Facebook to build S$1.4b data centre in Singapore

Hot on the heels of Google’s announcement last month that it will build its third data centre in Singapore is Facebook, which declared today that it will be establishing its first Asia data centre in the country.

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SenseTime makes triple signing in Singapore

Sealing the deal: Professor Hui Shen (SenseTime), Associate Professor Tan Tin Wee (NSCC), Professor Lam Khin Yong (NTU), Kiren Kumar (EDB), Bill Chang (Singtel), Professor Xiao’ou Tang, Peter Ho (NSCC), Arthur Lang (Singtel), Professor Louis Phee (NTU), Jeff Shi (SenseTime), and Martin Huang (SenseTime)
Sealing the deal (from left): Professor Hui Shen (SenseTime), Associate Professor Tan Tin Wee (NSCC), Professor Lam Khin Yong (NTU), Kiren Kumar (EDB), Bill Chang (Singtel), Professor Xiao’ou Tang, Peter Ho (NSCC), Arthur Lang (Singtel), Professor Louis Phee (NTU), Jeff Shi (SenseTime), and Martin Huang (SenseTime)

China artificial intelligence (AI) company SenseTime has inked memoranda of understanding (MOU) with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National Supercomputing Centre of Singapore (NSCC) and Singtel.

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NVIDIA springs Titan X surprise

New_NVIDIA_TITAN_XJust when we thought NVIDIA was done with the Pascal range of GPUs with the benchmark release of the GeForce GTX 1060 early this week, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang pulled off a major surprise with the announcement of the new NVIDIA Titan X at an artificial intelligence meeting in Stanford University.

The new NVIDIA Titan X, based on the new Pascal GPU architecture, is the biggest GPU ever built with a record-breaking 3,584 CUDA cores.

Here are the numbers that matter:

  • 11 TFLOPS FP32
  • 44 TOPS INT8 (new deep learning inferencing instruction)
  • 12B transistors
  • 3,584 CUDA cores at 1.53GHz (versus 3,072 cores at 1.08GHz in previous TITAN X)
  • Up to 60 percent faster performance than previous TITAN X
  • High performance engineering for maximum overclocking
  • 12 GB of GDDR5X memory (480 GB/s)

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Vietnam only bright spark in Asia PC market

IDCVietnam is the only growth market for PCs in Asia in Q4, according to IDC. A total of 610,000 PCs were shipped during this period, bringing annual total to 2.13 million units, a two-percent increase over 2014.

In the second half of 2014, promotions of Windows 8.1 with Bing notebooks and the slow but steady growth of convertibles led to an increase in volumes that helped to stabilise the PC market.

“While it helps to prevent the drop of PC shipment in Vietnam, aggressive moves from vendors generally took down the price further that impacts the margins too. Looking at 2015, we’re still expecting a resilient PC spending added with small but growing gaming market to keep the market stable,” said Yen Phan, Market Analyst for PCs at IDC Vietnam.

Continue reading “Vietnam only bright spark in Asia PC market”

HTC One mini 2 available in June

HTC One Mini 2The HTC One mini 2, the latest member of the HTC One family, isn’t exactly a mini with its 4.5-inch display, which is 0.2-inch bigger than its previous version.

Screen size aside, the smartphone does offer quite load of features — HTC Sense 6 with HTC BlinkFeed, 5MP front-facing camera and HTC BoomSound technology — clad in a smoothly curved back and brushed Gunmetal Gray finish casing.

The HTC One mini 2 will be available in Asia in Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver and Amber Gold from June.

SEA smartphone sales up 61% in first three quarters

gfk_logoSoutheast Asia consumers bought 41.5 million smartphones, spending US$10.8 billion in the first three quarters of this year, according to GfK Asia.

Indonesia led the way with sale of 14.8 million smartphones worth more than USS3.33 billion. Thailand and Malaysia were next with 7.2 million and 6.4 million units sold respectively. However, in terms of smartphone sales revenue, the ranking of these two countries are switched with Malaysia garnering US$2.25 billion while Thailand raked in US$1.96 billion in January to September.

