It’s that time of the year.
The year when all the smart, rich, famous and well-connected show up in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.
I’m sure it’s nothing personal, but once again for as many years as I care to remember, my invitation never showed.
That’s OK, as things are pretty busy around here as we get off to a fast start in 2013.
However, I did really enjoy Alison Smale’s big-picture setup piece for Davos in The New York Times' DealBook.
And if I were in attendance, that’s the type view I would be eagerly seeking -- What are the general macroindicators and movements that smart peeps think are going to shape the year?
Some will be currents we can’t yet see, and as Smale observes, “Our footing is uncertain, as on this ski resort’s slithery streets, and we have steep slopes to climb, as the Magic Mountain will remind the global elite this week.”
Troubles in north Africa, the challenge of free information in China, anemic growth in Germany, the averted fiscal cliff but once again looming US debt ceiling... ”Crisis, in short,” writes Smale, “is the new normal.”
Speaking of Germany, also increasingly normal is the threat of cyber intrusion, according to a panel at the DLD conference which ended yesterday in Munich.
In coverage by Frederic Larinois from TechCrunch of Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, the Internet security firm, and F-Secure’s chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, it became readily apparent that cyber intrusion sophistication is reaching new levels.
Kaspersky spoke of recent cyber attacks like Stuxnet and Red October, suggesting such efforts have reached the equivalent of the “space station” in terms of their sophistication and impact, while Hypponen said the “happy hacker” of the 80s and 90s was long gone, and that instead “we now have to deal with criminals who try to make money from their malware and botnets, hacktivists who try to protest and governments attacking their own citizens and other governments for espionage and full-scale cyber warfare.”
The cyber genie, in other words, is well out of the virtual bottle.
So, let’s forget about all these woes for a few, shall we, and go shopping instead?
IBM’s new study of 26,000 global consumers will be coming out soon, and the early skinny has it revealing some interesting insights, including the fact that 35 percent of shoppers are unsure whether they would next shop at a store or online.
Talk about a confused consumer!
It also revealed that nearly half of online purchases result from “showrooming,” a growing trend whereby consumers browse goods at a store, but ultimately buy them online.
You’ve done that before, haven’t you? You just didn’t know there was a fancy name for it!
Ultimately, consumers are seeking an integrated shopping experience. So, in response, retailers need to connect their online and physical stores, blending the benefits of each -- from research to purchase to building brand loyalty, to that ultimate golden chalice of retail, repeat sales.
IBM is helping through its analytics capabilities, helping retailers measure sales metrics across digital channels to spot consumer buying patterns and visualizing product display, promotions, and even coupons in new ways.
Visit the IBM Smarter Retail website to learn how your organization can create an integrated shopping experience.
Me, I’ve got to run down to the Amazon store for some new typewriter ribbons.