Lately, we’ve been using several great examples of how online trends develop quickly and then diminish just as fast, requiring e-commerce retailers and website operators to have the tools to both identify and act upon those trends in minutes, not weeks. You can watch our CEO, Brian Kelly, talk about some of these trends in this short video.
One of the examples that Brian covers is the J. Crew / Michelle Obama story, where the First Lady wore a J. Crew outfit on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and then sales exploded. It’s a great example of how a trend can come out of nowhere, and how companies need to quickly react. And, it’s such a good example that it was covered by US News, Time, The NY Daily News, and The Huffington Post, among others.
But, a recent post in Slate, titled “There Is No Michelle Effect,” asserts that J. Crew did not benefit at all from the Michelle Obama connection, and that JP Morgan listed the “Michelle Obama Bounce” as one of the big myths of the year, right up there with the Easter Bunny! They go on to note that J. Crew’s CEO even mentioned Mrs. Obama in a November earnings call, saying that she had no effect on same store sales.
First, I should mention that November was waaaay before Mrs. Obama’s Jay Leno appearance, and even several months prior to the Obama children wearing J. Crew at the inauguration. But, let’s not lose focus. The focus should be on J. Crew’s ability to quickly understand, exploit, or debunk any perceived trend.
Was there a bounce and they missed it? Did they have the behavioral analytics in place to see the effect in the days after the Jay Leno appearance? Or, did they quickly jump on their online and POS data and see that there really was not a material jump in sales?
The point is that companies need the ability to quickly identify potential trends, then either quickly convert them into more traffic, more dollars, and more profits, or quickly determine that there is no monetizable trend and move on.
In either case, companies can no longer afford to wait weeks or even days for their analysis. In today’s world, you need analytics that can give you answers, actionable patterns, and decisions in minutes.
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