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Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk. Enjoy. partly came about because they were simply too slow to respond to the online world. Bookshops are also proving they are not keeping up with the impact of online shops. For instance, how long does it take you to find a book on Amazon? Probably just a handful of seconds. How long does it take to find someone to help you find the same book in a retail store and then find that book? Several minutes. We are used to seconds, but the bricks and mortar bookshops are giving us minutes. The technology to allow us to find books in seconds in a bricks and mortar stores already exists and has existed for decades – warehouses use it. There is no reason why book retailers can’t use such technology – it’s just that they are either unwilling to do so, or move at such a snail’s pace they are planning to introduce the technologies in their next ten year plan. Ho hum. Many retailers, though, have seen the writing on the wall and are responding. Indeed, retailers now dominate the world’s social media brands, suggesting that they are getting to grips with the threat of the online world and integrating it much more into their activities. In my forthcoming book, Click.ology, I suggest a way out for embattled retailers and that is to make their real world stores much more akin to the online experience we are now used to with Internet stores. Having search options, choosing delivery/ collection methods and seeing what our friends bought in that store are all what people are used to online and having such features available in bricks and mortar stores is what will bring people out of their homes and back down the High Street. After all, online shopping is lonely. Go into your local High Street and you rarely see people shopping alone – most people shop with other people. It is a social activity. The High Street has been on its last legs not so much because of the Internet, but because shops have let the coffee houses have all the social activity. Our local Debenhams closed its coffee shop, but why? To make more room for men’s shirts. That area of the store is now largely devoid of people – fewer people because they cannot really socialise around a display of 16 inch collars. With the coffee shop in place, they had a reason to be in the store. Retail is a leisure activity for the most part and the best retailers know this and make their stores fun and exciting with social features. All they need to do is add in some new technology social features, with augmented reality for instance, and they will get people back to the High Street. The High Street has considerable potential – it will only die if the people running retail fail to respond and do what is possible. HMV and Jessops were early warning signals – let’s hope the rest of the High Street has taken note. If they respond, we’ll enjoy the
Reports of the death of the High Street are premature
Retailers have had a tough time in the past few years – some of which has been of their own making – but they don’t deserve today’s news saying that one in five shops will close soon because of the Internet. According to a new study, the amount of shopping we do online is set to double, putting bricks and mortar retailers out of business. Given that the recession itself has closed an average of one in five High Street shops, another one in five disappearing will decimate towns and cities across the nation. Can you imagine your local town with only about half the shops it has now? That’s the kind of future being predicted. There is little doubt that online shopping is having an impact on traditional retail. But much of that is because of the intransigence of old-fashioned retailers and their lack of willingness to respond to the rapid changes going on. HMV and Jessops are but two examples of old-style thinking amongst retailers; their collapse
dual success of online and offline retail. The signs are they are beginning to respond. But is it too little, too late?
We are at a social media tipping point online
they focus on what really matters to people socially – being able to share what we know and like without being hindered by some marketing twaddle. We might be back here in a couple of years saying “do you remember Facebook?”
Does the web favour the most intelligent people?
Facebook is in trouble. True, it is not in massive danger of collapse, but the signals are all there that it needs to do something to rectify a growing aura of negativity. At the end of last week it emerged that it was delaying the European launch of its much-hyped new mobile system, Facebook Home. This is supposedly its mobile saviour; Facebook has not done well in mobile terms, even though over 60% of all Facebook activity is conducted on mobile devices. The company has not integrated advertising well into that and has probably lost out as a result. Facebook Home was going to “solve” that situation – yet it seems it hasn’t. Meanwhile, the company looks set to annoy many people with the launch of auto-playing video adverts. Soon, every time you log in to Facebook a video at the top of the page will start playing – admittedly with the sound off, but it will be a distraction. Besides it is not what people joined Facebook for – they joined to chat to their friends, not watch TV adverts. Indeed, the frustration with Facebook is growing. Teenagers are moving away from Facebook to Twitter, annoyed it seems by the increasingly inane things that are being discussed as well as the difficulties in managing personal reputation. They also dislike what they call the increasing “drama” of using the site – perhaps because of the ever growing list of changes from Facebook itself. But it is not just Facebook that is suffering in the social media world. According to new research sharing of “daily deals” is plummeting and the use of location based services is down by 45%. There are almost endless ways of being social online and there seems to be hardly a day that goes by without some new social media network or service being launched. However, the frustrations with social networks and the pointlessness of much social “stuff” is sinking in. Is there any real point any more of simply saying you “like” or “Digg” something online? It was all fun while it lasted, but the statistics are beginning to show we are increasingly growing tired of the plethora of social media. Or are we? What appears to be happening is that we are consolidating. People are beginning to understand the benefits of social media much more than they did a few years ago. We appear to have worked out what works. So, what does work? The data show we love LinkedIn, we don’t tire of Twitter and we are gagging for Google+. Why? Because
Intelligence is a much-debated issue in the world of psychology. Intelligence tests tell us only a little – people with low “intelligence quotients” can be highly successful and people with high IQ can under-perform in daily activities. You probably know “very clever” people who cannot do the simple things of life very well. Equally, you’ll know people who failed all their exams at school but are earning millions. IQ is a predictor of success, but a weak one. Some researchers favour the concept of “multiple intelligences” where you can measure, for instance, your “musical intelligence” and compare it with your “mathematical intelligence”. There is also the whole concept of “emotional intelligence”, which is theoretically about how well you perceive people around you. Undeniably, though, there are some people who just “get” some things more quickly than others. You will remember people in your class at school who were just brilliant at maths, but useless at languages. There were also those swots who you disliked who were just brilliant at everything. Clearly, some brains are better than others at understanding things. According to new research, this may be a crucial factor in who is most able to use the web well. The researchers at the University of Rochester, New York, discovered that people who are more intelligent are able to spot small moving items much more easily than large moving items. Essentially, this means that the more intelligent you are, the more capable you are at filtering out distractions and focusing on the task in hand. The web, of course, is full of distractions. Everywhere you look there are things which are designed to take your eye off the ball and attract you to something apparently more interesting. The people who can avoid such distractions are therefore going to be able to use the web in better ways – reading more, gaining more insights, learning more and so on. But to do that, you need to be more intelligent in order to avoid the distractions. It may well be that the very nature of the distracting web is serving to make the most intelligent even more intelligent. We could be creating another “digital divide” which we had not anticipated. That’s all very well as a debating point, but what does it practically mean for you and your website? It means that you will be able to reach the widest group of people if you reduce the distractions on
your pages to an absolute minimum. Focus people on engaging with your content if you wish to ensure that you do not only work for the intelligentsia.
