PROFILE

Gib Bassett

Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Principal, Oracle

Gib Bassett is a Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Principal with Oracle Corp.  His role involves helping Retail and Consumer Goods organizations take advantage of big data analytics and applications to adapt their businesses to the new world of connected consumers.

Gib has a BA in Public Relations from Purdue University and an MBA from DePaul University.  Connect with him on Twitter @gibbassett.

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  • Posted on: 05/24/2016

    Why isn’t in-store tech focused more on full-service?

    This discussion is similar to this one.I think the challenge for many retailers is viewing their associates as part of an overall strategy, not just a necessary expense to operate the physical store. Starting small by focusing on what makes a store associate's job challenging, which also plays a role in shopper satisfaction, makes sense from a store-tech prioritization standpoint. When the pay is relatively low, I think you need to work especially hard to have employees act consistently as brand ambassadors. So you have to focus as much on the associate's job satisfaction as on the shopper's in my opinion.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2016

    Can Amazon dominate apparel with its own private labels?

    Whether it catches fire is almost immaterial. Amazon is going at traditional brick-and-mortar retail on so many fronts, it must be frustrating for executives in those businesses. Launching private labels is just the most recent example, but expanding into grocery and book retail and probably developing their own shipping and delivery service promises to eat into the already slow/no growth in-store retail is experiencing right now.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect the brick-and-mortar retailers that will be around and doing well in five years will be hyper-focused on a particular segment as opposed to offering broad general merchandise. I think it will take that level of focus and awesome execution around the shopping experience to do well.

    Remember, Amazon can fund these activities at a loss for a lot longer than any retailer can and Amazon's cost structure is a lot more efficient. Just yesterday I saw news that Nordstrom's online sales were growing but at a loss due to the inefficiencies of servicing that channel given the way they are organized. Resolving that quickly will not be easy and doing so can distract from continuing to keep pace with consumers.

  • Posted on: 02/19/2016

    Amazon Books is better than Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

    I'm not surprised at all. They are taking the best attributes of their online experience and translating that to a physical context. I'm sure the data and information history they have on customers helps a lot here too. That would include understanding really well how customers like to buy books. I'm sure they will translate this into other categories sooner than later. Other retailers should look closely at how their customers like to buy within certain categories and figure out how to enhance those particular experiences. Examining whatever data they have on their customers is a good place to start and then explore testing concepts a lot like what Amazon seems to be doing.

  • Posted on: 12/22/2015

    Why beacons’ bright light dimmed in 2015 – and what’s next

    I think they can serve either function. The issue is that just like other digital engagement methods (like email for example), the opportunity to engage 1:1 with a consumer initially generates excitement around the promotional possibilities by marketers. What happens is that too many focus on the push opportunity at the expense of relevancy and thoughtfulness. Beacons are only as useful as the analytics that inform them as a touch point in the consumer journey. That's probably something we will see happen in 2016 by smarter retailers.

  • Posted on: 12/11/2015

    Can a former Target marketer help Walmart attract higher income shoppers?

    Makes sense — news just the other day reported stats showing that in the U.S., the middle class (from an income perspective) was now smaller than those at the lower and higher income ranges. It's like I've said before, the U.S. is dividing market-wise into two segments and that doesn't lend itself well to general merch. Walmart owns the low-price space, so why not grow via a separate strategy targeting upper-income consumers? Mr. Francis may be the right person, who knows? I'd expect Walmart to attack this space via a different banner or brand though, given the segmentation that necessitates that approach — in my view anyway.

  • Posted on: 11/23/2015

    Can storytelling transcend technology?

    This post points out the problems many companies are having with Big Data or advanced analytics projects where they are looking to leverage new and existing data sources to uncover some new actionable insights that will really move the needle. Collaborating with business managers who understand the opportunity is becoming critical and getting them engaged upfront is necessary in almost any project. That will include involvement in the analytic process, including data interpretation. So you have IT, analytics and business professionals collaborating around a business issue. That is not a commonplace scenario in most retailers. Doing this well and at scale will have the impact of getting more managers to rely less on intuition and more on data to drive the business forward.

  • Posted on: 11/23/2015

    What’s blocking the endless aisle?

    For consumers it's not terribly problematic in my opinion — they can have many options and will land on one that likely meets their needs after a few minutes online. Or learn to always look first at the retailer that has met their needs in the past. For retailers though, it's a big problem. To be that first destination of choice is really hard since most people go right to Amazon by default. Retailers need to figure out the right business process, technology and analytics mix to offer a more seamless shopping experience that leverages all the inventory and logistics capability the company has, regardless of channel.

