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E-commerce News & Analysis

Get on Board with B2B E-commerce, Forrester Warns

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The old theory that B2B companies can avoid selling through online channels is done, and B2B e-commerce solutions "contribute significantly to key selling metrics and incremental revenue," according to a new Forrester Research Report commissioned by EPiServer.

Forrester said 50 percent of B2B companies have plans to change or upgrade e-commerce technology in the next 18 months. 

"Every company that plans to compete in the future must transform digitally simply because all your competitors are planning for it now," said Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiServer, which sells an e-commerce platform. "There are no restrictions based on type of product or service, or on geography. In fact, many of our customers find they can expand geographically in a shorter time frame and at a lower cost by going digital."

Google Now Offers E-Commerce Analytics #GASummit2014

Google analytics e-commerce May 28 2014.jpgGoogle has taken up the challenge of shedding light on retail behavior by adding enhanced e-commerce capabilities to its analytics platform.

By combining analytics and e-commerce, Google claims it will be able to offer marketing and customer experience managers insight into not only what their customers are thinking, but also how effective their marketing campaigns have been.

E-Spirit CMS Promises to Improve User Experience

Content is still king. With the version 5.1 release of its FirstSpirit Content Management System (CMS), e-Spirit re-affirms its commitment to that principle.

Good content means good customer experiences, and good customer experiences helps to retain customers, the company maintains.

Customer-Centric and Easy to Use is the New Business Model

Truly customer-centric companies will dominate the Internet Age. 

Alibaba, a Chinese Internet company, is about to go public in the US. It is expected to raise more than the Facebook share sale.

According to the BBC, “The total value of merchandise sold on its platforms last year was more than that sold on Amazon and eBay combined.” Alibaba has 72 percent of mobile commerce in China.

Here's a Way to Talk to Customers - In Real Time

San Francisco, Calif.-based Square Inc. already enabled companies of all sizes to accept payments via credit and debit card. Now it wants to give “Square sellers” -- vendors that use Square Register, the company’s smartphone and tablet based point of sale app -- a direct line into the experiences of their customers.

The company introduced Square Feedback today, signaling the addition of real time customer service capabilities to its existing services for $10 a month. If it works as expected, it could provide customers a way to make their feelings known — before they share experiences on social media.

IBM and Fluid Take Watson's Big Data Smarts Shopping

Michael Rhodin  IBM Watson Group with Fluid Expert Shopper  app and  Brooke Aguilar VP Global Business Development Fluid.jpgFor those whose only association with IBM's Watson is its $1 million win on Jeopardy, that could be about to change. IBM announced Tuesday that it will partner with digital retail developer Fluid to turn Watson into ... a personal shopper.

Unfortunately you won't see Watson trying on lipstick in the aisles of your local shopping mall any time soon, but Watson will power Fluid's shopping advisor to offer personalized shopping tips.

7 Vendors Top the Forrester Wave for Customer Service Solutions

At a time when seven out of 10 online shoppers complain of unsatisfactory experiences, which vendors stand out as offering possible solutions? The authors of the latest Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions for Enterprise Customers Q2 2014 (registration required) rated customer service vendors against 83 criteria and identified seven leaders.

According to the report, the vendors with the best strategy pursued excellence in a limited number of areas and avoided over diversified, Jack-of-All-Trade scenarios.

Make the Customer the Focus of Online Experiences

Nearly seven in 10 customers have had an unsatisfactory e-commerce experience in the past year, according to a new Forrester Wave on customer service solutions. That's a disturbing and eye-opening statistic, noted Kate Leggett, primary author of The Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations Q2 2014 (registration required).

Leggett and co-authors Stephen Powers, Michael Facemire and Victoria Boutan identified the 11 most significant customer service solutions, but also warned that not all vendors are making the grade.

