In a recent interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Taking Stock with Pimm Fox,” APT CEO Anthony Bruce comments on how consumer-facing companies can measure the return on Facebook advertising dollars.
In 2007, Swedish professor Hans Rosling gave a Ted Talk about global development that changed the way many people look at data. His talks, which have now garnered millions of YouTube hits, provide a key lesson for corporate executives: decisions not supported by data can often be wrong.
Rosling starts his talk by presenting the results of a survey that he gave to top Swedish graduate students. The survey asked students to choose the country in a given pairing with the highest child mortality rate. The pairings were Sri Lanka or Turkey, Poland or South Korea, Malaysia or Russia, Pakistan or Vietnam, and Thailand or South Africa. If you are like the top Swedish students, you would have incorrectly answered Sri Lanka, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
It is easy to make business decisions based on intuition alone; but as the above survey exemplifies, sometimes intuition fails even the smartest and most successful people. Obviously, there were no repercussions for answering Rosling’s questionnaire incorrectly. But what if you were using this same kind of judgment to make a $5 million advertising decision or a $100 million capital expenditure investment? Rosling explains that the problem many people face is not ignorance, but preconceived ideas. (more…)
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Retail and consumer companies are rife with stories about highly fastidious founders. A colleague recounted how he witnessed the head of a major chain of hotels getting on his hands and knees to personally check if the drip pans under the refrigerators were clean. Similarly, Sam Walton was famous for flying a prop-plane from store to store, and along the way, touching down wherever he saw a promising empty lot for a new store.
Today, leaders need to look beyond physical sites, store managers, and DCs and apply that same discipline to other aspects of their business. The foundation for good decision-making is data.
In today’s volatile environment, managers are adjusting their business in near real-time, and most initiatives require the cooperation of multiple groups and departments. Operating a retail business without consistent, up-to-date, integrated data is challenging and error-prone. Here are the details to focus on: (more…)
APT VP Marek Polonski discusses how testing can help grocers enhance their loss prevention efforts in “Caught in the Act,” an article for Grocery Headquarters.
Do you remember twenty years ago when you were deciding between 20 or 40 MB of storage for your computer? Today, 2.5 quintillion (10^18) bytes of data are created every day, enough to fill your computer’s 250 GB hard drive about 10 trillion times daily! Experts estimate that 90% of all of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and the amount of data in existence will continue to grow at a mind-boggling 40% annual rate. So it’s no wonder that the McKinsey Quarterly is convinced that Big Data will become a new type of corporate asset that, if understood correctly, could lead to a serious competitive advantage. (more…)
Imagine this scenario: a shopper with a half-filled basket perusing the aisles of your store stops for a moment to inspect an item. She pauses, pulls out her smartphone, and, using one of many apps available for this purpose, scans the barcode pulling up a price comparison that spans both your nearby brick-and-mortar competitors, as well as online retailers.
Depending on what she saw, she may opt to buy out the stock, or, at the other extreme, walk out of the store, leaving her basket behind. Likely, she will simply not buy that item if the price differential is too high and her desire for immediacy too low.
While some shoppers have always compared prices, with nearly 70 million U.S. consumers armed with smartphones and a plethora apps, never has the barrier to price comparison been so low. As of July 2011, smartphone penetration hit 40% of the mobile market, while RedLaser, a popular barcode scanning app, has been downloaded an estimated 12 million times. (more…)
Consumer Goods Technology covers how American Greetings uses testing to “push innovation and explore new areas” in a recent article.
Washington D.C. – Energy Management Systems (EMS) are becoming more and more commonplace in both convenience and grocery stores. The promise of reduced energy consumption and costs coupled with a desire to go green is driving leading retailers to try out new EMS offerings across their networks. Kwik Trip, Stripes and Green Valley are among the early adopters benefiting from new EMS technologies targeted at c-stores. Supermarket News reports of similar enthusiasm among forward-thinking grocers.