• Moblie Shopper Marketing: Key Issues, Current Insights, and Future Research Avenues

    Shankar et al.

    by Venkatesh Shankar, Mirella Kleijnen, Suresh Ramanathan, Ross Rizley, Steve Holland, and Shawn Morrissey

    This article is forthcoming in Journal of Interactive Marketing

    The intersection of mobile marketing and shopper marketing, known as mobile shopper marketing, is a rapidly evolving area. We formally define mobile shopper marketing as the planning and execution of all mobile-based marketing activities that influence a shopper along and beyond the path-to-purchase: from the initial shopping trigger, to the purchase, consumption, repurchase, and recommendation stage. However, not much is known about mobile shopper marketing. We plug this gap by first discussing mobile shopper marketing and its scope in depth and then presenting a process model that connects the mobile shopping journey with four key entities, i.e., shopper, employee, organization, and mobile technology. For each of these themes, we identify the challenges that offer future research opportunities.

  • Keynote @ Michigan Ross Tech Business Innovation Forum

    I keynoted @ Michigan Ross Tech Business Innovation Forum–great speakers & insights. Kudos to Professors Ravi Anupindi and M.S. Krishnan of Michigan Ross for organizing a nice event. Thanks to speakers, Chris Bosco (Accenture), Mike Minelli (24/7),  Dan Newman, Sriram (Michigan Ross), Thomais Zaremba (Ford), Michael Osment (Taubman), and Dennis Maloney (Domino’s) for their fascinating views on omnichannel marketing.


  • Amazon’s $50 tablet: Why Amazon does not Get it!

    Amazon is going to launch a $50 tablet for the holiday season. It is hoping to lure more people to buy its cheap device and sell its services such as e-books and video rentals. It is also trying to challenge Apple’s stranglehold on the tablet market.

    Amazon’s attempts at offering a low-cost tablet and trying to sell services through it are not new. Remember, Amazon had slashed the price of its Kindle, its e- reader, to $79. It also tried to offer a free year of Amazon Prime (worth $99 at that time) to sell its somewhat pricier Fire smartphone. After both these launches met with lukewarm reception by customers, jokes started flying: the former did n’t exactly ‘kindle’ sales and the latter was a ‘prime’ failure ($170million write-off for unsold inventory).

    So what’s Amazon’s strategy behind the $50 tablet? Will it take off? It appears that Amazon is betting that the ‘razor and blade’ business model of giving the razor cheap and selling blades will eventually work at some low price point–in this case $50. However, for this strategy to work, the razor itself should not offer much of the value, but the blades should. That is, customers should value the services that accompany the device far more than the device. Here is where Amazon does not seem to get it. It is unclear whether Amazon’s services will trump the benefits of an iPad. Also, when people buy a tablet like iPad, they are buying it not only for the host of superior features, such as a sharp camera, ease of use, and synching with music (iTunes), they are also buying into the “cool factor” synonymous with Apple’s products. The cool factor is so aspirational that even many cost-conscious customers would wait to save up to buy an iPad rather than go for the lowest priced tablet. So it might be another uphill and frustrating experience for Amazon.

    Amazon’s announcement could also be a tactical move of taking the wind out of Apple’s upcoming new iPad launch announcement. The idea is to freeze any potential purchases by low-end customers and make them wait until the holiday season to try out Amazon’s ultra-cheap tablet. However, I cannot recall a time when a rival stalled Apple’s sales as the latter announced its next product(s). If tactical maneuver is Amazon’s goal, it appears that the $50 tablet would only remain a cheap trick or at best provide a cheap thrill to Amazon.

  • Which Retail Mobile Apps Standout and Why?

    For successful retail shopping engagement, mobile app quality matters. Retailers lag behind in app quality, but Fanatics, Domino’s and Groupon stand out. Jimmy John’s, Michaels and McDonald’s fare the worst. The best performing retail apps meet customers’ high expectations, curate passionate fans, and offer the shopper value in mobility.

  • Will Google brand become generic like Xerox and Kleenex?

    Google’s brand is valued at $66 billion (source: Interbrands). Is Google in danger of being confined to the “brands that turned generic” roster–a  la Xerox, Kleenex, and Aspirin?

  • Uber rides fastest to $50B valuation

    It took 7 years for Facebook to reach $50B in valuation but only 5 years for Uber, the most valuable startup! 

