APPROACHI NGCONS UME RDE CI S I ONJ OURNE YWI T H T HERI GHTMARKE T I NGT E CHNOL OGYS T ACK, CONT I NUOUS L YUPDAT I NGT HEMARKE T I NGCAPABI L I T I E SPL AT F ORM
VOL UME9 I S S UE2 2018
Editorial: Brands and Emotionally Connected Customers in an Omni Channel World
In our previous issue we underlined retailers’ need of synchronizing the physical and the digital worlds and continuously improving marketing’s conversation focused on solutions tailored to the customer’s specific situation and enriching customer experience (CX) while going on the way of gaining customer’s trust. As it is well-known that CX strengthens customer loyalty, it is good to learn from: what the very recent “Forrester’s 2018 CX Index for US brands” revealed, among other aspects, with regard to the brands’ need to focus on emotion in making customers feel good about their experience with a brand;i what the “2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brands and Social Media” highlighted, among other aspects (such as the calling into question by consumers of the commonplace data-based marketing techniques, considering their desire of having a better deal for their data), with regard to the likelihood of becoming emotionally attached to a brand (taking into account that 4 in10 consumers responded that they are in this situation only when they are interacting via social media, and this within the context in which only 41% of respondents globally are having trust in social media according the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report).ii This led us to also recall the opinions expressed by the global CEO of Accenture Interactive, Brian Whipple, in an April issue of Adweek magazine this year with regard to the imperative of founding the purpose-built experiences upon the brand’s value proposition and primary functions, ensuring that brand messaging is authentic and brand promises of improving consumers’ lives are kept.iii Moreover, the Chief Creative Officer Bruce Henderson from Jack Morton Worldwide argued a year ago that the proof of a brand’s promise (the creation of awareness of a brand promise being the intention of advertising in all media channels) is delivered by effective brand experiences which are designed to create clearly identified valuable interactions (between brands and the people that matter most to them), the deeper emotional connections and greater brand affinity resulting only from well done interactions.iv It is also worth remembering that according to a viewpoint expressed in
February last year by Accenture providing personalized, engaging, relevant Omni-channel experiences is the direction brands should be heading, the perception of reliability and value being driven by the connectedness across the experience, companies feeling emotional.v While in February this year, a Forbes Contributor, President of BusySeed, Omar Jenblat, highlighted that the secret to a powerful marketing strategy (and not only, also referring to the company’s considerable financial gain) is the emotional connection with consumers,vi making references, among other studies, to an article from the Harvard Business Review (HBR). This above mentioned HBR article is a true pledge for implementing an emotional-connectionbased strategy across the entire CX (whose “true north” is considered the emotional connection), building and investing in the touch points which drive brands’ connections with customers, because “emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers” (considered on a lifetime value basis).vii On the other hand, from the viewpoint of B2B marketing, MarketingProfsviii allow us from the very beginning of this year to not forget the important role played by emotions in both B2B and B2C marketing, because B2B marketing is also taking place between human beings (“feeling creatures that think”, according to the neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor), and emotion being considered the foundation for building a powerful brand including one with a technological edge for example. Just a few months later, in April 2018, the Chief Marketing Officer at cloud contact center provider NewVoiceMedia (one of the first to market with an Omni-channel contact center solution fully integrated for Salesforce), John Eng, attracted the attention on the importance of having seamless emotive conversations within a company’s Omni-channel strategy (across email, chat, SMS, video, social etc.), which involves ensuring the maintenance of the context between the interactions with customers who are entering and exiting conversations interchangeably across the everincreasing number of channels. And there is no doubt that regardless of location, device or channel, the conversations need to be personalized, what is a task of such a cloud contact center provider knowing very well what customers value.ix In other words, we can say that including history shows to us that there is nothing new in approaching emotion, at least if we want to understand some wisdom quotes: “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” (Plato); “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion” (Dale Carnegie). Theodor Valentin Purcărea Editor-in-Chief References i
Parrish, R. (2018). There Are No Clear CX Leaders Among US Brands – For The Third Year In A Row, CustomerThink, June 20. Retrieved from http://customerthink.com/there-are-no-clear-cx-leaders-among-us-brands-for-the-third-year-in-a-row/ ii *** Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brands and Social Media, June 18, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.edelman.com/trust-barometer-brands-social-media iii Whipple, B. (2018). It’s Time to Stop Waiting for Permission to Create Timely Customer Experiences That Resonate, Adweek, April 15. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/digital/its-time-to-stop-waiting-for-permission-to-createtimely-customer-experiences-that-resonate/? iv Henderson, B. (2017). The differences between brand experience, experiential and events. Chief Marketer, May 22. Retrieved from http://www.chiefmarketer.com/the-differences-between-brand-experience-experiential-and-events/
*** The secret to customer loyalty. Winning in an omni-channel world, Paid post by Accenture, 27 Feb 2017. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/advertorial/2017/02/27/the-secret-to-customer-loyalty-winning-in-an-omni-channelworld.html vi Jenblat, O. (2018). Letâ€™s Get Emotional: The Future Of Online Marketing, Forbes, Feb 26. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/02/26/lets-get-emotional-the-future-of-online-marketing/ vii Zorfas, A. and Leemon, D. (2016). An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction, Harvard Business Review, August 29. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/08/an-emotional-connection-matters-more-than-customersatisfaction viii Weiss, T. (2018). How Emotional Marketing in B2B Drives Customers (Even If You Think It Doesn't), MarketingProfs, January 31. Retrieved from https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2018/33540/how-emotional-marketing-in-b2bdrives-customers-even-if-you-think-it-doesnt? ix Eng, J. (2018). Conversation Killers: Reasons Your Omni-Channel Strategy is Failing, Medium, Apr 3. Retrieved from https://medium.com/inside-the-salesforce-ecosystem/conversation-killers-reasons-your-omni-channel-strategy-is-failing32cf0109c7d9
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Extending Information and Communications Technologies’ Impact on Knowledge Based Society through Artificial and Collective Intelligence -Part 2-
Prof. Eng. Ph.D. Victor GREU
Abstract The paper analyzes the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence (HI) in the context of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) exponential development as driving factor of the Information society (IS) progress toward Knowledge Based Society (KBS). ICT potential is enabled by the most advanced technologies, where AI has the highest penetrating power by its increasing performances and self-developing features, but AI limits have been also revealed, as AI is not yet capable to solve some classes of complex problems where only HI has the capacity to be effective, as creation/innovation, image tagging, speech/emotion recognition or complex classification. Paper analysis leads to a natural combination between HI and AI towards highest results and performances, which is today a very complex and difficult problem, considering the amazing level of AI/ICT and implied challenges. It also results that AI progress could be „magic” but it could and should not replace HI nor the natural evolution of humankind life, although we have to admit that AI will influence them more and more. A paper conclusion is that the „symbiosis” of AI and HI will leverage ICT applications performances and penetration, including the huge area of emergent fixed/mobile IoT, but adding the benefits collective intelligence(COLI) could bring when combining AI with HI for extracting knowledge from data in areas like environment/utilities monitoring, Big Data, user experience, home working, smart city and mainly for IS/KBS applications. The paper analysis also covers the concrete approach of using COLI and data/information that is generated World-wide in order to create models and algorithms oriented to extract relevant knowledge or applied rules for the complex and dynamic challenges of IS/KBS. On this line, crowdsourcing(CSOURS) is the most important component of COLI, as it already represents a practical but dynamical approach toward optimizing the AI-HI integration. COLI is a very complex concept, where, beyond CSOURS and other social technologies, HI coming from a huge diversity of people could be implied, especially in the benefic conditions of the actual conected World.
