2018 Free TrendWatching Resources

On a regular basis, many of of us anticipate and stay current with the latest trends. And predictions for future trends. TrendWatching represents one valuable source in this area. Thus, today’s post considers useful free TrendWatching resources.


Background: Useful Free TrendWatching Resources

According to its Web site, TrendWatching describes itself as follows:

“Established in 2002, we have hubs in London, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, São Paulo, and Lagos. And we help forward-thinking business professionals in 180+ countries understand the new consumer. As a result, they can unlock compelling, profitable innovation opportunities.”

In monitoring trends, the firm uses 2,000+trend spotters and in-house experts across 55 countries. Why? Take a look at this chart. To see a larger version, click on the image.

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources

And click here to access a “3 minute overview” of TrendWatching.


Links to Useful Free TrendWatching Resources

Besides to its paid clients, TrendWatching offers a number of FREE resources. And here we cite just some of them:

  • At this page, TrendWatching summarizes its free resources.
  • As an ongoing resource, TrendWatching publishes “TrendWatching Quarterly: the definitive viewpoint on consumerism’s most pressing issues.” For the free signup, click here. [You can also opt to receive “Innovation of the Day .”]
  • Now, click the images to see examples of trends around the globe. To illustrate, featured below are articles on these areas. Overall trends. And trends in Africa. And trends in Asia. In addition, Latin trends. Also, read the stories on brands, the customer experience, truthful consumerism.

These are just a selection of the free resources from TrendWatching. Do not be a copy cat or laggard. Be a trendsetter. And awareness is the key to good strategies.

Overall Trends

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Overview

Trends in Africa

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Africa

Trends in Asia

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Asia

Latin Trends

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Latin


2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Brands

Customer Experience

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Customer Experience

Truthful Consumerism

2018 Free TrendWatching Resources -- Truthful Consumerism

Posted in Global Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Virtual Reality Comes to Life at Vera Bradley

To create an outstanding customer experience, many firms want to use new high-tech tools. Thus, some now experiment with artificial intelligence. And others track shoppers online and in stores. Still other firms market voice-activated digital assistants and employ online chatbots. In addition, virtual reality is gaining popularity. In this instance, we can learn a lot about Virtual Reality Comes to Life at Vera Bradley Stores.


What Is Virtual Reality?

Before we turn to the Vera Bradley example, let’s explain the premise of virtual reality (VR). Please note: VR is a great tool to enhance the customer experience, both online and in the store.

According to TechTarget:

Virtual reality is an artificial environment created with software. And then presented to the user in such a way that the user accepts it as reality. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced by sight and sound. The simplest VR involves a 3-D image. It can be explored interactively at a PC. Usually by moving keys or the mouse. In this way, the image moves in some direction or zooms in or out. Advanced efforts involve wrap-around display screens, actual rooms augmented with wearable computers, and haptics devices that let you feel the images.”


Virtual Reality Comes to Life at Vera Bradley Stores — See How It Works Online

Vera Bradley designs and retails women’s handbags, luggage and travel items, fashion and home accessories, and gift items. As a multichannel retailer, it runs its own stores and a full-feature Web business. In addition, it sells through third-party retailers.

In 2017, Vera Bradley introduced virtual reality into stores. Why? According to Eric Feigenbaum, writing for vmsd:

“Due to the retailer’s limited store footprint in most sites, it decided to showcase its new collections in an unusual, attention-grabbing way. Harry Cunningham, its VP of creative services, says, ‘The ability to shop virtually essentially extends the four walls of the physical store. Thus, we can share even more products and expand on the brand experience.”

Besides visiting a Vera Bradley store, we can gain a VR experience below. Or close to a VR experience. 🙂

If you visit the VR site, this popup appears. [Note: This site is for demonstration purposes. The actual Vera Bradley AR experience only works in stores.] Click the popup to access the site. Once at the site, scroll to the + signs.

Virtual Reality Comes to Life at Vera Bradley Stores
Virtual Reality Comes to Life at Vera Bradley Stores

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Live in the Cloud

With many firms now allowing employees to work off premises, we see the use of cloud software rising. Thus, how to live in the cloud takes on more importance than ever. Yet, we don’t always know about all of the facets of cloud security. And today, we address that issue. 


Overview: How to Live in the Cloud

For us as individuals, cloud computing is often not understood. Or our use of the cloud even recognized. So, look at this interesting infographic from Logicalis about a typical day in the cloud. Do at least some of these activities look familiar to you?

How to Live in the Cloud -- A Day in the Cloud


How to Live in the Cloud: A Cyber Security Infographic

Now, we turn to being cyber secure in the cloud from business perspective. As noted above, off-premises employers often connect to work through the cloud. And that means handling particular cloud-based cyber security issues.

According to Keir Thomas-Bryant of Sage Advice:

“Cloud computing lets workers access company data and applications via the Internet. Anywhere and anytime. As a result, everyday tasks can be automated and performed on laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. Thus, by managing your cash flow with cloud accounting software, workers could end up more efficient and productive.”

“In the future, cloud investment will continue increasing by 20% per year as firms plan to cut IT costs. And  maximize agility. And improve business function support. Keeping critical data and systems secure remains a key concern for firms considering a move to the cloud.”

Look at our infographic on staying safe in the cloud. It offers a walk-through of the biggest threats to cloud security that businesses face today. And it outlines how firms should tackle these. Also, it points out the tools and best practices for IT professionals to consider when adopting the cloud.”

Click the infographic for a larger version.

How to Live in the Cloud - A Cyber Security Infographic

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Privacy and Identity Theft Issues, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accenture Videos on Consumer Shopping

Today, we present two videos from global consulting giant Accenture.


