Connect with us

Business

Shares climb ahead of Yellen speech, earnings in focus

Published

on

Shares climb ahead of Yellen speech, earnings in focus 1

Via Reuters

By Danilo Masoni and Wayne Cole

MILAN/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Global shares climbed and the dollar eased on Tuesday ahead of Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary confirmation speech, in which she is expected to bolster the case for heavy fiscal stimulus in the world’s largest economy.

Concerns that pandemic lockdowns could slow the road to economic recovery faded into the background as markets prepared for possible positive surprises from the earnings season.

Asian shares posted strong gains and in Europe upbeat earnings reports from miner Rio Tinto and computer peripherals maker Logitech helped the STOXX 600 benchmark index edge up by 0.1% in morning trade.

Wall Street looked set for a strong start, with S&P 500 futures rising 0.6% and Nasdaq futures up 0.9% after the long holiday weekend.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was up 0.3% by 0907 GMT.

“Yellen … will attempt to sell U.S. President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan (arguing that low interest rates allow a big fiscal stimulus),” Paul Donovan, Chief Economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note.

“If the growth rate generated by government investment in infrastructure or people exceeds the cost of borrowing, it is a worthwhile exercise.”

Yellen will tell the Senate Finance Committee that the government must “act big” with its next coronavirus relief package, according to her prepared statement seen by Reuters.

Asian shares had climbed on investor expectation that China’s economic strength would help TO underpin growth in the region. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.5% to a record high.

Data on Monday confirmed that the world’s second-largest economy was one of the few to grow over 2020 and actually gathered pace as the year drew to a close.

Analysts at JPMorgan felt the coming earnings season could brighten the mood, given the consensus in Europe was for a 25% fall year on year, setting a very low bar.

“The projected EPS (earnings per share) growth in Europe now stands at the lows of the crisis, which seems too conservative and could likely lead to positive surprises over the reporting season,” they wrote.

The same could be true for the United States, where results from BofA, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Netflix are due this week.

Despite the risk-on mood on Tuesday, dealers were wary ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, given the risk of more mob violence.

Wall Street is also bracing for tougher regulations now that the Democrats control the Senate, with Biden set to nominate two consumer champions to top financial agencies.

In foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar slipped from close to its highest in nearly a month as caution set in before Yellen’s speech.

The dollar index was last at 90.63, down 0.15% on the day but comfortably above its recent trough of 89.206.

The euro rose 0.2% to $1.2106 after touching a six-week low of $1.2052 overnight, while the dollar weakened by 0.3% against the safe-haven yen at 104.04.

In fixed income markets, Italian 10-year bond yields fell slightly to 0.592% ahead of a confidence vote in the Senate that could force Prime minister Giuseppe Conte to resign.

But expectations that snap elections are unlikely, coupled with ECB stimulus to fight the adverse impact of the coronavirus crisis, limited any sell-off.

Gold rose 0.3% to $1,843 an ounce after briefly reaching a six-week low of $1,809.90 overnight. [GOL/]

Crude oil prices firmed on optimism that government stimulus will buoy global economic growth and oil demand. Brent crude futures rose 0.7% to $55.40 a barrel and U.S. crude was up 0.5% at $52.60. [O/R]

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Wayne Cole; Additional reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by David Goodman)

Business

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt

Published

on

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 2

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI

It’s no secret that the retail industry has been badly hit by the pandemic, with the recent collapse of Arcadia and Debenhams providing a harsh reality check as to what the future could hold for brick-and-mortar stores. With all non-essential shops being ordered to close last month, with no re-opening date confirmed, it is inevitable that a natural shift to online platforms would occur.

Online giants, ASOS and Boohoo, have established themselves as the new industry leaders. Both e-commerce giants bought failing Arcadia brands and Debenhams and ruthlessly closed all the retailers’ physical premises. The shift to online in the retail sector has never been more apparent.

Retail brands need to establish their digital presence to serve their consumers’ changing behaviour and to remain competitive in the retail industry.

Capitalising on changing consumer behaviour

The pandemic has meant consumer needs have adapted, which in turn has led to a shift in consumer behaviour. Retailers need to capitalise on changing consumer behaviour to remain relevant, but more importantly profitable.

