Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

The online sales holiday raked in $6.6 billion — up 17% over last year — and showed the rising force of mobile in digital holiday sales!

Retailers brought in nearly $6.6 billion, according to Adobe, which tracks data through its analytics services. That sales figure is up 16.8% compared to last year and is projected to be the largest online shopping day in history, Adobe said in a release.
Those figures are roughly in line with projections and represent a more than $2.5 billion increase since 2014, according to Adobe.
In many ways, it reflects the growth of e-commerce as an industry and as Cyber Monday has grown, digital sales have exploded throughout the entire Thanksgiving week as brick-and-mortar sales inch along or decline (but still remain hugely important to holiday sales).
Retail Dive took a look at some of the big takeaways from the day.

Mobile is taking over

"Mobile Monday" might soon be the better term for the day just passed, which the National Retail Federation dubbed Cyber Monday in 2005. More consumers than ever took to their phones to snatch up holiday sales deals, according to several firms tracking the day.
Mobile set a new record with 47.4% of site visits, with smartphones making up about 40% of visits, according to Adobe. Perhaps more importantly, Adobe said mobile accounted for 33.1% of Cyber Monday revenue (smartphones specifically accounted for 24.1% of revenue). Smartphone traffic specifically grew 22.2% year-over-year, while revenue coming from smartphones — at $1.59 billion on Monday — grew 39.2% percent year-over-year, marking a new all-time high.
"Shopping and buying on smartphones is becoming the new norm and can be attributed to continued optimizations in the retail experience on mobile devices and platforms," Mickey Mericle, vice president, marketing and customer insights at Adobe, said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. "Consumers are also becoming more savvy and efficient online shoppers. People increasingly know where to find the best deals and what they want to purchase, which results in less price matching behavior typically done on desktops."
Rob Garf, vice president of industry strategy and insights with Salesforce's Commerce Cloud unit, said in an interview on Monday morning that computers' share of purchases over the shopping period fell below 50% for the first time.
Mobile accounted for 64% of Cyber Monday sales with merchants using Shopify's e-commerce platforms, according to Shopify. That was a 10% increase from last year.
The shift to mobile follows both the adoption of the smartphone over the past decade as well as retailers' (typically larger ones) efforts to make mobile shopping seamless and painless. And that goes not just for browsing, but purchasing. "Consumers are tethered to their mobile devices," Garf said. "They don't need to wait. Retailers have made it easier to purchase on their mobile device."

Mobile is king!!! More to xome soon.

From Joe Rossini
credit Retail Dive for the information

Google BOT

All you need to know about Googlebot
What is Googlebot?
Googlebot is the name of Google's web crawler. A web crawler is an automated program that systematically browses the Internet for new web pages. This is called web-indexing or web-spidering.
Google and other search engines use web crawlers to update their search indexes. Each search engine that has its own index also has its own web crawler. If you want to see your web pages on Google's search result pages, Googlebot has to visit your pages first.
Google has several bots: Googlebot (desktop), Googlebot (mobile), Googlebot Video, Googlebot Images, Googlebot News. For most websites, the Googlebots for desktop and mobile are the most important bots.
How does Googlebot work?
Basically, Googlebot and other web crawlers follow the links that they find on web pages. If Googlebot finds new links on a page, they will be added to the list of pages that will be visited next. If a link does not work anymore, or if there is new content on a web page, Google will update the index.
Googlebot uses sitemaps and databases of links discovered during previous crawls to determine where to go next. Whenever the crawler finds new links on a site, it adds them to the list of pages to visit next. If Googlebot finds changes in the links or broken links, it will make a note of that so the index can be updated. If you want to get good rankings on Google, you must make sure that Googlebot can correctly index your web pages. If web crawlers can easily crawl your web pages, you will get better results.
How to check the crawlability of your web pages

If your web pages contain errors that prevent Googlebot and other web crawlers from indexing them, you cannot get high rankings. For that reason, it is important that you check the crawlability of your web pages.

Keep making changes to your web site and let us make sure Google crawls your site.

Info from Google and Alandra

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Robots are here where is the terminator

From CNN

Robots have already cost millions of factory jobs across the nation.