The paper also analyzes how the concrete COLI/CSOURS activities could be developed with maximal efficiency/benefits for communities and generally for IS/KBS and identifies the most prominent factors that could influence their results and efficiency. A final conclusion is that a fundamental challenge for all COLI approaches and applications is the complicate issue of carefully selecting first of all the participants/workers and then their answers/solutions, this issue asking a further analysis. Keywords: artiďŹ cial intelligence, human intelligence, Big Data, crowd wisdom, collective intelligence, crowdsourcing, machine learning, information society, knowledge based society. JEL Classification: L63; L86; M15; O31; O33
1 .Using AI to improve human thinking and life, but not replacing them Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the futureâ€”John F. Kennedy The products, applications and services of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), as driving factor of the Information society (IS) progress toward Knowledge Based Society (KBS), are continuously change all human activity domains and even Earth ecosystem. That is the reason, in a world of amazing changes, we have to further and deeply analyse all the implications of the exponential pace of ICTdevelopment, in order to optimize this development, facing all challenges of the implied complex processes, at Earth scale. As we presented in , the most important advances of ICT, including Cloud, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), artiďŹ cial intelligence (AI) generate also complex challenges for ICT, as Digital Disruption (DD) and green ICT. Among these challenges, the need to efficiently process and benefit from the huge amount of data generated every day at Earth scale is asking for ... more advanced processing power and highly human selected/experimented expertise. This way AI and human intelligence combination becomes a benefic solution . It is well known that along with the complexity of ICT processes the difficulty to optimize ICT development is also increasing. Here we have to recall  that ICT potential proved salutary for improving IS/KBS processes, in spite of the complicate ways ICT is involved in these processes and leading to non-linear multi-criteria optimization problems. Actually, this ICT potential is enabled by the most advanced technologies, where AI has the highest penetrating power, by its increasing performances and self-developing features . Still, AI is not (yet?) capable to solve some classes of complex problems where only human intelligence (HI) has the capacity to be effective, as creation/innovation, image tagging, speech/emotion recognition or complex classification. More than these, life experience, responsibility or human intuition represent features difficult to provide by AI in a predictable future, but it is important to observe that all these could be associated with a diversity of activity fields.
In fact, in order to understand the implications of AI/ICT state-of-the art, we have to recall that all AI evolution pointed to get closer to HI : “The idea of creating an artificial creature gifted with intelligence has always fascinated people. Early on researchers dreamed of recreating human intellectual capacity in a machine, effectively reproducing the act of creation a rational being through technology. Wilhelm Schickard constructed the first calculator in 1623. From the beginnings of formal logic in the philosophy of classical antiquity, through the propositional logic of George Boole, to digital computer theory (Alan Turing), the foundation for modern research on artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved” The relevance of these aspects shows the natural combination between HI and AI towards highest results and performances, which is today a very complex and difficult problem, considering the amazing level of AI/ICT and the mentioned advances and challenges. If we also consider the diversity of HI on Earth, an essential face of the problem is inherently leading us to crowd wisdom (CW) and step by step to crowdsensing (CSENS), crowdsourcing (CSOURS) and generally to crowd intelligence (CI) . Of course, the processes that link HI and AI are very complex and go beyond the natural diversity, education, cultural and other social/political issues, but the global effect is in the efficient ways both are leveraging AI/ICT impact on IS toward KBS: “... most applications require a significant amount of hard work on the part of humans before neural nets, machine learning, and natural language processors can work their magic” We still consider that the impact is not limited to the above ’’hard work’’ issues, including other classes of features like innovation, responsibility, reliability and security. That is why it is clear that AI progress could be „magic”, but it could and should not replace HI nor the natural evolution of humankind life, although we have to admit that AI will influence them more and more. Consequently, we should carefully watch the AI/ICT evolutions in order to keep this line of safety, where humankind and Earth to remain as natural as possible, but above all, to survive! We may conclude this way that the „symbiosis” of AI and HI will leverage ICT applications performances and penetration, including the huge area of emergent fixed/mobile IoT, but adding the benefits collective intelligence (COLI) could bring when combining AI with HI for extracting knowledge from data in areas like environment/utilities monitoring, Big Data, user experience, home working, smart city and mainly for IS/KBS applications. Now that the context is pointed, we have to analyze the most complex issues of the AI/HI integration, including collective intelligence (COLI). Looking to the AI-HI cooperation, we have to see first the picture main influences from both sides and then the relevant features and challenges : <<We argue the thesis that “Artiﬁcial intelligence methods can greatly simplify the process of creating and managing complex crowdsourced workﬂows.”>> From the HI side, the implications are very complex and naturally diverse, but first is to point where they complement the machines (AI) in the most advanced applications, as expressed in :
„There are two revolutions occurring simultaneously, related to the increasing availability of processing power and storage required to collect, store, and work with large data sets. On the one hand, powerful machine learning and data mining algorithms exist to automatically discover patterns in data ... On the other hand, realities of today’s connected digital world have enabled viable alternatives to clever algorithms. Human Computation (von Ahn & Dabbish 2004) refers to an approach in which problems that are difficult for machines but easy for humans (e.g. image labeling) can be divided into small manageable tasks, and distributed online for humans to solve...” More than pointing both sides, it is important to observe the benefit of combining them, due to their natural evolution, but we consider also very relevant to notice the opportunity of this HI-AI symbiosis in the actual phase of the most advanced ICT: „...There are pros and cons to each approach, and combining them is likely a fruitful direction. While there are obvious benefits to a completely automated process, unsupervised machine learning algorithms can be difficult to control (especially by non-experts), and their performance degrades in the face of sparse data. In contrast, humans can generalize from few examples, bringing to bear background knowledge from a lifetime of experience” Here we can reveal one of the prominent features of HI against AI, consisting in human superiority in sparse data, based on human experience and correlating capacity. On the other hand, it is obvious that AI is capable to manage Big Data and consequently HI support is salutary to manage gaps in this huge flow of unstructurated data. It is sure that AI is more than machine learning (ML) , but in fact ML is just the most relevant and advanced AI component for approaching the actual most important challenge we have mentioned before: extracting the ’’proper knowledge’’ from the huge volume of data generated at Earth scale. On the other side, we have also to mention that much more than CSENS, CSOURS is an important component of COLI, as it already represents a practical but dynamical approach toward optimizing the AI-HI integration. More than these, COLI is a very complex concept, where, beyond CSOURS and other social technologies, HI coming from a huge diversity of people could be implied, especially in the benefic conditions of the actual conected World. In this context, the implications and challenges of COLI in IS/KBS, mostly but not necessary only with AI, must be analyzed because in general ICT exponential development consequences need a deep and timely evaluation, as we have already mentioned . In fact, the complexity and the too fast changes AI/ICT exponential pace generates at Earth scale, along with other technologies but clearly being the main force of IS towards KBS evolution, could not be completely evaluated by the regular entities and using the COLI is the only natural way to improve the humankind chances to face, in real time, dramatic challenges like climate changes (strongly influenced by the ICT carbon footprint too), Earth resources fading, social unbalances etc.. More than these, as we have already mentioned , one of the important consequence of these challenges is the fact that even the humankind evolution, as human being, life style and personality are dramatically influenced on medium and long term, without considering
