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E-commerce News & Analysis

Wake Up! Your Businesses Needs A New Business Model

Every so often you find a “wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-people” report. Gartner’s recently released 2015 CEO Survey: Committing to Digital is one such piece of research. The wake-up call here is for CEOs who think they're ready for digital business. Based on this research, it seems most are not.

Fixing this, according to Mark Raskino, research vice president at Gartner, will require substantial investment in the business itself. But that’s not all. What is really requires is a change in the way business is done.

Where Multichannel and Omnichannel Selling Diverge

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Wikipedia's editors removed the omnichannel retailing entry and redirected it to multichannel retailing in early March. What prompted the move? The editors didn't see a clear difference between the two.

Retail isn't the focus of Wikipedia's editors day-to-day jobs, so a clearer definition is obviously in order. But if the folks at Wikipedia are unclear where the two diverge, there are probably people involved in B2B and B2C today who don't understand the difference as well.

Analytics, Big Data and ... Hocus Pocus?

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Businesses that are scrambling to keep up with the quickly changing e-commerce world are turning to big data and analytics as important, if not primary tools. Collect enough data and apply complex analytical methods to it, the story goes, and you will find the answers you need to understand today and plan for tomorrow.

We’ve given these tools catchy names. Big Data Analytics (BDA) has an authoritative ring -- but the underlying disciplines haven’t changed in decades. Whatever we call it, analysis involves sampling what’s happening now and using statistical methods to derive trends that allow us to make changes to improve our results. If it doesn’t do that, it isn’t worth much.

In a BDA world, you grab every piece of data you can from your commerce, Web-based and otherwise, and then apply statistical techniques to it to tell you why your customers behave as they do and what they are likely to do if you change your approach.

What could be the problem? 

We're All In This Together: Share Your Cybercrime Stories

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What's the best defense against cybercrime? Surprisingly, it might be a big mouth.

Sharing information about threats and risks is quickly becoming the expected starting point for any credible defense. And as proof, you need look not further than recent examples in the public, private and non-profit sector.

Think of what's happened in just the past few days. Congress has moved forward legislation that would encourage information-sharing in the financial sector. The retail industry has introduced a portal for this same purpose. And a security company has introduced a new product that uses shared information as its base.

It is quite the turnaround from a few years ago when such information was carefully hoarded. Back then, if an attack occurred, it was only reluctantly shared with customers and competitors.

A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

Retail businesses are moving online in growing numbers. 

Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

The availability of open source e-commerce platforms is helping some offline business with the move online. Much like WordPress provides free, customizable CMS solutions, popular open source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop offer a variety of pre-built templates and plugins that DIY retailers can customize to build and grow an online business from scratch.

To get a feel for the size of this trend, here’s a current snapshot of the top providers and number of websites they power.

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.

Your Customers Are Cheap and Cashless, But Love Online Shopping

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The typical US consumer likes to shop online, regards free shipping as better than fast shipping and thinks cash is passé for just about everything other than buying a snack from a street vendor.

And while he still has reservations about using his phone at the cash register, he's open to innovation — especially drones and virtual reality shopping.

That's the word from Walker Sands second annual Future of Retail study, which examined trends and consumer behaviors in retail. The Chicago-based marketing and public relations agency said it analyzed more than 1,400 US consumers to uncover insights about omnichannel shopping and how retailers can use technology to increase sales in 2015 and beyond.

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?

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