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We live in a technocracy : technology is driving behaviours and law
Mar30

We live in a technocracy : technology is driving behaviours and law

The inaugural 2018 FAT conference was opened in New-York by one of the most influential academic researchers on privacy and computer science : Latanya Sweeney. In her keynote Sweeney showed how technology is driving behaviors and new laws. Here’s what I think is a very compelling series of examples that clearly show that innovators are always ahead of lawmakers. In today’s world, driven by technology and data, this poses...

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Cambridge Analytica scandal: it’s the user stupid !
Mar26

Cambridge Analytica scandal: it’s the user stupid !

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is one of a one-of-a-kind size. It attracted the attention of many and resembles a wake-up call. Yet also triggers some very hypocritical reactions from people who “seem” to discover that Facebook collects an awful lot of data and makes it available to, basically anyone who asks for it. Zuckerberg, king of the hypocrites Everyone seems to discover that the most personal data is being...

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Retail: here’s how you can make it easy for people to buy more
Mar07

Retail: here’s how you can make it easy for people to buy more

How do you make sure your products are visible among a larger assortment and immediately attract shoppers’ attention ? By using visual salience. Summary Highlighting products in supermarket shelves Help the shopper’s brain make decisions What can be done to increase in-store purchases? Conclusion Supermarkets make it impossible for shoppers to understand the assortment Supermarkets organize products by departments and by...

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Retail : here’s how Lego ensures customers buy more
Mar02

Retail : here’s how Lego ensures customers buy more

Supermarkets used to earn a lot of mony just before checkout. All the gums, sweets, … were there to tempt customers and add fat money to the bottom line. With the advent of smartphones retailers were surprized to see their sales plummet; consumers were too busy looking at their smartphones’ screens and impulsive behaviors were suddenly stopped. The Lego store in London found a way to counterattack. A checkout path was...

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Online market research reveals the #1 factor to reduce showrooming
Feb07

Online market research reveals the #1 factor to reduce showrooming

Showrooming is a massive problem for brick-and-mortar retailers. Customers visit stores but eventually make their purchases online. Operating a brick-and-mortar point of sale becomes more and more difficult. A scientific research reveals the #1 thing retailers should do to avoid showrooming. And it’s not about price. Showrooming in context and phygitalisation  Showrooming is a symptom of the tug-of-war between the offline and...

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The history of media resistance : from printing to social media through TV and radio
Feb05

The history of media resistance : from printing to social media through TV and radio

Throughout history people have shown remarkable resistance to new forms of media, be it books, cinema, radio, TV or Internet. Today social media addiction leads to a new form of resistance. A new book by Trine Syvertsen sums up remarkably the history of media resistance. The electronic version of the book is free and can be downloaded here. Here are some highlights from the book followed by thoughts on the evolution of media...

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The 3 benefits of the new “Tap To Go” Ahold no-checkout supermarket
Jan31

The 3 benefits of the new “Tap To Go” Ahold no-checkout supermarket

Since Amazon has launched its no-checkout Amazon Go store (see our article here), other retailers are keen on experimenting the same type of innovation. Ahold Delhaize is currently testing its “tap to go” system in a “Albert Heijn To Go” store of Zaandem where the headquarters of the group are located. Clients need to enroll first in the program and will receive an “instant payment” card equipped...

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Advertising : limiting cookie lifetime will destroy value
Nov20

Advertising : limiting cookie lifetime will destroy value

Preliminary information : there are two competing rules for setting up maximal cookie lifetime. The European Commission (based a.o. on a proposal by CNIL) suggests to limit lifetime to 360 days whereas Google proposes 720 days. One year vs. two years is basically what you have to chose from. In no case it should be more than that. Yet, as Miller and Skiera explained at the 2017 EMAC conference, lifetimes of up to 8000 years have been...

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Nudge strategies : 5 variants of the Amsterdam urinals
Nov10

Nudge strategies : 5 variants of the Amsterdam urinals

It is usually considered that the interest for nudge strategies really took off when the case of the Amsterdam Schipool airport urinals became known. If you don’t know the story of these special toilets, it goes like this. A man by the name of Aad Kieboom is believed to have introduced the idea of having a fly printed on the urinals as early as the 1990’s. The fly serves the purpose of a target that men unconsciously try...