“The increasing affordability of smartphones, particularly in the developing markets is helping many consumers in these countries make the switch from their basic feature phones to own their very first smartphone,” said Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital Technology of GfK Asia. “It is worth highlighting the significant milestone of September being the month whereby sales penetration reached the halfway mark; where one in every two mobile handsets purchased in the region is now a smartphone.”

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Half billion LTE connections in Asia in 2017

GSMAThe uptake of 4G-LTE is expected to grow to pass one billion by 2017, according to a new study by GSMA Intelligence. This translates to one in eight of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by that point, up from 176 million LTE connections at the end of 2013. And around half of these are expected to be in Asia.

Nearly 500 LTE networks are forecast to be in service across 128 countries, roughly double the number of live LTE networks today.

“Since the launch of the first commercial 4G-LTE networks in late 2009 we are seeing deployments accelerate across the globe,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer of GSMA. “Our new report highlights a number of factors that are driving LTE growth: the timely allocation of suitable spectrum to mobile operators; the availability of affordable LTE devices; and the implementation of innovative tariffs that encourage adoption of high-speed data services. Mobile operators in both developed and developing markets are seeing LTE services contributing to a significant increase in ARPU.”

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NVIDIA GRID VCA makes Asian debut

NVIDIA GRID VCAVisitors to SIGGRAPH Asia last week were the first to see and catch the demo of NVIDIA GRID VCA in Asia.

Essentially, NVIDIA GRID VCA is a powerful GPU-based system that runs complex applications such as Autodesk and sends their graphics output over the network to be displayed on a client computer. This gives users the graphics experience they would get from a dedicated desktop workstation.

When available in Asia in the first half of 2014, NVIDIA GRID VCA will bring graphics power to small and medium businesses, and workgroups in large enterprises.

Design firms, film studios, post production facilities, architectural firms, and other businesses can then give creative and engineering design teams access to graphics-intensive applications with unprecedented performance, flexibility and security.


hybris announces B2C Commerce Accelerator for China

hybris SAPhybris has announced the coming availability of hybris B2C Commerce Accelerator for China. As businesses move from a single channel, such as print catalogues, to multiple channels — including online, mobile, print and call centers, complexity increases.

Founded on hybris Commerce Accelerator, hybris B2C Commerce Accelerator for China has been specially configured and equipped with functionalities specifically to address Chinese e-commerce needs.

Adapted expressly for the Chinese market, it comes with pre-configured page templates that are designed to suit the highly characteristic ‘click’ culture and specific shopping atmosphere enjoyed by Chinese consumers, providing big product images, larger merchandising bars and a very visual user experience.

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SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 opens in Hong Kong

SIGGRAPH 2013 registration

Computer graphic professionals and enthusiasts made a beeline to Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre  in the opening day of SIGGRAPH Asia. The show has returned to Hong Kong after being held in Singapore last year. Interest for the show must be high because Kobe is making a bid to host the 2015 edition.


GSMA and ITU to drive mobile broadband in APAC

GSMAGSMA is collaborating with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in a new programme to encourage the development of mobile broadband in the Asia-Pacific region.

The new “m-Powering for Mobile Broadband” campaign will facilitate the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices in specific policy areas with the goal of encouraging investment in mobile broadband infrastructure, instilling consumer confidence in mobile applications and supporting the long-term growth of the sector.

“Mobile is a transformative technology that has had a significant economic and social impact not only in Asia, but on a global basis,” said Irene Ng, Head of GSMA Asia. “Mobile provides access to healthcare where there are no doctors, access to education where there are no teachers and access to financial services where there are no banks. GSMA is pleased to be working hand in hand with ITU to accelerate the widespread adoption of mobile broadband in Asia and the Pacific, and in turn, to enable new opportunities for economic growth, technological innovation and social development.”

