Monthly Archives: April 2015

Is tech on any of the main parties’ radar ahead of the General Election?

globe tech

Whilst we may all be feeling election fatigue, we still have several days of bitter, nationalist electioneering from more parties than we have ever had to choose from in the UK.

Do any of the parties come up with anything radically new? No. Technology does not seem to be high on many parties lists of priorities – but you decide who gets your vote come 7th May.

Of the top three, Labour mention ‘a longer term approach to drive innovation’, advocating continued advancement in digital and manufacturing technologies as a way to help business.

The Conservatives promise to have 95% of the country covered by superfast broadband by 2017, along with 90% of UK landmass covered by voice and SMS coverage by 2017, and the Lib Dem manifesto contains a section called ‘securing global leadership in technology’.

Here they highlight the competitive advantage that the UK has in key digital sectors and the need to support this area of the economy and that 15% of new companies last year were digital companies. They also state that the digital sector in the UK currently employs around 1.5 million people.

The UKIP manifesto is light on any mention of technology. However in the Education section they have a paragraph stating “to increase the uptake of science learning at secondary level, we will follow the recommendations of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and require every primary school to nominate a science leader to inspire and equip the next generation.”

The Green Party manifesto also has a small section on science and technology. Although technology is mentioned, it is not directly detailed in the policies, which include the free publication of all publicly funded research, preventing the patenting of genes and living organisms, and conducting research ethically.

The SNP talk about research and creativity, pointing out the technology and innovation are central to economic growth across Europe. They support increases in R&D financial ceilings that will allow large scale EU projects to go forward. Plaid Cymru are keen to develop a new manufacturing strategy for Wales, which will take advantage of the existing skills, helped by research and development.

They also highlight the need for children to understand the technology around them, through coding and advanced computer technology development lessons, such as the Raspberry Pi device.

The key messages from most parties regarding technology are focused on education: by educating the next generation of innovators, we can ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of invention and innovation. But, none explain how these advances will be funded and or seem to understand the impact of the digital economy on Britain.

Much like cuts in defence, which we will leave the UK, sooner than you think, no longer a superpower on the world stage, it’s unlikely that we will compete in technology, science or the digital economy. In 2012, £10.0 billion was spent on Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) by the UK Government, a 1% decrease compared with 2011, and continued the downward trend in SET expenditure since 2009.

In comparison, by pouring cash into science and technology faster than its economy has expanded, China has for the first time overtaken Europe on a key measure of innovation: the share of its economy devoted to research and development (R&D). In 2012, China invested 1.98% of its gross domestic product (GDP) into R&D — just edging out the 28 member states of the European Union (EU), which together managed 1.96% according to OECD.

Meanwhile the ranking of EU Countries by download speed (EU Average 16.80Mbps) puts the UK twelfth below Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden, Romania and Portugal. Why? Because many of them have more advanced fibre optic networks in the ground. However, we still come ahead of Germany (13), France (18) and Spain (21) but this is likely to change in the near future as for example, France has committed 20bn Euros to build a national fibre network.

In comparison, that’s 20 times less the equivalent Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) spend, as the Government is investing just over £1 billion in improving broadband and mobile infrastructure to provide basic broadband (2Mbps) for all by 2016 and superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017.

Can the UK really compete when no party appears to understand the importance of technology to the UK economy to dedicate pages rather than mere paragraphs in their manifestos with estimated budgets? The parties need to clearly lay out how they propose to develop the UK as a technological innovator and leader today and into the future.

 

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1bwgycR

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Digital Challenge for Brands: Creating A Consistent Customer Experience

mobile in store banner 2

Understanding the shopper journey and what motivates a shopper to buy your brand is essential to ensure your brand speaks to your target audience. New research has found that the number of consumers researching products online before buying in-store has decreased by 7 percent over the past year. The study, conducted by OnePoll, asked 2000 respondents what motivates them when shopping in retail. The research reflects the changing relationship between e-commerce and the high-street, the Omni-channel. Buying behaviours are becoming more complex, with consumers increasingly using both in-store and online research when making purchasing decisions, particularly on considered “high ticket” purchases.

Recent research conducted by Epson Europe also found that 45 percent of UK purchases are made online, meaning that the majority of purchases are still made in-store. However the gap is closing, with online sales in the UK making up the largest share in Europe, 7 percent above the average. The study also found that 20 percent of shoppers purchase goods online while in-store via mobile devices, using their in-store visit to guide their online purchases. It’s clear that shoppers are becoming more connected in-store, with smart phones beginning to make a clear impact on retail. Researching products online whilst in-store is common and the norm amongst some, with shoppers now able to compare prices on the shop floor more often and likely to become even more common with the development of wearable technology.

In-store social media use is also increasing among consumers, with 14 percent of 18-to-35 year olds using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores, and 15 percent using social media to discuss products with friends. Engaging with brands and retailers through social media is most prevalent with the younger age category, with older generations shying away from the social experience however, they are increasingly using online research before making purchases. Shoppertribes research identified that 58 percent of shoppers aged 55 and over use online research to aid their in-store purchases of electronic goods, and in crowded categories, brands should not ignore such a statistic. With all age groups engaging with brands across many digital platforms, it is unsurprising that the online experience, be that through e-commerce or social media, is beginning to shape how we chose to shop for certain items and brands, with those in the 35 and under more likely to shop online for smaller purchases, choosing to go down the traditional and more sociable route of shopping on the high street for those rewarding considered purchases.

Although the number of shoppers researching online and buying in-store is decreasing, the importance of the Omni-channel experience remains clear. The impact of e-commerce should not be underestimated as nearly half of all sales, predominantly small as identified by the average online basket, are now made online, a number which will likely increase. However, the primary motivation for consumers to shop in-store remains: ‘the ability to see and touch the product.’ This desire to engage in the brand experience is common with considered purchasing decisions associated with high ticket consumer electronics and luxury brands. Increasingly, in our digitally connected, social media world, the brand you carefully chose to wear, carry, and live with as an expression of your identity and lifestyle needs to be seen in person and not in the virtual world.

The benefits of the in-store experience can outweigh the convenience of shopping online. Brands need to combine their approach with seamless branding between online and in-store experiences and streamline the overall brand experience for consumers. Matching online branding in-store can assist sales by improving product recall to guide consumers through the in-store journey. By using an integrated approach, brands can guide the shopper journey, initially driven by ATL from online and social media recommendations to in-store where the unique selling points in relation to the design and quality of brand products are realised in person, which online can’t always achieve. That retail experience remains more successful in achieving the valuable emotional connection consistent with a brand and keeps “shopping” as a sensory event rather than just another virtual experience.

 

Read more at: http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2015/03/25/a-digital-challenge-for-brands-creating-a-consistent-customer-experience/

Tagged , , , ,