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Market research : authentication on media website, a growing trend
Nov08

Market research : authentication on media website, a growing trend

As announced in an earlier article of this blog, I organized a 2-day conference on Single-Sign-On at RTBF (read more here). From a market research perspective this conference allowed participants to clearly understand that SSO was a growing trend among public service broadcasters. We had the please to listen to 9 amazing speakers from very different organizations and horizons : Tim Rowell (Piano.io), Ben Sekhon (Gigya, leader on the...

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behavioral economics : how beliefs influence consumers’ behaviors
Nov06

behavioral economics : how beliefs influence consumers’ behaviors

As you all know the purpose of behavioral economics has been to show how irrational consumers’ behaviors can be as opposed to the assumption of rationality from the economics field. This has resulted for instance in nudges as a sub-discipline (see an example of nudge here and another there). In today’s article we’d like to explain the results of an amazing academic study by Dan Kahan (read the whole paper here) which...

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A nudge at Brussels airport : WWF Panda wins charity competition
Oct13

A nudge at Brussels airport : WWF Panda wins charity competition

We talked about nudges this week on this blog (see our article on the Icelandic nudge to promote public safety). Today I’d like to give you another insight into behavioral economics and show you how human behavior can be influenced by a picture.   The story of an unexpected nudge Last month I was at Brussels airport and tweeted about something strange I had observed in the arrivals hall : 4 charity boxed one of which...

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An interesting example of nudge applied to public safety in Ísafjörður, Iceland
Oct09

An interesting example of nudge applied to public safety in Ísafjörður, Iceland

I’ve developed an interest for the study of nudges after reading the book by Dan Ariely. Nudges can be considered a sub-discipline of behavioral economics (founded by George Lowenstein) and already wrote about it on this blog (see one example here). To define a “nudge” using my own words, I’d say it’s a design that leads a person towards a particular action. That action should be beneficial for the...

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When excitement influences consumer behavior
Oct04

When excitement influences consumer behavior

One chapter of the book by Dan Ariely is dedicated to how consumers behave when they are excited. Ariely describes an experiment he did with students whose decisions under sexual excitement were measured and assessed. The conclusions were crystal-clear : excited students were much less able to make appropriate decisions. I experienced this myself with a recent big purchase I made. Those who have followed this blog for a long time know...

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Customer satisfaction is all about expectations : a real example
Sep18

Customer satisfaction is all about expectations : a real example

My good friend (and former customer) Patrick Mascart is in the photo/video business and has also become an expert in aerial photo and video services. Through his agency he has worked for prestigious clients like the European Commission and many other large organizations. The other day he posted on Facebook the transcript of a phone call he just received. You’ll learn a lot about customer satisfaction. Read further. The story...

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Consumer behavior : why do we leave online reviews?
Sep14

Consumer behavior : why do we leave online reviews?

On the occasion of the RecSys 2017 conference I was fortunate to attend Prof. Lowenstein‘s inaugural talk that offered an inspiring overview of behavioral economics applied to recommendation systems. In particular Prof. Lowenstein explored the psychology of information sharing which is crucial in data science because it relies so heavily on users’ ratings (explicit feedback) to produce predictions.   The talk by...

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The right to failure doesn’t exist with artificial intelligence. This is terrible.
Jun26

The right to failure doesn’t exist with artificial intelligence. This is terrible.

Artificial intelligence, algorithms based on machine learning, have turned our lives into one of efficiency where failure doesn’t exist anymore. For algorithms an error doesn’t exist ; it’s just a prediction that hasn’t worked because of missing data points. This statistical “accident” will be taken into account to improve predictions a step further. In the field of algorithmic governance failure is...

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Big Data and Ethics : first sucessful meetup at DigitYser in Brussels
Jun21

Big Data and Ethics : first sucessful meetup at DigitYser in Brussels

On 15 June 2017 my friend Philippe Van Impe gave me the opportunity to organize the first meetup in his newly opened Big Data temple in Brussels : DigitYser. And what a success ! The topic of this first Meetup at DigitYser was “Big Data and ethics“, an important topic in data science yet insufficiently covered. The idea for this meetup popped up during my talk at the Data Innovation Summit where people started tweeting...

