Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

2014 B2B Commerce Survey Reveals B2B Businesses Continue to Struggle With Complexity While Increasing Focus on the Customer to Drive Growth

The results are in!  We surveyed B2B commerce IT and business professionals to see where their organizations have invested in the last year, challenges they are facing, and key investment areas for 2014 and beyond.  Here are some of my key take-aways from this year’s survey:

Complexity grows in 2014 as businesses strive to increase market share
B2B organizations have always operated in complex environments – even before the internet came along.  Now having to contend with new and growing digital channels opens up new forms of complexity. 28% of survey respondents support 10 + brands / websites online and 31% support 5 + languages adding to the complexity of their business.  Complexity across pricing, products, channels, online experiences, and back-end systems all remain a challenge for businesses selling to other businesses through digital channels with 98% of respondents dealing with complexity in their org. 

Online channel drives revenue in 2013 BUT is expected to take an even bigger piece of the pie in 2014
There is still a lot of opportunity for growth with only 39% of respondents seeing 20% or more of their revenue coming from the digital touch points.  Survey respondents agree with 86% expecting at least 5-10% growth online in 2014.  But, how will businesses achieve growth in their online channel?  Many respondents believe that their customers are looking for key capabilities such as custom pricelists, search & navigation, and mobile web/apps when buying online.  To provide these features B2B organizations are making a higher investment in their commerce infrastructure and multi-channel tools. 

Customer satisfaction not only a priority in 2014, but a key success metric
Growing market share was the top priority in 2013 and still is for 2014, but other company-centric priorities of 2013, such as growing profit margins, have shifted to include more customer-focused areas such as customer loyalty and retention and increasing the cross-channel experience.  For example, only 8% of respondents said customer loyalty and retention was their top area of focus in 2013, but 45% said it was going to be one of their top priorities in 2014.  And, 28% of respondents say they measure customer loyalty as a key measure of success.   The impact that B2C experiences are having on B2B expectations still remains important in 2014 with 77% of respondents agreeing that customer expectations have changed due to B2C practices. 

Mobile is now table stakes for customer experience, but not yet driving significant direct revenue
Mobile is no longer a nice to have in B2B but is beginning to be a must have to meet customer expectations.  40% of respondents said that mobile is a key capability B2B buyers need but only 2% of respondents said that mobile is drove significant revenue in 2013.   I predict that mobile will begin to be a key revenue driver for B2B commerce in 2014.   Do you agree?  

Want to see the complete survey results, click here to join a live webcast April 16th.
[Read More]

Thursday Feb 06, 2014

Now Available! Oracle Commerce Version 11 -- What's New?

It’s here! Oracle Commerce Version 11

Oracle Commerce Version 11 is an exciting release because we’ve taken what’s possible in customer experience and business tooling to the next level. Our customers are already delivering the most innovative omni-channel experiences today, but V11 enables them to push the boundaries of their omni-channel commerce vision and keep up with changing consumer and market demands like never before.

From the end-shopper’s perspective, V11 is all about delivering relevant, persistent commerce experiences wherever they are. From an internal operations perspective, V11 makes creating and scaling these experiences simpler. 

We’ve made strategic headway toward unifying commerce, content and experience, so that our customers can deliver great experiences regardless of whether shoppers are looking to buy, explore a brand, or discover products. We’ve made it simpler and faster for our customers to get live. And our flexible and battle-tested platform puts even more control in the hands of business teams and supports continuing innovation.

The Oracle Commerce V11 release continues four major themes, which are in direct response to challenges our customers have shared with us:

·       Synching Commerce, Content & Experience
·       Simplified Business Tools
·       Greater support for Omni-channel Commerce
·       Integrations

[Read More]

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

T-Commerce Has Joined the Omni-Channel Experience!

Television viewing is an emotional experience. As we watch our favorite shows, we laugh, we become enamored with our favorite characters, and we are sometimes moved to tears. If you are like me, you even scream at the TV during football games. On February 2, 2014, during Super Bowl XLVIII, you’ll also start to do something that was not possible until now - buy what you see advertised on one of those infamous Super Bowl ads. Shopping is also an emotional experience, so it is a shrewd move to combine these experiences. [Read More]

Thursday Dec 26, 2013

2014 is around the corner – Is your commerce team ready for a new year?

