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  • European consumers fear economic slowdown
    • 04/20/16
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    European consumers fear economic slowdown

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Europe study for the first quarter of 2016

  • European retail in 2016: Slow but real-value growth
    • 04/19/16
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Geomarketing
    • Geo+RealEstate
    • Global
    • English

    European retail in 2016: Slow but real-value growth

    GfK has carried out a comprehensive analysis of the European retail scene in 33 European countries. The study examines purchasing power, the retail share of the population's total expenditures, inflation, sales area productivity as well as a turnover prognosis for 2016. The study is part of the new edition of ACROSS Magazine, which is being launched at the 2016 ICSC European conference in Milano, Italy.

  • Consumer Confidence stalls at zero
    • 03/31/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Consumer Goods
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Consumer Confidence stalls at zero

    Do Brexit jitters explain 18-point fall since March 2015 in sentiment over future prospects for general economy?

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained at zero in March. 

  • Consumer Confidence stalls at zero
    • 03/31/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer Confidence stalls at zero

    Do Brexit jitters explain 18-point fall since March 2015 in sentiment over future prospects for general economy?

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained at zero in March. 

  • Consumer Confidence stalls at zero
    • 03/31/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Consumer Goods
    • Norway
    • English

    Consumer Confidence stalls at zero

    Do Brexit jitters explain 18-point fall since March 2015 in sentiment over future prospects for general economy?

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained at zero in March. 

  • Consumer Confidence stalls at zero
    • 03/31/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Consumer Goods
    • Sweden
    • English

    Consumer Confidence stalls at zero

    Do Brexit jitters explain 18-point fall since March 2015 in sentiment over future prospects for general economy?

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained at zero in March. 

    • 03/28/16
    • Financial Services
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Connected car
    • Global
    • English

    In-vehicle payment systems: How manufacturers can get it right

    At the 2016 Mobile World Congress, Visa showcased a mobile payment concept with Honda for parking and fuel. Similar initiatives have been announced by Ford for parking payments through its FordPass solution. Parkopedia is rolling this out with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well. With cars offering a new payment medium, there are many opportunities for manufacturers to differentiate…and fail. How do auto manufacturers, OEMs and even financial services companies design and implement this technology so drivers adopt and value this feature resulting in a leading market position?

    The opportunities for payment systems within the connected consumer’s car

    There are many applications of payment systems within the connected consumer’s car. In the very short-term, vehicles will increasingly be able to pay for services in isolated situations. Some will be passive, such as tolling, and some will be partially passive, such as parking or drive-ins where the car will be an option for payment but will have to be confirmed on a screen.

    • Paying at the pump: This system would involve being recognized by the gas station as you pull up. It registers your loyalty information, the pump is activated and you simply get out and pump. Then, rewards are automatically applied and a receipt is displayed on dash and sent to email. There are also possibilities to incorporate a locator for finding nearest preferred stations or lowest-priced gasoline.
    • Parking: This option promises to identify open parking spaces, automatically pay with your custom time, push notifications to warn when parked time is running out and possibly add time remotely through a mobile phone.
    • Tolls: While there are many states that have automatic tolling, the option to integrate this feature into the car interface is compelling.
    • Food: Imagine a seamless drive-thru experience that offers a restaurant locator, ordering and payment.
    • Car washes: Loyalty programs and automated payments are recognized as you pull up to the facility.
    • Digital personal assistants: More advanced systems will allow a natural voice interface/digital personal assistant (DPA) to pay for tickets for events, flights or car hire in advance while you’re driving – whether this latter category is really your car making the payment (such DPA’s will likely be cross platform) or the car simply facilitates access to these cloud-based services.