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Ugly vegetables look more natural and give stores a better image
Jun12

Ugly vegetables look more natural and give stores a better image

Consumers perceive “ugly”, misshappen vegetables, as more natural. Moreover communication campaigns promoting these “abnormal” products benefit also the stores , such campaign convey indeed a positive image in the minds of the customers. Those are the results of a study by Mia Birau and Corine Faure (University of Grenoble) which was presented at the latest EMAC 2017 conference in Groningen (The Netherlands)....

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Personalized car insurance has unexpected effects on customers behaviors
May24

Personalized car insurance has unexpected effects on customers behaviors

A recent article in a French magazine sheds light on progresses made by insurance company Allianz in the field of personalized car insurance. Like many other firms in the field, Allianz believes in the usefulness of telematic units (black boxes) to monitor drivers’ behaviors and better evaluate risks. 20000 customers of Allianz have already opted in France; a rather small number that reflects the risks perceived by customers (as...

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Why Facebook emoji are an incredibly smart move
Mar29

Why Facebook emoji are an incredibly smart move

What is a “Like” worth ? What does it really mean ? The “like” mechanism was a great innovation when it was launched. It was a simplistic, yet powerful, way for a consumer to mark his (dis)interest. It was a binary version of the 5-star scale that had been used on other platforms before (Group Lens, Movie Lens) and that enabled the first recommendation algorithms to be developed in the 1990’s. The...

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Recommendation algorithms : the myth of filter bubbles at stake
Mar24

Recommendation algorithms : the myth of filter bubbles at stake

We’ve already discussed filter bubbles on this blog, a rather technical term that describes the negative effet of algorithms on our digital life. For more information read this thorough article. Whether or not filter bubbles really exist is still debated and I wanted to compile all scientific results on the subject. There are actually very few of them/ Although Pariser (2011) has claimed the obvious existence of filter bubbles,...

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Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent
Mar01

Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent

How you picture yourself to customers and prospects, and in particular how you smile, has important consequences that you may have overlooked until now. Fortunately a scientific study clarifies the impact of a smile on a potential buyer in different settings, online and offline. This has important consequences if you want to improve your service quality level and your customers’ satisfaction. How smiling affects our...

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Emotions detection in advertising: consumers still reluctant to give their data
Feb13

Emotions detection in advertising: consumers still reluctant to give their data

Advertisers have always been among the most creative professionals; not only on the content part but also in their use of the newest technologies to make their advertising messages more efficient. The use of eye-tracking dates back to decades, whereas billboards on streets can nowadays be equipped with technologies (sensors) to interact with pedestrians. M&C Saatchi partnered with Clear Channel and Posterscope to launch an...

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Market research : Norwegians don’t want personnalized insurance
Feb08

Market research : Norwegians don’t want personnalized insurance

Insurance companies are getting increasingly personal and thanks to digitization they are proposing new tailor-made products. Two main applications can be found : Personalized health insurance Personalized car insurance We have explored in recent articles the different aspects of such insurances (see for instance our article on black boxes in cars, or this article on the dangers of personalized health insurances) but hadn’t...

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Digitalization : why I will not use my insurance mobile application
Nov21

Digitalization : why I will not use my insurance mobile application

Digitalization in the banking and insurance sectors has led to massive job cuts. In this article I discussed this trend in the banking sector and I debated on TV of this trend in the insurance sector (see here, in French). In light of the dramatic changes that both sectors are currently undergoing, my health insurance company, DKV, recently sent me an email asking to adopt their new digital tool, a mobile application allowing...

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Predicting consumers’ behaviors: the importance of explicit feedback
Oct10

Predicting consumers’ behaviors: the importance of explicit feedback

In today’s article I’d like to present a new perspective on the evolution of consumer behaviors’ modelization in the last 30 years or so. These modelizations are windely used in today’s world of Big Data and recommendation algorithms. Introduction Understanding consumer behavior is not a recent quest. Modelizing behaviors has long been a priority for market researchers, academics and practitioners. In the...