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Apple and Samsung clamouring for attention with new colours

iPhone 5sApple and Samsung are slugging it out for attention in Singapore and across Asia. Yesterday, Apple fans in Singapore queued to be among the first to lay their hands on the Apple iPhone 5s and 5c, with the novelty of having the phones in gold — a popular colour among Asians. In fact, many were disappointed when their choice of gold iPhones were not available for online orders.

And Apple is not the only maker garnering interest. Samsung’s latest incarnation of the Galaxy Note is also drawing lots of admirers, not just from die-hard Samsung fans. It has been reported that those who pre-ordered the new  Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can collect their devices from September 27. The 32GB version will be available in Singapore at S$1,048 and the accompanying Galaxy Gear smartwatch will be priced at S$488.

Samsung is also breaking out of the traditional black and white models but offering a pink version, which will be available at a later date.


Hong Kong to stay as key Asia Pacific data centre market

frost and sullivanLimited land availability and high real estate prices are unlikely to make Hong Kong lose its status as a key data centre market in Asia Pacific, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The limitations are countered by the Hong Kong Government’s continuous support for the sector.

“Hong Kong’s strong political connection to Mainland China allows it to act as a gateway for global companies that seek to tap into opportunities in China’s market,” said Danni Xu, Research Analyst, ICT Practice, Asia Pacific at Frost & Sullivan. “Moreover, Hong Kong’s business-friendly and free-trade environment has drawn a number of multinational corporations (MNCs) to set up their regional headquarters in the country. This has brought in numerous investments and job opportunities, and created demand for data center services.”

Continue reading “Hong Kong to stay as key Asia Pacific data centre market”

WeChat soars past 100m registered users milestone

WeChat infographicWeChat has surpassed the 100 million registered user account milestone. That’s remarkable considering the strong competition it is up against.

In the last three months, it doubled its registered user account base reaching the 100 million milestone shortly after an independent survey found that the platform was the fifth most used smartphone app worldwide.  

Since its international debut, WeChat has been well received in Asia, quickly becoming the most popular mobile social app in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia across multiple smartphone OS platforms, where the user base has recently gained tremendous growth. 

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Allen Ma is new CEO of HKSTPC

Allen MaHong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) has appointed Allen Ma as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), succeeding E Anthony Tan, who has held the position since April 2008.

Joining as CEO-designate on July 22 and taking office on August 1 , Ma believes technology plays a key role in fuelling Hong Kong’s economic transformation and will draw on his 30 years of industrial and business experience to increase the competitiveness of the city as a regional hub for science and technology innovation while building ever stronger collaboration with the Mainland.  

His key focus will be to advance HKSTPC’s mission to provide world-class infrastructure and services and promote Hong Kong as a regional hub of innovation and technology.

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GSMA to create Connected City experience at Mobile Asia Expo

GSMAVisitors to Mobile Asia Expo 2013 in Shanghai will get to delve in a new Connected City experience. They will be able to stroll down a city street of the future and experience the Connected Life powered by intelligent mobile connections.

The Connected City will build on the success of the Connected City at this year’s Mobile World Congress and draw on developments that have put Asia at the forefront of connected device and service uptake.


In partnership with China Mobile, Cisco, Ford Motor Company, Huawei, KT Corp. and SAP, the Connected City will be a life-like urban environment where attendees will experience how these companies are making homes smarter, motoring more intelligent, shopping easier and city living safer in the largest and most forward-thinking mobile market in the world. Each area will bring together the latest in cutting-edge products and services to demonstrate how a connected future, driven by mobile, will simplify and enhance people’s everyday lives.

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GSMA launches NFC Experience for Mobile Asia Expo

GSMASo much hope was placed on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology but Apple’s non-adoption of the technology was a major dampener. A few other mobile vendors, such as Samsung, have included NFC is selected models of their devices.

