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E-commerce News & Analysis

Apple Pay: Using Its Midas Touch to Reinvent Mobile Payments

2014-09-October-Apple-Buying.jpgWith Apple Pay, Apple is once again doing what it does best: reinventing existing markets, products and business models by delivering a simpler, more stylish and more streamlined user experience. Let's face it: Apple has a knack for making things frictionless and more exciting.

And its ability to market new services and create demand by seducing consumer’s appetite for making things in life easier is a lesson for all marketers. That’s true innovation.

SMBs Going Global with Mobile

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Gone are the days when a company launched locally, slowly expanding into other markets. Today, businesses are thinking globally from the start, thanks to the ever-expanding use of mobile technologies.

BIA/Kelsey’s US SMB Spending Forecast revealed that by 2015 SMBs will allocate 30 percent of their marketing budgets to traditional advertising (down from 52 percent in 2010), with the remaining 70 percent going to digital/online media, performance-based commerce and customer retention business solutions.

Today, TapSense, an independent mobile advertising exchange released its annual eBook: "A Complete Guide to Mobile Marketing 2015" which provides insights, forecasts and advice on what the mobile landscape will look like in 2015. The report covers mobile advertising industry predictions for 2015 in relation to The Internet of Things, mobile payments, real-time bidding, mobile video advertising and businesses using mobile to think globally. 

Retail's Mantra: Data, Cloud and Mobile #shoporg14

Think of one word to describe the 2014 Shop.org Summit in Seattle this week, a 2.5-day event specifically for digital and multichannel retailers.

If you thought of the word "transition," I'd say you were correct. Transition implies two things:

  • A passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another
  • A movement, development or evolution from one form, stage or style to another

Retail is clearly in a transitional state. It is undergoing even more fundamental changes than were driven by the emergence of e-commerce in the mid 1990s and, before that, by big box stores.  With the emergence of omnichannel retailing, technology is becoming a retail imperative, and this is bringing about transformative change. 

While omnichannel is a buzzword, people are looking to create new definitions for to reflect a more customer centric view of the changes, for better or worse its here to stay because it does encompass the structural changes retailers are attempting to make. 

Give Your Customers to Amazon - Or Do These 4 Things Instead

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As the holiday season approaches, online retailers need to step up their efforts to win and keep the online retail market share that Amazon (mostly) and other large e-retailers are quickly gobbling up.

According to Growth Champions, Amazon accounts for one third of US e-commerce, and “is growing twice as fast as online commerce in general.”

CMSWire.com recently spoke with CommerceHub founder and CEO Frank Poore about ways that retailers can succeed in an e-commerce world filled with heightened customer expectations and shrinking market share.

3 Vendors That Help Deliver the Omnichannel Vision #shoporg14

2014-01-September-Endless-Aisle.jpgI found the omnichannel retailing pulse at the Shop.org Summit taking place in Seattle, but it's not as overwhelming as you might have thought given all the noise around this over the last year. Hopefully that's a sign that more retailers are taking the message to heart, but not every vendor would agree. Retailers are being selective about their priorities and the companies they choose to work with to bring their capabilities to market.

Here’s a quick look at three companies at the Summit that are well positioned to really help retailers achieve their omnichannel vision.

Put Away the Pumpkins: It's Holiday Time for E-Commerce Sites

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It’s October ... time for ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night, right? Wrong. Think sleigh bells and shiny objects like holiday lights.

The winter holiday season triggers an exponential growth in online shopping volume. “Many e-commerce sites do 40 percent of their annual transactions during these holidays,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group.

If you handle this demand correctly, the season can gift you with a heaping helping of new, year-round customers. If you don’t, you may watch future profits disappear right back up the chimney with the guy in the red suit.

How to Energize Your E-Commerce Site

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Does your e-commerce site still look like an electronic version of a mail-order catalog? If so, it’s time to take a big leap forward. It's 2014, after all.

“Consumers are looking for more than just a product online. They’re looking for something to support their lifestyle,” said Glenn Conradt, vice president of Global Product Marketing at CoreMedia, a web content management software provider. "It's no longer enough just to handle the transactional elements of the e-commerce relationship. It has to go beyond that and be experiential.”

This means adding features to those flat, featureless sites to give them new energy and life. Think videos, for instance, showing consumers how a product actually works, as well as providing creative ideas and tips.

Why Apple Pay Will Boost Mobile Payments

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Apple did more than announce its new, bigger iPhone 6 and super sized iPhone 6 Plus and much-anticipated Apple Watch earlier this month.

It also showcased its new mobile payment system, Apple Pay. Though payment via mobile devices using near-field communication (NFC) is not a new concept, Apple went beyond the norm.

