The cost of discount stores: good or bad?

According to an article on CBC News, Giant Tiger and other discount stores are in an expansion mode! Usually when companies are expanding is a good sign, but in a case of discount stores what is that good or bad?

For Marvin Ryder, a professor at McMaster School of Business, the case of discount stores has an interesting factor: “Ryder believes that debt-burdened consumers remain nervous about the economy, and are therefore cautious about spending… “.

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The article goes to state that: “(the) Average Canadian incomes have barely risen over the last year, according to Statistics Canada. For workers in retail, accommodation, and food services, wages have actually fallen by about two per cent.”

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It seems that the expansion of discount stores also means a harsh reality; consumers in general are having less income to spend and therefore are more selective on where to buy.

 

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Anonymous Browsing data: It is not so anonymous anymore

I always was interested to know how companies can track our browsing habits and consequently advertise similar products or brands back to us. Well, it turned out that  we are not so “anonymous” in the internet browsing.

According to the latest Forbes article “Anonymous Browsing Data Isn’t Anonymous As you Think” our browsing habits are carefully analyzed by marketing experts.

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The author of the article Lee Mathews writes: “When you visit a website — just about any website — your visit is logged by third parties in a digital record. Advertisers use that information to make sure you see ads that are relevant to your interests. Content providers use it to make sure they’re posting videos and articles that you’ll want to watch and read”.

So, how secure and private is our internet browsing? It appears that it is not so secure nor private, based on the marketing strategists and the number of advertising we get after shopping on-line.

I understand that in one side, companies want to sell and make their brand “present” to us. But on the other side, certain people don’t want to have unsolicited products or brands showing up on their internet browsing all the time. Just think when was you last time shopping for a trip or any product on-line. Surely, you may have received  unsolicited advertising related to your latest browsing.

On a positive side, based on the issues of privacy and security, companies are investing on new services to accommodate customers. For example, there are internet applications that are focusing on protecting your information when you are browsing on-line. Creating a niche marketing for consumers interested in buying products or applications to protect their privacy.

According to the same article: “There are steps you can take to protect your digital privacy, of course. Using a VPN can help, and so can the right privacy-focused apps and services.” 

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It is interesting how the internet can evolve in creating new services that in turn will generate business. Privacy and security is one of the most invested services in the IT department for most of the companies.

In a certain sense, that same service is being sought by regular consumers. We all know that when dealing with Internet, e-commerce, social media platforms in general, the clock never stops, we always have a different product being offer out there.

How Internet changed every business

I was reading an article from Forbes magazine entitled: “3 Ways The Internet Of Things Will Change Every Business” and found curious that the author Bernad Marr, purposely placed the word EVERY, meaning  that the era of business was one before the Internet, and another after the Internet.

According to Marr; “Take John Deere DE -0.85%, for example.  For decades, they’ve sold the tractors that make farming on a 21st century scale easier and more profitable. But since 2012, they’ve added data connectivity to their equipment, giving farmers information about which crops to plant where and when, when and where to plow, and even the best route to take while plowing.  They are essentially now in the business of selling data as much as they are selling tractors“.

images-14The article highlighted 3 major factors that changed and helped business in general. The creation of smart products; the option of smarter business operations and smart decisions, and finally, a change in business model as a whole.  The list of  smart products developed are almost endless. Just think about high tech sensors and remote access to products in real-time is one of few innovations from the Internet.

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Definitely it was an amazing transformation from the business stand point, comparing the business today interfacing with technology, with the business before the Internet. Now is just wait to see what the future has to offer in this never stop changing world of business and technology.

 

The future of Twitter: Not even Trump is helping Twitter’s growth

Twitter has just over 10 years as one of the most solid and well established social media platform. But now that “maturity” is no longer an issue for Twitter, the company is facing some challenges.

According to CNN Money not even President Trump is helping Twitter’s growth: “Even being President Trump’s preferred communication platform isn’t enough to save Twitter.”

That was the introduction of the CNN Money article regarding the future of Twitter.

Despite all the slow growth, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s cofounder and CEO, he believes that “Twitter’s influence in everyones life outpace its competitors”.

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The CNN Money article continues: “Twitter (TWTRTech30) posted sales of $717 million for the fourth quarter, missing Wall Street estimates and increasing just 1% from the same quarter a year earlier. 

 

The lackluster sales growth was due to a decline in advertising revenue, particularly in the U.S. where ad sales declined 7%. Twitter is struggling to compete for ad dollars with larger or faster-growing Internet services. 

Twitter’s user growth remains stalled. It had 319 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter, a gain of just two million from the previous quarter. 

The stock fell 10% in pre-market trading Thursday following the earnings release. 

“The whole world is watching Twitter,” Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s cofounder and CEO, said on a conference call with analysts. “While we may not be currently meeting everyone’s growth expectations, there is one thing that continues to grow and outpace our peers: Twitter’s influence and impact.”

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I think that Twitter is one of the most important social media platforms in the market. But like any other social media company, there are huge expectations for growth and development. The article even pointed out that, in comparison Twitter has 319 million users vs Facebook reaching almost 2 billion.

Maybe Twitter will be facing a huge challenge in the next 5 years. The company will either develop something new attracting new customers – some experts are seeing Twitter more involved with Sports and Business – or facing the reality of being no more one of the leaders in the social media environment. The future will tell us.

 

 

Social Media Pushes the Home Renovation to Record Growth

According to an article on Financial Post: “Renovation spending has been rising for 15 straight years and reached a record $63.4-billion in 2013, which accounted for 3.7% of total Canadian gross domestic product, Altus said. More money is being spent on renovation than on all new home construction.” 

I think this is a great example of the power of Social Media influencing people and creating new trends. The Home Renovation Industry had a tremendous boost with TV Shows that can be watched basically anytime and anywhere. Plus Social Media helped to share the success and frustrations of home renovations.

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We also factor the “product placement” and the sponsorship in certain shows. For example, a brand new kitchen bought at Home Depot, Lower’s or Ikea. The show also take opportunities to advertise non related home renovation products, such as a bank service. In one HGTV show, the host showed how to deposit a cheque using your smartphone, a bank service that can be helpful during your buzzy home renovation. (Below a TD Bank advertisement for some HGTV shows)

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I think that to capture the whole scope of Social Media, we should factor that people influence people on new trends, like home renovations with ideas, inspirations, tips and resources that are everyday share on Social Media. Definitely a bonus for the home renovation Industry. (Photo below: TV Show hosts for home renovations)

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