david salisbury

VP of Sales and Marketing
VP of Sales & Marketing of Star Cloud Services, David has been involved in the Internet of Things since his days at the Auckland University of Technology. A retail speaker, who also does the rounds of retail events, David is a passionate advocate of technology's role in retail.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2017

    Are consumers’ AI fears rational?

    There's a fair degree of evidence privacy is still a big issue for consumers. When credit card and personal data can be hacked so easily in an era of data insecurity. That's not to say consumers aren't enthusiastically adopting smart speakers that could be potentially mining even more intimate details about them. At the end of the day, however, predictive analytics provide valuable suggestions for consumers, as can be seen from how algorithms on Amazon, YouTube or Netflix work very effectively. Chatbots like VR pushed by Facebook, have been a bit of a failure so far. Amazon and Google have shown voice commerce has a more direct bearing on retail and commerce and the future of AI. The new consumer is fairly educated as to how AI will scale to know them, but for their brand loyalty and data mining, there has to be a considerable benefit. Amazon and Google are well positioned to off those. Apple and Facebook less so; with regards to convenience and retail. The competition in AI has begun and every major player has their Siri-equivalent; which is really about a dozen. How augmented reality and AI combine and add value to online experiences that sync with e-commerce will be interesting to watch. For the most part social media failed at creating a social commerce platform.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Will mobile order and pay-only stores improve Starbucks’ operational performance?

    Can you think of an Alexa skill more useful than mobile ordering from your "smart car"? Cars will be like data centers on wheels soon. Enough said. BOPIS is how the voice-search economy works in part, as signs of a mobile/post-mobile experience are starting to show not just in IoT, but when 5G mobile speeds come, the result is more transformative than many of us can imagine. Amazon basically plans to make mobile sign-in the new "checkout," and their initiative of using DASH virtually on mobile is rather intuitive. That Starbucks is leveraging this is therefore not surprising. Starbucks already possesses one of the most useful apps in terms of loyalty-marketing integration. Mobile ordering and pre-pay in theory would reduce line-ups, already a big pain point for getting our cup of Joe!
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Why is digital advertising underachieving?

    While digital advertising has a lot of hype and decent targeting, in an age of mobile ad blocks and reduced attention spans, it was bound to not always work. We are looking into how to better connect the dots between offline and online with our IoT solutions in the store of the future. We have to remember that most retailers aren't truly omnichannel natives yet. Most do multi-channel rather badly. We talk about "digital influence" in retail, but it should be mobile influence. With smart speakers and new connected experiences such as AR teaming up with digital signage, we have to also begin to think post-mobile. Knowing our target audience and anticipating and testing the channels that work the best for them, is now more important than ever. Increasingly integrated customer and product analytics has to inform the campaigns in real-time. With the resistance of consumers to hand over private info, technologies such as QR codes are making a resurgence to connect the dots better between offline and online offers.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Should retailers take a public stance on social issues?

    Brands and retailers are increasingly taking a public stand that syncs with the values and views of their customers. This actually creates added loyalty in an age where brand-loyalty may not be what it once was. Millennials can be fiercely loyalty since their values are highly defined with regards to a wide range of public issues as was demonstrated by the social media outcry of the recently pulled Pepsi ad. However, taking a stance on corporate social responsibility and airing political views are two extremes, and the stance of "doing good" is far safer than taking more controversial stances. If a brand knows the values of its customers, then the cost-benefit analysis of taking a stand is much more clear. With analytics today, this should not be a problem. So it's not as "risky" as some analysts say, since a brand can leverage trending issues to their advantage by siding with their customer to improve their customer-centricity in brand voice and experiences, and no longer be just about products and price. With data at their fingertips and consumer insights, it's not the "slippery slope" it once was, and obviously issues and values influence the Millennial and Gen Z shopper more than some other segments of the population.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    We have to remember with evolving artificial intelligence, tech companies will increasingly be able to empower retail, e-tailers, VR-retail and all the new modes of shopping and access to services that we are seeing with the likes of Amazon Echo skills. Ultimately this provides new experiences for the consumer and new ways to personalize the customer experience both in-store for mobile natives and most importantly: what's coming in the future of retail and the future store. It's not just IoT, it's also how retail optimizes human relationships and targeting high-value customers that impacts brand loyalty, customer retention and aspects of the customer journey most relevant to that particular shopper. Amazon has the capability of doing trial and error on another scale, and easily seeing what the new consumer leans towards and developing that to a next-gen level. So far as they do that better than anyone else, they are becoming a global soft monopoly in the making connecting tech and retail in new ways. Oblivious traditional retailers can't compete with the best tech companies in the world, not just in terms of innovation, but in terms of the tech talent they possess, the budgets and the partnerships.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Can Amazon Cash open e-commerce up to millions of underbanked consumers?

