Tag: retail

Google Canada wants Canucks to be Google Guinea Pigs

Google Canada wants Canadians to beta test new products instead of always being at the bottom of the list.

Chris O’Neill, director of Google Canada, said that Canadians are frequently asking to try out the products and features that only those in the US get access to, such as Google Voice and Google TV.

O’Neill took on the top job in Google Canada in September, but already he has big ambitions to make the Canadian branch of the internet giant a far bigger player. He said that he was a “vision” for Canada to become a hotbed for testing rather than being left last.

The US market is far bigger than that of Canada, however, so it’s likely that products would launch in Canada before the US, a fact that O’Neill himself admits, but a simultaneous launch throughout the whole of North America is a possible option.

One thing holding Canada back, however, is the Canadian business sector, which O’Neill said is “slower to adapt”. He said that businesses need to catch up with the consumer sector, which is growing and adapting at a strong rate.

O’Neill said that there is a huge opportunity in Canada, much bigger than he expected, but that retailers need to think of new ways to bring technology to the forefront of the shopping experience. He suggested that all shops should offer free Wi-Fi, which will attract consumers while also offering them the ability to shop around online while in store.

For now, however, Canada must continue to sit on the sidelines, envious of Google customers across the border.

Consumers won't jump head first into connected TV

They may be talking the talk, but 22 percent of consumer electronics retail sales people are unfamiliar with connected TVs, research has found.

In a study of 3600 sales people in the industry, Creative Channel Services (CCS) reports that
most retail sales staff claimed they were are knowledgeable about the new technology, describing themselves as “familiar to very familiar” with connected TVs.

And they also seem to think they know what is best for the consumer with 45 percent saying that they believe consumers will prefer to invest approximately $250 in a set-top box over a new internet-enabled TV, Blu-ray player or home theatre system.

A further 51 percent went on to say that they believe consumers are “very interested” in streaming video and 35 percent “very interested” in online applications with networked TVs.

Just over half (53 percent) said they don’t feel consumers will look to replace their cable and satellite TV services with a connected TV for at least another five years.

The news may come as a blow to the like of Apple and Google, who, according to research by GigaOM, will take their places as the three dominating companies in the IPTV and OTT online video space.

Software developers and technology providers are rushing to put in place the necessary embedded software and distribution infrastructure that will enable content owners, aggregators, advertisers and consumers to reap the benefits of network connectivity in consumer electronics devices.

It is predicted that the connected platform providers will take a significant slice of the $60 billion annual pay-TV business for themselves.

Ominously for those smaller firms who took the first leap into connected TV, right at the head of those likely to take advantage will be Microsoft, Google and Apple.

However, Intel warns there must be caution. Like those in the CCS survey, the company believes that  people love the TVs they already have. As a result it has moved away from trying to incorporate PC functions into TV. Genevieve Bell, who heads up Intel’s research division exploring how people interact with machines, told us at IDF back in September that Intel would move towards a more holistic approach for user interfaces.

As CCS recommends, if the shift is going to happen soon, manufacturers will need to do more to inform the general public about Connected TV technology

Adobe says firms look to mobile websites to boost business

More than 80 percent of companies are deploying or already using mobile websites to boost their business.

In a survey of 446 businesses, Adobe’s first annual Scene 7 Mobile Commerce Survey found that respondents across several industries, including retail and media, indicated an overwhelming preference for developing websites as their predominant mobile commerce presence compared with other types of mobile properties, including downloadable applications.

Only eight percent of respondents said they would prefer a downloadable application-only mobile commerce strategy.

Adobe also said its survey uncovered four key areas of focus for businesses’ mobile strategies: promotions, commerce, product information and branding. It said 75 percent of respondents named promotions as the core of their mobile strategy, which Adobe said showed the mobile channel as an important method to drive traffic and support multi-channel commerce.

And it seems businesses know exactly what they want when it comes to this application with   more than 55 percent of respondents saying full-screen image zoom and videos were indispensable viewing features for driving conversion. Nearly all (96 percent) also said the most effective visual merchandising features were catalogues and brochures.

However only  18 percent admitted to using rich visual merchandising features for mobile commerce. Adobe said that this would go up in the future 12 months citing that 81 percent of respondents had outlined plans to deploy these features.

Sheila Dahlgren, senior director of product marketing at Adobe, said: “The survey results demonstrate the opportunities that exist for companies to fully leverage rich visualisation features to improve their emerging mobile presences and drive cross-channel sales.”