here the danger to the survival on Earth (approached by scientists like Stephen Hawking in the case of robots). Consequently, the concrete implementation of this approach leads us to use COLI and data/information that is generated World-wide in order to create models and algorithms oriented to extract relevant knowledge or applied rules just for the mentioned complex and dynamic challenges : „The creation and accumulation of Big Data is a fact for a plethora of scenarios nowadays. Sources such as the ever-increasing diversity sensors as well as the content created by humans have contributed to the Big Data’s enormous size and unique characteristics. Making sense of these data has primarily rested upon Big Data analysis algorithms. Still, in one too many cases the efectiveness of these algorithms is hampered by the very nature of Big Data: analogue, noisy, implicit, and ambiguous... Enter Collective Intelligence: the capability of interconnected intelligences achieving ameliorated results in activities than each of the single intelligences creating the collective solely would.” Special circumstances must be analysed for the very complicate consequences of the fast development of ICT impact on IS/KBS, where real time solutions are needed and CSOURS could offer them when combining HI with AI in correlation algorithms . As CSOURS brings, by a diversity of ways, almost unlimited contributions to improve thinking for the difficult and complex mentioned problems, an essential point is to efficiently select these contributions, including for that the AI support, but ... carefully! 2. How collective intelligence and AI could together work to bring knowledge out of data Sometimes we ignore the existence particularities of other animals, but the true is that all animal societies present cognitive processes at group level, as bees, birds or antelopes are remarkable examples . For humankind, COLI is very special by language capabilities and all the social features generated by the conscience behavior, but we have to admit that one of the fundamental reasons and benefits of COLI is similar to all animals: the need to improve their progress and interests reaching. From this ancestral approach to our days HI-AI symbiosis, it could seem a very long way, but we have to notice that the above mentioned challenges, including life on Earth survival, are good enough reasons to analyze this processes from the essential needs/goals all animals have, to the most sophisticated products and services the technologies are offering us today in IS/KBS. As we live in the Information Age, i.e. in IS toward KBS, considering the aspects presented in section 1, the need for humankind and even Earth ecosystem to obtain in real time the relevant information and eventually the refined knowledge is one of the most important goals on medium-long term . Here we just arrived to the importance of methods to obtain the refined knowledge in the dynamic actual context, where the combination HI-AI offers the most advanced solutions – as we pointed above – in our “data rich and information poor” World :
<<Integrating data and extracting knowledge from the market environment is always complex; in fact, this requires sufficient modelling techniques. [5, p. 5] maintain that the world “is data rich and information poor”, due to the vast amounts of data which are collected but not transformed into information. If this is the case, it could be due to failure to use adequate techniques and technologies to analyze and interpret such data.” It is mandatory to mention that the ‘’real-time’’ is in fact much more complex because the quotation is pointing just the “market”, but at the Earth scale we have a huge diversity of complicate processes/problems. Another facet of the CSOURS issues is caused by the progressive complexity that is produced by the actual ICT impact evolution and this way the necessity for refined knowledge is a prominent reason for using COLI, as most of the companies/government specialists are involved in concrete and actual analyses – when necessary –and very few in complex, global and long term studies. As a consequence, COLI/CSOURS have, by our opinion, along with usual applications (classification, image tagging, speech recognition, face/emotion recognition etc.), a growing field of complex, global and long term issues to contribute to. Anyway, COLI/CSOURS basic methods/rules include collaboration in groups but also competition and diversity of opinions in order to provide the expected benefits of crowd intelligence : “In 1906, the statistician Francis Galton observed a competition at a country fair. The crowd accurately guessed the weight of an ox when their individual guesses were averaged (the average was closer to the ox's true butchered weight than the estimates of most experienced crowd members)” Consequently, some methods and features are summarized as: Aggregating opinions to boost performance; Collaborative work needs to be managed efficiently; Independence People's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them; People are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge; Effective mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective. A special mention must be done about the forth feature, as ‘’specialize and draw on local knowledge’’ is an essential factor for providing resources and power in order to accomplish the main goal of extracting ‘’knowledge out of data’’ . We also consider that humans could still be more efficient or accurate than machines in solving some classes of jobs, but it is essential to notice HI contribution in all AI implemented jobs and beyond, especially in scientific, quality, security, social, ethical and emotional implications. Finally we still have to analyse how the concrete COLI/CSOURS activities could be developed with maximal efficiency/benefits for communities and generally for IS/KBS. In fact, considering the diversity and complexity of such activities, the realistic approach is to analyze some of the most prominent factors that could influence their results and efficiency.
A good start could be to see some usual approaches, which reveal the way COLI/CSOURS and AI support are actually conceived : “Crowdsourcing is a relevant construct for our research because it describes research collaboration that radically enlarges the pool of (potential) scientific collaborators. Research projects, such as NASA’s Clickworkers and the “self-organized” research collaboration identifying the cause of the severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS (Stoehr and WHO 2003), go beyond traditional forms of collaboration by embracing electronic communication and cooperation between a very large group of scientists.” It is worth to observe that the above examples are more than relevant for the high performance CSOURS could reach, as NASA projects are prominent for the scientific research at World level. A remarkable aspect is also presented by the pointed importance of the ICT context, which is a systemic leveraging factor of CSOURS by the actual ubiquitous ‘’electronic communication’’. Another approach, more concrete, is as : “Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2008)” Here we have to notice the interesting fact that CSOURS is usually replacing a job by a multitude of jobs, which means that always a multiplication effect is provided. In the same time, it is very important to notice that an essential factor is given by the independence of the dispersed “jobs” resulting as a practical consequence of the mentioned ‘’open call’’. Perhaps one of the best approaches is to clearly link COLI/CSOURS with AI in order to get to the highest technological advances in extracting “knowledge out of complex data” as in : <<By deﬁning collective intelligence as “groups of individuals acting collectively in an intelligent manner,” one soon wishes to nail down the meaning of individual ... individuals may be software agents and/or people and the collective may consist of a mixture of both. The rise of collective intelligence allows novel possibilities of seamlessly integrating machine and human intelligence at a large scale – one of the holy grails of AI (known in the literature as mixed-initiative systems (Horvitz 2007))... chapter focuses on one such integration – the use of machine intelligence for the management of crowdsourcing platforms (Weld, Mausam, and Dai 2011). Crowdsourcing is a special case of collective intelligence, where a third party (called the requestor) with some internal objective solicits a group of individuals (called workers) to perform a set of inter-related tasks in service of that objective. The requestor’s objective may be expressed in the form of a utility function to be maximized>> This example is further completed by detailing the way AI could be designed to obtain the most powerful feature that could be implemented when combining COLI with AI : “The vision of artiﬁcial intelligence (AI) is often manifested through an autonomous software module (agent) in a complex and uncertain environment. The agent is capable of thinking ahead and acting for long periods of time in accordance with its goals/objectives. It is also capable of learning and reﬁning its understanding of the world. The agent may
accomplish this based on its own experience, or from the feedback provided by humans. Famous recent examples include self-driving cars (Thrun 2006) and the IBM Jeopardy player Watson (Ferrucci et al. 2010). This chapter explores the immense value of AI techniques for collective intelligence, including ways to make interactions between large numbers of humans more efﬁcient.” In fact, here we have a clear approach/confirmation of the general model to approach, with performant AI-HI combination, the ‘’complex and uncertain environment’’, i.e. the fast changing context generated by ICT in IS/KBS we have above presented. It is also very well pointed one of the fundamental direction of AI design and development: ’’learning and reﬁning its understanding of the world’’. With other words, here we found, in a deep and realistic analysis, both the rules for improving the above mentioned AI contribution to ICT/IS/KBS sustainable progress (learning and reﬁning) and AI performance main target (understanding of the world), i.e. competing with HI for improving thinking and human life without replacing anyone of them -a bright goal we also have promoted , but its accomplishment it’s so dynamic, complicate and difficult as a ‘’fata morgana’’ and needs a continuous struggle from all the people. The confirmation could be further extended, if this general model would be mathematically applied by an algorithm for an ‘’utility function to be maximized’’, in a manner similar with that we have already presented in  for optimizing HI-AI combination. In addition we have to recognize that a fundamental challenge for all COLI approaches and applications is the complicate issue of carefully selecting first of all the participants/workers and then their answers/solutions. The quality of people involved in COLI seems to be, along with incentive issues, one of the most important keys of CSOURS success and represents also a huge and dynamic field where AI support is benefic and have to be stronger promoted. Now it is obvious that the complexity and diversity of these AI/COLI approaches need a further analysis in order to cover the fast pace of the ICT impact on IS toward KBS. 3. Conclusions Considering that ICT potential is enabled by the most advanced technologies, where AI has the highest penetrating power, by its increasing performances and self developing features, the AI limits have been also revealed, as AI is not yet capable to solve some classes of complex problems where only HI has the capacity to be effective, as creation/innovation, image tagging, speech/emotion recognition or complex classification. This way, paper analysis led to a natural combination between HI and AI towards highest results and performances, which is today a very complex and difficult problem, considering the amazing level of AI/ICT and implied challenges. It also resulted that AI progress could be „magic” but it could and should not replace HI nor the natural evolution of humankind life, although we have to admit that AI will influence them more and more.
