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Information versus Interaction – what smaller retailers need to know to succeed with their customers

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In today’s increasingly connected world, it is quite common for consumers to happily hand over their personal details when making a purchase.

Christian Baumann, Head of Value Added Services, SIX Payment Services

In today’s increasingly connected world, it is quite common for consumers to happily hand over their personal details when making a purchase. Sharing their email address or phone number to receive an electronic copy of a receipt; their home address for a hard copy of a new catalogue and even sharing information with friends– in order to earn loyalty points.

However, while this first stage of sharing details is relatively simple, what retailers choose to do with this information is what makes the difference between a flurry or ‘opt out’ responses, quick deletes and low open rates or an impressive uptake in sales. Crucially, retailers need to understand the difference between information and interaction.

Worryingly, the number of companies who see their data collection as an opportunity to send weekly or even daily messages to their clientele telling them, in essence, “We’re great!” has led to many retailers’ content being automatically directed to a junk folder or to high ‘opt out’ rates.

Spam is a killer for consumer trust. Simply put, customers aren’t interested in the generic information; it needs to be relevant to them as an individual. The customer needs to be able to relate to why they have received this form of communication, there needs to be a ‘call to action’ or something of special interest to them.

This is where smaller retailers are often missing out. Large merchants, by their very nature, are able to collect swathes of data from their client base about where they shop, what they buy and how often they purchase. They can then use this data to tailor messaging – offering discounts on certain garments which the customer has bought before or alerts when their favourite author publishes a new book, for example. However, for the local independent store, such data is not provided by their own systems. As soon as a customer leaves their store, or their website, they vanish.

It is here where payment processing provider partners can help. Thanks to location-based information, delivered by terminals, a provider can track a customer’s journey – which stores their visit in a certain area and at what time of the day and in what order – gathering information on the frequently visited stores and an individual’s particular spending habits. Armed with this information, smaller retailers can take advantage of location-based marketing. Messaging customers with special deals when they are in the vicinity, for example, or perhaps sending offers in conjunction with other retailers in the area.

In addition, payment terminals or ‘touch-points’ as we refer to them, can now show images and short videos. These can be used to deliver promotional material, which again, can be tailored to the individual customer using the data received from their card. To make the most of this, there is scope for retailers in certain areas to unite to share information about the customers in the vicinity and their shopping patterns.

While the larger retailers are able to monitor how a certain marketing campaign has succeeded in a specific category or region, smaller retailers do not always have access to this level of information. They can only measure the success of a campaign in their store, not on a wider scale. Again, through sharing data information, payment processers are able to provide deeper insight into how retailers perform alongside their peers – giving them an actual benchmark.

There is huge value to be found in marketing, but in order to make the most of this, smaller retailers need to combine and share data. This will lead to increased sales, improved customer loyalty and, perhaps more importantly for us all, bringing an end to the dreaded spam.

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Nvidia forecasts sales above estimates as gaming chip sales surge

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Nvidia forecasts sales above estimates as gaming chip sales surge 1

By Chavi Mehta and Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Nvidia Corp forecast better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, expecting strong demand for its graphics chips used in gaming PCs and artificial intelligence chips for data centers.

As people wait for COVID-19 vaccine rollouts around the world, stay-at-home orders have helped sustain the demand for chips used in personal computers, gaming devices and data center infrastructure that enables remote working.

The Santa Clara, California-based company’s gaming chips have also regained popularity for mining cryptocurrency, a trend Nvidia is trying to counter by throttling its gaming chips ability to mine for currencies and instead offering specialty chips for mining.

While Nvidia was long known for its gaming graphic chips, its aggressive push into artificial intelligence chips that handle tasks such as speech and image recognition in data centers has helped it become the most valuable semiconductor maker by market capitalization.

It has eclipsed rivals Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices.

Shares were up 3% at $597.50 in extended trading after the results.

