Monday Mar 26, 2012

Pinterest and Social Commerce: The Social Networking Site Retailers Shouldn’t Ignore

If you are in the midst of remodeling your home, researching the latest spring fashion trends, or simply trying to figure out what to cook for dinner you’ve probably been on Pinterest, and like me, find it extremely useful for generating new ideas and storing them all in one place. Gone are the days of folding over corners of magazines or bookmarking the URL of a Web page – Pinterest makes it easy for you to “pin” ideas, photos, links, and more to virtual bulletin boards where your “followers” can repin, like, and share.


As a consumer, Pinterest has gained my attention and I’m definitely not the only one. According to a Monetate infographic, Pinterest’s unique visitors increased 329% from September to December 2011. With this explosion of users, what does it mean for social commerce?


Also according to
Monetate, Pinterest is one of the top traffic drivers for retailers – driving even more traffic than popular social networking sites like Google+.  For businesses, creating a presence on Pinterest is a great way to extend the reach of your brand, increase inbound links, and drive more traffic to your site. Socialnomics has a great post on how some of the biggest retail brands are using Pinterest to connect with consumers, offer cool content, and engage on a more personal level.


When evaluating your social commerce program, while Facebook still delivers the most referrals, Pinterest shouldn’t be ignored as a way to help reach and connect with as many consumers as possible.

Tuesday Mar 20, 2012

Stores Still Matter In The World Of E-Commerce

You may think that more and more consumers are moving their purchasing to the Web or mobile device.  However, according The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, 15-20 percent of consumers in 2011 checked out products in stores before buying online, or called “showrooming”, for product categories like stand mixers, electric knives, sewing machines, and some floor cleaners. Other categories like power tools, hairsetters, and robotic vacuums are now beginning to show signs of the “showrooming” trend as well.

It is doubly important to present a consistent, personalized, and relevant shopping experience for your customers, no matter whether they interact with you in-person in your store, with your sales agents or call center agents, over the Web, or using a mobile device.  Your goal is to make that experience across touchpoints as seamless as possible.

Thursday Mar 15, 2012

Less Can Be More In E-Commerce

Today’s consumers are inundated with product choices and vendors. Visit your favorite electronics retailer and see the vast assortment of flat panel televisions. Or the variety of detergents at the supermarket. All of this can be daunting for the average consumer who is looking for the products and services that interest them.

 In a study titled “Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing”, the author, Sheena Iyengar found that participants actually reported greater subsequent satisfaction with their selections and wrote better essays when their original set of options had been limited.

The same can be said for e-commerce and your website. Being able to quickly convert shoppers into buyers with effective merchandising is what makes leading businesses successful. You want to engage each individual visitor with the most-relevant content to drive higher conversions and order values while decreasing abandonment, but predicting what will resonate with each customer is difficult.

In a world of choices, online merchandizing tools can help personalize, streamline, and refine what your customers view when they browse your online catalog. The key to being effective is to align your products and content as closely as possible with the customer’s needs.

The goal on the home page is to promote your brand and push visitors farther into the site. The home page is often the starting point for repeat customers as well as for new visitors hoping to address their current product needs. As the customer selects different filters and narrows the choices, valuable information is being provided to the retailer about the customer’s current need—regardless of previous search behavior or what other customers with a similar demographic profile have purchased.

Together with search pages, category browse pages are among the primary options available to customers as a means of finding products on your site. Once a customer reaches the product detail page, it is clear what that person desires, regardless of the segment the customer falls into. However, don’t disregard campaign-based promotions completely. A campaign targeted to all customers but featuring rule-driven promotions tied to the product can be effective.

Click here to learn more about merchandizing techniques so what your customer sees if half full and not half empty.

Monday Mar 12, 2012

Measuring Social Customer Service In The Contact Center

The emerging area of “social care,” which can be defined as the efforts employees make through social media to care for customers, is becoming a  reality of day-to-day business operations for many companies.  While many organizations recognize the tremendous opportunity for customer service with the adoption of social media, most are struggling to assess the qualitative and quantitative value of their social care efforts.

In response, TELUS International, in partnership with Oracle Corporation and Kenna Inc., has released a study entitled Social Care Metrics & ROI that outlines key performance indicators (KPI’s) and methods of calculating social customer service ROI.

Wednesday Mar 07, 2012

It’s No Longer Channels, But Customer Touchpoints

eTail West was a full three days last week of retail and commerce coming together in Palm Desert, CA.  There were lots of great keynotes, breakout sessions, and tracks. As I walked the floor and listened to presenters I got a sense that a lot of companies continue to talk about “cross-channel experience”.

Those of us in the commerce world and those dipping your toes into it must start thinking beyond individual siloed channels and start thinking about customer touchpoints.  Today, there are so many ways that customers engage with you, be it mobile, PC, social, kiosk, store, etc. and it’s so important to marry the customer experience – which needs to be consistent – to the specific device that the customer is using at that point in time.  And as that customer moves from one touchpoint to another, they expect that the company continues to know who they are and provides personalized, relevant content.