    Amazon Cash connects the dots in new ways for consumers, and really has no disadvantages. Since many consumers live beyond their means, the new consumer is not just discount-hungry, but needs free options to better manage their accounts. PayPal, in spite of great services and a convenient interface, are expensive. More than anything, I believe this hits Walmart's key customer segments. The future Amazon stores and even AmazonFresh make a direction competition vs. Walmart the next big game-changer of retail. However, mobile payments has not scaled as fast in North America as in other parts of the world, and it's likely even more convenient ways of paying will be coming soon. Bottom line, Amazon is giving consumers and shoppers more options, and all of these "new features" add value to Amazon Prime and its dominating eco-system.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2017

    Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure play e-tailers?

    In the case of very specific niche verticals, it may work to go full on e-commerce. But for the majority of brands, this will be a losing strategy. The store is the experience, and unless you have exceptional branding and following, such as a Frank + Oak, it's not a realistic alternative. The reality is, e-commerce is not profitable and is a very hard business to turn a profit in, unless your name is Amazon. E-commerce brands opening up stores is a much more natural thing to do, in my humble opinion. Not only is pure e-tailing not in the DNA of physical retailers, it takes a completely different skill-set and budget to make it work. Since the majority of retailers fail in omnichannel and even multi-channel, it's hard seeing this trend gaining much steam.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Will smaller stores and omnichannel pay off for Kohl’s?

    I think there's a fair bit of evidence that smaller stores are more engaging; look at the size of AmazonGo future grocery stores. It's also easier to optimize such environments to be geared around how the store of the future evolves. The psycho-social aspect of the customer experience is also more personal and intimate. So human interactions might feel less disengaged and retail store associates might feel more empowered. This has real consequences on the level of customer service. It's a bit late in the game to confessions of not being omnichannel-worthy. Which is why I don't have a whole degree of confidence in big-box retailers squeezed by off-price consumers. Target, Macy's and even Kohl's, to me, falls in this category. Their app does appear better than most, if we are to trust the Google play ratings. The wallet feature does sound like it integrates loyalty incentives well.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    How can sales associates successfully juggle customers?

    Helping those customers who are the most engaged would be a good rule of thumb, they will appreciate it more and enjoy the human interaction more so. While there may be rules of thumb for every situation, there's increasing evidence that every sales associate should be equipped with a tablet because if they are, they are usually more able to help educate and inspire potential customers and sales. More firms are now coming on board helping retailers with employee training programs. This is also because there's such a high turn-over rate of sales associates. Mirroring the customer and summarizing is a really good idea. Building a relationship in micro-interactions isn't necessarily easy, but it's the basis of sales. If reciprocity is the golden rule of nurturing relationships, sales associates have to be able to identify when their interactions are most welcome and back-off with those customers who are indifferent to them.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Will customer tracking help save shopping malls?

    Big Data is everywhere, but how to make it actionable and to make those insights translate into better shopping experiences? Any store in a mall or boutique can get a (Dor) traffic counter and in the retail age of customer analytics, the more data and the more insights the better. As we enter a retail of connected devices, the loyalty, personalization and location marketing that these tools afford soon will translate into some ROI for store margins. Though probably not enough to save the mall. Many believe mobile sign-in via QR codes or video and facial recognition are the easiest ways to personalize offers in real-time. It's only a matter of time before we opt in to such retail environments. All stores will eventually be like Amazon Go mini grocery stores. As shoppers we want the ultimate convenience, and since our apps already track our behavior -- is it really such a stretch to allow stores to do the same?
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Is ‘wantedness’ something that marketers need?