We may conclude this way that the „symbiosis” of AI and HI will leverage ICT applications performances and penetration, including the huge area of emergent fixed/mobile IoT, but adding the benefits COLI could bring when combining AI with HI for extracting knowledge from data in areas like environment/utilities monitoring, Big Data, user experience, home working, smart city and mainly for IS/KBS applications. The paper analysis also covered the concrete approach of using COLI and data/information that is generated World-wide in order to create models and algorithms oriented to extract relevant knowledge or applied rules for the complex and dynamic challenges of IS/KBS. On this line, CSOURS is the most important component of COLI, as it already represents a practical but dynamical approach toward optimizing the AI-HI integration. COLI is a very complex concept, where, beyond CSOURS and other social technologies, HI coming from a huge diversity of people could be implied, especially in the benefic conditions of the actual conected World. We have also analyzed how the concrete COLI/CSOURS activities could be developed with maximal efficiency/benefits for communities and generally for IS/KBS and identified the most prominent factors that could influence their results and efficiency. An important conclusion is that a fundamental challenge for all COLI approaches and applications is the complicate issue of carefully selecting first of all the participants/workers and then their answers/solutions, this issue asking a further analysis. Consequently, we should carefully watch the AI/ICT evolutions in order to keep this line of safety, where humankind and Earth to remain as natural as possible, but above all, to survive! REFERENCES  Seth Earley, There Is No AI Without IA , 2016, IEEE IT Professional ( Volume: 18, Issue: 3, May-June 2016) ***, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Policy Paper, April 2017, https://www.internetsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ISOC-AI-PolicyPaper_2017-04-27_0.pdf Victor Greu, Extending information and communications technologies’s impact on knowledge based society through artificial and collective intelligence –(Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1, Year 2018. Daniel S.Weld, Mausam, PengDai, Human Intelligence Needs Artiﬁcial Intelligence, WA-98195 2011 AAAI Workshop - San Francisco Jeffrey David Orkin, Collective Artificial Intelligence: Simulated Role-Playing from Crowdsourced Data, Dissertation, MIT, Feb. 2013. Ece Kamar, Severin Hacker, Eric Horvitz, Combining Human and Machine Intelligence in Large-scale Crowdsourcing, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2012), 4-8 June 2012, Valencia, Spain Victor Greu, Developing information and communications technologies with more artificial intelligence, using artificial intelligence, when internet of things is “intelligence everywhere”-(Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 4, Year 2016. Ioannis Karydis, Spyros Sioutas, Markos Avlonitis, Phivos Mylonas and Andreas Kanavos, A Survey on Big Data and Collective Intelligence, ALGOCLOUD 2016, Aarhus, Denmark, August 22, 2016, Revised Selected Papers  Nelson Sizwe. Madonsela, Paulin. Mbecke, Charles Mbohwa, Integrating Artificial Intelligence into Data Warehousing and Data Mining, Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science 2015 Vol II WCECS 2015, October 21-23, 2015, San Francisco, USA
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Responding to Customer Behaviour in Real Time: From Campaign Management to Marketing Automation
Abstract The digital transformation is currently considered the biggest challenge for companies of all industries. Access to customers and marketing communications is rapidly changing. The expectation on companies to provide a top user experience to produce effective competitiveness is growing. Marketing Engineering â€“ the ability to achieve quick results in a complex digital transformation â€“ is expected to become a new challenge. Marketing is taking on a leading role in the digital transformation. Traditional campaign management has become worn out and is giving way to dynamic real-time communication. The Internet of Things opens up a number of new communication channels, contexts and data sources. Mobile marketing no longer only consists of mobile optimised measures but now also incorporates the context of use and location-based services. Traditional buyer-seller relationships between customer and company are becoming more complex and must be understood in a more differentiated way. Keywords: Analytical Intelligence, Communication, Digital Marketing, Customer Interaction, Relevant Information, Client Data JEL Classification: L81, L86, M31, Q55
An essential driver of the digital transformation is disruption within the competition. Increasingly, new market players are pushing into an ever more saturated markets. This is due, in part, to globalisation where international companies â€“ often without a physical presence â€“ are pushing into local markets. On the other hand, technological progress, especially digitalisation, has significantly lowered market entry barriers, enabled new business models and enhanced value chains. Large e-commerce companies compete online against numerous small and medium scale, highly specialised companies and even private individuals, who use auction and trade platforms for their sales. Disruptive digital platforms such as Uber or AirBnB are questioning entire business models. Branded companies focus on direct sales and their own customer retention tools and therefore skip parts of the traditional value chain. In this increasingly complex, dynamic world, the competition is becoming stiffer. Companies find it more difficult to differentiate themselves. Enabling customer-centred access to markets is becoming essential, given that digitalisation creates a transparent market. Customers can research and compare offers more quickly. Furthermore, there are new decision-making options between different (international) providers. The barriers to change are low. The customer can reach a new provider with a suitable offer or with an attractive look & feel with a single click. Best-in-class is becoming the Benchmark Market transparency has another consequence. Customers know the best-in-class approaches of different providers. This means demands on all other companies are also increasing. Customers do not expect anything less than a best-in-class experience in service and communication, at all times and everywhere. At the same time, marketing departments are facing the task of optimising their measures from an economic point of view, especially in lowering costs and justifying investments. Marketing must be able to prove its viability clearly. Of all factors driving this change, the customer is the most essential. Current studies illustrate that most companies have generally understood that the customer and his individual customer experience need to be at the core of marketing. Nevertheless, 80% of customers today do not feel as if they were personally regarded as individuals in marketing. This shows that there is still a gap between demand and reality, in the practical implementation of customer-centred marketing and service experiences. The continuous changes in the market, particularly relating to customer expectations are putting companies under pressure to achieve a quick time-to-market with their measures to improve the customer experience. Marketing has a pioneering role here, as it is easier to achieve positive results quickly through marketing than through the adaptation of service processes. Marketing, particularly digital marketing, is becoming the essential driver and pioneer in the digital transformation. In digital marketing, essential factors of the expected user experience such as speed, individuality and accuracy of fit, as well as personal value, can be realised more easily and more quickly. The desired customer-centred marketing and
service experience at the forefront is pushing forward the background abilities needed for this, such as data availability, process automation and analytical intelligence. The digital transformation is led by a radical customer focus in marketing. Customer demand for of a best-in-class experience and personal appreciation can only be achieved in marketing in the context of an increasingly fierce competition. Marketing is becoming the driving force to push forward the factors necessary for customer-focused user experiences, such as data availability, process automation and analytical intelligence. The high time-to-market pressures in this transformation will be accelerated by a market, where market entry barriers are lowered through digitalisation, new business models become possible and changes in value chains. The transformation will also be accelerated by the growing pressure on companies for profitability; by increasing demands of customers who are used to be mobile, always on, linked, social, prepared to switch and increasingly used to best-in-class user experiences in digital direct marketing, a paradigm shift has taken place from campaigncentred communication to customer-centred interaction. The speed with which customers interact in this communication is also increasing rapidly. when dealing with mobile, „always on“ customers, truly customer-centred communication means responding to customer behaviour in real time and including previously unknown data derived from the context of use (e.g. where is the customer now? what is at that location? what is the weather like?) and to adjust the communication dynamically according to the information gained. Relevant, customer-centred communication does not only mean individualising communication according to the requirements, interests, consumer behaviour etc. of the individual customer. Relevance now has to take into account speed, context sensitivity and live up-to-dateness. From Marketing to Marketing Automation The key to context-sensitive, truly up-to-date communication lies in the correct use of realtime marketing automation. „Classic“ marketing automation mostly means that customers are selected based on existing data and then automatically approached with a relatively static dialogue course. Customer responses to a campaign are registered, analysed and taken into account with a time delay, which means the information is only relevant for the next campaign. Real-time marketing automation on the other hand controls the dialogue in a flexible way. The technology responds to events (triggers) in real time with relevant communication and dynamically adapts this to the context and the current data available. Important parts of the data that are necessary for this are not known in advance and are only captured at the moment when a trigger occurs, either through an interaction with the customer or through unforeseeable amendments of other data, such as change of price or weather data. Based on this new data, the communication measure is created, amended and output in real time.
