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Crm News & Analysis

Understanding Our E-Commerce Obsession [Infographic]

Customers worldwide are moving faster than ever before, hopping from device to device, buying anywhere.

That's creating opportunities for digitally savvy retailers. But it is also creating challenges for those who fail to adapt to changing realities, according to new research from Demandware, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e-commerce solutions.

The Burlington, Mass.-based company just released its inaugural Shopping Index, which measures digital commerce growth and identifies the trends driving that growth.

Heads-Up Salesforce, SugarCRM Just Raised Its Data and Mobile Game

Maybe it’s out of respect for Salesforce’s 16th anniversary that the executives at SugarCRM kept their lips zipped over the weekend. But today they’re talking.

This morning the CRM startup officially announced that it has acquired mobile app maker Stitch.

It's the thinking behind the acquisition, rather than the acquisition itself, that should make Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff think hard.

New Salesforce Tool Can Help You Get Personal With 1M People

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Big data presents a big challenge for marketers: How can you personalize your email, mobile and web messages when you're reaching out to a million potential customers — or 10 million?

It's hard to get personal in a crowd like that.

Several marketing technology vendors have tackled that challenge. But it's hard to create a tool with real time customer profile updates that marketers can use without the help from a data scientist or someone from the IT staff.

Secrets to Success in the Attention Economy

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Tasks crowd our working days. And as the pace of work accelerates, managers' expectations grow year after year. It's no wonder that people joke that the ultimate business technology would be a time machine.

While time travel would be neat and maybe even a little scary (as any science fiction fan would tell you), we’ve had time machines for years. They come in the form of the technologies that make us more productive and thus add time we can spend doing other things.

Complete the Digital Marketing Puzzle, One Integration Step at a Time

2015-12-February-Crossword.jpgBeing a marketer today can be a challenging task, particularly because today’s savvy customers have already completed about 80 percent of their purchase research by the time they even contact you. This shortened sales cycle means that if your data isn’t organized across systems to make your customers’ history and preferences easily accessible, lost sales opportunities and lower customer satisfaction will inevitably result.

Addressing the Gap Between Marketing Automation and CRM

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In this era of economic growth, the Sales Enablement Trends 2015 Report (registration required) by Qvidian was sobering. While B2B companies continue to grow at any cost, sales teams still struggle with quota attainment and can’t ramp up fast enough. Companies are trying to fix this by automating virtually every marketing process, sales process and touch point.

The result? We’re drowning in data and analyses.  Big data and predictive analytics are providing a lot of information, but scant meaningful insights that can be acted on with consistent successful results. The problem is data is siloed and analyzed as such. Even when broader data is analyzed, it’s never all of it. Some gets left out because it’s outside the organization’s four walls or it wasn’t considered relevant. That creates a condition of being directionally correct but precisely wrong.

The problem persists because companies don’t really know their buyers -- a fact that they are finally coming to terms with.

Is Your Business Capitalizing On This $1T E-Commerce Market?

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With a population of about 1.3 billion and an emerging middle class, China is the largest market in the world.

In the past few decades, it has emerged as a global economic powerhouse. In fact, its population may be the very reason why China alone will exceed $1 trillion in retail e-commerce sales in 2018. By comparison, global e-commerce sales in 2014 totaled about $1.3 trillion — and by 2018, United States retail e-commerce sales will only be around $500 billion.

Although Internet access in China is reported as widely censored and monitored by the state, 645 million people in China regularly access the Internet. The US has approximately 253 million users, India has 215.6 million and Brazil has 107.7 million, making China far and away also the largest e-commerce market in the world.

So what is your business doing about it?

Janrain's Portal Gets Inside the (Social) Minds of Customers

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Janrain releases technology today that can reportedly help customer care agents get inside the minds of customers.

Well, not literally, but at least it allows them to get a more "social" data profile of the customer including their "likes" and interests, the company claims.

The Portland, Ore.-based customer identity management provider launched the technology today. It's called a Customer Care Portal, which officials said helps customer care agents acquire "psychographic characteristics of their customers" by accessing their social profile data.

"Customers want to be able to access their own accounts, and self-serve," Jamie Beckland, vice president of marketing at Janrain, told CMSWire. "It's good for them, and also good for customer care teams. But sometimes, a customer just needs to talk to a person. In that case, customer care teams can now manage customer accounts directly, using the same data as the customer themselves."

Salesforce Makes Another Bet on E-Commerce

Hoping to extend its presence in e-commerce, Salesforce has invested millions of dollars in SteelBrick — the cloud software giant's second bet on the fast-growing Configure Price Quote (CPQ) market this week.

SteelBrick said today San Francisco-based Salesforce joined its $18 million Series B funding round, which was led by Shasta VenturesEmergence Capital and company managers also participated in the round.

SteelBrick CEO Godard Abel told CMSWire the investment shows that Salesforce is moving beyond its traditional customer relationship management (CRM) functions.

2015 M&A Surges, Set to Break 2014 Records

It's fitting that 451 Research released a study on merger and acquisitions (M&A) on the same day CMSWire shared the news of yet another tech industry merger.

The new research shows that M&A will continue this year — even faster and more furious than in record-setting 2014.

Last year, about $439 billion was spent on tech acquisitions, the most since 2000. The two biggest deals: Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner for almost $70 billion to top the list in February and AT&T purchase of DirecTV Group for “only” $67.1 billion in May.

There were also a number of large M&As involving less well-known brands:  Medical device giant Medtronic acquired Ireland-based Covidien plc in June, and Swiss-based building materials company Holcim bought French cement, construction and concrete supplier Lafarge.

Sitecore, Microsoft Partner to Bridge Physical-Digital Divide #nrf15

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Omnichannel is the new black. That’s the buzz we’re hearing from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show in the BIG Apple this week.

But the chatter is not just about omnichannel. It’s also about the wins that integrating brick and mortar and digital can create, like guiding a customer to the store that has — in stock — the exact product (even the right size) he has been checking out online. In other words, it’s getting the right products and the right offers to the right people before they abandon their virtual and/or physical shopping carts, change their minds or look for something else to buy someplace else.

To do this you need to know what a customer is doing on each channel. And not just that: You also need to know what’s happening with your goods and services. This kind of data is best gleaned from customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Without the latter, you may not be able to deliver what the customer wants to buy and is willing to pay for. And when that happens, you not only miss a sale, but risk losing a customer as well.

It’s to avoid these kinds of problems and to create experiences that engage customers that Sitecore introduced Sitecore Commerce 8 powered by Microsoft Dynamics yesterday. The new solution bridges the gap between in-store and digital experiences.

Microsoft Ups Its Customer Experience Play

Microsoft is flexing its customer experience muscles. Last night it announced the spring release of Parature will come with more than 30 new “high priority” customer capabilities. They're designed to help businesses streamline and improve their customer experience strategies.

The release follows the acquisition of Parature by Microsoft last February for a reported $100 million. The purchase price is a relative pittance in comparison to many current tech deals — especially since the value it will bring to Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) portfolio is incalculable.

7 Troubling Myths About CX - and Why It Could Fail

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Colin Shaw knows customer experience (CX) — and he doesn't like where it's headed.

Twelve years ago, Shaw co-founded Tampa, Fla.-based Beyond Philosophy, a consultancy and training organization devoted to customer experience (CX). The company specializes in helping organizations to create deliberate, emotionally engaging customer experiences that drive value, reduce costs and build competitive advantage.

In addition to serving as CEO of Beyond Philosophy, he's the author of four books on customer experience and has a new one, "Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience: Short Stories of Remarkable Practices that Ensure Success," scheduled for release next month. He's also one of LinkedIn's top 150 business influencers worldwide. So he knows of what he speaks when he expresses concerns about the future of CX.

"I'm becoming increasingly concerned that the goal of improving the ‘Customer Experience’ is heading the same way as customer relationship management (CRM) ... into failure," he said.

The Holistic View of the Customer Experience

There's a consensus that if you want to be successful on line, you’re going to have to deliver an exceptional customer experience, something that leaves others trailing. Of course, there are many opinions on how to do that.

E-Spirit, for example, has a very particular notion of what customer experience involves. Many other vendors start by talking about technologies or silos. But for Oliver Jaeger, e-Spirit's vice president for global marketing and communications, it means the entire customer cycle from first contact to last sign-off.

While many companies just don’t get it that the whole process needs to be managed, e-Spirit is actively pursuing ways to provide that ultimate experience.

Promoter.io Gets $1M to Grow Customer Loyalty

San Antonio, Texas-based startup Promoter.io has raised $1 million and launched a new software platform that it claims helps you better understand and leverage your most loyal customers.

The company will use an established loyalty metric and methodology known as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to rank the loyalty of a customer database. Promoter.io's software will use NPS to help companies understand how loyal their customers are and cultivate the strongest "promoters" to help build the company's products and brands.

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