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E-commerce News & Analysis

Think Only Marketing Owns Customer Experience? Think Again

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Customer experience management usually lands in the laps of the marketing team. After all, they’re the ones who are responsible for fostering the relationship between the brand and the customer.

The idea that customer experience is exclusively a marketing problem is a little shortsighted for any business. For the multichannel retailer, it’s flat out incorrect.

Belated Holiday Gifts for E-Marketers: Data Reports

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By now, big retailers have dumped the last of their holiday decorations and e-marketers have already started making plans to boost revenue the next time around.

This makes it the most wonderful time if the year to look at the data to find out what worked and what didn't in e-commerce for the 2014 holiday season. Conveniently, two predictive marketing vendors, Custora and Kenshoo, just released complementary studies that are chock full or data points.

Taken together, they confirmed the generalities that other studies have reported: e-commerce is growing rapidly, mobile is grabbing a bigger share the pie and desktop is still dominant. However, they also threw in some granular details about such things as ROI on paid search, revenue in social channels and the growing role of product listing ads (PLA) in the increasingly competitive e-commerce marketplace.

How to Story-Sell without Annoying Your Customers

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Creating online experiences that are content-rich as well as easy to transact have become a holy grail for marketers and merchandisers alike.

Turn Touch Points into Trust Points

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The bar gets raised in the retail world every year. Research from Statista indicates that retail e-commerce sales figures in the United States during the 2014 holiday shopping season reached $53.3 billion -- that’s billion with a capital B.

It used to be enough to sell good products, maybe have a website that describes them and a good customer service center. But these days, you don’t really succeed unless you do all that plus reach people on a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, and get them to sing your praises on a slew of social media sites.

Insite Software: Data Analysis for 'People with Day Jobs'

Insite Software is releasing technology today that's designed for executives too busy to bury themselves in e-commerce data.

InsiteAnalytics will help the busy executives deliver key insights through big-picture strategic trends and more transactional micro analysis, said Phil Schrader, product manager of data commerce for Minneapolis, Minn.-based Insite Software. 

"InsiteAnalytics produces what we call 'data insights for people with day jobs,' eliminating the pain and complexity of data analysis and enabling organizations to quickly and easily actualize the value of their data," he continued. 

Adobe FormsCentral Quietly Exits the Room

After just about three short years on the market, Adobe FormsCentral is calling it quits.

According to a post on the Adobe Acrobat blog, its web form builder software will officially be “retired from service” on July 18, due to lack of interest.

“Despite enthusiastic use of FormsCentral by many of you over the past three years, we’ve found that there hasn’t been as much demand for this type of service as we anticipated,” stated the post, written by Rebecca Staley, a member of the Acrobat marketing team.

Personalization, Good. Silos, Bad - Tweet Jam Redux #cxmchat

If you're looking for the Cliff's Notes version of this week's Content and Commerce Tweet Jam, the title has it -- personalization good, silos bad.

But the panelists covered a lot more ground in the hour-long discussion of what it takes to stand above the crowd in the world of online commerce. Does your e-commerce experience make the cut? 

When Content Plays Support to E-Commerce's Lead

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Content has always been the primary focus of whatever setting and way it is to be used: novels are serial, broken only by chapters; non-fiction works are segmented by subject and accompanied by footnotes and references; work instructions are divided by processes, tasks and steps with references to parts, materials and commodities needed, and so on.

The content designer and creator always knew going in the role for the content being created. People --whatever their role -- have always been required to use the content as presented in order keep their job, succeed at their project or enjoy the story.

While it's true that some settings require content that can be used for multiple roles, this level of complexity is still confined to specific industries and settings.

With the rise of e-Commerce, everything has changed.

Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field

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Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage over e-tailers when it comes to keeping customers engaged --it’s much harder for prospects to walk away from a face-to-face interaction than to click away from a website. In-store customers also go to greater lengths to shop there than online browsers, so they’re likely to be more receptive to immediate sales messages. E-commerce is clearly on the rise with growth estimates of 13.9 percent from Nov. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Emotion + Analytics = Speaking Your Customer's Language

2015-22-January-Laughing-Eyes.jpgIn a recent interview with Jeannette Ho, vice president of revenue management and analytics at FRHI Hotels and Resorts, she spoke about using analytics to quantify guests’ emotions, with the goal of understanding motivations for traveling. FRHI’s aims for an ideal of turning “moments” into “memories” when guests are staying with them -- a great way to create a truly delightful customer experience.

But the question is how do you keep that customer experience healthy even when a customer isn't on property?

CMSWire Tweet Jam: Differentiating via Experience and Commerce #CXMChat

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Online retail grows more competitive by the day. Customers expect the same experience, whether it's in store, on the web or in a branded app. Companies that want to remain competitive are turning to a marriage of content and commerce to deliver the ultimate customer experience. So, what does doing this well look like, what challenges are involved and where is there still room for improvement? Join in to discuss during our first Tweet Jam of 2015.

Are You Ready to Compete on Customer Experience?

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Friends of mine were remodeling their master bath. After searching for a claw foot tub in stores and online, they found the perfect one that fit their space. It was only available for purchase on the retailer’s e-commerce site, they bought it online.

When it arrived, the tub was too big. The dimensions online were incorrect. They went to return it to the closest store, but were told they couldn't -- because it was purchased online, they had to ship it back.

The retailer didn’t have a total customer relationship view or a single view of product information or inventory across channels and touch points. This left the customer representative working with a system that was a silo of limited information. She didn’t have access to a rich customer profile. She didn't know that Joe and his wife spent almost $10,000 with the brand in the last year. She couldn't see the products they bought online and in stores. Without this information, she couldn't deliver a great customer experience.

Customer Experience Means the Same Thing, Online or Off

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If you're like most people you experienced some great, and some awful shopping experiences over the past few months. But what made some experiences great and others less than average?

The answer is almost certainly that the good experiences were driven by exceptional service tailored to your specific needs, and the bad experiences were caused by poor and uncaring service. It's the difference between the sales associate that takes the time to understand what you are looking for and helps you find it, versus the sales associate that is too busy texting to be bothered by your questions.

The same characteristics of a good in-store experience also make for a good digital experience. The more personal and relevant the digital experience, the better.

Microsoft's Tangled E-Commerce Future #nrf15

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Sitecore's announcement on Tuesday of its new e-commerce offering, Sitecore Commerce 8 powered by Microsoft Dynamics, at the NRF Big Show made waves in the e-commerce world for a number of reasons. The launch integrates the Sitecore Experience Platform, its highly regarded content management system, with Microsoft Dynamics to more effectively merge content management with commerce systems.

A little background is in order: Sitecore took over Microsoft’s Commerce Server in Q4 of 2013. Now called Sitecore Commerce, the initial integration with the Sitecore Experience Platform was announced in fall of 2014. Let's try to shed some light on what this release signifies for the future direction of both companies.

Insite Software Taps New CEO to Lead B2B E-Commerce Efforts

B2B e-commerce provider Insite Software has tapped a tech software industry veteran as its new CEO and moved its former CEO to another executive position.

Insite named Tony Abena, 25-year industry veteran and former chief operating officer of Deloitte Investments, an internal start-up division within Deloitte LLP, its new chief executive. Former Insite Software CEO Steve Shaffer remains with the company and will serve as president and chief financial officer.

Abena is hardly unfamiliar to the Minneapolis, Minn.-based provider. He was a member of its board of directors since last June. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has been CEO at Insite since last October, but today's announcement appears to the formal public news.

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