August 2018 NPD: Madden NFL has its best kickoff since 2013
- Consumers in the United States spent $796 million on gaming-related products in August, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.
- In particular, August was a strong month for the perennial hit Madden NFL 19.
- But what’s different is that this is the fastest-selling Madden NFL game in years.
- It debuted in 2013, but it continues to outsell most new games by a wide margin thanks to the popularity of Grand Theft Auto Online.
- Nintendo is the top-selling publisher of 2018 year-to-date.
- In fact, the month was effectively a tie in terms of dollars sales between the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
- So while August was a month when Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft could hold hands, 2018 is looking like a year for them to all go to the bank together.
- Nintendo hardware sales are at their strongest point year-to-date since 2011.
Microsoft is upping its A.I. battle with Salesforce
- Microsoft on Tuesday announced new easy-to-use cloud services that draw on artificial intelligence to help with certain kinds of work -- namely customer service and marketing.
- The move could help Microsoft's Dynamics cloud business software become more competitive with Salesforce, which has begun offering premium AI features for its services.
- Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service and Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights at an event in San Francisco.
- Salesforce's Einstein add-on provides its own suggestions based on information in Sales Cloud, and Einstein enhancements are also available for Salesforce's marketing and customer-service products.
- Microsoft's AI tools for marketing, customer service and sales will become available to customers in preview this fall.
- Last year, Microsoft talked about how it worked closely with a handful of customers, like HP and Macy's, to build sophisticated domain-specific customer-service technology.
- At this point, Microsoft is looking to help every company become AI-first, Taylor said.
Papa John's new TV ads put the focus on the company's other faces
- On Tuesday, the company revealed the 60-second TV commercial, dubbed "Voices," which features 24 Papa John's employees, managers and franchisees talking about their experiences with the brand.
- Schnatter started a very public feud with the company's board after they forced him to step down as chairman after it was revealed he had used the N-word on a conference call in May. That incident, and another in November, when he criticized the National Football League, has chased customers away.
- Papa John's said in early August that customer sentiment continued to sour and the company and its franchisees were bracing for weaker sales and possible store closures.
- In the wake of these troubles, the beleaguered pizza chain hired Bozoma Saint John of Endeavor Global Marketing, who assisted Uber during its campaign to revitalize its image last year.
Microsoft launches new AI applications for customer service and sales
- Unsurprisingly, Microsoft argues that Dynamics 365 does not do that, allowing it to now use all of this data to build machine learning-driven experiences for specific tasks.
- That’s obviously among the most basic of machine learning applications these days, but AI for Sales also helps these salespeople understand what actions they should take next and which prospects to prioritize.
- Finally, Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights does just what the name implies: it provides teams with data about social sentiment, but this, too, goes a bit deeper.
- “This allows organizations to harness the vast amounts of social sentiment, be able to analyze it, and then take action on how to use these insights to increase brand loyalty, as well as understand what newsworthy events will help provide different brand affinities across an organization,” Taylor said.
Auto industry outlook hinges on China sales holding up under tariff pressure
- The outlook for the global auto industry over the next 12-18 months remains stable so far, thanks in part to rising sales in China, India and Europe.
- But looming trade tensions and the threat of tariffs could hurt sales next year, said Moody's on Tuesday.
- The credit rating agency said it expects light vehicle sales worldwide to grow 1.5 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2019.
- But ongoing trade and tariff disputes, rising interest rates and higher fuel prices could all dampen sales next year.
- China remains relatively healthy and is key to Moody's outlook.
- Sales there are expected to slow slightly next year, but Moody's is still expecting growth rates at or above 2 percent over the next year.
- Many manufacturers are having to sink money into developing new electric vehicles and answer challenges from upstarts such as Tesla and Chinese firms with global ambitions.
Look for a Kaepernick sales 'bump' in Nike's earnings next week
- The aftermath of Nike's controversial Colin Kaepernick ad could show up in quarterly results next week — in a very good way.
- When asked "What do you think of Nike's ad with Colin Kaepernick?", 15 percent of respondents said they "support it," more than twice that percentage of respondents who said they "don't support it." Thirty one percent of survey respondents said they would absolutely buy more Nike after seeing the ad, while 14 percent said they would purchase less of it.
- Its online sales surged in the days after the advertisement debuted.
- In the same period last year, they dropped by 2 percent.
- Calls for Nike to drop its sponsorship of Kaepernick, who signed with the brand in 2011, started after he protested during the national anthem for the 2016 season.
Examining Amazon's online and offline pushes
- This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "E-Commerce Briefing" subscribers hours before appearing on Business Insider.
- This combination of efforts may help reinvigorate Amazon's marketplace sales, while also helping it diversify its offerings.
- The e-commerce giant's online store net sales grew 12% year-over-year (YoY) in Q2 2018, marking the third consecutive quarter that the e-tailer's growth in the segment decelerated.
- With this in mind, fresh new private apparel labels along with extra focus on unique offerings from SMBs might help spur this revenue category's growth.
- Additionally, new Amazon Go locations can help the e-tailer grow revenue from its physical stores category by giving it access to a broader potential customer base.
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AutoZone slides after sales miss
- AutoZone was down as much as 6% in premarket trading Tuesday after the auto-parts retailer reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales that missed Wall Street estimates.
- Shares have trimmed their losses and are now lower by less than 2.5%.
- The company said sales edged up 1.1% versus a year ago to $3.55 billion, just shy of the $3.59 billion that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting.
- Domestic same-store sales, or sales at US stores open at least one year, increased 2.2% for the quarter, missing the 2.3% increase that was anticipated.
- For the fiscal year ended August 25, 2018, sales climbed 3.1% to $11.2 billion while earnings increased 10.7% to $48.77 a share.
- AutoZone also announced the launch of a next-day home-delivery program, which will allow the retailer to deliver local-market inventory to about 80% of the US population.
- AutoZone shares were down 3.6% this year through Monday.
How retailers can overcome challenges to fend off Amazon's threat
- Meanwhile, e-commerce pureplays are riding the rise of digital commerce to success — none more so than Amazon, which accounted for 53% of online sales growth in the US last year, according to Slice Intelligence.
- While these companies have spent years optimizing their supply chain and logistics networks for delivering goods to their stores or directly to customers' doorsteps, most have yet to figure out how to profitably bring their store locations into the e-commerce delivery process.
- In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence lays out the case for why retailers must transition to an omnichannel fulfillment model, and the challenges complicating that transition for most companies.
- We also detail the benefits and difficulties involved with specific omnichannel fulfillment services like click-and-collect, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store, providing examples of retailers that have experienced success and struggles with these methods.
Oracle Reports Sales That Miss Estimates on Slow Cloud Effort
- Nico Grant (Bloomberg) -- Oracle Corp., the world’s second-largest software maker, reported sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates, in a sign the company is still stumbling in its transition to cloud computing.
- When the company reported fiscal 2018 fourth quarter earnings in June, it stopped breaking out sales for new software licenses and the performance of various cloud products, spurring investor angst, and sending the stock tumbling more than 7 percent the next day.
- Kurian, the company’s president of product development, is said to have taken extended time off because he thought Oracle should make more software available on the clouds of rivals Amazon and Microsoft while Ellison is said to have disagreed, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week.