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Are smart boxes the future of car insurance?
Mar25

Are smart boxes the future of car insurance?

Telematic units, also called black or smart boxes, are devices installed in a car to monitor a driver’s behavior (speed, acceleration, deceleration, …). They are increasingly used by insurance companies to develop a pay-as-you-drive pricing. Such pricing may be especially interesting for young drivers who are hit by high insurance premiums. Young drivers are victims of their youth One metric sums it up all: 25% of accidents are caused...

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Longer tweets : the effect on twitter users’ behavior
Feb03

Longer tweets : the effect on twitter users’ behavior

Twitter announced working on a new feature allowing to post tweets exceeding 140 words. Social media specialists were quite puzzled by this announcement. Much of twitter’s success is based on the shortness of the messages and we can wonder whether twitter is not losing its DNA. In this blog post we are trying to predict what may happen and how consumers will react. Twitter users’ behavior today Twitter users today tend to follow a lot...

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Volkswagen scandal : will customers really care?
Sep28

Volkswagen scandal : will customers really care?

In the Volkswagen cheating scandal, every single day seems to bring new information. From ca. 500k vehicles in the US, figures climbed to more than 1m potentially affected vehicles in Europe. As of today Seat vehicles are also under scrutiny and it can be expected that Skoda will soon be the next “victim”. After all, why would the problems be limited to one or two brands while the 4-cylinder engines are shared among all...

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Habits : why it’s so difficult to get rid of them
May29

Habits : why it’s so difficult to get rid of them

My recent meeting with fellow blogger Bruno Fridlansky leads me to test today a new format of shorter posts. As I explained in an earlier post I’m convinced people have little time to read complex pieces of text. And the articles published on this blog are certainly not the easiest to read: we always try to have at least 300 words (possibly 500) for SEO reasons. That’s why I believe in vlogging, that’s to say video...

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Increase the effectiveness of your advertisements with this simple tip
Feb13

Increase the effectiveness of your advertisements with this simple tip

As you know, I am very interested in the media and advertising sector, and I have spent a lot of time in the last few days reading research on consumer behaviour concerning advertising. Today, I would like to share with you something straightforward here: research carried out by scientists using the “eye-tracking” technique.   The time of exposure to advertisements is very brief Scientific research shows that exposure...

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Data Mining : a concrete example for SME’s
Jan21

Data Mining : a concrete example for SME’s

In 2015 one of the topics we would like to discuss more often on this blog is data mining. You have all heard about Big Data, data mining, business intelligence ; but what those terms really cover remains mysterious for most of us. I guess there is also a desire to keep these terms opaque and fuzzy so that they actually seem complicated and reserved to specialists. But is it really the case? Everyone can do data mining What I do...

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Food labels: keep it simple and stupid
Dec17

Food labels: keep it simple and stupid

In her weekly column in Le Figaro, French most visited online journal, Natacha Polony defended on 5 Dec 2014 the idea that food labels should not be simplified. We disagree. Read further to find out why and more importantly “how” labels should be simplified to benefit the customers’ interest. Is Mrs. Polony’s argumentation really worthwhile ? Mrs Polony was arguing that a recent law passed to simplify the labeling of meat was...

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Food & drinks : just remix to innovate
Nov24

Food & drinks : just remix to innovate

You may remember this old post we published on innovation : innovation is a remix (you can read the post here or just watch the video below).   Well, it seems that in the food & drink business (we are just back from SIAL) some innovations are just about that : applying old recipes to a new sector. If you are European chances are high that you consume pistachios in one of those two ways : roasted (in the shell) or nature. For...

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Retailing: fighting browsing shoppers is wrong. Here’s what you should do.
Nov21

Retailing: fighting browsing shoppers is wrong. Here’s what you should do.

Browser consumers are not new. Academic papers dating back to the 80’s are mentioning this behavior and called for researching it. posing what retailers consider being a great threat to their business. Today however they actually pose also the question of the survival of the brick-and-mortar retail sector vs. online retailing; browser consumers are visiting stores and then buying online, an option which didn’t obviously...

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