Keen to drive the technology, GSMA will be showcasing the NFC Experience at Mobile Asia Expo, an interactive experience through which exhibitors, vendors and attendees will be able to use mobile NFC to exchange information and conduct transactions. Mobile Asia Expo will take place from June 26 to 28 at Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC) in Shanghai.

“We’re excited to launch the NFC Experience for Mobile Asia Expo, as it provides attendees the opportunity to experience first-hand the power of NFC technology throughout the Mobile Asia Expo venue, as well as in the Pudong area of Shanghai,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “We hope that all attendees will take advantage of the many benefits of NFC, from information access and download to retail transactions, among others.”

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13 HKSTPC partners win Hong Kong ICT Awards

HKSTPCHong Kong’s push for innovation has borne further fruits with 13 incubation and partner companies of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) scooping a total of 15 awards at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards. They won with innovations ranging from intelligent interactive advertising display and business solutions for retailers to self-powered smart sensors.

“Despite the keen competition from over 600 entries at the Awards, our partner companies have won two Gold medals, three Silver, two Bronze and several certificates of merits,” said Allen Yeung, Vice President of Business Development and Technology Support of HKSTPC.

“We are delighted that among the 13 awardee companies, six are our incubation companies that are still budding, yet have shown enormous development potentials.  Particularly four of them, namely Cenique Infotainment Group Limited, StampUp Limited, QBS Systems Ltd and Voloe Technology Ltd were only admitted to the Programme last year.  Their remarkable achievements proved our local technopreneurs are full of creativity and innovation, and that has further affirmed the value of HKSTPC’s Incubation Programmes,” he added.

Continue reading “13 HKSTPC partners win Hong Kong ICT Awards”

Hong Kong electronic inventions take centrestage at coming Electronics Fair & ICT-Expo

HKSTPCThree incubation companies of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) will be showcasing their electronic inventions in the concurrent events of Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) and the International ICT-Expo held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 13 to 16.

Two of the inventions will have patent registered pending innovations at the “Invention Zone”.

“IP protection is conducive to technological advancement. We thus are keen to offer services and aid funding for our incubation companies in patent application, including free chat with legal experts. We are proud that two companies under our Incu-Tech Programme are selected to exhibit in the ‘Invention Zone’, in which many of the inventions are patent registered or pending.  With the valuable opportunity to promote their patented technology at the exhibition, we trust our incubatees can be well connected to industry practitioners and fasten their phase of commercialisation,” said Ir Allen Yeung, Vice President of Business Development and Technology Support of HKSTPC.

Continue reading “Hong Kong electronic inventions take centrestage at coming Electronics Fair & ICT-Expo”

hybris partners SingPost for e-commerce fulfillment

burghardt-groeberMultichannel commerce and communication software leader hybris has teamed up with SingPost for e-commerce fulfillment in Singapore.

“What this means is that customers who are going into e-commerce can take our suite of solutions as well as leverage the strengths of our partners such as SingPost for key parts of their operations such as warehousing, delivery and customer clearance,” Burghardt Groeber, Vice President for Asia, hybris told Entelechy Asia in an exclusive interview.

According to him, Southeast Asia is interesting as there are different countries with different laws, customs, geographical size and reach, languages, currencies and taxes.

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Asian mobile players and operators among Global Mobile award winners

The ASUS-made Google Nexus 7 clinched the Best Tablet Award.
The ASUS-made Google Nexus 7 clinched the Best Tablet Award.

Asia is becoming a leading force in the mobile communications space. Mobile product makers Samsung and Asus and mobile operators NTT Docomo, Bharti Airtel and SK Telecom were among the winners at the 18th Annual Global Mobile awards, held at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Government of New Zealand also nabbed the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award.

More than 170 independent analysts, journalists, academics, and subject matter experts and 13 representatives from mobile operators throughout the world participated in the judging of the 2013 awards.