Taking into account the context of use Context sensitivity means that the context in which the customer receives or uses the information is taken into account. Contexts may be the following: • the location: if the customer is on a shopping spree through the high-street, you could e.g. approach him via app notification with special offers from nearby shops including directions and discount vouchers. • the weather: when it‘s sunny, the customer will receive offers for sun glasses. When it‘s raining, the latest blu-ray hits for cosy movie night in will be suggested to him. • the time of day: when the customer opens e.g., a newsletter during the day, special offers from the nearest branch will be displayed. • the terminal/device used • interaction in the customer lifecycle: if the customer signals a certain demand through his interaction, it is important to respond in real time and with the correct communication. If a customer opens e.g., a newsletter while at the same time browsing through a specific product category in the online shop, the newsletter could automatically display dynamic offers from this category. In order to make context-sensitive communication relevant for the customer, it must be up to date. Content which adapts to obsolete weather data or messages which supposedly refer to a shop location the customer has long since passed by, are of little effect or are even annoying for the customer. Up-to-dateness is generally highly relevant when the communication includes data which can suddenly change and where even small changes can have significant impacts on the derived communication message. For example: if the geo-fencing function detects that a customer is currently located near the shop (PoS), he is a loyalty card owner and has a 10 Euro voucher, then the probability is high that relevant and immediate communication can persuade him to make a spontaneous purchase. Half an hour later and the opportunity is gone. If, in addition, the insufficient availability and/or up-to-dateness of the loyalty card data doesn‘t allow for the establishment of whether a specific voucher has already been redeemed yesterday, this important purchase incentive cannot be used for spontaneous communication. The speed and availability in data processes is therefore becoming a key criterium in the exploitation of modern, customer-centered communication. In addition to the ability of capturing data in real time after sparking the trigger and to being able to analyze this data and output the correct communication measures based on the results of the analysis, realtime marketing automation must also be able to dynamically adjust content. The following example will illustrate this: the newsletter is not sent with fixed content but blank. Instead of content, the email contains dynamic spaceholders which are only filled with content when the email is opened. When the user opens the email, the required data (e.g. current weather forecast) will be accessed within milliseconds and contents matching the data will be displayed in the placeholders. Such ultra-responsive formats enable real-time capability even in campaigns which are not sent in real time.
Conclusion Relevance in marketing and service communication does no longer only mean individualisation of the communication based on existing customer data, such as purchase history. Relevance in communication is increasingly gained through up-to-dateness and speed based on the consideration of the customer‘s context of use, such as e.g., his location, the weather or terminal device which is used. The capacity for real-time marketing is becoming vital for success. Companies must be able to deal with previously unknown data in real time, to analyze it and based on the analysis results output the correct communication measures or dynamically adapt communicated content without any time delay.
References  Michael A. Stelzner (2010), Social Media Marketing Industry Report, “How Marketers are using social media to grow their businesses”, Social Media Examiner  Kapferer, J. (2008). The New Strategic Brand Management. London: Kogan Page Limited.  Davis, B. (2016). 15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing. [Blog] Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-inmarketing  Labrecque, L. I., Markos, E., & Milne, G. R. (2011). Online Branding: Processes, Challenges, and Implications. Journal of Interactive Marketing , 37-50.  Karjaluoto, H., Lehto, H., Leppäniemi, M. and Mustonen, T. (2007) ‘Insights into the implementation of mobile marketing campaigns’, International Journal of Mobile Marketing
Retail digital marketing strategies Theodor PURCĂREA
Abstract We are all shoppers in full evolution of our habits and expectations, and retailers are challenged to immediately respond and even surprise, by adequately engaging at every relevant step of the customer journey and ensuring a smart and seamless shopping experience with the help of the best operational practices and of the retail marketing innovation in the current digital landscape, using proper digital marketing strategies, including by considering both marketing’s hidden treasure of CPG companies, and the entrance of Amazon into grocers’ industry and its true technological battle with Walmart. There is no doubt about retailers’ imperative of creating a digitally connected environment, including by seeing shoppers as “Blue Dot” consumers, empowering both employees and customers, and continuously improving retailers’ capabilities associated with customer engagement and their predictive and intelligent marketing capabilities. Keywords: Retail digital marketing strategies; Retail marketing innovation; Customer Engagement; Omni channel CX JEL Classification: L81, L86, M31, Q55
Introduction Twenty years ago, in Bucharest (18-19 May 1998), Romania, the works of the 24th Congress of the International Association for the Distributive Trade (AIDA Brussels) took place organized by the Romanian Distribution Committee in cooperation with AIDA. On that occasion, Louis Guelette, IBM Vice President, Distribution, shows how information technologies represent a real revolution in the management of distribution companies and their suppliers, while Jean-Jacques Van Den Heede, Vice-President ACNielsen, highlighted that distribution has entered a new era (characterized by the polarization of the markets, the emergence of new technologies, the diversification of the store concepts, a new type of relationship with consumers). In March 2015, we also remembered how Iain Jawad, Director Strategic Partnerships at Frost & Sullivan, attracted the attention in 2014 that Connectivity and Convergence, on one hand, and Bricks and Clicks, on the other hand, have been identified among the world’s top global mega trends. (Purcarea, 2015) At the beginning of May 2015, as Keynote Speaker at the opening of the “SHOP 2015” Conference, Expo Milano 2015, we argued that it’s time to begin to envision the store of the future by extrapolating the actual trends in order to best serve today’s Omni channel shoppers ensuring context, connectivity, content, emotional and interactive experience, within this framework launching an invitation of working together to build the foundation for the “Road Map for the Store of the Future” Project: (Purcarea, 2015)
In July 2017, the FitForCommerce Annual Report 2017 underlined: the significant pressure for retailers to both undertake greater focus on digital channels and to deliver a complete and unified shopping experience (which must be relevant, fast and convenient), connecting and mixing in-store and digital experiences, (FitForCommerce, 2017) because shoppers do not think in terms of channels; that in order to satisfy shopperâ€™s high expectations retailers need to approach the shopping experience in a strategic holistic manner, building an internal foundation as shown in the figure below: (Fit For Commerce Annual Report 2017)
Figure 1: From Idea to Doorstep: Process and Technologies Source: FitForCommerce Annual Report 2017. From Idea to Doorstep: Everything you need to know to achieve digital commerce succes.
