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E-commerce News & Analysis

The Coming Collision of Brick and Click Commerce

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As e-commerce continues to explode across the retail world, brick and mortar (BAM) retailers are facing mounting pressure to stay relevant in a world increasingly focused on the internet. Not all of them are succeeding.

Make Your Brand Stand Out in a Crowded, Multichannel World

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For a long time, the big brands had it relatively easy. Advertise, buy shelf space, sell stuff. Then came the Internet.

With the rapid growth of global e-commerce, some of the biggest brands have found themselves challenged. Myriad new competitors offer good value at a lower price. Consumers have the option of switching brands with a click. Travelers can find the lowest airfare with a quick search.

Landor Associates has helps companies re-postition themselves in this new age, including household names like Levi Strauss, Rolex, Hanesbrands, Macy's, P&G and Old Spice.

Fed Cybersecurity Summit: Assessing Risks, Looking for Solutions

Here’s something to think about the next time your team crafts an email marketing message. "About two thirds of cyber attacks start with an email," said Patrick Peterson, founder and CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based Agari, a security solutions provider.  

Email is the foundation of digital, added Agari CMO Kevin Cochrane. "And the more we go digital, the more we put ourselves at risk. I think people are just realizing. It's a problem that needs fixing — now," Cochrane said.

In a conversation with CMSWire today from the first ever White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection on the Stanford University campus, Peterson and Cochrane said it was time to acknowledge the potential risks of the Digital Age.

While Peterson cautioned that there was no reason to panic about the growing threats of cybercrime, he stressed that it was time to face facts, accept reality and "be mindful" about potential dangers.

"In a digital, connected world full of stronger and stronger adversaries, the risks are extreme," he said. One of the biggest risks, he added, is a collective loss of trust in the digital economy.

Jet Targets Amazon After $140 Million Funding Round

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E-commerce start-up Jet.com, the latest project of Marc Lore, who famously sold Diaper.com to Amazon for $545 million, has just announced it has raised another $140 million on top of the $80 million it already raised.

The Wall St. Journal reported that the investment, in the form of debt that is convertible into equity, is expected to value the company at nearly $600 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

That’s pretty impressive. But what is even more impressive is that Jet.com hasn’t even opened its doors to do business. The new site, which is due to start operating publicly in the next few weeks, has Amazon and Amazon’s e-commerce customers firmly in its sights.

Discussion Point: Should Digital Marketers Rethink Print?

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In the midst of the current digital marketing age continues a debate that seems as old as Gutenberg’s press: Is print dead?

While those who agree with this statement cite the benefits of digital, such as lower distribution costs, longer reach and convenience, among others, the pro-print camp seems to be getting more support these days.

According to CMI’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America, 37 percent of B2B marketers still use print magazines to distribute content, and 52 percent used print or another offline method for paid advertising.

Print has also made marketing prediction listings, including Altura Solution’s What’s in Store for B2B Digital Marketing in 2015?

“Print, especially trade publications, will regain their importance because they have a targeted audience: your end-customers,” reads the article.

And — get ready for it — J.C. Penney has brought back its “Big Book” catalog.

To get the real scoop on the death of print, or find out if it really ever died in the first place, we consulted the experts.

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?

Putting the Context in Mobile Content and E-Commerce

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Mobile is a lifestyle, not a channel. So the value of mobile devices emerges most strongly when you engage users in the context of their day-to-day activities. Developing an ongoing relationship with consumers means serving them when they have a specific need, as opposed to pushing content and offers out to them.

This requires a fundamental shift in marketer's mindsets. They know they have to understand user's needs and contexts in order to serve up appropriate content. The challenge lies in integrating content marketing into merchandizing and brand management functions.

Marketer's Dilemma: Too Much Transparency, Too Much Work?

Digital advertising is becoming more self-service and transparent -- but also more complicated for marketers tasked with pulling and analyzing multiple sources of data.

In the past handful of years, increasing numbers of ad technology providers have opened up their reporting tools to clients and agencies. And while marketers actively embrace transparency as a good thing, they caution that it also comes with new, time-sucking responsibilities.

The debatable question: Can marketers effectively and efficiently learn to use multiple reporting tools to tap the data and insights previously provided through managed services?

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.

Salesforce Arms Apttus with $41M

When it comes to venture investments, Salesforce backs its allies. Case in point: The San Francisco-based cloud software company today led a $41 million investment round for Apttus, which makes Quote-to-Cash software on the Salesforce1 platform.

The latest investment followed first-round funding of $37 million in September 2013 that Salesforce led. K1 Capital and Iconiq Capital also invested in both rounds.

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. 

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