  • Asymmetries in the Effects of Drivers of Mobile Device Brand Loyalty between Early and Late Adopters and across Generations of Mobile Technology

    Lam and Shankar JIM 2014

    by Shun Yin Lam and Venkatesh Shankar

    The article was published in Journal of Interactive Marketing

    Mobile marketing activities are growing at a rapid pace. The success of mobile marketing hinges on consumers’ adoption of mobile devices. However, consumers’ mobile device adoption is not well understood at the brand (e.g., Apple, Nokia, Samsung) level. We propose a conceptual framework linking mobile device brand loyalty (repurchase intention) to its drivers including perceived value, brand satisfaction, brand attachment and trust, and develop hypotheses about the moderating roles of adopter type and mobile technology generation in some of these linkages. We test these hypotheses using structural equation modeling on a unique cross-sectional dataset of attitudes toward mobile phone brands spanning two technology generations, 2.5G and 3G. The results reveal important asymmetries between adopter types and between technology generations: early adopters of mobile devices emphasize perceived value, whereas late adopters rely on brand satisfaction in developing brand loyalty; and consumers depend more on trust and less on perceived value in developing loyalty for the new generation than for the existing generation. We outline how brand managers of mobile devices should adapt their marketing strategies to different adopter
    types and technology generations.

  • Symbian: Customer Interaction through Collaboration and Competition in a Convergent Industry


    by Fabio Ancarani and Venkatesh Shankar

    This article was published in Journal of Interactive Marketing, 17 (Winter 2003), 56-76.

    In a convergent industry, the boundaries between traditional industries are blurred and, as new competitors emerge, traditional rules of competition are challenged. Firms need to effectively compete and collaborate with one another simultaneously by focusing on customer needs.  In this paper, we argue that integration of customer needs and strategic alliances is a critical aspect of competing in the convergent industry. We propose a framework for analyzing competition in convergent industry, comprising five critical factors: customer intimacy, degree of competition among different players in focal markets, alliance formation, brand equity, and execution.  We apply this framework to the case of Symbian, a joint venture among Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, Matsushita, Siemens and Psion that licenses an open operating system for third generation mobile information and communication services in hybrid mobile devices.  We derive insights into the ongoing competition between Symbian OS, the first mover in this emerging market and Microsoft’s Smartphone, the late mover.

  • Proactive and Reactive Product Line Strategies: Asymmetries between Market Leaders and Followers


    by Venkatesh Shankar

    This article was published in Management Science, 52 (February 2006), 276-292.

    To what extent do firms increase (product proliferation strategy) or decrease (product pruning strategy) their product line? Do they change their product line simultaneously with changes to their prices and distribution levels? What drives these changes to product line? To what extent are they proactive versus reactive? Are product line changes similar for market leaders and followers? The answers to these questions can help managers develop more effective product line strategies.  We present a framework and model to answer these questions and analyze product line strategies of firms using data from the computer printer market comprising the market leader, Hewlett Packard (HP) and followers, Epson, Canon and Lexmark.  The results show that the market leader practices a product proliferation strategy and rarely fights on price. In contrast, market followers adopt a price fighting strategy.  A firm is more likely to engage in product line actions when its competitors changed their product lines in the past, when the firm is large, and when its price is high.  Product line reaction elasticities (percentage change in product line length with respect to percentage past change in competitor’s marketing variable) are different from product line anticipation elasticities (percentage change with respect to percentage anticipated future change).  They are also different for market leaders and followers.  For the market leader (followers), product line reaction elasticity is higher (lower) than product line anticipation elasticity.  These differences are related to product line demand elasticities, which are higher for the market leader than they are for the followers.  Managers of market leaders (followers) can formulate better product line strategies based on these likely proactive and reactive actions of market followers (leaders).  They can use our model to estimate reaction, anticipation and demand elasticities of the different firms in their markets and develop a decision support system for effective product line decisions.

  • Online Trust: A Stakeholder Perspective, Concepts, Implications, and Future Directions


    by Venkatesh Shankar, Glen L. Urban, Fareena Sultan

    This article was published in Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 11 (2002), 325-344.

    Online trust is important in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-business.  Consumers and businesses, feeling the pressure of economic downturn and terrorism, increasingly look to buy from and do business with organizations with the most trusted Web sites and electronic networks.  Companies’ perception of online trust has steadily evolved from being a construct involving security and privacy issues on the Internet to a multidimensional, complex construct that includes reliability/credibility, emotional comfort and quality for multiple stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, distributors and regulators, in addition to customers.  Further, trust online spans the end-to-end aspects of e-business rather than being just based on the electronic storefront.  Based on a review of selected studies, we propose a stakeholder theory of trust, articulate a broad conceptual framework of online trust including its underlying elements, antecedents, and consequences, and propose some promising future research avenues in online trust.  This paper will help information systems professionals better understand the online trust perspectives of multiple stakeholders, the antecedents and consequences, thereby enabling them to build more trustworthy Web sites.