The full list of winners and finalist for the 2013 Global Mobile Awards is available at www.globalmobileawards.com/winners-2013

Continue reading “Asian mobile players and operators among Global Mobile award winners”

20,000 to attend 2nd Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai


Mobile Asia Expo will offer more to conference participants in Shanghai from June 26 to 28.

Now in its second year, the expo will include a conference programme featuring CEOs and senior executives from leading companies in Asia and around the world; an extensive exhibition showcasing innovative mobile products and services, including the new Connected City; the App Planet programme for the mobile application development community; a government and regulatory programme; and a variety of other seminars, meetings and educational programmes.

“We are pleased to be returning to Shanghai for our second Mobile Asia Expo,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “Building on the success of our inaugural event last year, the 2013 edition of Mobile Asia Expo will attract more than 20,000 attendees, including executives and mobile professionals from across the broad mobile communications ecosystem, government officials, technology-savvy consumers. Mobile Asia Expo 2013 promises to be bigger and better, with a range of new programmes and activities for both business and consumer attendees.”

Continue reading “20,000 to attend 2nd Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai”

Smartphones sport up to 19 sensors

Most of us are aware that smartphones have numerous sensors that, well, help to make them smart. But, most believe the number of sensors to be around six to eight. At a presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 in Singapore, Neil Trevett, Vice President of Mobile Content of NVIDIA, revealed that smartphones sport up to 19 sensors.

He noted that a lot of development that leverages the combined capabilities of these sensors is happening with today’s devices.

Phone sensors

ZTE secures US$20b financing to achieve Top 3 target

ZTEUnder a new financing agreement,  China Development Bank (CDB) will expand its financing facility for ZTE to US$20 billion. In 2005, CDB and ZTE began their strategic cooperation based on international standard practices, agreeing a facility of US$8 billion. In 2009, the facility was increased to US$15 billion.

The prevailing conditions in the global finance offer new opportunities for CDB and ZTE to deepen their cooperation – CDB will utilise its strengths in integrated financial services to help ZTE achieve its strategic goals, and drive ZTE’s overseas investment and business development in priority sectors

“ZTE will leverage the CDB’s financial support and grasp the opportunities in the markets for 4G, fixed broadband, enterprise networks and terminals, consolidate our advantages and migrate to the higher value solutions, as we aim to achieve a global top-3 position before 2015,” said Hou Weigui, Chairman of ZTE.


ZTE launches commercial trial VoLTE call with eSRVCC

ZTE has launched the industry’s first commercial trial VoLTE call with enhanced single radio voice call continuity (eSRVCC) in Hong Kong.

The VoLTE call with eSRVCC enables higher quality voice calls while the network is upgrading to LTE and provides end-to-end QoS assurance. The eSRVCC was proposed by ZTE at 3GPP in 2009 and is supported by a number of operators and vendors. It was accepted into 3GPP R10 as a standard technology promotion.

“eSRVCC VoLTE call improves connection time when compared to CSFB solution and shortens handover time when compared to SRVCC solution. It gives LTE users more options and better service experience,” said ZTE Core Network Vice President Tu Jiashun. “The success of this solution is a milestone in the development of the VoLTE ecosystem.”


Show fatigue?

School holidays, check. Christmas coming, check. Gift giving time, check.

All the signs are there but seasoned visitors to SITEX, which started yesterday, noted that the event was a little quieter than normal — and we’re not talking about noise level.

Missing from the run up to the show are thick supplements that used to appear in the dailies earlier in the week and on the opening day of the event. Digital Life did run a 10-page supplement on SITEX but this pales in comparison to past years and past events. Other than that, only a smattering of vendors did mention SITEX in their ads in the main paper.

Is Singapore suffering from IT show fatigue? Or is this just a sign of the economy?

HKSTPC Chairman wins Directors of the Year Awards 2012

Nicholas Brooke, Chairman of HKSTPC

Nicholas Brooke, Chairman of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), has been awarded the “Directors of the Year Awards 2012” by The Hong Kong Institute of Directors.

