What Are Retail’s Buzziest Terms?

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What Are Retail’s Buzziest Terms?

By Tim Denman - 05/28/2019

Every couple of months a new term is introduced that takes the industry by storm and seems to come up in every conversation you have or article you read. Omnichannel, unified commerce, digital transformation ― the list of must-know jargon is constantly expanding.

The other day I signed up for a free trial of CB Insights. The site has volumes of useful information on trends across a number of industries. As I was poking around I came across the analytic firm’s earnings call transcript search engine and was intrigued.

At RIS we read a lot of earnings transcripts to stay informed on what the industry’s biggest publicly traded retailers are up to. When reading these transcripts you come across a host of new and emerging terms. Some are specific to the retailer and some are destined to become industry-wide phenomena.

On CB Insight’s site you can enter a term and it will search the thousands of earnings transcripts it has in its database going back more than five years. The search engine can tell you how often the term is used on earnings calls over time as well as which companies use the term most often.

I began throwing some most-used terms at the search engine to see how they have evolved over time. Below are the results. I used the April through June time frame over the past three years for comparison’s sake. It is worth noting that there is still a month to go in April through June 2019, but most companies have had their Q2 earnings call by now.

Some terms on my list, analytics for example, have cross-industry appeal which is evidenced by their overwhelming performance over the past three year. While others, like store opening and store closing, are industry specific. Interesting store opening has outperformed store closing on earnings transcripts each of the past three years.

Another interesting finding is that terms like, retail apocalypse, that have dominated the headlines for the past year or two were mentioned so sparingly (just a few times per quarter) that they were excluded from this ranking.

Check out the results of my unofficial ranking of retail’s buzziest terms:

Analytics

  • April –June 2019: 1,488
  • April –June 2018: 1,778
  • April –June 2017: 1,749

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Teradata (701 mentions), Verisk Analytics (638 mentions), Tableau Software (457 mentions)

Customer Experience

  • April –June 2019: 745
  • April –June 2018: 972
  • April –June 2017: 739

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Best Buy (265 mentions), Nordstrom (188 mentions), Lowe’s (176 mentions)

Digital Transformation

  • April –June 2019: 266
  • April –June 2018: 332
  • April –June 2017: 202

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: The Hackett Group (21 mentions), Children’s Place (12 mentions), Salesforce (6 mentions)

Machine Learning

  • April –June 2019: 248
  • April –June 2018: 423
  • April –June 2017: 323

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Google (136 mentions), Twitter (50 mentions), SAP (42 mentions)

Artificial Intelligence

  • April –June 2019: 228
  • April –June 2018: 307
  • April –June 2017: 242

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Salesforce (62 mentions), Accenture (60 mentions), Infosys Technologies (43 mentions)

Omnichannel

  • April –June 2019: 133
  • April –June 2018: 152
  • April –June 2017: 165

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Macy’s (182 mentions), J.C. Penney (165 mentions), SPS Commerce (100 mentions)

Store Opening

  • April –June 2019: 104
  • April –June 2018: 212
  • April –June 2017: 225

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: lululemon (149 mentions), Abercrombie & Fitch (136 mentions), Conn’s (121 mentions)

Big Data

  • April –June 2019: 102
  • April –June 2018: 188
  • April –June 2017: 204

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Dell Technologies (274 mentions), Teradata (244 mentions), Informatica (238 mentions)

Internet of Things

  • April –June 2019: 56
  • April –June 2018: 108
  • April –June 2017: 185

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Data I/O (114 mentions), Silicon Labs (94 mentions), Intel (89 mentions)

Click and Collect

  • April –June 2019: 42
  • April –June 2018: 30
  • April –June 2017: 27

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Loblaw (62 mentions), Royal Ahold Delhaize (34 mentions), SpartanNash (29 mentions)

RFID

  • April –June 2019: 41
  • April –June 2018: 53
  • April –June 2017: 46

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Avery Dennison (448 mentions), Checkpoint Systems (242 mentions), Zebra Technologies (185 mentions)

Augmented Reality

  • April –June 2019: 36
  • April –June 2018: 64
  • April –June 2017: 61

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Facebook (22 mentions), Apple (17 mentions), Wayfair (16 mentions)

Store Closing

  • April –June 2019: 27
  • April –June 2018: 71
  • April –June 2017: 147

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: Macy’s (82 mentions), Shoe Carnival (81 mentions), Simon Property Group (72 mentions)

Blockchain

  • April–June 2019: 8
  • April –June 2018: 22
  • April –June 2017: 18

Companies the frequently mention the term on their earnings calls: IBM (16 mentions), IBM Research (16 mentions), Overstock.com (10 mentions)

 

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