    First step for manufacturers: understand user expectations, satisfy existing pain points and uncover user requirements

    The question is, will consumers prefer to use their car as a form of payment or simply continue to use an application on their phone? Will security and privacy concerns continue to prevent adoption of using your car for making payments in the same way it is stalling adoption and usage of mobile payments? What segments of the market will be more apt to desire this feature? With so many ways to apply new technology, understanding and prioritizing user needs will be the first step towards creating a successful experience. Adoption will depend on how well solutions meet these needs, with the goal of a smooth and seamless experience. Imagine if electronic toll collection, like EZPass, a successful system used for northeastern and midwestern toll roads in the US, required active driver engagement – it would have resulted in much less adoption and success. Similarly, passive features that seem to work as the driver intends (accessing credit cards stored on phones for example) will be seen as extensions of the driving experience and not as disconnected activities. Deciding on the right solution (mobile web, app-based, dashboard or other built-in auto controls) will depend on understand user expectations, satisfying existing pain points and uncovering requirements. Involving drivers and passengers early and throughout the development of these solutions will ensure successful adoption.

    Safety first: By enhancing the driving experience, drivers will be delighted and less distracted

    As we’ve seen with the introduction of new technologies into the automotive environment, such as heads-up displays or Bluetooth synchronization, the driver’s focus must remain on the driving tasks. And the experience of the new technology should be designed around this foundation. By enhancing the driving experience, rather than competing with it, drivers will be delighted and actually less distracted, with the goal to actually improve safety rather than detract from it. For example, fumbling for a wallet at the drive through or toll takes driver attention from the driving tasks; difficult to use Bluetooth controls can cause focus to be removed from the road, with potentially disastrous effect.

    What’s next in ‘car-based payments’?

    The connected car space is still very new and players from all ecosystems are trying to find a value proposition to tap into this ecosystem. Initially “car-based payments” will probably fit passive / semi-passive needs, as they are more easily implemented and don’t cause a distraction. As vehicles become more autonomous, the task of driving will become secondary in certain circumstances, leaving drivers free for other tasks. Through this, the car could become a portal to the internet, similar to a phone or tablet. While there are many questions and opportunities for this incredible technology, the winners in the market will be those who not only design the features their users want, but also localize and deliver them the way users expect them to be delivered.

    What is your opinion on this topic? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at Tim.Spenny@gfk.com.

    Contributors:

    Jack Bergquist, UK Automotive

    Lead Lauren Zack, Senior Vice President, User Experience

    Tim Spenny, Vice President, Financial Services

  • Global risks dampen economic outlook
    • 03/24/16
    • Financial Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Global risks dampen economic outlook

    The overall optimism of German consumers has lessened somewhat in March. The overall index is forecasting 9.4 points for April following 9.5 points in March. Both economic and income expectations as well as propensity to buy suffer losses.

  • Global risks dampen economic outlook
    • 03/24/16
    • Financial Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Sweden
    • English

    Global risks dampen economic outlook

    The overall optimism of German consumers has lessened somewhat in March. The overall index is forecasting 9.4 points for April following 9.5 points in March. Both economic and income expectations as well as propensity to buy suffer losses.

    • 03/10/16
    • Financial Services
    • Health
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Putting the minimum in Minimum Viable Product (MVP): It’s about the experience!

    Getting to market first can often be the difference between success and failure. But getting there too early can also be disastrous. If quality is judged to be poor, the brand suffers and reputation might not be recoverable. If adoption is low, the innovative technology itself might seem irrelevant, obscuring its value rather than exploiting it. So the challenge for technology leaders racing to market is this: How good is good enough for a minimum viable product?

