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.

Wednesday Jan 11, 2012

Attending eTail Palm Springs, Learn How Mobile And Social Are Impacting Commerce

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 12:40pm (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 Jan 04, 2012

How Are Your Customers Doing?

Over the holiday break I decided to install a barcode reader/price comparison app on my smartphone.  While I had a number of choices – ShopSavvy, RedLaser, Google Shopper, etc. – I realize the power and control I now have in the palm of my hand.  It is now even more imperative to ensure you have the right products, at the right price, at the right point of customer interaction.

Take a step back from your day-today commerce tasks and ask yourself “How are customers perceiving my brand and am I doing everything I can do to keep them loyal and continuing to buy from me?”  Armed with the answers, you will have a better perspective to ensure the optimal cross-channel commerce experience for your customers.

Wednesday Dec 21, 2011

Mobile Couponing Is Only One Part Of A Continual Customer Dialogue

So I was reading an article from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal titled “Procter & Gamble Cuts Mobile Coupon Deal” and it got me thinking that presenting a coupon on a smartphone is neither the beginning nor the end of the customers’ journey with a brand.  Engagement begins with strong insights of your customer, either implicit or explicit, by collecting and holding customer data across all systems and customer touchpoints into one central location.  And relying on that centralized data across all interactions with customers.

The next step is to provide a consistency customer journey, whether they begin researching a product on your website, have a conversation with a call center agent, go into your store or field office, or engage with you via a smartphone or tablet device.  Once the customer places the order, it follows that the order and fulfillment should be visible to the customer as well as any of employees.  And finally, couponing, like in the Procter & Gamble example, is only one piece of customer loyalty as it’s broader than that in order to maintain a continual, ongoing relationship with them.  You can read more about Oracle’s vision around Complete Commerce by reading this white paper titled “Deliver a Superior Cross-Channel Commerce Experience”.

Wednesday Dec 07, 2011

Exalogic: The Optimal Platform for Oracle ATG Web Commerce

Increasing conversion rates in an ever-more competitive e-commerce environment is critical to ensuring success in a fragmented and global e-commerce landscape. And this should be done without sacrificing margins. Oracle’s engineered system (hardware and software optimized to work together) for Oracle ATG Web Commerce is called Exalogic. Exalogic can increase conversion rates, improve ATG performance, and require less hardware because ATG runs 3x more efficiently on Exalogic.

Another key benefit of Exalogic is enabling ATG deployments to be brought to market faster than a traditional blade-based architecture. New environments can be up and running in as little as a day as opposed to the months it traditionally takes.

Total cost of ownership is dramatically reduced due to Exalogic’s pre-integrated architecture, end-to-end vertically integrated monitoring (Oracle Enterprise Manager) and the fact that only a third of the CPU cores are required because ATG runs 3x more efficiently on Exalogic.

Read this white paper, “Exalogic: The Optimal Platform for ATG”, to learn more about how Oracle hardware and software solutions can improve the commerce experience. 

Thursday Dec 01, 2011

For B2B Companies, Every Day Should Be “Cyber Monday”

The top two successful growth strategies for B2B companies are similar to B2C - selling into new industries and introducing new products or services.  And Web self-service commerce is one of the tactics to get you there.  If you haven’t already, B2B companies like yourself should embrace e-commerce as part of your go-to-market strategy as a vehicle to enter new sales opportunities and new markets.

Research has found that B2B customers expect the same type of online interaction – personalization, simplicity, catalog, and shopping cart – as when they shop in a B2C shopping experience.

Web self-service should be considered another customer touchpoint, along with field sales, call center, etc., that customers and partners can use to engage in purchasing your products and services.  And that Web engagement should be consistent with how they currently interact with you so you show one face to the customer.

Wednesday Nov 23, 2011

3 Key Trends For Mobile Commerce – Location, Location, Location

This past weekend I was at a major bookstore chain and looking for a particular book.  Rather than ask the clerk, I went to my smartphone and went online to find the book title, author, and competing price.  I know I’m not alone in this effort and more and more individuals (and businesses) will use the power of mobility to tilt the scale in their favor.

Armed with a mobile device – smartphone or tablet – folks will use them to research, compare, and ultimately purchase.  A recent PayPal survey found that 46% of respondents plan to use a mobile device this holiday season to make a purchase.   An astounding 27% of consumers in an e-tailing group survey commissioned by Oracle, use a tablet device daily or several times a week to research products and services.

Beyond researching or making purchases, 35% of consumers use their smartphone to receive offers and coupons, and 32% access coupons and redeem them at their local retail store.  And with GPS capabilities in smartphones and tablet (and with user’s approval), retailers will start pushing coupons and offers directly to phone users based on their proximity to their store (or their competitors).

Security is one concern that both shoppers, companies and phone manufacturers will have to deal with in the coming years.  In that same Oracle-sponsored e-tailing group consumer survey, 32% of consumers were concerned about giving their credit card information via a smartphone.

You can gain further insight into the mind of today’s consumer by reading the e-tailing group white paper, titled “the connected consumer”.

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