Next up could be jobs at your local stores.
Between 6 million to 7.5 million existing jobs are at risk of being replaced over the course of the next 10 years by some form of automation, according to a new study this week from by financial services firm Cornerstone Capital Group.
That represents at least 38% of the current retail work force, which consists of 16 million workers. Retail could actually lose a greater proportion of jobs to automation than manufacturing has, according to the study.
That doesn't mean that robots will be roving the aisles of your local department store chatting with customers. Instead, expect to see more automated checkout lines instead of cashiers. This shift alone will likely eliminate millions of jobs.
"Cashiers are considered one of the most easily automatable jobs in the economy," said the report. And these job losses will hit women particularly hard, since about 73% of cashiers are women.
There will also be fewer sales jobs, as more and more consumers use in-store smartphones and touchscreen computers to find what they need, said John Wilson, head of research at Cornerstone. There will still be some sales people on the floor, but just not as many of them.

Monday, November 6, 2017

From SEJ a neat article

According to estimates from Statista, by the end of 2017, there will be around 2.7 billion social media users in the world – a figure that is expected to rise by about 7 percent each year.
This fact alone should cause all social media marketers to sit up and consider the opportunities for their own marketing campaigns.
But let’s be honest.
While opportunities abound, social media marketing is complicated.
Targeting the social media crowd is like targeting a moveable feast. It is never static.
People come and go quickly in social media and their interests change from one day to the next.
So, before you invest heavily in any social media marketing campaign, you really need to understand the landscape.
The rewards can be high and also immediate if you strike the right note with your target audience. Miss the target and you could exhaust your social media budget very quickly.
And, while it’s important to build relationships with a social media environment, you must remember that relationship building is simply a strategy it is not the end goal. Foremost business the end goal of any social media marketing strategy is to boost engagement and increase conversions.
You may be well branded, you may be well-known, but if you are not increasing the bottom line through your social media marketing, then you cannot really justify the investment

More to come shortly!~

Joe Rossini

Interesting from Google

Just a quick snippet from Google:

Google has announced plans to introduce local display ads for highlighting in-store products and sales.
Unlike other Google ads, which typically spotlight products and services that can be ordered online, local display ads promote goods that can be acquired at brick and mortar locations.

Rather than driving online traffic, the goal of local display ads is to drive more foot traffic.
In order to run local display ads you must first have a local inventory feed set up for shopping ads.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Should we be afraid of robots?

Here is a nice article about robots and surprisingly they are not replacing humans just helping them:

Artificial Intelligence in Material Handling

Research into AI is well funded and progressing quickly in the material handling arena.  As reported by the NY Times, researchers in Berkley, for instance, are working on robots that can look inside a bin full of randomly sized objects, quickly understand the size and shape of each discrete item, and then successfully grab one and place it in a desired location.  This type of behavior has always been outside the capability of robots, requiring companies to hire human “pickers” to perform it.  Other areas of research include self-navigating autonomous industrial vehicles (e.g. AGVs and fork trucks), using AI to optimize material flow in a facility, predictive maintenance for material handling components, and many more.
There are also many AI applications that have already moved from research to employment in facilities around the world.  Self-navigating industrial vehicles, although still an area of research, are already in many warehouses (continued research will serve to increase their capabilities).  Omron’s mobile robot, Adept, for instance, will automatically drive to desired locations once it has mapped a facility.  With the ability to grab objects of different shapes, there are even some robotic grippers that are already employing a portion of the technology being researched by the Berkley group.  Clearly, then, AI has had a substantial effect on material handling automation, and with continued research, it will continue to shape it.  Does this mean we can expect a future where distribution centers and manufacturing facilities are totally automated, i.e. without any human workers?  Perhaps, but probably not.
To date, AI has increased the capabilities of material handling automation, and automation, in turn, has made workers more productive and valuable.  Thus, in my experience, after automating a process, companies do not eliminate workers.  Rather, those workers become much more productive or are moved into a different process that provides more value.  For example, a goods-to-person system such as AutoStore will drastically increase the number of items a human picker can pick, so the human is not replaced, but is now much more productive.  Eventually, I do think that researchers like those at Berkley will create systems that replace the human picker in this process, but that person will not go away.  Machines are not perfect, and humans will need to supervise them and correct them when they make mistakes.  The picker, therefore, will become a supervisor of intelligent machines, taking immediate corrective action when the machines make mistakes in order to keep production moving.

More to come.