    Great idea + great technology + great experience = disrupting an industry

    You’ve got a great idea, you think it will be a hit in the market and fill an untapped need. Your team develops innovative technology to transform the idea into a working product. What’s next? Successful disruptors focus on the entire consumer experience to increase the likelihood of adoption and reduce the risk of low adoption. For example:

       

    • Uber released an initial product with an addictive experience coupled with innovative technology. The design of the engaging mobile app succeeded by combining simple visualization of cars and location with a straightforward payment workflow. This ensured quick adoption and that consumers would not quickly switch to next-to-market competitors such as Lyft and others.
    • Warby Parker made the experience of getting new glasses seem fresh by combining technology with a great, personal brick and mortar experience. In addition, the experience includes an understanding that the socially conscious brand will donate one pair of glasses for each pair purchased. This focus on multiple ways to interact with consumers created an initial product suite that reflects a dynamic, multi-channel approach.
    •  

    Designing a great experience: The Holy Grail of product development

    Developing the consumer experience has never been a hotter topic. A recent Harvard Business Review article quoted Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, saying “there is no longer any real distinction between business strategy and the design of the user experience”. As a society, we are fascinated by products that seem to become ubiquitous overnight. In his book, Contagious, Jonah Berger ascribes this success in part due to personal recommendations being prime influencers in behavior – if you have a great experience with a product, you are very likely to tell your friends and family to check it out, and they are very likely to do it.

    This rapid, viral adoption is what all product developers seek: rather than investing heavily in promotion and marketing, a great product experience will sell itself and early adopters will become the product’s most effective spokesmen. In fact, our data has shown the direct relationship between user experience and active brand equity – a direct contributor to market share.

    How should an organization (and its investors) decide when a product is ready to ship?

    It’s all about the user experience:

       

    • The technology has to be “ready” enough that the experience communicates a quality product. This means no bugs and no typos. Details matter, a lot.
    • The value of the product is apparent to users: the use of disruptive technology, innovative approach, etc. need to be readily seen both from the marketing messaging and the product itself. Example: Uber and those little black cars on your mobile device, clearly communicate information and expectations.
    • The first shot needs to have a clear purpose. You can always layer in more technology (e.g., targeting additional devices such as watches) and more features but the first launch has to provide a great (possibly infectious) experience even for the early adopters.
    • Delight your intended customers. Measure beforehand what the experience feels like and use this to inform your go-to-market strategy.
    •  

    The race to market has never been tighter. As soon as a company decides on a cool, new, innovative, disruptive technology, there are dozens of competitors right on their heels. The winners of this race will determine what’s good enough by developing strategies that incorporate a focus on the experience in their definition of minimum viable product.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at Lauren.Zack@GfK.com. And find out more about user experience.

    • 03/08/16
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Why everyone wants a piece of the mobile payment pie

    Connected Consumers the world over are ready for mobile payment. It is little wonder then that retailers, payment card providers and operators are all vying for a piece of the mobile payment pie. The advantages it offers are many: Retailers can use it to better target consumers, technology brands as a means to grow their business and financial services operators to increase demand for their offering.

    Mobile payment offers retailers the opportunity to personalize offers

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards.

    With the advent of services such as Square, mobile payment offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that has to date been the privilege of larger players.

     

    Mobile payment offers technology brands market growth

    For technology brands, mobile payment presents a chance to shine. Brands including Apple, Android and Samsung are forging ahead and winning over Connected Consumers with devices that meet and exceed their need for convenience. High-end handsets with “tap and pay” technology are leading the way and winning points for innovation among tech-savvy users, although they have yet to achieve mass market penetration. This is an area where cooperation is paramount – technology companies must work closely with financial services operators if they are to grow what is, at present, a nascent market.

    Mobile payment offers financial services a growth in demand

    As more providers enter the market, financial services operators such as Visa, Mastercard and Amex are experiencing a significant growth in demand for their services. The addition of players such as Google and Amazon has created a flood of transactions and significantly increased the size of the market. Although many transactions may be small in size, this is a volume business and the entry of major online players will change the fortune of financial services operators for the better.

    Do you agree? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at Tim.Spenny@gfk.com.

  • Concerns about uncertain economic outlook pulls UK consumer confidence down to zero
    • 02/26/16
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Concerns about uncertain economic outlook pulls UK consumer confidence down to zero

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has decreased four points to zero in February. 

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