A Blog by Jonathan Low


Oct 18, 2017

Automated AI Tools Most Effective When They 'Supplement and Extend' Rather Than Replace Humans: Report

 Convergence pays better than conflict. JL

Alison Rayome reports in Tech Republic:

"Over-reliance on technology in search for efficiency gains can reduce, rather than increase, the levels of customer intimacy required for success." Automated AI tools are most effective when they "supplement and extend" the capabilities of their customer support team, rather than replace human workers. 79% of Americans said chatbots should not be able to pose as humans. 71% said brands should require customers' explicit consent before using AI when marketing to them.

Two-Thirds of Worldwide Adults Will Own Smartphones By Next Year

Now, if only we could accurately measure the impact on sales...JL

Rani Molla reports in Re/code:

Two-thirds of adults worldwide, 66.5%, will own smartphones next year. But growth in smartphone ownership has been slowing for some time as many markets reach saturation. Smartphone ownership increased 10% this year and is expected to grow 7% in 2018. Mobile devices will account for 73% of internet consumption in 2018 and 59% of ad spending.

Implications of US Supreme Court's Refusal To Hear Suit Challenging Google's Trademark

It could be that in the digital economy, protection for trademarks will be more enduring than those for tangible products. At least for now. JL

David Kravets reports in ars technica:

The Supreme Court declined to review a petition asserting "google" has become generic and unqualified for trademark protection. Even if "google" has become known for searching the Internet, Google's trademark should be valid, as Google isn't just a search engine. Trademark loss to genericide occurs when the name has become an "exclusive descriptor" that makes it difficult for competitors unless they use that name. Google will keep its trademark unlike teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape.

Food Marketers Reimagine Supermarkets For the Digital Future

Smart shelves, pay as you go, customized ads as you shop, sensors that deploy employees: in order to compete with Amazon, the focus is on data and service. JL 

Heather Haddon reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Sensors monitor  customers in a store and deploy checkout clerks. This has reduced wait times several minutes. Sensors monitor freshness and notify managers. Sensors recognize and communicate with apps on the mobile devices of customers. Apps contain data about customer’s shopping habits, and shelves  display banner ads customized for them. Customers use devices to ring up as they shop, then pay for their purchases through an app. “Grocery companies think of themselves more like tech companies,”

How Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google Are Using AI To Best Each Other

Each of the major tech companies is employing artificial intelligence in ways that enhance its own current strengths.

The question is whether, over time, such AI services can or will be sufficiently differentiated so as to provide a competitive advantage, or whether in consumers' eyes, these enhancements are simply the ante to stay in the game as the power of the tech brands' electronic ecosystems grow or fade. JL

Fast Company reports:

For Apple, AI isn’t the top note but it’s behind the scenes to make apps better and strengthen users’ connection to iPhone. Google’s emphasis on AI can increasingly be seen through its products. Facebook's tangible applications are less fantastical than others: AI should replicate—and exceed—human senses such as vision and hearing so that Facebook can better understand its users and serve them. Amazon has created a new electronics category, elevat(ing) AI in everyday lives, from automated drone deliveries to voice-powered Alexa service.

Why Improving Online Conversion Rates Is Essential for Digital Economy Success

The percentages for finalizing sales online are surprisingly low. A wide array of factors determine success - from the length of the purchase form, to geographic location, to whether the user is on a computer or mobile device.

Given that Amazon and others are acquiring more bricks and mortar businesses as they struggle with profitability, while advertisers and marketers fight arguments that their efforts arent working, these data suggest that continued success in the digital economy requires ongoing improvements for buying and selling online. JL

Price Economics reports:

When someone sees your checkout page, how likely are they to open up their credit card and actually buy? Long forms and low order volumes are associated with low conversion rates. Users are 68% more likely to make their purchase final when using a desktop, compared to a mobile device. Plus, shoppers are more likely to complete their purchases if they reside in an English-speaking country: on average, 6.1% of these users make it to checkout, compared to 3% in countries where English is not a primary language.

Oct 17, 2017

How Come Nobody Thinks About eBay?

The biggest little tech behemoth to which no one pays attention. At the moment. JL

Chavie Lieber reports in Racked:

eBay is enormous. It has 171 million users, with 1.1 billion listed items at any given time. These days, 88% of postings are “Buy It Now” items, not at all tied to the auction function eBay is known for, and 81% of what’s for sale is new. The company has diversified through big-name acquisitions — PayPal, a 25% stake in Craigslist, Skype, and StubHub. "We have strength, we have velocity. The difference is we have to make people think about us. That is the number one challenge.”