In September 2017, the Salesforce Connected Shoppers Report revealed that the technically savvy capabilities of todayâ€™s customers cross the digital and physical worlds, retailers being challenged to ensure them a smart and seamless shopping experience,
considering their empowerment by the cloud, social, mobile, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence revolutions. (Salesforce, 2017) Next month, in October 2017, a White Paper of RELEX Solutions argued that the accelerated change of the customer behavior within the complexity of today’s retail landscape is requiring visibility and the ability to immediately respond. (Wilson, 2017) At the beginning of this year, on January 18, the above mentioned FitForCommerce highlighted four learnings from NRF 2018 Retail’s Big Show (the U.S. retail industry’s premier annual event, New York City, January 14-16, 2018): (FitForcommerce, 2018) today’s importance of clienteling (including by using mobile apps for store associates), the need of using innovative technologies in addressing specific challenges, the significant role of the innovative marketing strategies (considering findings from the 2017 NRFFitForCommerce Omnichannel Retail Index), and the XYZ of Systems Integrators and Agencies (selecting the right implementation partner to launch a retailer’s new digital commerce site etc.). While more recently, in April 2018 FitForCommerce already recommended, for example, some operational best practices in the grocery industry (which is under the pressure of the Amazon Effect) to address digital commerce disruptors and succeed accordingly, including by using advanced technologies (such as: Grocery-Assisted Ordering, IoT, Grab & Go, Checkout-Free Shopping Mobile App, Mobile Loyalty Apps, In-store Location Marketing, and AI). (Yee, 2018)
Retail marketing innovation in the current digital landscape Adequate shopping experience with instant support – within the context of offering better choice, convenience and price – represents a continuous challenge for retailers looking for better understanding customers’ wants, needs, habits and emotions. (Jacobs, 2018) The CEO and founder of relationship marketing agency Jacobs & Clevenger recommended recently some tips in order to re-energize retailers’ marketing strategy in the digital era (see figure below), such as: to connect with customers through shared values, and only after that to discount goods and services; to make customers feel recognized; to give customers a sense of status and exclusivity by modern loyalty programs driving engagement and retention (providing multiple consumer benefits through several touchpoints); to engage with customers at every relevant step of their journey with the help of marketing automation, and to predict people’s emotional response with the help of the artificial intelligence; to optimize for mobile (phone, tablet, voice-activated) search.
Figure 2: Digital Marketing Source: Jacobs, R. (2018). 5 Tips to Re-Energize Your Retail Marketing Strategy, My Total Retail, June 1
As shown recently by eMarketer, in order to drive consumers to their physical stores retailers use different digital marketing strategies (such as online-to-offline/O2O capabilities), seeing the complete consumer journey with the help of better location tracking and identity graphs. (King, 2018) A recent study from Blis and WBR Insights revealed that the performance of the retailersâ€™ digital strategy to guide customers to physical stores in North America is already considered to be good (28%) and adequate (32%) by the majority of the retail professionals, while 31% of the respondents saying that this needs improvement (7% considering it as being poor). On the other hand, more and more retailers are actively involved in measuring the customer journey (better understood by fine-tuning retailersâ€™ ability to assign attribution in order to track and look at each of the online interactions with their customers and see how each touchpoint contributes to initiating conversion paths), being a well-known fact that compared with other industries retailers count on one of the most diverse mix of channels, as shown in the figure below. (Garcia, 2018) It is considered that over the next few years optimizing the customer journey across multiple touchpoints will constitute an important part of the client-side marketersâ€™ future digital plans, as revealed by a survey conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe in January 2018.
Figure 3: Customer Interactions with Retailers Worldwide, by Channel, 2017 Source: Garcia, K. (2018). Customers Are Using More Channels than Ever to Interact with Retailers, Retail eMarketer, June 7
As an important factor in retail, for instance, is engaging and boosting mobile app users’ lifetime value, user acquisition being considered an app marketing goal (according to a survey conducted in July 2017 by InMobi, the respondents being marketers in North America), it is important for retail marketers: to know that if a shopping app installed by the mobile user doesn’t immediately convert there is still a chance to record a serious jump after 7-30 days (according to data released on June 19, 2018 by AppsFlyer); to make difference between mobile app users who install apps stimulated by ads or other incentives and those who discover an app on their own (many of these organic app installers can make a purchase within 90 days, and being considered more valuable compared with the first category, according to AppsFlyer); to understand that a retail app installation signals a greater shopping intent, a mobile retail app user knowing what he is looking for (as revealed by Criteo’s Q1 2018, in North America, over 2/3 of digital transactions take place on mobile, the majority of them taking place through mobile app). (Garcia, 2018) Another important thing to reflect on for retailers is us to differentiate true customers throughout their store visit from passers-by and staff, by identifying data anomalies and ensuring this way that retailers’ ads are served to the right people at the right time, so as to better foster brand-customer relationships. (Flatley-Feldman, 2018) To achieve this they can use, for instance, Euclid algorithms which allow filtering anomalies captured with valid optins, forecasting accurate shopper behavior patterns and understanding which types of visits and campaigns result in the necessary conversions, better tracking ROI this way.