The first video deals with people’s online shopping attitudes, including the trade-offs they recognize.


The second video discusses: “Are city shoppers getting secondhand treatment?”

After watching the video, click on the image below it to access the full Accenture report on this issue.



Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Video Clips (non-career) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fortune Cites 2018 Best 100 Employers

As has been written about the Glassdoor best employer rankings, Fortune’s annual employer rankings bring something different to the table. Hence, today’s post: Fortune Cites 2018 Best 100 Employers . Below, we’ll show why Fortune’s employer rankings are so helpful. So, where do YOU want to work?

But before reading below, take a look at these posts:


Fortune Cites 2018 Best 100 Employers

For more than two decades, Fortune has done an annual ranking of U.S. employers. As it notes for its latest ranking:

“100 Best Companies to Work For — Come for the generous sabbaticals, all-expenses-paid trips, or eye-popping bonuses, but stay for the parental leave, visionary management, and sense of purpose. Fortune’s 21st annual list of the country’s greatest places to work truly has something for everyone. And, they’re hiring. More than 315,000 employees provided feedback to determine the winners of the 2018 list.”

What makes Fortune’s rankings distinctive? In compiling its listing, Fortune looks at all of these factors: onsite childcare, onsite fitness/subsidized gym, onsite medical, job sharing,telecommuting, paid sabbaticals, student loan debt repayment, 100% health coverage, compressed work weeks, unlimited sick days, medical facility at all locations, tuition reimbursement, and non-discrimination policy (including sexual orientation).

And here are the top ten for 2018. Click the links to learn more about each company:
  1. Salesforce
  2. Wegmans Food Markets
  3. Ultimate Software
  4. Boston Consulting Group
  5. Edward Jones
  6. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  7. Workday
  8. Genentech
  9. Hyatt
  10. Kimley-Horn


To view the entire list of 100, click on the image, At the site, learn all of the ways that you may filter the ranking data.

Fortune Cites 2018 Best 100 Employers

Posted in Career Useful Information, Careers in Retailing, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media and E-Commerce Interesting Facts

As we have noted before, social media and E-commerce are booming. So, lets a look at a detailed infographic with social media and E-commerce interesting facts.

Previous posts include:


We Are Living in a Social World

Thanks to Josh Wardini for authoring this section of today’s post.

Twenty years ago, we were all living in a material world according to Madonna. While that can still be said to be true, the focus has shifted somewhat. It would be more apt to say that we live in a social world now. As a result, if you have a business, marketing these day means more than just offering a few discounts and running promos. These things are still important marketing tools but only when used as a part of social commerce strategy.

Today’s consumers want more out of businesses than just the best prices. They want to engage with a brand and know that they are valued by that brand. Social commerce is a fairly new concept but one that you really have to get right. It’s about having a defined presence on social media, but it encompasses a lot more than that as well. Social commerce makes it as easy as possible for your clients to buy from you – more and more brands are incorporating sales apps into their social media pages.

It’s also about using client data to examine exactly what your clients want and what they might need in future. In essence, it’s about knowing what they want before they do. And, if you get it right, it’s about skyrocketing your sales because you can meet their needs at exactly the right time.


An Infographic on Social Media and E-Commerce Interesting Facts

According to 16best.com: As outlined in the infographic below, major social media platforms are becoming more commercial, while eCommerce platforms are becoming more social, and the social commerce trend is gaining in popularity with each passing day.”


Social Media and E-Commerce Interesting Facts

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consistency Makes Good Customer Experiences Better

Consistency makes good customer experiences better for all parties. Thus, we must ask. Are firms doing well with customer service (the customer experience). Or is it just hype? Some firms are doing well, other not so much. And consistency of the customer experience is essential for their loyalty. As a result, customers must be satisfied EVERY TIME they interact with a firm.

According to Forrester:

“Today, there are growing consumer expectations, rising customer churn rates, and more options with lower barriers to switch. Therefore, a firm’s customer experience (CX) moves to center stage. And CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards. In addition, they drive higher brand preference. Also, they can charge more for their products.”

Before moving to today’s topic, look at these posts:


Consistency Makes Good Customer Experiences Better

For this section, we turn to observations by Connie Harrington for Customer Think. First are some insights. Then, we show a few graphics:

“Creating a single standout customer experience (CX) may get a customer’s attention — but does it win their loyalty? Not always. Companies that have made progress along the CX path recognize that delivering consistent experiences across multiple interactions helps fortify customer loyalty. Fostering consistency in experiences is becoming essential as customers use multiple channels to engage with brands.”

“According to 2017 research from Forrester, 95% of customers use three or more channels to connect with a company in a single service interaction, with 62% using more than one device. And Accenture research has found that 65% of customers expressed frustration over inconsistent experiences or information presented across channels.”

Consistency Makes Good Customer Experiences Better

Image Source: SlideShare

“Today, consumers are more likely to conduct research—and consider multiple brands or products–before making purchases. A recent study found that two-third of customers research products online before shopping for them in a brick-and-mortar store. Over half follow this research online, buy offline process frequently or every time they shop. Many consumers do the reverse as well. In the same study, more than half of surveyed consumers said they will go to a store location to see products in person before buying them online.”

Consistency Makes Good Customer Experiences Better

Image Source: Retail Dive

Trust and consistency go hand-in-hand. In fact, McKinsey’s research in the financial found that brands that cultivated the strongest feelings of trust were more likely to deliver consistent customer journeys. Cultivating trust can have far-reaching impacts on a business. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, when customers trust companies, they are more likely to believe positive information about the company—and the opposite is true for companies they distrust.”

Consistency Makes Good Customer Experiences Better

Image Source: Clear Action CX


Posted in Global Retailing, Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment