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Companies spend more on user experience research

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston — Businesses are spending more money on and paying more attention to user experience research. According to a new survey of 1,300 marketing, product and user experience professionals from user experience technology provider Usertesting.com, 55% say usability testing budget increased in 2013.

The most popular reason (42%) was a change in attitude towards usability testing. Sixty percent of respondents said testing frequency increased in 2013, with 37% of those also saying the reason is a change in attitude toward testing. For 2014, 70% say frequency will increase.

Other notable results include:

  • 41% of respondents have a dedicated team for usability testing, and 45% say two to five people work on user experience in their company.
  • 84% of respondents run usability testing on websites, while 44% run usability testing on mobile apps and 43% run usability testing on mobile sites.
  • 56% of respondents said the most important online trends affecting usability testing in the next five years will include multi-device interaction, and 50% selected touch interfaces.

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Euclid names three senior execs

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco — Retail analytics company Euclid has added three new executives to an already prestigious team. The company has hired John McAdoo as CFO, Adam Wilson as chief marketing officer (CMO), and Jeff Nuzum as senior VP of worldwide sales.

John McAdoo joins Euclid with a background including serving as CFO for ARM Holdings plc, and Wilson comes from Informatica, where he most recently served as senior VP and general manager for the company’s Information Lifecycle Management Business. Prior to Informatica, he was the co-founder of Zimba, a mobile business intelligence provider.

Nuzum previously held executive positions at SAP and Oracle. He has nearly 20 years of enterprise technology sales experience, and will join ex-ShopperTrak founder Tad Shepperd to head up Euclid’s sales teams.

“We have big plans heading into 2014, “said Euclid CEO Will Smith. “Over the last couple of years we’ve been focused on perfecting our product, but with these new hires we’re focused on significantly expanding our go-to-market efforts. Adam, Jeff, and John bring a broad track record of success at both industry leaders and early stage pioneers. I’m incredibly excited about the impact they will have on the success of Euclid.”

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McMillon poised to make his mark at Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

All eyes will be on Walmart’s new CEO Doug McMillon next week when the company reports worse-than-expected fourth quarter results on Thursday, and McMillon makes his first public comments since becoming CEO.

McMillon is no stranger to providing financial updates during the company’s pre-recorded earnings calls, investor conferences and analysts’ meetings. He performed those duties on numerous occasions during the past decade while serving as president and CEO of Walmart International and president and CEO of Sam’s Club before that.

However, next Thursday’s earnings announcement is a different story as it is McMillon’s first opportunity since being named as successor to former president and CEO Mike Duke to share his vision of where Walmart is headed and how it will get there.

Investors already know the sales and profit situation during the fourth quarter was not as good as they had been led to believe last fall. Walmart got that bad news out of the way two weeks ago when it uncharacteristically preannounced that same-store sales would be slightly negative at Walmart’s U.S. stores and Sam’s Club and that profits would be at or below a prior forecast range. During the call next Thursday morning top executives will offer more details on the sources of the weakness, beyond the already mentioned bad weather and worse than expected impact from the reduction of food stamp benefits, leaving McMillon to focus on the future.

As for what the future may hold, look for McMillon to borrow a page from the playbook of new Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen. She sought to reassure markets during testimony before lawmakers this week that under her leadership there would be no immediate deviation from the monetary policy pursued by her predecessor.

What that means in the context of Walmart is that it would be shocking if during his first conference call as CEO McMillon offered a point of view sharply different from Duke’s. If anything, McMillon may ratchet up the rhetoric about helping people save money to live better and fulfilling that mission by controlling expenses to offer everyday low prices. Walmart shoppers remain under pressure with limited disposable incomes and McMillon is a staunch believer in EDLP. He has spoken forcefully about EDLP in the past and during his international tenure made the case that EDLP would be the driving force for success in each of the markets where Walmart operates.

He’s also likely to reaffirm the company’s commitment to shareholders regarding growth, leverage and returns. Walmart has come up short in the key area of leverage during the past year because limited top line growth made it challenging to leverage expenses. If Walmart is going to deliver on its shareholder commitments, it will fall to McMillon to make hard choices about where and how to cut costs against the backdrop of still challenging economic climate.

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