The annual award is highly regarded by the business community, and aims to publicise the significance of good corporate governance, and recognise boards and directors for their outstanding efforts in promoting and practising high standards of corporate governance.

Entering its 12th year, the Awards adopted the theme, “Enhancing Board Competence through Continuing Professional Development for Directors” for 2012, which focused on the importance of a proactive and ongoing approach to enhancing the effectiveness of the Board operations.

Brooke has served on the Board of HKSTPC for 11 years since the Corporation’s inception in 2001, and has been actively involved in its policy making, strategy formulation and business development. In the capacity of Chairman of HKSTPC since 2007, he has led the Corporation in enhancing its corporate governance and operational efficiency. He also plays a key role in strengthening the role of the Corporation in building a world-class technology hub for the region and advancing the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong.

Mugshot: Ashton-Tate

Door gift from the opening of the Ashton-Tate Asia Manufacturing Centre in Singapore

Remember Ashton-Tate? Some of us may not have heard of the company but it was one of the top software companies in the 1980s and 1990s — ranking alongside Microsoft and Lotus — and is renowned for dBase, its database application.

The mug was given at the official opening of its Asia Manufacturing Centre in Singapore on March 15, 1991. Unfortunately, Ashton-Tate was sold to Borland six months later and dBase became history.


There is no silver bullet to guarantee merchandizing success

Contributed by Burghardt Groeber, Vice President of hybris Asia

Matching your business’ interests with those of your online customers’ is a delicate balancing act.  On the one hand, you want the customer to find the product that they are looking for, but on the other you also want to influence their purchase decision based on your preferences, (i.e. if a certain product has a higher margin, too many of one product in stock, or end of a product line, etc.)

Successful merchandizing is not enabled by just one tool. It is a mixture of various techniques, the data you’ve got and, last but not least, your very own gut feel. Here are a few points you may find helpful when discussing your merchandizing strategy and tools selection.nd the product that they are looking for, but on the other you also want to influence their purchase decision based on your preferences, (i.e. if a certain product has a higher margin, too many of one product in stock, or end of a product line, etc.)

Of course there are the obvious features you’ll look out for when selecting your merchandizing tool:
– support for search (with all its modern enhancements, auto completion, type ahead support, etc)
– guided navigation – automatic filtering.

Obviously you also want the tool to perform well under load as it will be an important piece of your overall offering.

However, there are some points you should also consider before choosing your tool based on the above features.

1. How good is your data?
The old saying of “garbage in equals garbage out” is as true in merchandizing as anywhere else. Will the tool you are about to select give you the ability to:

– Effectively administrate, govern and steward the data you want to use?
– Help you to improve the overall quality of your data?
– ensure consistency across various data outlets and not just your merchandizing tool?
– Give you the ability to define and manage the facets you will later show to your customers?

Ultimately, good data management means good navigation and effective search.

2. Do you think about going global?
Support for multi-language on the front end as well as in the back end will be key for a successful global roll-out. Often tools struggle due to the additional amount of data that’s required for multi-language support. Keep in mind that, while tools often provide the additional language packs, they come at a significant extra cost and synonym dictionaries are not available. Languages such as Chinese or Arabic are a no-go.

3. How complex is your pricing model?
Do you really have only one price per product, as often assumed by merchandizing tools? If not, because of the approach that merchandizing tools take to index your data, by flattening the data structure, billions of data rows are not uncommon.  Can the tool of your choice deal with this BIG Data-style situation?

4. Can you create association between products?
Certainly guided navigation and a great search can do a lot, but what’s also really powerful is establishing cross, up or accessory relations. The setup, management and handling of bundles is also a very powerful merchandizing mechanism that requires more than a powerful search.

5. Can you create landing pages dynamically?
Your customer searched for a specific brand? Wouldn’t it be great to have them land on a page dedicated just to that one brand? Alternatively, they may search for a category, for example, running shoes. Why not have them land on a page dedicated to running, presenting shoes and additional running gear along with promotions relevant to their search?

