Digital trends round-up – February 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds digital trends round-up – a summary of innovations, new technologies and the latest digital trends to help you navigate today’s fast-paced, tech-enabled world. This month harnessing real-time data, growing privacy concerns and Westpac’s use of iBeacon technology have hit the news.

Big data brings big returns

Harnessing real-time data has proved valuable for Asos, helping to boost sales by 33%. The online fashion retailer tracks market data and information on their competitors and uses this data to inform what products they stock when and the prices they sell at. They’re not the only retailers using data to improve their business model. Amazon is leading the way in predictive analytics, having filed a patent for a system that will enable the company to send packages to specific locations before a customer has even placed an order. By mining their own data, they hope to predict which geographical areas will order the same products and send packages pre-emptively. These two initiatives show the huge possibilities that harnessing both external and internal data open up: from developing more competitive pricing to predicting and responding to consumer demand.

Privacy concerns grow

 Privacy concerns are on the up, with new research from eConsultancy showing that over 89% of British internet users are worried about online privacy. One of the key causes for concern is companies tracking users’ online behaviour to target them with adverts and content, with 54% citing this as a worry. Against this backdrop, it’s vital that marketers strike the right balance between harnessing new developments in technology to deliver more effective advertising strategies whilst, at the same time, building trust with customers. Doing so can really pay off, as figures released by The Drum this week illustrate: three quarters of consumers say they are more likely to buy from companies who are clear about how they will use their customer data.

Westpac quick to harness new digital technologies

 In January, we reported that US retailers had been quick to adopt Apple’s iBeacon technology, using it to target customers in store. News this week shows that financial services firms may not be far behind, with Australian bank Westpac, announcing plans to install iBeacons in some branches in the coming months. The bank intends to use the technology to push offers to their customers and they are also considering how Google Glass can be harnessed to best benefit customers, working hard to develop an app that will enable customers to view their bank balance in the corner of their eye. Being so quick to harness technological advances in such a highly regulated industry is rare. But with ever more consumers expecting banks to make use of digital technology in the same way that their counterparts in the retail industry do, we predict it won’t be long until other financial services providers follow suit.