we are deeply affected by them. It demonstrates the true horror we all feel about what happened.
Woolwich videos go viral – but why?
Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/grahamjones/~3/Do8omVqPEK8/ woolwich-videos-go-viral-but-why.html
Apple, Google, Starbucks – what we “feel” matters most
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, says the company pays all the tax it owes and follows the “spirit” of the law. That “spirit” has allowed the company to earn $74bn through an Irish subsidiary and only pay a tax rate of 0.05% on it. Apple is not alone, of course. In spite of earning billions, Starbucks has only paid an average of £533,333 in tax in the UK for the past 15 years. The row became so intense the company even volunteered to stump up some extra cash for the Government kitty. Meanwhile, the Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, has had to speak out and defend the company following the grilling it received in the House of Commons recently. The horrendous attack of a soldier in Woolwich was undeniably barbaric. We can only imagine what his poor family must be going through; sudden death is always difficult to cope with, but even more so in such a terrible public way. Also, we must wonder about the parents of the young man photographed with blood on his hands, almost celebrating the fact that the soldier was killed. I wonder how his mother feels today. Yesterday she was probably thinking that her son was just out on a shopping trip; the next thing she sees is a video of him admitting to having hacked a defenceless man to death. Events like this affect many people; the witnesses are unlikely to ever forget what they saw. Some may well suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. One man was killed in an horrific way, but dozens of others will suffer psychologically for many years to come. There are many other victims. The online world may also contribute to the victim count. Hundreds of thousands of people have already watched the graphic videos online that the TV channels have clearly decided not to rebroadcast. But with the vast increase in “citizen journalism” and the spread of user generated content, the public at large can no longer be protected from the horrors of the world. Yet what is interesting to consider is the spread of such horrible videos and images. If the material is so dreadful, why do people share it? Researchers at the University of Alabama have discovered why. It is a phenomenon known as “emotional contagion”. Essentially, we want to share things – negative or positive – that have affected us deeply. It is the same reason why people share funny videos or titillating ones for that matter. Online content goes viral because it affects us. So, even though we may be horrified by the events we should not be too concerned about the sharing of those dreadful videos of the butchery that took place in South Easy London yesterday. Indeed, the very fact that they are being shared is testament to the fact that Wherever you look, big international brands are under fire from politicians. Of course, that’s understandable; the politicians have been partially responsible for the world’s economic turmoil and they need cash to patch up the holes they created. Anyone with loads of cash – and Apple has a spare $100bn slopping about – is fair target for the politicians. But there is another issue – fairness. Does it seem fair that Apple pays a rate of 0.05% tax where you pay between 20% and 45% on – I imagine – a lot less income? Does it seem fair that Google in the UK does not conduct any actual sales transactions here, but the “deal” is firmed up via an email from Ireland? Or does that seem like “bending the rules”? I am sure a tax lawyer will tell us that the companies are merely using the legal framework as set by governments and international agreements. Maybe. But the companies need to listen more to psychologists than their lawyers. Why? Because new research suggests there could be an impact on the businesses themselves if they carry on with this “we follow the law” rigmarole. The study shows the influence of brand on decision making. The researchers showed that decisions to purchase are changed when we are faced with preferred brands. It seems we could make a decision to buy something, but as soon as one of our preferred brands comes into the mix our decision making is altered. Importantly, the researchers point out that a key element in this is what psychologists call “affect”. That means the emotional mood you feel. In other words it is not the prices or the quality of the products that influences your attraction to brands, but how you feel about them. In other words, it is your emotional response. So how is your emotional response to Apple who say they follow the spirit of the law, yet pay almost no tax on billions of income? How is your emotional response to Google who say they “do no evil” yet hardly contribute to the Inland Revenue? The chances are you are going to feel more negative towards these brands than before. And that is their problem.
It means that when we come to make purchasing decisions the impact of their brand could be lessened. It is not tax they are saving; rather they could be losing sales – much more important to them in the long run. So, what lessons can we learn from these big brands? It is what people think about you, how they feel about you and their overall emotional response to your business that matters. If they don’t like you, they won’t buy from you.