Gennifer Jackson

About Gennifer Jackson

Gennifer Jackson is a former senior director of research and consulting in the Consumer & Retail Research division at Market Strategies International.

Personalization Is Not a Technology Problem—It’s an Insight Challenge

Personalized shopping experience

Retailers that can’t deliver a personalized experience are at serious risk of becoming irrelevant soon. According to a study from Accenture, 75% of shoppers are more likely to do business with companies that recognize them by name, offer relevant recommendations and remember their purchase history.

This study highlights that we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift in the shopper-retailer relationship. With mobile technology and a wealth of information at their fingertips, shoppers want an experience that’s tailored to their individual needs and desires. They crave a one-to-one relationship with the retailers they do business with—and they’ll happily switch brands if that expectation isn’t met.

In the race for personalization, digital natives have an early lead. That’s because they’ve built infrastructure and business models that enable the real-time collection of data and the delivery of customer needs. But both incumbents and newcomers in retail need to realize that personalization isn’t simply a technology problem—it’s an insight problem that revolves around the customer journey.

To get personalization right, retailers need to take a step back, start from the beginning and look at the big picture. It requires understanding not just the logical aspect of purchases, but also the emotional triggers that convince shoppers to buy.

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The Microsoft-Nokia Union

2013-09-CommWill The Whole Be Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts?

In March, we talked about evolving brand combinations in the telecommunications industry and how the combined Brand Love would impact consideration and preference. Since March, wireless communication news has been a jumble of carrier mergers, acquisitions, stock purchases and software-meets-hardware stories. In a repeat of the Google-Motorola Mobility marriage of 2012, Microsoft has just purchased Nokia’s mobile phone unit for $7.2 billion. In the same year that Softbank purchased Sprint and in the same week that Verizon bought Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless, this level of strategic activity shows no signs of slowing. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse calls recent activity the tip of the M&A iceberg.

Of all the news and deals of late, I’m most fascinated by the Microsoft-Nokia purchase.

Hardware-Software Synergy

The hardware-software merger makes sense on a number of levels, not the least of which is that Apple—and before that BlackBerry—gained market dominance by providing consumers with the seamless customer experience that arises from hardware and operating systems that are tightly designed for each other. The Google-Motorola Mobility deal has shown that this is not necessarily as simple as it sounds (perhaps because the Android platform needs to remain open for its broad ecosystem of hardware partners), and Google’s margins have failed to improve in the last year.

So what are the prospects for Microsoft-Nokia?

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