The ‘stay at home’ message from the government, which has been almost constant throughout the past 12 months, has meant many consumers have started to become more reliant on online channels and platforms.

Supermarkets, such as Aldi and Co-Op, responded to this change in consumer behaviour by deciding to serve their customers on delivery apps, such as Deliveroo. As fewer people were ‘popping to the shops’ due to lockdown restrictions, supermarkets reacted by offering an instant delivery service, essentially where the ‘shop pops to you’.

The shift to online platforms and influencer marketing

Retail brands need to follow suit and adapt their ways of working to reflect this shift to e-commerce. Ted Baker, the premium fashion retailer, has admitted its disappointing online sales figures last quarter could be due to its slow response to the shift to ecommerce. The retailer is aiming to “significantly improve” its online shopping platform because of this.

As the shift to online platforms accelerates, retailers need to start investing in digital marketing, for example influencer marketing, to ensure their brand stays at the forefront of their consumers’ minds. Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers, a creative agency, explained in our whitepaper in August how the pandemic has led his company to increase its influencer marketing as “influencers are more influential than ever”.

As such, many traditional retailers have started exploring the benefits of influencer marketing. Wickes, in partnership with TAKUMI, launched the UK’s first ever home improvement industry TikTok campaign to reach a new audience with authentic and creative content and to drive awareness of its range of products. Our whitepaper, Into the Mainstream: Influencer Marketing in Society, which surveyed over 3,500 consumers, marketers, and influencers across the US, UK, and Germany, found that almost three-quarters of marketers (73%) upped spend on influencer marketing in the past 12 months, with spending significantly increasing in the retail (79%) sector.

It seems inevitable that more brands will continue to invest in influencer marketing with social media’s popularity increasing as we start to enter a post-pandemic world.

Using social media as a tool to respond to changing consumer behaviour

With marketers upping their influencer marketing spend, many social media platforms have also responded to the growing popularity of ecommerce.

Instagram redesigned its layout to ensure its Shopping and Reels tabs were given more prominence. The Instagram shopping feature allows brands to attach a virtual shopping tag to their ads on the platform. People can click on a tagged item and then be re-directed to the brands’ product webpage.

Similarly, TikTok’s rising popularity has led it to launch its own ecommerce offering. Last October, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify. This partnership will enable Shopify merchants to create, run and optimise TikTok marketing campaigns that will attract consumers from TikTok’s growing user base.

Instagram and TikTok are slowly evolving from content platforms to ecommerce hubs. This transformation coincides with the rise in consumers shopping online following the pandemic.

What’s to come for retailers, post-pandemic?

Consumer behaviour is changing and the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards social media and ecommerce. Retail brands need to recognise that the shift to online is here to stay.

To remain relevant, brands need to allocate appropriate budgets to digital marketing channels. Interestingly, our whitepaper found it was marketers from traditional media channels that were increasing their influencer marketing spend the most, demonstrating that the shift to digital marketing has already begun. Retail brands need to start to prepare themselves for the post-pandemic retail environment to avoid ending up like Arcadia and Debenhams.

Continue Reading

Business

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond

Published

on

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 3

By Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem

2020 ignited radical shifts for contact centre operations with the move to a remote work environment. Our customers say this trend is more of a permanent transformation – one that uncovers trends that include more flexible operations and greater efficiencies in leveraging contact centre data.

Trend 1: The Remote Agent Model is Here to Stay, Permanently

Historically, many IT teams discouraged remote working for customer service teams, but it was quickly proven virtual contact centres could work and offered a significant upside. The average annual cost to physically house a call centre agent is approximately $8,300 per agent in the United States. If a 200-person contact centre decided to move only half of its agents to home offices, that translates to $830,000 in annual real estate cost savings.

Working remotely also opened the doors to reach talent and hiring beyond a specific geography. For example, call centres based in rural locations who may have exhausted their local talent pool can bring in quality agents from anywhere in the world.

Trend 2: The Role of AI will be to Support Human Agents, Not Replace

Despite many years of buzz, it’s worth acknowledging that AI cannot entirely replace one-on-one human interaction in customer service (yet, or maybe ever). Many interactions with chatbots or other entirely automated CX tools only drive the escalation of customer issues rather than resolving them at the first touchpoint.