6. Speaking of relevancy. Context is king
The context of a search is as important as the search itself. Here are a few questions you may want your tool find the answers for and then weave them into the execution of merchandizing rules. Do you know this customer? What did he/she buy in the past? What do you know about the customer’s current session? Have they logged in with a facebook account and provided me with access to what they like? Or what have they pinned on their pinterest board? You may have that product in your store and, although they haven’t searched for it explicitly, why not show it anyway? How did they interact with your business on other channels? Have they bought from your stores, via your mobile site or contact center? Can you create rules that take this effectively into account?

7. Promotions are more than just displaying a banner
Displaying a promotion is often more complex than just showing a banner. Besides that, it depends on a customer’s context as well as the context of the page or the navigation and economical aspects play a role too. Some of them have to be evaluated in real-time. For example, a promotion is limited in how many customers can use it. You don’t want to show a promotion to your customer first, only to tell them later that they are no longer entitled to it. A much better practice is to show just the promotions they are actually entitled to.

8. Can you re-use your merchandizing tool across customer touch points?
By design each customer touch point has different characteristics, which merchandizers have to cater for. Although the goal is fundamentally still the same – get the right product at the right time in front of the customer – the way to achieve it is different. What works very well at one touch point may not work so well at another. Take mobile vs. online for example. On a website it’s perfectly acceptable to have a search & navigation bar, show cross and up sell products, have lots of filters and sometimes long lists of products. Research though has shown that customers rarely use mobiles in the same way that they use browsers on a notebook or desktop. In fact they often have the clear intent to find the one product that they are standing in front of. So the journey would probably not start with browsing and is more likely to be a desire to get to the product quickly. This then bypasses nicely crafted landing pages, search & navigation tools and other techniques delivered by merchandizers. As a result merchandizing has to happen on the product detail page, but in a way that does not distract the customer from the product they have already expressed interest in. Hence the tool set should support the merchandizing of accessories or similar alternatives in the space available.

Merchandizing tools that work across touch points offer another great opportunity. They can be used to support customer service or sales personnel in-store when interacting with a customer. To date retailers have had to train their personnel to provide them with insights on which products to push, which products accessorize well with  other products or which offer  great up-sell opportunities. However, once the sales associates are back on the floor they’re on their own.  Tablets that provide access to content fed by the merchandizing tool, however, can help sales people to  stay educated, which leads to more effective and insightful interaction with the customer. In turn this will increase the likelihood of a sale dramatically.

9. Do you have access to all information in your merchandizing tool?
Of course the product catalog is a very important part of merchandizing, but successful merchandizers know that other data elements are equally important. Can you present products depending on a customer’s location? Can you factor-in real-time stock levels? Are the commercial aspects up to date and do they reflect what is actually available? Successfully blending product, order, customer and stock level information with the real-time context of the customer allows for very powerful merchandizing. It’s like creating an individual world for  your customers.

10. Does your merchandizing tool play well with others?
As stated in the headline, there is no silver bullet that solves all your merchandizing needs. Every specialist solution has its sweet spot but sooner or later it requires help from another tool. How do you organize this zoo of packaged solutions? Keep them all fed with consistent information and allow them to work effectively together.

Striking the right balance – things to remember
1. Merchandizing is a team sport. It’s not the individual that decides whether you win or lose. The best teams do not necessarily need stars. They are more than the sum of their parts. So when selecting your tool set, think about how your perfect team looks so that it can deliver the trophies you deserve.
2. When you think about feeding your merchandizing tool with content, remember the pertinent saying, “You get out what you put in”
3. Multi-language support is often key nowadays. Even if you are not planning a global rollout right now, make this part of your system’s DNA otherwise it will present you with a big headache should you decide to take your business global (or even just into a neighboring market).
4. Leverage your merchandizing tool across customer touch points. It will not only benefit your customers, it will also make your sales force more effective when on the ground and in-front of the customer.