It’s that time of year where you are finalizing budgets, prioritizing initiatives, and are wondering how it is that 2014 is almost here.   Are you proud of what your business accomplished in 2013?  Did you meet your goals?  What are prioritizing in 2014?  And, with your growing “to-do” list, how do you know what you should focus on first?  

Our commerce team works with customers everyday to help them figure out better ways to reach their goals - whether it’s more site traffic, higher AOV, or better conversion rates.  Frequent questions that we get asked include what are we are seeing in the market and what are other companies doing?   To answer questions like these, each year we ask hundreds of B2C and B2B commerce professionals to take our annual commerce trends surveys.  The results from these surveys help us provide insight into how the world of cross-channel commerce is evolving year-over-year. 

If you are interested in taking one of the surveys – here are the links:  

B2C Companies: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B2C_Survey_2014
B2B Companies:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B2B_Survey_2014

We will publish the results of these surveys early in 2014 to help you kick-start another exciting year!  

Tuesday Nov 26, 2013

What's The (Commerce) World Coming To? Think Global!

Is Commerce growth just a U.S. phenomenon?  Not by a long shot. Online commerce is growing in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

According to eMarketer, European online sales in key markets—Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK—will grow an average of 12% annually between 2012 and 2017, to reach €170 billion ($217B) by 2017. In the United Kingdom, e-commerce will increase approximately 11.5% in 2013, to 87B pounds ($138.0B) from 78B pounds ($123.7B), from a study by Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group.

Over in Latin America, B2C ecommerce is still in its infancy, with sales reaching only $36.8B this year. However, online shopping is showing signs of accelerating growth. More than half of Latin America’s e-commerce sales come from online buyers in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, and it is expected that Brazil will continue to record double-digit increases through 2014, according to eMarketer.

B2C ecommerce sales in Asia-Pacific will grow more than 30% in 2013 vs 12.2% in North America, from eMarketer. Analysys International estimates that e-commerce sales in China are due to more than triple during the coming three years. As well, India’s B2C e-commerce market is likely to double in size to more than $3B within three years, and could grow to reach $15B by 2017, based on Matrix Partners India research.

So, what are you to do? First, ensure that your e-commerce platform allows you to maintain and manage multiple sites. Consider using multisite capabilities to support your different geographies and various brand sites, all while sharing assets between them. Create one product catalog but enable people in certain geographies or countries to only see their appropriate product catalog content.

Secondly, make sure your commerce platform can handle multiple currencies and languages. And that includes site promotions and navigation. Look for a commerce solution that places that control with the business user so that can quickly respond to geo-specific shifts and local competitors.

Hopefully that post gives you food for thought that commerce is bigger than your local market and even continent. And gives you pause to think that you have to think global in all of your commerce activities.

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Five Tips for Maximizing This Holiday Season

It's somewhat fitting that my first post for the Oracle Commerce blog should be about the holiday e-commerce season. I've planned fifteen of them (egads!). This is the first time in many years that I haven't been involved in figuring out what to promote to whom, when, where, how, and why. But you know, I just couldn't stay away, so I wanted to share with you a few tips for maximizing Holiday 2013. 

For many retailers, this is make or break time. The last two months of the year can make up over 40% of a company's revenue. Maybe you're behind budget and you're hoping to make up for lost ground during these next several weeks. Or maybe you're on track, but you want to exceed budget so you can max your bonus. Whatever the reason, it pays to prepare.

With this year's holiday season starting earlier than ever, some would say if you don't know what you're planning for holiday promotions by now, you're already in a spot of trouble. The reality is, though, even if you've got everything planned, you're probably adjusting and readjusting until the very last minute. Here are five recommendations to check against, whether or not you've got everything in tip-top shape.[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

7 Reasons for Abandonment in eCommerce and the need for Contextual Support by David Fulton

Shopper confidence, or more accurately the lack thereof, is the bane of the online retailer. There are a number of questions that influence whether a shopper completes a transaction, and all of those attributes revolve around knowledge. What products are available? What products are on offer? What would be the cost of the transaction? What are my options for delivery? In general, most online businesses do a good job of answering basic questions around the products as the shopper engages in the online journey, navigating the product catalog and working through the checkout process. The needs that are harder to address for the shopper are those that are less concerned with product specifics and more concerned with deciding whether the transaction met their needs and delivered value.

A recent study by the Baymard Institute [1] finds that more than 60% of ecommerce site visitors will abandon their shopping cart. The study also identifies seven reasons for abandonment out of the commerce process [2]. Most of those reasons come down to poor usability within the commerce experience.