Figure 4: Anomalies are Captured with Valid Opt-ins and Euclid Algorithms Filter Anomalies
Source: Flatley-Feldman, J. (2018). Data Anomalies: Why They’re Important & What They Tell Us, Euclid, 01 June
The CEO of Euclid Analytics highlighted also recently some useful insights from Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report, such as: retailers’ imperative of having a way to measure the number of products which are discovered on social and then purchased in stores, discovery being digital. (Franson, 2018) It is also worth mentioning within this framework that an April 2018 Salesforce survey (when the respondents being consumers worldwide were asked about technologies actively transforming expectations of companies) showed the considerable influence of mobile apps and IoT (40% of respondents), and this within the context in which 49% of respondents considered that smartphones have already transformed these expectations. (Garcia, 2018)
What retailers need to know about both marketing’s hidden treasure of CPG companies, and the entrance of Amazon into grocers’ industry Retailers already know that: today’s consumers are increasingly researching and purchasing consumer packaged goods (CPG products) online (according to recent survey findings from Periscope by McKinsey reflecting the responses of consumers from the U.S., UK, France and Germany); within this online approach, CPG companies are facing the need of imitating the attractive experience relating to a visit of a consumer in a physical store. (Acosta, 2018) On the other hand, McKinsey’s representatives attracted recently the attention on consumer promotions and engagement (CPE including both in-store consumer activation and out-of-store engagement efforts, as shown in the figure below) as marketing’s hidden treasure of the consumer-goods companies. (Cvetanovski et all., 2018)
Figure 5: CPE tools are effective at each part of the Consumer Decision Journey Source: Cvetanovski, B., Haas, S., Magni, M. and Wu, C. (2018). Marketing’s hidden treasure: Better CPE can unlock millions to fuel growth, McKinsey & Company, June
Among other aspects, McKinsey’s representatives underlined the importance for knowing what’s coming next of the working together on in-store innovations (like mobile coupons or new shelf technology) of the leading consumer companies and digital/mobile start-ups or retailers. A digital experience insights platform, ContentSquare (focused on businesses understand how and why users are interacting with their app, mobile and web sites) showed that the supermarkets and grocers already offering a digital experience must take into account the entrance of the ecommerce giant Amazon into their industry by its recent acquisition of Whole Foods, by reviewing their systems and tackle every single pain point they can identify in the customer journey in this era of digital convenience, tailoring the digital experience. Among the takeaway suggested by ContentSquare (on the basis of its study which analyzed millions of sessions and page views for supermarkets and grocers across the US, UK and France) were: to design a personalized shopping experience by data-driven understanding of user engagement; to allow customers to create and share wish lists in order to achieve an increase in return shoppers and loyalty; to combin digital shopping with physical pickup; to streamlin the digital experience for a flawless interface. As recently shown by Retail eMarketer: Whole Foods (despite its specialization in organics) represented the entry point into the physical world of grocery retailers; according to Brick Meets Click (that makes difference between pure-play providers which are online-only like Amazon Fresh, one hand, and in-market providers like Whole Foods as physical supermarkets offering delivery or pickup options, on the other hand), in U.S. online grocery sales will increase faster compared to in-store sales. (Garcia, 2018) It is worth remembering that at the beginning of the last year Brick Meets Click (known for being focused on how digital technology and new players are changing shopping and retail) argued that collaboration between producers, CPG brands, and retailers around digital merchandising is crucial given the evolution of shopper habits and expectations, (Brick Meets Click, 2017) while in February this year highlighted the strategic imperatives (to meet consumers’ changing preferences; to find new ways to increase profit) within the accelerating pace of change in grocery distribution and marketing. (Brick Meets Click, 2018) It is also interesting to note within this framework that when grocery shopping U.S. smartphone users, for example, use self-checkout usually or always (57% of respondents), according to a January 2018 survey by Field Agent. (Garcia, 2018) Despite this fact, CBC News announced on May 13, this year (Harris, 2018) that Walmart has abandoned its Scan & Go (mobile scan-and-go with a phone app or a mobile device provided in the Walmart store) shopping at its U.S. stores (not yet in Canada). And this while a month before, on April 19, Walmart announced the launch of a new program called “Check Out With Me”, which is considered a more convenient shopping experience which saves Walmart customers time, the Walmart associate from the more than 350 stores Lawn & Garden Centers scanning their customers’ items with the” Check Out With Me” mobile device, then swiping their credit cards and providing them with a printed or electronic receipt (options available). (News Walmart, 2018) It will be really interesting to look at the evolution of this true technological
battle between Walmart (“Check Out With Me”), Amazon (Amazon Go stores with no lines and no checkout, customers just using the Amazon Go app and so on), Kroger (cashier less checkout service called “Scan, Bag, Go”) and other competitors. (Peterson, 2018) A survey-based research study conducted between December 2017 and March 2018 by RELEX Solutions and Elastic Solutions – “Growing and Sustaining Competitive Advantage in Grocery Retail” – revealed that 91% of responding companies (top grocery retailers in North America) which offer an online shopping channel are picking online orders in store for fulfillment, the alternative being to have dedicated fulfillment centers. This survey-based research study recognized from the very beginning that the growth of online grocery has been accelerated by Amazon and Whole Foods. Retailers’ imperative of creating a digitally connected environment, including by seeing the shopper as the “Blue Dot” consumer A recent study from Displaydata (the leader in the design and supply of fully graphic Electronic Shelf Labels - ESLs) and Planet Retail RNG (commissioned by Displaydata) – entitled “Analogue to Automated: Retail in the Connected Age” (there were surveyed 1,000 retailers and 4,811 consumers across 10 countries) – revealed that in order to meet the high customer expectations shaped by online experiences it is imperative for retailers to create a digitally connected environment by bringing into effective action digital technologies which optimise efficiencies, deliver a better CX and value in-store. (Business Wire, 2018) According to this study shoppers want promotions sent direct to their mobile devices (33% of respondents), ESLs to show accurate, real-time prices, promotions, and detailed product information (31% of respondents), and to be identified as a loyal customer (27% of respondents), their desire for these digital services targeting a better CX. The 4th Annual Retail Innovation Conference hosted by Retail TouchPoints took place on April 30-May 2 in New York City, U.S. and had as theme “Embracing Retail Disruption”, the opening keynote – “Your Future Shopper: The Step Change Has Arrived” – being delivered by the well-known Shopper Behaviouralist Ken Hughes, who underlined the need of better understanding the set of values (based on new consumers’growing up as true digital natives) which is motivating the current and future consumers, making easy to see the key values shaping Gen Z: freedom (of choosing brands and retailers in the omnichannel world, a retail experience setting consumer free); the “Weconomy” (retailers facing redefining the ultimate consumer in the sharing economy and culture); flexibility (retailers being challenged to do the right thing for these customers by adapting accordingly to their evolutionary needs); desire for instant gratification (retailers acting on immediately delivering on their promise); expectancy (retailers’ imperative of hitting the heart of the matter the initial time, every time); phygital (within the confluence of physical and digital, retailers need to offer the same CX regardless of what touchpoint might be); customization (retailers need to treat customers as persons, not like transactions); authenticity (retailers also need to offer the real thing so as to make customers see the relevance of the offered CX). (Blair, 2018) The final recommendation made by this Shopper Behaviouralist was to always remember that everything in today’s retail is about the shopper as the “Blue Dot” consumer (the cause to the retail revolution, being in the center of the big world, the smartphone map apps creating automatically a “you are here” Blue Dot) to be effectively reached. (Retail TouchPoints, 2016)
On the occasion of the same above mentioned Retail Innovation Conference Walmart CIO Clay Johnson argued that retail leaders have to understand the technology as a way to empower both employees and customers, integrating the innovation team across the entire retail company, continuing searching for innovation outside the retail company and retail industry; (Wassel, B. (2018) beyond the educational sessions, there were showcased different solutions for some of the retail industry’s persistently concerns, such as: AT&T mobile solutions in the digital transformations taking place in retail stores; the Bluecore retail marketing platform designed to help retailers personalize campaigns via email, e-Commerce sites, Google, online display ads and Facebook; the Evergage platform designed to provide retail customers with a 1-to-1 personalized experience; the Shopgate platform allowing retailers to build customized native mobile app experiences etc. (Retail TouchPoints, 2018) The 2018 eTail West and WBR Insights Benchmark Report (based on survey responses from 100 retail industry leaders) on “Improving Customer Engagement with Predictive and Cognitive Capabilities” revealed that: 80% of retailers opted out for strategic imperatives which are customer-centric (acquisition, retention, and satisfaction); there is no confidence in retailers’ customer engagement strategies, retailers claiming the need of improving their capabilities associated with customer engagement; retailers’ predictive and intelligent marketing capabilities are far behind the already widely implemented customer engagement solutions; in the current everchanging digital retail environment retailers must make great efforts to understand consumer behavior and develop strategies which improve their position, focusing towards digital aspects and developing cognitive maturity to address changes in the marketplace so as to optimize processes on a continuous basis, while connecting operations, marketing, and physical stores and capitalizing on advanced technologies and disruptive relevant market trends. (Sentient Ascend, 2018) Conclusions In the previous issues of our journal we showed that retailers are forced to faster adopt digital strategies and optimize their supply chain within their Omni channel business, listening and pro-actively adapting to their customers’ expectations, recognizing the need for an enhanced Omni channel CX by defining accordingly their digital supply chain vision, creating a single customer view across channels and devices, giving more attention to the entire shopper journey and preventing friction in this journey, considering the newest solutions while looking at their customers’ preferences and shopping habits, having a customer-centric approach and innovating accordingly. This involves gaining and strengthening the retailer’s organizational commitment, guiding operations and future strategies through the application of analytics on data science and translating customer insights into business operations, improving stores’ value proposition and merchandising, making distinction between the initial consideration and the final consideration, and gaining competitive advantage and increasing CLV from the ongoing customer relationship-building provided by assistants in conversations beyond engagement or interactions, and never neglecting the powerful link between emotion and CX and loyalty. As a continuing business activity a clearly defined retailers’ digital marketing strategy involves a so-called specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related framework, on the basis of a digital marketing plan (with regard to the digital channel strategy for each main proposition), of data and insights translated into action, of effective content at various stages
of the customer journey while considering customers’ preferred communications channel, all retail marketing communications (traditional and digital) being well integrated, and all the above mentioned aspects being harmonized with the general retail business objectives.