Instead, AI is best used to assist and manage agents to help them work more efficiently. For example, AI-powered technology can reduce handle time by auto-populating call notes or automatically log agents into or out of applications to further save time.

AI will provide an added layer of support as a management tool to keep agents on track in remote environments. AI also enables better connectivity for customer service teams and enables agents to receive consistent communications and Information they need to excel in their role in serving customers.

Trend 3: A Swift Migration to the Cloud

Call centres have been notoriously slow to move to the cloud. In the past, this has not been an issue when centres use on-premise technologies. With fully remote call centres, companies must reconsider their approach to the cloud.

Call centres can no longer rely on on-premise data with a decentralised workforce. Often their information is locked up in data centres, while operations remain outside of the office. Moving to the cloud offers more flexible operations, easier access to data and substantial cost saving, but only if call centres tap the right partners to make the most of the shift.

Trend 4: The Emergence of Predictive Analytics

Call centres generate an enormous amount of time-sensitive data that must be gathered and analysed in real-time to effectively manage their operations. Without real-time capabilities, Insights gathered on a Monday may only be contextualised later that day or week. This is not impactful as the time to act has passed and call centre conditions have already changed.

Looking beyond 2021, we will see call centres take their analytics a step further to go beyond real-time analytics, and into predictive analytics.  This will leverage real-time data at scale to offer preventive support to both agents and customers, moving call centres from reactive to proactive. Instead of waiting for a customer to call with an issue, centres can leverage historical data to reach out pre-emptively.

The same approach can be used to identify agents who struggle or may be experiencing burnout earlier in order to reduce attrition rates. A smarter mindset on data will revolutionise how call centres operate and in turn, companies will see higher customer and agent retention.

Trend 5: Real-Time Technologies Will Be Applied to the Back-Office

We will also see companies increasingly apply call centre technologies to their back-office operations. They will start to leverage back-office data in real-time to cut down on wasted hours and better track employee activities.

This part of the business has not been managed with the same technology investment as the call centre, leading to inefficiencies where back-office employees may struggle with certain tasks or spend time in non-work applications. Now, companies will be able to use AI-powered technologies to drive productivity gains in the back-office — leading to significant savings to the bottom line.

2020 served as the inflection point for call centre transformation. The shift to remote work unlocked new uses of technology and opportunities thought impossible before. We are now at the tip of the iceberg, as successful call centres will continue to innovate and think differently on how they can improve their operations in the new year and beyond.

Continue Reading

Business

Creating a B2B lead generation strategy in the Covid economy

Published

on

Creating a B2B lead generation strategy in the Covid economy 4

By Petra Smith, Founder and Managing Director of marketing agency Squirrels&Bears

The pandemic has transformed the relationship driven B2B environment in a significant way and what has started as an immediate response to a crisis, is now becoming the new norm in lead generation and sales. Compared to the more transactional interactions associated with B2C businesses, the traditional face to face nature of relationship building has now been fully replaced by digital conversations.

According to a recent McKinsey research B2B decision makers globally believe that digital prospecting is as effective as in-person meetings and that remote selling is as effective as in-person engagement. The new pandemic-induced digital patterns are likely to become permanent as nine in ten decision makers say that this new digital go-to-market strategy will be a fixture throughout 2021 and possibly beyond. With the long-term shift to digital business environment B2B businesses can drive their lead generation strategies by rethinking their approach and focusing on the following aspects:

  1. Define the changing priorities of your ideal customers

Buyer personas, representations of ideal customers, can be a useful way of helping to understand the specific profile of the customer segments and their key interests such as characteristics, behaviours, attitudes, needs, value drivers, concerns and motivations. Creating accurate buyer personas is key to planning how best to reach your target audience and deciding where resources should be focused to do so most effectively.

However, the pandemic has brought a new set of customer values and interests. For many, it’s a guarantee of safety and reassurance, as well as knowing that they can buy from and work with your business with limited close contact. Businesses can create value by effectively matching their offerings to specific customer needs, however this requires understanding what products and services they are looking for, what problems are they trying to solve and which offering works the best for them, in real time.