Rather than just add an NFC radio to its new phones and watch and call it a day, it engineered a complete payment system and network. It's now ready for launch with its other new products, which is very likely why Apple Pay will succeed where other NFC payment systems have failed.

Alibaba: The Web IPO Heard Round the World

2014-18-September-Monopoly-Money.jpgThe global Internet and finance community is transfixed by the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Alibaba Group Holdings, the  Chinese e-commerce giant that is expected to go public on Friday at a market capitalization in excess of $160 billion. This is likely to be the largest IPO of all time, raising up to $25 billion in capital for the company and giving a market capitalization larger than eBay (market cap, $64B) and possibly Amazon.com ($150B).

Fix Your Retail Site to Curb Abandoned Cart Syndrome

2014-15-September-Abandoned-Cart.jpgPicture this: You walk into your favorite store and the aisles are clogged with half-full carts. Miscellaneous items clutter the shelves. There are a handful of shoppers, far fewer than you would expect in this mess. They mosey through linens, picking up then replacing every throw pillow that sparkles, debating the merits of each sequined atrocity but never reaching checkout. This scene begs the question -- are the owners selling anything?

This is the scene that many online retailers face. Though many elements separate online and in-store shopping experiences, shopping cart abandonment has a particularly large effect on e-retailers. Whereas brick-and-mortar shoppers are unlikely to become distracted and leave the store, online shoppers can and do switch stores with just a couple clicks. Comparison tools make e-shopping around even more tempting to consumers.

US Impulse Buyers Beware: Twitter Launches 'Buy' Button

Last year, Twitter revealed that followers exposed to promoted tweets buy more in stores. Now it's capitalizing on our insatiable desires for stuff with the introduction of a "buy" button.

In a blog post today, Twitter Group Product Manager Tarun Jain confirmed speculation that has been circulating since July when users started to report “Buy now” buttons in occasional tweets. Jain noted that Twitter is testing "a new way for you to discover and buy products," adding, "For a small percentage of US users (that will grow over time), some Tweets from our test partners will feature a 'Buy' button, letting you buy directly from the Tweet."

Amazon Widens Its Moat

2014-02-September-Forbidden-City.jpgLast Christmas Eve, Amazon received an early gift in the shape of a patent for "anticipatory package shipping." The patent describes a method for shipping a package of one or more items to an end destination’s geographical area without specifying the delivery address at time of shipment -- the final destination is defined en route. While last Christmas may have been good to Amazon on several fronts, this patent and some other actions it's pursuing indicate how determined Amazon is to expand the already sizable moat between it and other retailers.

Rocket Fuel to the Moon and Back

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Investors in ad-tech specialist Rocket Fuel have been on quite a thrilling ride. Drawn by the buzz of the company’s automated platform, which uses artificial intelligence and big data analytics to purchase ad spots on digital exchanges, traders last September rushed into the IPO: the stock was priced at $29 and opened at $59.95.

Rocket Fuel shares by late January were at a new post-IPO high of $71.89, a gain of 147 percent from the offering price. Today, they change hands at around $14.50.

So what caused Rocket Fuel to run out of gas?

The Internet of Things Could Empower People with Disabilities

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Ubiquitous sensors are one of the driving ideas behind the Internet of Things.

The ideas is that we will put on and wear more and more sensors until they become pervasive — enabling everything we interact with on a daily basis to have the potential to offer us greater insight or context for our activities.

It's not hard to see how many of the devices already available are impacting our lives, even in small ways. There are thermostats that can learn from our habits and even be controlled remotely through our phones, window shutters that adjust automatically, depending on how much sunlight is coming through and objects fitted with RFID devices, which let us know when they pass through checkpoints.

All of these devices make life a little easier. But one segment of the population could potentially benefit even more than the rest from IoT technologies: People with disabilities — not just at home, but at the office and everywhere in-between.

Don't Close Your Brick-and-Mortar Stores Yet

Thumbnail image for 2014-14-august-cracking-nuts.jpgCracking the e-commerce nut isn't as easy as people who actually crack nuts for a living clearly understand.

In fact, two new studies demonstrate that brands and marketers still face significant obstacles to adoption, especially on mobile. But the biggest challenge may be behavioral. As we recently explained, more than 90 percent of retail sales still occur in physical stores.

Why are so many consumers reluctant to buy online, despite the rapid growth of e-commerce? Ripen eCommerce, a Princeton, N.J.-based agency providing marketing, creative, development and technology services to e-commerce clients, thinks understanding consumers' path to purchase is the first step online retailers should take to capture a greater portion of the $3.2 trillion US retail industry.

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