    Brands have to cater to the values of their customers. In the experience and on-demand economy this is more important than ever. Remember, the idea that Millennials and Generation Z are less loyal is a myth. But what makes a consumer "loyal" has changed significantly. Corporate social responsibility in 2017 has gone mainstream. The best ads have always been emotional. The most emotional thing a brand can do is to do good with impact. Doing good means different things to different segments of customers. Without significant data on their customers, this kind of targeting wouldn't be possible. Social campaigns need to mirror the values and preferences of the customer.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    Will tech innovations change foodservice?

    You have to imagine that the grocery and food services will be fully automated by 2030. The smart fridge will known what it needs order via AmazonFresh, where a robot delivers the food, where another robot takes it to the robot cook -- you get the idea! Mobile ordering at McDonald's is a case in point. We believe this will become a big deal. Consumers want convenience and are fairly willing to forgo the human element in a lot of verticals. Does it really kill me if I'm served by a robot instead of a human? Not really, so long as it gets my order right. We have to be realistic about what young people moderated by technology today will prefer in the future. Unfortunately for the food services, disruption is coming. The robot that makes your pizza from start to finish is just one small example of what this might look like. When the Whitehouse warned of jobs under $20 dollars an hour being more at risk in the future of work, they were not joking. The 2020s will change our services and the food industry more than many of us in 2017 can fully imagine. We may have to create no-robot zones where we can go to a cafe just for humans; it's coming to that. You wouldn't know it today, but just watch.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    What happens now that Alexa is on the iPhone?

    Alexa is re-shaping the world and outperforms Google Home (Google Assistant) for one simple reason, the app integrations re: skills are increasing exponentially. This means Apple is falling behind -- and Amazon is proving it knows AI and voice commerce as well as anyone. Amazon's app is already one of the fastest growing apps for downloads year-over-year. The number of skills on Alexa has jumped very quickly to 10,000. Siri is becoming obsolete. I do not know where Viv stands, that was acquired by Samsung. Apple has a better chance of out-competing Facebook in AR and hardware, Facebook will announced next month their "Building 8" -- their hardware division that will rival Snap and will try to take the future of AR, since VR didn't quite take off yet. The story of the smart speaker is one to watch for retail and is a sign that the era of IoT is on the horizon with post-mobile voice discovery. If you think about the gig economy, more people are working from home now, and this leverages a huge new movement of how people relate to Artificial Intelligence. Since voice recognition has upped its game, how we call an Uber, order a pizza and other things has all changed in 2017, forever. The better Alexa is, the more valuable Amazon Prime is -- now with too many incentives to pass up on. When AmazonFresh and Amazon Go go live in major cities, not having Amazon Prime will be next to unthinkable.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2017

    Will AI transform retail marketing?

    While you seem to focus on SEO and advertising, remember that in a mobile-first world, it's local search, loyalty and discount deals that motivate digitally native shoppers. AI that leverages location, real-time incentives that are personalized, loyalty benefits and mobile (mobile wallet, digital receipts, mobile coupons) in my view are a significant part of the future of marketing automation in retail. Digital natives are on mobile in the store, or at the mall. At the POS, we are seeing more add-ons that are artificially intelligence based, they leverage data and personalization in new ways giving retailers added ways to deliver ROI in a fairly automated way. Chatbots that leverage SMS, not email, will take some market share from legacy email approaches. 2017 has many chatbots in beta, but as we move more into the IoT era, it's chatbots that know us, who will be our new "shopping companions" in store. Conversational bots aren't exactly new; Alexa will likely have 25,000 skills by the end of 2017. AI startups are partnering with POS and IoT solution providers, and intersecting with retail and loyalty marketing in new ways.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2016

    Is the paper receipt dying?

    1. The receipt is only valuable if it's to be used for expenses or returns, and as its printed on flimsily thermal paper, it has no longevity anyway, so you are going to need to make either an archival paper copy or digital version. So why not simply get a digital version in the first place. 2. Coupons that are relevant have a value (CVS is not targeted), delivering them on paper is cheap and effective and these coupons are very portable (check out your mail box to see how this is not going to change over night) delivering coupons via digital is even cheaper, and overall a better experience.. provided that the redemption process is not complicated by having to show a phone to a cashier. 3. Any digital solution that slows down or inconveniences the shopper is bad. Tying the receipt to pre shopping experience such as Uber, Amazon, or to a credit/loyalty card, as per square ft CVS makes sense.
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