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As an ever-evolving industry, marketers know the importance of adapting to new trends in order to stay apparent among competition. With the new year only days away, it’s a great time to reflect on the last year and begin to look at how to make 2017 even better. Here’s a few areas all marketers should be making new year’s resolutions to focus on throughout the next year. Focus on Data - Over the past few years, data has grown into a major tool for marketers. If you are still skeptical of the use of data or too overwhelmed to dive into the numbers, 2017 is the year to let this fear go. Data is not only a necessary tool, but it gives us important information on consumers like statistical trends, analytical patterns, and technological shifts. The information marketers have the opportunity to gain from data is endless.

While many of us are focused on shopping for loved ones during the holiday, this time of year also provides us the opportunity to support causes we believe in. The same goes for retailers. Many retailers want to show their support for philanthropies dedicated to doing good, so they graciously give back when purchases are made. Here’s 5 companies that are giving back this holiday season and making a difference to those in need:

Patagonia 

After a successful Black Friday shopping day, Patagonia announced that they would be donating all of the $10 million dollars that they earned to a host of environmental nonprofits over the course of the next 18 months. If you missed out on shopping during Black Friday, Patagonia will still be donating 1% of their profits to fund global environmental initiatives through the 1% for the Planet organization.

TOMS 

Since TOMS opened its doors, they have been committed to helping improve lives. For every product purchased, TOMS helps provide shoes, sight, water, safe birth, and bullying prevention services to people in need. This initiative stands strong during the shopping months. TOMS also wanted to thank the men and women who have bravely served our country through offering a military discount. They started offering their military discount online exclusively for Veterans Day and have continued into the holidays.

Over the past year, consumers have demanded an even better customer service experience from their favorite brands both in-store and online. In response, retailers have used social media platforms and personalization as a way to improve their customer’s experience. But as 2016 comes to a close, retailers are already planning their next move in order to fine-tune their customer service. Here’s our predictions on the trends that will shape the customer service trends in the new year:

IoT (Internet of Things) 

Just like the omnichannel trend, IoT is here to stay and will be a game changer over the next year. Soon, all of our devices will be connected whether we like it or not. Spinn Coffee is already using IoT to connect their coffee makers to our devices. Doesn’t it sound nice to wake up, check your emails and social media and brew your coffee all from the comfort of your bed? Check out the coffee makers here: https://www.spinn.com/. IoT will create more opportunity for personalization in the coming year and also make consumers lives much easier with improved customer experiences.

As 2016 comes to a close, the SheerID team is proud to be ending the year on another successful note. Here’s a recap of just a few of the highlights from 2016:
  1. Opened a second office - In February we opened the doors to our second office located in the heart of downtown Portland in Pioneer Place. We love all the amazing food, stores, and views of the city and Mt. Hood. It’s also just a short drive up the highway from the Eugene office, so we frequently have visitors from the Eugene crew.
  2. New hires - Our team expanded a lot over the past year - 11 new hires to be exact. We’re thrilled about adding on to our legal, accounting, product, development, sales, and marketing teams. Each of our employees brings a plethora of new skills and tools to the SheerID repertoire.
  3. Launched a new product - In order to continue providing both enterprise and small businesses with the ability to provide exclusive offers to special interest groups, SheerID officially launched Employee Verification Eligibility. Aimed to help enterprises streamline employee purchase programs and corporate channel partnerships, the easy-to-use, fraud-proof platform instantly verifies employees against authoritative data using just the name, address and company name. SheerID can instantly verify 65 million employees from over 44,000 employers, including the federal government and 75% of the Fortune 500 companies.
  4. New clients - TOMS, HBO NOW, Expedia, Staples, Omron, Men’s Wearhouse, Oakley Standard Issue,  Quiksilver, Roxy, DC Shoes, Zebit, and Rosetta Stone are just a few of the brands who have implemented SheerID’s eligibility verification over the past year and we’re thrilled to be working with each of them.
  5. Made the list of Best Places to Work - SheerID takes pride in it’s culture of wellness and for creating an outstanding workplace environment for all of our employees. Outside Magazine recently recognized this by including SheerID as a finalist in the “Top 100 Best Places to Work” list, citing our flexible, yet hard-working company culture and unique offices as reasons.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become two highly anticipated “holidays” by US consumers looking for big savings, with this year’s results the most successful ever. Not only did Black Friday rake in $3.35 billion in sales, but Cyber Monday also racked up even more with $3.45 billion in sales, which is a 12.1% increase from last year. In total, $12.81 billion was spent between November 24 and November 28. According to Forbes, two of the most popular items to buy were electronics and toys. The five best-selling electronics from Black Friday were Apple iPads, Samsung 4k TV’s, Apple’s MacBook Air, LG Televisions and Microsoft XBox, while the five best-selling toys were Lego Creator Sets, electric scooters from Razor, Nerf Guns, DJI Phantom Drones, and Barbie Dreamhouse. With this record breaking weekend behind us, we now have a glimpse into the retail and shopping trends that we will continue to see through the holiday season and into 2017. Here’s a few of the notable results from the 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganzas:

How far would you go to get a discount? If you’ve watched Extreme Couponing on TLC or read how-to articles about extreme couponing, you’ve seen the extraordinary measures some thrifty folks will go to in order to save a few bucks. Behind the scenes at SheerID, we’ve also seen some less industrious individuals lie and cheat in an attempt to access exclusive offers that they don’t actually deserve, like academic pricing on software or free vouchers to military appreciation events. Foiling dishonest dirt bags is one of the things we do best. In the last couple of years, we’ve noticed that some daily deal sites and online membership communities require members to input their full or partial social security numbers to sign up. Now, I expect to give out my social security number when I’m doing my taxes or applying for a mortgage, but not necessarily when I’m trying to get 10% off compression capris and stretch mesh tank tops that I want to buy online. I mean, sure, that racer back top is cute, but do I really want to release personally identifiable information to save a couple of dollars? Back when I was a college student, my social security number was also my student ID number. In the past few years, more and more universities are moving away from this practice, as cyber-attacks, data breaches, and identity theft have become more commonplace. We recently hit campuses and surveyed 585 college students to find out just how concerned they are with protecting their social security numbers and other personally identifiable information. pie chart displaying the percentage of people who would provide their social security number for a discount
  • 53% said they would never give out the last 4 digits of their social security to get a discount
  •  88% of students said they would not give out their full social security to get a discount
Of the 9% of students who said they would consider giving out their SSN if the discount was good enough, 86% said retailers would have to give them at least 50% off their purchase. We also asked them what information they are willing to disclose in exchange for special offers, discounts, and academic pricing. Here’s what they said. bar graph displaying what information students feel comfortable providing for an online discount