Understanding and Beating Demand

Understanding supply and demand has always been a tough thing to master. At the National Retail Conference this year IBM had a really easy to follow demonstration that showed how a supply chain analyst can master demand of your products and categories based on things like weather, news, etc. This applies to both brick and mortar and the eCommerce channel.

You might also think about how buy online and pickup in store could be affected by this demand. In the video below I could easily see myself searching online for rain gear at a local outdoor store and wanting to see store inventory and even buying online and then going to pick that item up – I have actually been in this position on a golf trip I went on a few years back but BOPIS was not really even a thing back then.

Take a look at the story presented in the video below:


Marketplaces, Cognitive, and Dynamic Pricing dominated NRF16

This year I did not man a booth or guide people around the IBM pedestals but instead I decided to actually attend the National Retail Federation (NRF) as an attendee. I went to a lot of sessions, visited a lot of booths, and observed our very own IBM booths. As I walked the grounds and even waited in line for the free lunch box I was impressed with the dialog of others around me. Over and over I heard many talking about Watson and cognitive computing which then lead into other discussions about IBM and more specifically dynamic pricing.

The IBM booth was crowded pretty much every day, the turn out and excitement around IBM Commerce seemed to be at an all time high – I could barely walk through the booth!



This was the first year I witnessed a change in the dialog from the usual feature/function discussion of buy online, pickup in store, cart abandonment, catalog management, etc to features that will differentiate a brand in the market. More talk about consolidating brick and mortar and the eCommerce channels. The ugly truth that most companies still have separate teams supporting the same functions on the different channels. This then lead into many discussions around pricing. The theme this year at the IBM booth was dynamic pricing and cognitive (machine learning).

If you are interested in learning more about how this works you might want to check out the IBM Whitepaper “Attracting and retaining customers with insights-driven dynamic pricing“.

“More sophisticated retailers are not just reacting but instead proactively testing various pricing strategies to see what effect they have on their customers; they are sensing and responding,” – link

The paper also goes into discussing the challenges of consistent pricing across channels. The power comes when you begin to mix cognitive learning with dynamic pricing:

“As channels blur and retailers have multiple touch points with consumers, price coordination becomes essential….The holy grail of dynamic pricing is achieved through the application of cognitive computing, a self-learning environment that “Understands, Reasons, and Learns” from inputs to intuitively determine the best prices and promotions for customers in context.” – link

Lastly, the conversations around marketplaces were also very prevalent this year. If you are not familiar with marketplaces think Amazon. Manufacturers are looking to revamp their B2B networks with new user interfaces and shopping experiences that outperform the Amazons of the world. Moving from the traditional green screen ordering system to a friendlier online shopping experience like a Staples.com.

One example I heard was a manufacturer makes a widget which costs $150. It is of high quality and has a life expectancy of many years. However, knock-offs that look identical (literally almost the exact same picture) cost $50 on Amazon marketplaces. The $50 product is manufactured in China and is really a much lower quality with a shorter life expectancy. The problem is when you search on Amazon for the product you essentially see what appears to be the same exact product but one is $100 more – so which one do you think gets sold? This problem can be addressed by using a solution like the Mirakl Marketplace Platform to battle the Amazon problem and also give your interface for your partners a face lift. I had the opportunity to see the Mirakl demonstration live and I was very impressed with the user interface and the management capabilities it offers. It offers a complete vendor management solution where you can not only bring up a vendor very quickly but also get an holistic view of your products performance across vendors. Click the picture below to learn more about Mirakl.


Mirakl Marketplace Platform

Now, imagine a platform where cognitive dynamic pricing and marketplaces all work together. A manufacturer can then beat out the Amazon marketplaces by controlling their own marketplace and also get pricing insight through dynamic pricing!


Video: IBM Commerce Insights

Haven’t seen IBM Commerce Insights? Check out the video below to see how you can be a differentiator in your market with IBM Commerce Insights and be sure to stop by the IBM booth at NRF next week to get a personal demonstration of IBM Commerce Insights.



Pick and pack just got a little easier

Pick and pack

Fulfilling orders is a key element to any online presence and part of fulfilling is picking and packing the product to be ready for shipping. It is funny, this article is getting attention now but my colleagues and I have been demonstrating similar bar code scanners in our demonstrations for years. So to many I don’t think this is news but it’s certainly getting a lot of attention now. Check out some of the information in the article, it is a good read and it clearly shows you the direction people are going because of Amazon. They want to be better, faster and cheaper.

Global sales of mobile scanning devices used in warehouses reached about $850 million in 2015, up 33% since 2013, according to VDC Research. – link

The article really focus’s on the Zebra TC8000, which I think is pretty slick, but the editorial around the topic of shaving minutes off an operation is really the focus to most businesses, especially in the eCommerce world.

Check out the full article here.


My YouTube channel year in review

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 9.35.13 AM

I really enjoyed making videos this year. I have gotten a lot better with the green screen and different production techniques. I really started taking advantage of on screen labels, animation, zoom ins and even did a few videos using a teleprompter, which I home made. If anyone is interested in know how I made it let me know and I can blog about it. I have really gotten better with Final Cut Pro X still find it absolutely amazing every time I learn a new trick – such quality software.

This year I produced 50 videos! It was an all time high for my channel. Now, you may not see all of the videos because some are not listed and are only available from a source link but most of those videos are public.

I had over 78,000 minutes watched with over 30,000 views. I gained 60 likes, thank you! I also gained over 100 new followers – I now have over 500 subscribers to my channel!

Happy New Year!

And thank you for watching my videos and all of your suggestions and interactions!



Here are the top 10 videos watched and the new likes in 2016 on my channel: