Archive for February, 2009

The Future of RFID in Retail?
Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Remember the days when RFID was going to revolutionize how retail operated? It was going to significantly enhance the customer experience and  resolve every retail problem known to mankind. We heard of using RFID for such things as:

  • Knowing exactly where merchandise is located in the store, down to the specific shelf or rack.
  • Being able to check-out in an instant.
  • Reducing shrinkage.
  • Being able to count your inventory with a single wave of a wand.
  • No more need to enter delivery receipts, sales, or physical inventory counts.
  • Knowing when a customer walks into your store that is wearing an item purchased at your store or even a competitor’s store.

Here are a couple of great videos produced back in 2006 showing the promise of RFID in the store and how it was going to greatly enhance the customer experience:

Or this one:

 

Fast forward to 2009 - what happened? Where is all this promise?

While we have seen some advances in the area of supply chain, it has been very slow. According to a recent comment from John Fontonella of AMR:

“…most of the RFID projects underway today seem simplistic, and well, dull, when compared to the excitement and controversy raised by the Wal-mart mandate”

There are some retailers, like Metro Group in Europe, and others in the U.S. that are progressing in this area, but the progress has been slow and the results minimal.

I believe that until we see sufficient ROI and a real enhancement to the customer experience, it will not be of interest to retailers to spend time and costs impementing RFID. There are still too many challenges surrounding the cost, implementation, and effective use of RFID technology for retailers to be spending time and money in this area. With the exception of grocery stores, it is difficult to see where the real benefit fore retailers will be with RFID in the near future.

What do you think the future holds for RFID in retail? Do you know of any retailers or software vendors that are making better advances in this area?

Monitoring The Social Media
Monday, February 9th, 2009

Social media is a powerful tool. Consumers may be talking about you, commenting on your products and brands or they may be talking about your competitors’ brands and products.

But how can you possibly gather all of this information? How can you monitor or measure this seemingly array of unorganized information? And how can you react to this to have a more positive impact? Well, there are a growing number of tools that can help you do just that. Tools, like Radian6.

In this youtube presentation, Marcel LeBrun, CEO of Radian6, talks about the basics and how his tools can help you monitor the conversations about your products, brands, or any keywords throughout all these social media. Now you can track frequency, recency and context of what is being said. Not only what is being said or how many times, but who? Who are your biggest influencers?

 

 

I have been talking about the 2-way channel and how you need to initiate conversations with your customers; engage, interact, socialize. Increase awareness, increase your value proposition and your brand will grow. Now that you are able to better monitor this information, this is where it gets interesting. It’s all about increasing your ’share of the conversation’.  Now that you know who is talking about you and where they are talking about you, you have an opportunity to engage in conversations with your biggest influencers, so they talk about your brand more often and more positively. Marcel LeBrun talks about increasing your ’share of the conversation’ in a recent blog.

With social media, the consumer and the user community has increasing power. Marcel and his team at Radian6 describes this as the Power Shift - where the power is shifting from the corporation to the user, the community. It will transform how companies do business in the future. Do you see any potential benefit from this kind of knowledge? Can it help you build your own brand and community?

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