On a conference call with investors, Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress said that a global chip crunch made it hard to keep the company’s flagship gaming chips introduced last fall in stock and that the chips would likely remain in tight supply through the fiscal first quarter.

The company also said it will make a change to its gaming chips starting with the RTX-3060s to make them less efficient for mining cryptocurrency. The company said it will instead introduce mining-specific chips.

“We would like GeForce GPUs (graphics processing units) to end up with gamers,” Kress said.

Kress said analysts have estimated that cryptocurrency mining contributed between $100 million and $300 million to Nvidia’s sales in the fiscal fourth quarter. The company expects the new mining chips to generate about $50 million revenue in its fiscal first quarter, Kress added.

The company expects first-quarter revenue of $5.30 billion, plus or minus 2%, above analysts’ average estimate of $4.51 billion.

Revenue in the quarter ended on Jan. 31 rose to $5 billion from $3.11 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting $4.82 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue in the company’s gaming segment was $2.5 billion, above analyst estimates of $2.36 billion, according to data from FactSet. Data center revenue was $1.9 billion, above estimates of $1.84 billion according to FactSet data.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Maju Samuel and Will Dunham)

 

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Running boom to help Puma recover after slow start

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Running boom to help Puma recover after slow start 2

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) – German sportswear company Puma expects the financial impact from coronavirus lockdowns to last well into the second quarter, but believes global growth in running should help to support a strong improvement after that.

“We clearly see a running boom in the whole world,” Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden told journalists, noting that yoga and other outdoor activities are also doing well. He expects the healthy living trend to continue even after the pandemic.

Gulden said his optimism is underlined by the fact that orders for 2021 are up almost 30% compared to a year ago, with bookings for running products particularly high.

However, there is still uncertainty about when lockdowns in Europe will end, with about half of the stores selling its products currently closed in its home region.

For the full year, Puma expects at least a moderate increase in sales in constant currency, with an upside potential, and a significant improvement for both its operating and net profit compared with 2020.

Shares in Puma were down 2.9% at 1100 GMT.

“The wording on outlook looks softer than we had anticipated, even by Puma’s cautious standards,” said Jefferies analyst James Grzinic.

Gulden noted that a shortage of shipping containers bringing products made in Asia would impact margins, with freight rates likely to double in the next 12 months.

Puma will put a stronger focus on the women’s market in future, Gulden said, creating shoes better modelled to female feet for running and soccer and capitalising on partnerships with celebrities like singer Dua Lipa and model Cara Delevingne.

Gulden admitted Puma had been slow in creating its own app, but it plans to launch one towards the end of the year, further supporting online sales, which grew by 63% in 2020.

Rival Nike in December raised its full-year sales forecast after demand for outdoor sportswear drove an 84% surge in online sales.

Gulden said he is hopeful that the Olympics will go ahead in Japan and the European soccer championship will also take place after both were postponed from 2020.

($1 = 0.8226 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter and Keith Weir)

 

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ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion

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ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 3

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea exploration and production assets to private-equity fund HitecVision for more than $1 billion.

Exxon has been looking to sell its oil and gas assets since late 2019, seeking to free up cash to focus on a handful of mega-projects.

The deal includes ownership interests in 14 producing fields operated primarily by Shell as well as interests in the associated infrastructure. Exxon could also receive about $300 million in contingent payments based on a potential for increase in commodity prices.

Exxon’s share of production from these fields was about 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019, the company said.

Exxon said it would retain its non-operated share in upstream assets in the southern part of the North Sea as well as its interest in the Shell Esso gas and liquids (SEGAL) infrastructure, which supplies ethane to the company’s Fife ethylene plant.

HitecVision, in partnership with Eni, had bought Exxon’s Norwegian North Sea assets for $4.5 billion in 2019.

Initially, Exxon hoped to raise more than $2 billion from the sale, which was planned for late 2019. In June 2020 sources told Reuters that the portfolio was more likely to fetch $1 to $1.5 billion given the oil price weakness last year.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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