Reinventing Retail for the Omnichannel Era

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Retail represents a big chunk of the US economy. It contributes $2.5 trillion to the nation's annual gross domestic product, according to the National Retail Federation. So it's no surprise that there's so much interest in the quickly evolving, multichannel retail climate, as evidenced by events like the First Annual Symposium on Omni Retailing.

Held last week at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the symposium examined how fashion retailers are creating seamless customer experiences across channels. Organizers described it as "a forum and think tank" for retail business leaders to discuss best practices for future implementation of omnichannel retailing strategies.

Peter Nordstrom, executive vice president and president of merchandising at Nordstrom, presented a compelling keynote that addressed cross-channel convergence from his company’s perspective. Additional Speakers included Jean-Marc Bellaiche, senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group; David Cox, a global business manager for Microsoft's relationship with Bank of America, and Katia Beauchamp, one of the three co-founders and co-CEO of online retailer Birchbox.

"We help consumers discover products they didn't even know they wanted," Beauchamp said.

Adobe Marketing Cloud Partners with SAP HANA #AdobeSummit

Adobe Marketing Cloud Partners with SAP HANA #AdobeSummitSALT LAKE CITY -- The big boys are playing ball. Digital marketing ball.

Adobe and SAP announced today at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference the integration of the Adobe Marketing Cloud With SAP HANA and its hybris Commerce Suite. SAP will resell the Adobe Marketing Cloud with the SAP HANA platform and the hybris Commerce Suite.

It’s a move an Adobe official this morning called the bringing together of the marketing and technology departments through the combination of digital marketing and commerce solutions to deliver real time customer engagement across multiple channels.

Backbase Boasts 'Lean, Agile' Customer Experience Platform

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Backbase is a small company with big plans for customer experience management (CXM). The company markets a CXM platform that puts control in the hands of the business users, explained Jelmer de Jong, the company's global head of marketing.

"It's lean and agile," he said. "It lets users access all enterprise content from a single place and adapt it for optimal omnichannel experiences."

Rather than offer a unified platform, many customer experience management vendors offer a number of different applications that are only loosely tied together — and leave it to the customers to pull everything together. Backbase claims to be an exception.

"Many of our competitors, including IBM, Oracle and Adobe, grew by acquisition. They have big, bloated customer experience suites that take a one-size-fits-all approach.. We started with one integrated portal and grew on the basis of market research and client feedback to create a flexible platform that really empowers our customers," de Jong said.

Maybe Customers Should Choose: Privacy or Free Content

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With all the amazing content available for free on the web, why are customers surprised or upset that companies track your online behavior? Are they seriously "creeped out" that their web searches today drive some of the ads they'll see for the next few weeks? Why?

Does anyone think all that content is pure altruism?

Adobe, Intershop Integration Boosts E-Commerce

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Adobe just introduced another option for online retailers who are struggling to bridge the gap between content and e-commerce.

Only a week after Adobe enhanced its e-commerce options through a formal integration with Elastic Path, it announced it is integrating Experience Manager with Intershop, an omnichannel e-commerce technology vendor.

The integration could help businesses develop better and more personalized customer experiences, Adobe maintains.

Demandware Moves E-Commerce Applications to the Cloud

demandwareDemandware likes to boast that it enables the world’s premier retailers to move faster and grow faster in the changing face of retail. But in the past 12 months, the company's stock has grown just as furiously.

Shares of Demandware — a provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions used by retailers and brands — nearly tripled in the past year. Recently trading at $75.30, the stock earlier this month hit a new all-time high at $82.23 after getting a bump from a strong fourth quarter earnings report, with subscription revenue advancing 46 percent.

Sitecore Apps Offer Mobile Customer Experience Analytics

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Sitecore wants to put the customer at the heart of customer experiences. And now that the world has gone mobile, that means optimizing the mobile customer experience.

With Sitecore's release of mobile apps for its experience platform, it's acting on that business strategy.

While it hasn't put its entire experience platform on mobile, it has made the platform accessible on mobile — a timely move given predictions by Forrester and others that the lines are blurring between physical and digital worlds.

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