchandise remaining in stock (after a selling season or before a reorder is placed) should have some relation to the value placed on that merchandise. For example, if a firm knows the value of an item in inventory is $30 at cost and that firm wants a 50 percent markup at retail, the selling price would be $60. The computation is easy if merchandise costs are stable. If they are not, the firm should learn about the retail method of inventory planning (which is based on the average of merchandise costs, depending on the quantity bought at each cost level) and apply this concept. Several computer software programs are available to aid in this process.
  • Do you understand the difference between an initial markup and a maintained markup? Do you use these concepts in setting prices? Initial markups often need to be higher than maintained markups if a firm is to meet revenue and profit goals. Thus, an initial markup for an item must reflect the fact that during a selling season there will be shrinkage, breakage, employee discounts, and end-of-season markdowns. A maintained markup represents the weighted average markup for an item, which is computed as: (total actual revenues received – the cost of goods sold)/total actual revenues received. A firm will make a serious mistake if beginning-of-season prices represent the average prices sought for the entire selling season.

 

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