  1. Identify how they communicate

Forrester’s research suggests that over 80 percent of the sales cycle now takes place online. Customers make more decisions before contacting a business than ever before, and they expect your digital channels to educate them fully. If they can’t find the information they’re looking for on your digital channels, they might just head to your competitor’s website instead. Make it easy for your customers to buy from you by educating them about your offering, as well as implementing clear and simple calls to action that can guide them on their buying journey.

Lead generation is not about chasing a secret method that results in high volume of leads. It is about understanding and identifying the most effective combination of tactics that will help to achieve the unique lead generation goals. Any channel that generates interest in the business can be classed as lead generation, both online and offline.  The channels that work most effectively include content marketing, email marketing, event marketing, social media, website and PR. A multi-pronged approach to communication that covers different avenues and tactics is required as no single method ticks all the boxes by itself.

Content marketing

Creating high-quality content tailored to your target audience and their needs can help to establish your company as a trustworthy thought leader, keeping the brand fresh in their mind when they are ready to make a purchase.

Email marketing

Building relationships over time through carefully planned emails sent at the right time. The emails should offer new service or product offering, advice, new content, or other helpful information and resources that add value to the recipient.

Event marketing

Whilst unable to host or attend in-person events, webinars can be an equally powerful tool. The key is that attendees feel they have spent their time well and accessed valuable information and resources.

Social media marketing

Social media lead generation is about being where the customer is and showing them the approachable, human side of the business. The goal is to build relationships over time, which will put your brand at the forefront of their mind when they are ready to buy.

Website and SEO

Drive website visitors to specific landing pages and capture their contact details through gated forms. Offer useful information in exchange for an email address and continuously nurture those leads by educating them throughout their buying journey.

Press coverage

Build a thought leadership profile through reputable publications recognised by your target audience. Leverage the subject matter expertise of your team and use it to sell through insights and business storytelling.

  1. Generate and nurture leads

Hope is not a strategy. The process of generating and nurturing leads involves purposefully engaging the target audience by offering relevant information, supporting them in any way they need, and maintaining a sense of interest throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey. Every buying journey is different, but establishing a strategic communication strategy that guides your customers as they progress through their journey, will lead to higher return on investment and more in-depth customer relationships.

96% of B2B customers want content from industry thought leaders to inform their buying decisions, so creating compelling content is key to establishing your brand as the go-to, educational leader in your industry. Nurturing these leads is critical as it directly impacts customers’ decisions about whether or not they want to convert into paying customers. Establish a regular lead generation and nurture campaign schedule and leverage targeted content to reach industry-specific audiences through multiple channels and touchpoints.

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 5 Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 6
Top Stories3 hours ago

Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

By Colin Packham CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay...

GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 7 GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 8
Top Stories3 hours ago

GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical...

Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment 9 Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment 10
Technology4 hours ago

Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment

By Nadav Avni, Marketing Director at Radix Technologies The proliferation of digital devices used in every organisation has only grown...

Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 11 Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 12
Top Stories4 hours ago

Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses...

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 13 The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 14
Business4 hours ago

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI It’s no secret that the retail industry has been badly hit by the pandemic,...

2021: A year of digital enablement 15 2021: A year of digital enablement 16
Technology4 hours ago

2021: A year of digital enablement

By Peter O’Halloran, Vice President, Global Digital Commerce, Fiserv In 2021, digital innovation will continue to accelerate, allowing businesses to...

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 17 5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 18
Business4 hours ago

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond

By Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem 2020 ignited radical shifts for contact centre operations with the move to a remote...

World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge 19 World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge 20
Trading4 hours ago

World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge

By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – World shares sank on Monday as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation battered...

UK regulators need global 'competitiveness' remit, says UK Finance body 21 UK regulators need global 'competitiveness' remit, says UK Finance body 22
Top Stories4 hours ago

UK regulators need global ‘competitiveness’ remit, says UK Finance body

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Keeping the City of London competitive should be an “across the board” objective for...

Creating a B2B lead generation strategy in the Covid economy 23 Creating a B2B lead generation strategy in the Covid economy 24
Business5 hours ago

Creating a B2B lead generation strategy in the Covid economy

By Petra Smith, Founder and Managing Director of marketing agency Squirrels&Bears The pandemic has transformed the relationship driven B2B environment in...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now