Thursday Mar 01, 2012

2012 B2B E-Commerce Trends – Insight Into Key Trends And Areas of Investment for Building A Stronger Online Presence

Earlier we posted the results for our 2012 B2C E-Commerce Trends survey. This week, we want to share the results for our B2B e-Commerce Trends survey.


Although B2C e-commerce is typically seen as the more “sexy” side of e-commerce, 2010 U.S. Census data shows estimates for B2B revenue transacted online to be approximately $300 billion. Compare that to $200 billion in retail transactions, and the B2B commerce story suddenly becomes more interesting. Endeca, now part of Oracle, conducted a survey to help B2B e-commerce professionals benchmark their upcoming plans and strategies against those of their peers at similar organizations.


Key findings include:

  • Mobile, Not Surprisingly, Is a Key B2B Trend
    The bottom line: mobile is no longer just the concern of B2C brands launching the next cool consumer app. For top B2B brands, mobile is now a core piece of the customer experience, generating value and utility for the direct sales force and customers.
  • B2C e-Commerce Continues to Influence B2B Practices
    Key retail tools and best practices for influencing revenue in the last 12 months continue to be personalization, the online catalog, and search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Complexity Continues to Dominate the B2B Channel Equation
    B2B commerce organizations have always operated in a complex multichannel world. What the 2012 survey data points to is that engaging customers in that world remains increasingly complex. Companies responding to the survey continue to operate in an average of seven different languages and often in more than 100 distinct geographies.

Click here to download these B2B e-commerce research findings and see how your peers are prioritizing their 2012 investments.

Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Consumer Goods Companies Are Increasingly Going Direct To Consumers

Economist Intelligence Unit Survey Reveals Consumer Goods Companies are Experimenting More with Mobile and Social Media to Engage with and Sell Directly to Consumers

A recent study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Oracle Consumer Goods found that Consumer Goods (CG) companies are increasingly experimenting with new ways to establish and enhance direct, two-way relationships with consumers.

The report found that the use of social and mobile channels are increasingly helping CG companies become more comfortable with the direct-to-consumer selling model, with the number of companies selling products directly to consumers expected to increase from 24 percent to 41 percent over the next 12 months. In addition, 74 percent of CEO-level respondents say social media is a priority for increasing loyalty over the next 12 months.

Despite the growing social and mobile marketing trend, survey respondents and other CG executives see their nascent e-commerce efforts as complementary to, not competing with, existing retail channels, but are committed to expanding their direct-to-consumer strategies. A full copy of the results is available here: “New Directions: Consumer Goods Companies Hone a Cross-Channel Approach to Consumer Marketing” report

Read more perspectives about the study from Brandchannel and Oracle.

Friday Feb 24, 2012

REMINDER: If You're Attending eTail West Next Week, Learn How Mobile And Social Fits Into Your Commerce Strategy

Mobile commerce (or m-commerce) and social commerce are emerging as significant trends in the way customers interact and ultimately purchase from companies.  While mobile phone users have a tendency to purchase in a store, growing percentages use their mobile phones to comparison shop.  And social commerce is generating interest as well but the key is monetizing this new customer touchpoint.

If you are attending eTail Palm Springs, make sure you come to the February 28th session at 12:50pm (Track D: Optimizing The Mobile & Social Commerce Experience) to hear from Michael Hylton, Director, eCommerce Product Marketing at Oracle.  You will learn about trends in both mobile and social commerce and how you can address these important new ways customers interact with your brand.

Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

2012 B2C E-Commerce Trends: What’s Working, What Needs Improvement, And Where Your Peers Are Investing In 2012

In late 2011, Endeca, now part of Oracle, surveyed e-Commerce professionals from leading retail, travel, and consumer manufacturing organizations to gain insights and understand what ideas and trends are key areas of focus for 2012.


At a high level, the survey shows that online retailers are overcoming the economic challenges faced in 2011 by focusing on their customers, building Web sites around them, investing heavily in the customer experience, and promising new areas for engaging shoppers and growing the company’s base. Initiatives such as mobile that were a blip on the radar in previous years have taken center stage and are now commanding budget dollars. This compounds a key frustration online retailers face: the integration of multiple technologies, few of which were built for today’s evolved use cases. Online organizations are stretched thin to balance back-end challenges while sprinting to deliver engaging, consistent user experiences that capture more mind share and wallet share—the key investment area for 2012.

Click here to download the complete research findings and see how your peers are prioritizing their 2012 investments.


Visit Oracle.com/webcommerce to learn more about Endeca and Oracle’s Web commerce solutions.

Friday Feb 17, 2012

Why Consumer Goods (CG) Companies Must Act More Like Retailers

Pushing traditional media through new media channels is no longer enough to succeed in today’s Consumer Goods market. A new approach is needed - one that puts brands wherever consumers are, in a way that encourages consumer participation. CG manufacturers need to increase their engagement with consumers and improve their direct-to-consumer initiatives. They are now aggressively exploring ways to integrate new channels and adopting strategies, processes, and technologies so they can act more like retailers.

Sponsored by Oracle, The Economist published an Economist Intelligence Unit report titled New Directions: Consumer goods companies hone a cross-channel approach to consumer marketing.  The study is the result of a global survey of 221 consumer goods (CG) executives.

