BooksThe quirks of digital culture

By David Beer

Trends can evolve so quickly in our modern connected world that they sometimes die out as soon as they arrive, leaving many of us confused and disconnected, according to this new book by Beer.

Beer, professor of sociology at the University of York, argues that confusing insider terminology makes social media, on-demand entertainment platforms and new devices incomprehensible to anybody outside the loop.

“There is something intangible and hard to grasp about culture today. The sheer scale of the mediated world that we are exposed to often seems unfathomable,” says Beer.

His book questions if our culture becomes difficult to understand once it has been curated, moderated and distributed by the algorithms of giant tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

The solution? Focus on fleeting quirks to reveal bigger patterns and dynamics, says Beer.

Today’s traveller: Infinite paths to purchase

By Phil Kleweno, Caterina Rovati, Karthik Venkataraman and Laura Beaudin

There’s now so much choice in the online travel market that some travellers are simply overwhelmed. Bain & Company, working with Google and market research firm Dynata, finds that the most organised travellers carry out more than 500 searches and consult over 50 websites before booking a journey. So much for online convenience.

To confuse things even more, the search process can last from two minutes to six hours, across several sessions on different devices. Little wonder that users show little or no tolerance for websites or apps that offer a poor or slow experience.

The winners in this manic marketplace are the brands that have gained an edge in one or more of three areas. Acting on raw customer needs, ‘de-averaging’ and personalising marketing, and winning each interaction, are the goals to aim for. Customers who feel their raw needs have been met pay more for the privilege, according to this article.

However, the biggest barriers to creating a new path to purchase may be within the travel companies themselves. They have their own journey to take, and it might not be an easy one.

READ MORE: Today’s Traveler: Infinite Paths to Purchase

How to negotiate as a freelancer

By Andres Lares

One in three working Americans are freelance, according to Lares. That means around 57 million workers are pitching and negotiating deals with possible clients, and a lot of companies are enjoying the benefits – and challenges – of a flexible expert workforce. The growing gig economy means that more than 2 million UK workers, and rising, are now considered freelance too.

Freelancers, naturally, don’t have colleagues they can ask for advice about how to negotiate with companies. As a result, they frequently have to learn from the same mistakes, says Lares, who identifies three key areas that often trip up freelancers.

Developing personal relationships instead of focusing on business issues, resisting the temptation to discount and negotiating with the wrong person are common hazards. Lares, however, provides practical tips on how to focus attention on the most viable clients.

READ MORE: How to Negotiate as a Freelancer

Examining share of visits in the convenience store channel: The functional versus the emotional shop

By Brian Czarny

One of the most striking discoveries of Dunnhumby’s 2019 research into the convenience store sector is that the best and worst-performing 25% of stores get exactly the same share of visits.

A remarkably consistent 14.4% of visits are paid to the top and bottom quartile of stores. What those stores achieve with those visits is a very different matter. But why?

Dunnhumby has previously found that what grocery shoppers think and feel matches up with what they do and how they shop. “Convenience proved to be different,” says Czarny. Just how different became apparent when the share of visits was compared to other attributes, such as store experience, ready-to-eat offer or price. There was no correlation.

Noting how some stores attract customers through sheer convenience and some by establishing an emotional connection, Czarny hypothesises on the future evolution of convenience shopping.

READ MORE: Examining Share of Visits in the Convenience Store Channel: the Functional Versus the Emotional Shop