  • Posted on: 11/13/2015

    Why aren’t shoppers paying full price for Macy’s merchandise?

    It's some combination of consumers spending in other ways, and the increasing specialization that appears to be required to succeed in retail today. Macy's may just be too general a merchandiser amid a retail market that increasingly separates into discount and more specialized or higher-end items. It sounds like they see this and are trying to adapt.

  • Posted on: 10/16/2015

    Walmart preps in-store SMS shopping assistant

    I think it's a great option that should complement their mobile application and consumer engagement strategy. Five years ago I worked for a company that provided in-store SMS customer service for Sears customers. The beauty of text messaging is that it's such a common consumer mobile task that it doesn't require a lot of interpretation by the consumer to utilize. The channel also can embed short URL links to mobile web sessions to visualize an offer, coupon or product information, plus request permissions for bi-directional communications going forward. It should also present a channel to promote downloads of their mobile apps where shoppers can register and provide richer details about their preferences.

  • Posted on: 10/15/2015

    Has Walmart lost its way or has Wall Street lost its mind?

    I think they do. This statement stands out as reflecting how Walmart will differentiate itself in the retail landscape:

    "We will be the first to build a seamless customer experience at scale to save our customers not only money but also time."

    That's not hyperbole. I heard a representative from Walmart's data science organization earlier this year speak at conference, saying their mission was to remove the cognitive load off of their shoppers to make it as easy as possible to make a purchase. Walmart's application of analytics to its treasure trove of consumer and shopper data should help the company differentiate its customer experience and grow no matter what Wall Street thinks in my view. Market share is up for grabs.

  • Posted on: 08/12/2015

    Target asks vendors to take it to another level

    Given that "the areas in which Target is seeking to work with suppliers is the launch of new, exclusive products," I'd suggest Target collaborate more closely with suppliers to ensure the right data and analytics are shared. This recent example of big data analytics highlights how important it is to identify not just the drivers of a good launch but the right customers that will sustain a new product's success. Very interesting.

     

  • Posted on: 07/09/2015

    How should retail prepare for the Internet of Things?

    I think one way to think about this is the difference between IoT capabilities improving a current capability versus creating entirely new ones. That could be a guiding principal to starting the process of testing. For example, extend your mobile strategy to encompass beacons to improve the shopping experience with greater relevancy and interactivity. Or leverage RFID tag data on products on the shelf and in the back room to help shoppers looking online understand inventory availability before they even enter the store.

    What's interesting too is that these same scenarios could support better retail/supplier collaboration if some data is shared among the parties. Shopper marketing programs and supply chain processes that span both retailers and suppliers are places where IoT capabilities and data should be leveraged to drive sales and on-shelf performance. A last thought is to also draw an analogy to pure online e-commerce, where all interactions can more or less be tracked and improved with data and analytics. As physical stores get more instrumented, the data that is collected should start to allow conceptually a similar level of personalization but with the tactile nature of shopping in person.

  • Posted on: 06/19/2015

    Will personalized pricing ever make it to brick & mortar stores?

    This sounds compelling but the fairness issue is very real as is the concept of managing pricing on thousands of SKUs in real time. On a continuum of prioritization, I suspect most grocers and their suppliers should first focus on developing and leveraging a jointly developed understanding of consumers and their purchase paths to inform more relevant promotions, content and an overall more satisfying shopping experience. With that in hand, layering in price variability on a shopper-by-shopper basis at the point of sale would probably be more favorably received.

  • Posted on: 06/01/2015

    Finding the line between digital creepy and cool

    When the actions are not so much helpful to the shopper, but are overtly designed to sell you something and the data is pretty much all used to that end, that is where the problems arise. I think a challenge for retailers will be this balance. Measurement will be key so that actions that are both helpful and well-received lead to sales.

  • Posted on: 05/15/2015

    Retailers suffer the high cost of overstocks and out-of-stocks

    As the article points out this is a problem wide in scope with multiple causes. Change has to start at a leadership or organizational level. I think similar problems could be identified around marketing or store execution too. In general, it seems that "business as usual" can no longer be tolerated and most retailers need to get much more serious about looking at things from the consumer's perspective, then work back from there to prioritize how they change for the better.

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