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Léon F. WEGNEZ (by courtesy of) – Commercial urbanism, “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”, 58ème année, Décembre 2017, Brussels Sharing with our distinguished Readers a well-known source of usable and useful knowledge… Prof. Dr. h. c. Léon F. WEGNEZ is an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of our “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine“. He was honored by the European Retail Academy (ERA) as the 2015 “Man of the Year” (the distinguished personalities who have been honored by ERA in the last six years were: Philip Alexander Nobel, John L. Stanton, Léon F. Wegnez, Romano Prodi, Klaus Toepfer, and Robert Aumann). Knowing our distinguished readers’ thirst for knowledge, we offer you, by courtesy of this remarkable personality, the above mentioned article published in the prestigious “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”.
Culture and History, Silk Road, Repositioning Astana, Circle PhD, Kruzenshtern Connection, EURASIAN Visit, Recommerce versus IoT, and Profile Professorship Bernd HALLIER
Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier, President of the European Retail Academy (ERA), an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine” (he is also Honorary Member of the Romanian Scientific Society of Management - SSMAR) attracted our attention on great events happening in the first quarter 2018, and allowed us to present them. It is also worth remembering that: immediately after visiting Romania for the first time on the occasion of the 24th International Congress of the International Association for the Distributive Trade (AIDA Brussels), Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier sent us, in May 2008, a memorable letter we have referred initially in the Journal of the Romanian Marketing Association (AROMAR), no. 5/1998, and also later, in 2010, in the first issue of the Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine; the Romanian-American University has awarded Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier a “Diploma of Special Academic Merit”; the “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, has awarded Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier a “Diploma of Excellence”.
Culture and History Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier published in 1999 his German edition of "Culture and History of Trade" - documenting by art 5000 years of commerce; followed later by a Russian and a Korean edition. At the First International Silk Road Mayors Conference being organised in Astana he proudly handed over one copy to Korea's Nobel Laureate Prof. Dr. Raekwon Chung (see the photo below).
“History proves that trade routes are not just technical tools for the transport of products” Prof. Hallier stated “but they are drivers for innovation and cultural cross-border exchanges!” In his lecture dedicated to the hopes and fears about a revitalised Silk Road he demanded a mix of learnings from David Ricardo and Charles Darwin to implement a Social Market Economy based on a optimum between Economy, Ecology and Ethics (more: PDF).
Silk Road Initiated as a concept by China’s Chairman Xin Jinping in a speech at Nazarbayev University the 2018 Global Silk Road Forum will be held in the capital of Kazakhstan at its 20th Anniversary of the City of Astana.
The Global Silk Road Forum will be held July 2nd-3rd, 2018 at the Astana Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. The sessions will discuss how to contribute to the competitiveness of national economies within a global world driven by a modern Silk Road Network as a catalyst for innovative investments. Among the top-level speakers will be the President of the European Retail Academy, Prof.Dr.B.Hallier, who also promoted www.european-retailacademy.org/AEUC - designed by Alina Pukhovskaya - to establish a regional academic network for applied sciences. More about the Conference: www.globalsilkroad.net
Repositioning Astana For 10 years the Astana Economic Forum has established itself as the most important annual event for Eurasia: bridging Europe and Asia. In 2018 it takes a big jump forward in a world, which, unfortunately, becomes a lot more segmented, although it should be more globalized in its analysis and political action. The title in 2018, therefore, is well chosen by the sponsors of the (former) Astana Economic Forum: GLOBAL CHALLENGES SUMMIT!
â€œAfter the G7 meetings without Russia (and also without the big players like China and India) and the Brexit talks within the EU, the Astana round-table with vision of ALL NATIONS as a Global Community is initiative to be supported by all who are really
interested in a Global House of Harmony between Economics, Ecology and Ethicsâ€?, Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier stated. Circle PhD Circle is an university network founded in 2004: the idea are annual conferences rotating in the Circle-member countries for students to present their MA or PhD papers in English under the supervision of international professors. Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier is part of that supervisor team.
Additionally Circle international is running a far-distance program for MA and PhD. In 2018 the former ERA-trainee from Russia, Alina Pukhovskaya, now living in Mexico defended her thesis about the Food Bank Mexico successfully at the Annual Meeting in Sarajevo/ BosniaHerzegovina. Next year Circle will meet from April 24th to 25th at the University of Gloucestershire/UK
Kruzenshtern Connection One of the tactical tools of the European Retail Academy to build a Team Spirit is sailing with groups up to 20 international students (in a mix from. BA to PhD-aspirant) with the tallship Kruzenshtern.
Taken some of the memory pics (also partly published by the two books “TeamSpirit” and “Kruzenshtern”) the two ERA-exchange trainees Daniel Haakila Costa and Roni Suomalainen from Rovaniemi/Finland created the following YouTube about the history of the tall-ship as well as about learning on board (LINK).
EURASIAN Visit Since 1990 (the German Reunification) Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier is inviting permanently retailers and experts from the former socialistic countries to visit the exhibitions EuroShop and EuroCIS (LINK) or to go jointly on store-checks to learn via applied sciences the “real world of trade” - or last but not least to get connected with dual education institutions.
A study tour of Eurasian visitors for food-distribution around the Cologne Area was documented by the two ERA-trainees Daniel Haakila Costa and Roni Suomalainen from Rovaniemi/Finland by the following YouTube (LINK). It shows also how ERA is integrating its exchange students into intercultural programs (see more at https://www.european-retailacademy.org/EUCVOT). The thanks of ERA go to the host-companies of this and other tours - promoting globalization by a peaceful dialogue.
Recommerce versus IoT In its latest edition Retail Asia points the focus to a hype of â€œsecond-handâ€?: it also covers in Asia luxury fashion! The new terminus is even connected with the idea to preserve environment and to reduce waste.
To upgrade margins on the other hand retailers could use the Internet of Things (IoT) for their infrastructure. Marketing can combine IoT with mirrors, digital, walls, dressing rooms, quick checkouts. IoT can be part of loyalty programs and bridge bricks-and-mortar retailers with ecommerce. Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier is convinced that those marketing and technology trends
have been well covered by the development of the exhibition duo EuroShop and EuroCIS (see: YouTube); for Asia the Special â€œC Starâ€? was developed in Shanghai/China (Contact).
Profile Professorship Germany is well known for its dual education and for vocational competences in retail which is just shown also by a job-offer for a Professor at the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt: a city also famous for the car-manufacturer Audi and of the HQ of the retailer Saturn/Media Markt.
The needed profile to become Professor of International Retail is the appropriate university degree plus several years of work experiences in international retail - ideally combined with work stages abroad. Although based in Germany the courses will be in English! More: see attached (PDF)
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