Brandchannel, an online exchange dedicated to branding, wrote their perspective on the study:

Consumer Goods companies need to think and act more their retail partners as their participation in social media and online storefronts increase.  The Economist Intelligence Unit report, New Directions, sponsored by Oracle, reveals that 41% of respondents surveyed plan to sell products directly to consumers in 2012, a 24% increase over those currently offering direct sales.

“Consumer goods companies can no longer merely push traditional campaigns through new media channels to reach today's more product-savvy consumer. They need to integrate multiple channels to put brands where consumers are, in a way that encourages a more interactive relationship between consumer and producer, not passive consumption of marketing messages.”

Key findings include:

  • The social media opportunity is finally catching the attention of senior management: 74% of CEO-level respondents say social media is a priority for increasing loyalty over the next 12 months
  • Nearly a quarter of CG executives envisage direct-to-consumer replacing retail.
  • Nearly half of survey respondents and other CG executives see their nascent e-commerce efforts as complementary to, rather than alternatives to, existing retail channels
Another perspective on the same study can be found here.

Thursday Feb 16, 2012

How To Provide A Lifeline To Your Customers?

When consumers are online, they want easy access to customer service representatives. A soon-to-be published Oracle study found that nearly 30% of consumers worldwide have connected with customer service using live help options like Live Chat and Click-to-Call. 57% say that better access to customer service via live help is among the most important features they expect from a Web site, along with ease of browsing and searching products and access to personal account information.

Global online retailers prefer live help over the phone using click-to-call when dealing with preferred customers and sensitive or complicated information, technical problems or when involving a large amount of money.  Live chat is the preferred customer service tool for simpler inqueries, such as those about order status, promotional information, shipping options or cheaper services.

No industry is exempt. One in three consumers say they want to reach financial services and health care providers using live help online as well as in person and via 800-numbers, compared with more than 40% that say they prefer live help for reaching communications service providers and travel and hospitality companies.  Click here to learn more about Oracle Live Help On Demand.

Wednesday Feb 15, 2012

Telecommunications - Boost Online and Cross Channel Revenue – February 23 Webinar

Consumers expect a personalized customer experience in which communications service providers (CSPs) act more like retailers.  As a result, CSPs must streamline sales and marketing tactics to provide a consistent brand and service-focused sales culture.  Tune into this informative webinar to explore successful  e-commerce strategies for telecommunications that can:  

  • Increase conversions of visitors to customers by 16%
  • Increase online orders by more than 50%
  • Greatly reduce the cost of processing online orders

Featuring distinguished presenters from Analysys Mason and Oracle, this webinar will reveal cross-channel marketing and sales strategies for providing a uniform, personalized buying experience. It will also explain how CSPs can easily adopt sound retail standards. Presenters include:

  • Mark Mortensen, Principal Analyst, Analysys Mason
  • David Fan, Senior Director, CRM Product Management, Oracle
Clock here to watch a replay of the webcast..

Wednesday Feb 08, 2012

Consumer Goods Companies Hone A Cross-Channel Approach To Consumer Marketing

Consumer goods (CG) manufacturers are aggressively exploring ways to integrate new channels such as social media and mobile into the marketing mix to attract and engage consumers. However, they are not ready to abandon traditional approaches to consumer marketing. CG marketers say they want to increase engagement with consumers and improve their direct-to-consumer initiatives—but are they really ready to do so?

Perhaps CG companies looking to get closer to consumers ought to think more like retailers, which have made significant investments in understanding consumer behaviour and sentiment across physical and digital environments. New directions: consumer goods companies hone a cross-channel approach to consumer marketing, an Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Oracle, draws on a survey of 221 CG executives as well as in-depth interviews with corporate leaders in the CG industry to explore the changing face of consumer marketing.

Monday Feb 06, 2012

Learn How To Power the Cross-Channel Customer Experience with Oracle’s Complete Commerce

Today’s customers are more information-enabled and mobile than ever before. This growing trend creates a double-edged sword to offer a consistent brand journey while also keeping them loyal and happy.

Customers expect instant gratification, whether it stem from their pc, smartphones, tablets or retail kiosks. They may begin the buying process in a retail store, but complete it from the comfort of their couch. And through it all, they expect their journey to be personalized, relevant and consistent across all of these touchpoints.

So, how can your company hope to deliver on its brand promise beneath such lofty expectations?  Read this white paper and gain an understanding of Complete Commerce and how it can change the way you interact with your customers. You will understand how Complete Commerce can help you unify the customer experience, personalize their journey, maximize the engagement, and optimize the execution.

Wednesday Feb 01, 2012

Live Webcast: Oracle Live Help On Demand

Today a greater percentage of online buyers are not completing their purchase because they cannot find the product they were seeking. Recognizing the reasons for cart abandonment or frustrations in the buying experience will enable you to complete that sale and better serve your customer.

Join our live Webcast to learn how Oracle Live Help On Demand enables you to deliver proactive, personalized assistance that grows sales, increases loyalty, and gives you the insight to drive your business forward.
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