Archive for Neal Leavitt

E-Commerce Environment Still Facing Supply Chain Challenges

Posted by Neal Leavitt on January 31st, 2016 at 2:32 pm

No doubt about it, e-commerce continues to grow and while it represents a burgeoning share of total retail sales, there are still significant hurdles to overcome.
“We’re in the midst of a profound structural shift from physical to digital retail,” noted Jeff Jordan of venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz.
eMarketer reported, for instance, that e-commerce growth by quarter was about five times that of store locations in 2013 and 2014.
Yet there are headwinds.
Market research firm Market Track said companies that want to succeed in e-commerce must operate successfully amidst these risk areas that could undermine snaring and retaining customers:
• Volatility – Prices changing with increasing frequency and predictability;
• Non-compliance – Pricing and promoting brands and products outside established guidelines;
• Illegal/illicit activity – Counterfeiting and unauthorized resale;
• Size/scope – More retailers, resellers and products available online than ever before.
JDA Software Group also conducted a survey of more than a thousand online U.S. - based shoppers last year. Of the approximately 35% who bought online and elected to pick up their purchases at a store, about 50% experienced problems in initially getting their purchases. Wayne Usie, a JDA senior VP, said it may suggest that retailers might find it challenging expanding their e-commerce... Read more

Internet of Things Upending Real Estate Industry

Posted by Neal Leavitt on December 26th, 2015 at 9:40 am

No matter if you’re a realtor or property manager, technology has redefined the real estate business over the past few years. And now the Internet of Things (IoT) is giving the industry a much-needed makeover – and all for the better.
One example – modelling. 3D printer technology can replicate models from computer-assisted design (CAD), photo montages and other established design tools. Urban Land, published by the Urban Land Institute, says by using architects and engineers’ original data, “real estate concepts and images can be visualized three-dimensionally for agents use in supporting customers’ reviews and decision making.”
And software applications, noted Urban Land, can facilitate making decorating and furniture decisions while construction is underway and during the entire occupancy life cycle:
“Over time, such apps could displace interior designers who will recast themselves as design coaches and logistics managers. Clients will browse the Internet and select their furniture, fixtures and equipment online, relying on the coach’s direction and follow-through to procure, supply and place the goods.”
Beacon technology, powered by Bluetooth, is now helping agents market homes. As reported by Meg White in REALTORMag, the official magazine of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), one example is an app created by... Read more

Not Your Neighborhood Community Bank Anymore

Posted by Neal Leavitt on November 27th, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Remember that term, ‘banker’s hours’? It connoted traditional opening hours of most banks in the United States from the mid-19th century until the late 1960s – usually 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ancient history.
Bank tellers will also soon become an endangered species as there are fewer banks, fewer branches nationwide. Bank of America’s Marc Warshawsky, a digital products executive, said his company processes over 175,000 checks each day that are done via mobile phones – no need for a bank branch or ATM. As mobile and automated technology rapidly evolves, banks are further compelled to change how they market themselves, and how they interact with customers. As transactions within bank branches continue to decrease, noted American Banker, banks are expected to spend more of their marketing budgets on digital and video messaging.
Consulting firm Accenture covered the topic in depth in their 2015 report entitled, ‘Digital Banking: Stretch Your Boundaries Toward the Everyday Bank’. Accenture said that as technology continues to turn the banking industry on its head, “social, mobile, analytics, cloud and the Internet of Things present both disruption and opportunity.”
Those disruptions and opportunities have already manifested themselves in many ways. Banking industry boundaries are blurring as platforms... Read more

Marketing Baseball Cards: Bubble, Boom or Bust?

Posted by Neal Leavitt on October 30th, 2015 at 5:54 pm

“Say it ain’t so Joe!”

Those words were supposedly uttered by a small boy outside the Cook County (IL) Courthouse to ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson. He had just finished testifying to a grand jury; one of eight Chicago White Sox baseball players who allegedly took bribes allowing the Cincinnati Reds to win the 1919 World Series. Jackson was banned from baseball after the 1920 season but was found innocent in 1921 by a jury.
Debates have raged for 90+ years on Jackson’s guilt or innocence; his baseball cards, however, have stood the test of time. Currently on eBay, for example, you can buy a 1909 E90-1 American Caramel rookie for $10,999.95. If you’ve got some spare change hidden in the sofa, you can grab a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps Rookie RC #311 for only $38,795, also on eBay (with free shipping!). And in late April, a T206 Honus Wagner card sold at auction for $1.32 million.
While the market for certain types of baseball cards is still strong, a paucity of children and even teenagers at major baseball card shows in recent years appears to be the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Baseball card prices have been falling in recent years... Read more

Blockchain Technology Poised to Shake Up Main Street and Wall Street

Posted by Neal Leavitt on September 28th, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Because it’s still relatively new, most consumers - and marketers - probably don’t have a clear understand of bitcoin. But it’s really the blockchain – the technology underpinning the digital currency – that could have a huge impact on financial and consumer markets.
Gil Luria, a financial technology analyst with Wedbush Securities, estimates that 20 percent of U.S. GDP – about $3.6 trillion – is generated by industries that could be disrupted by blockchain technology. And Aite Group, a market research consultancy, predicts that capital markets will spend $75 million this year alone on developing blockchain technology, reaching more than $400 million in four years.
So what exactly is a blockchain? In brief, it acts as a globally-distributed ledger that logs transactions.
Here’s one concise explanation from Re/code:
“A blockchain is essentially a record of digital events – one that’s “distributed” or shared between many different parties. It can only be updated by consensus of a majority of the participants in the system. And, once entered, information can never be erased. The bitcoin blockchain contains a certain and verifiable record of every single bitcoin transaction ever made.”
Regardless of what you think about bitcoin, the blockchain itself has so far... Read more