  1. Distractions. External distractions within the shopper’s external environment (TV, Children, Pets, etc.) or distractions on the eCommerce page can drive shopper abandonment. Ideally, the selection and check-out process should be straightforward. One common distraction is to drive the shopper away from the task at hand through pop-ups or re-directs. The shopper engaging with support information in the checkout process should not be directed away from the page to consume support. Though confidence may improve, the distraction also means abandonment may increase.
  2. Poor Usability. When the experience gets more complicated, buyer’s remorse can set in. While knowledge drives confidence, a lack of understanding erodes it. Therefore it is important that the commerce process is streamlined. In some cases, the number of clicks to complete a purchase is lengthy and unavoidable. In these situations, it is vital to ensure that the complexity of your experience can be explained with contextual support to avoid abandonment. If you can illustrate the solution to a complex action while the user is engaged in that action and address customer frustrations with your checkout process before they arise, you can decrease abandonment.
  3. Fraud. The perception of potential fraud can be enough to deter a buyer. Does your site look credible? Can shoppers trust your brand? Providing answers on the security of your experience and the levels of protection applied to profile information may play as big a role in ensuring the sale, as does the support you provide on the product offerings and purchasing process.
  4. Does it fit? If it is a clothing item or oversized furniture item, another common form of abandonment is for the shopper to question whether the item can be worn by the intended user. Providing information on the sizing applied to clothing, physical dimensions, and limitations on delivery/returns of oversized items will also assist the sale. A photo alone of the item will help, as it answers some of those questions, but won’t assuage all customer concerns about sizing and fit.
  5. Sometimes the customer doesn’t want to buy. Prospective buyers might be browsing through your catalog to kill time, or just might not have the money to purchase the item! You are unlikely to provide any information in contextual support to increase the likelihood to buy if the shopper already has no intentions of doing so. The customer will still likely abandon. Ensuring that any questions are proactively answered as they browse through your site can only increase their likelihood to return and buy at a future date.
  6. Can’t Buy. Errors or complexity at checkout can be another major cause of abandonment. Good contextual support is unlikely to help with severe errors caused by technical issues on your site, but it will have a big impact on customers struggling with complexity in the checkout process and needing a question answered prior to completing the sale. Embedded support within the checkout process to patiently explain how to complete a task will help increase conversion rates.
  7. Additional Costs. Tax, shipping and other costs or duties can dramatically increase the cost of the purchase and when unexpected, can increase abandonment, particularly if they can’t be adequately explained. Again, a lack of knowledge erodes confidence in the purchase, and cost concerns in particular, erode the perception of your brand’s trustworthiness. Again, providing information on what costs are additive and why they are being levied can decrease the likelihood that the customer will abandon out of the experience.

Knowledge drives confidence and confidence drives conversion. If you’d like to understand best practices in providing contextual customer support in eCommerce to provide your shoppers with confidence, download the Oracle Cloud Service and Oracle Commerce - Contextual Support in Commerce White Paper. This white paper discusses the process of adding customer support, including a suggested process for finding where knowledge has the most influence on your shoppers and practical step-by-step illustrations on how contextual self-service can be added to your online commerce experience.

Resources:

[1] http://baymard.com/checkout-usability

[2] http://baymard.com/blog/cart-abandonment

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

The Evolution of an Era: Customer Experience in Retail

Two New Studies Point to the Direction Retailers are Taking in their CX Initiatives. Is it the Right Direction?

The sheer velocity of change in retailing and customer behavior is forcing retailers to reinvigorate, expand and sharpen their vital Customer Experience (CX) strategies. Customers are becoming increasingly dynamic as they race to embrace the newest digital channels; shop in new ways on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, on the Web and in the store; share experiences socially; and interact with their preferred brands in new ways. Retailers are stepping up to their customers as they and their competitors create new modes of customer interaction. Underpinning these changes are vast quantities of customer data as customers flood digital channels and the social sphere.

The informed retailer must now understand what their priorities are and what they should be for the future. To better understand this, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Oracle independently launched CX-focused surveys to uncover what retailing leadership found important today. By comparing the results of these two studies together, we can further discover new insights about the industry. Click here to download this informative white paper.

Tuesday Oct 01, 2013

October 17th Webcast: B2B Commerce – What Industry Trendsetters Do Right

Thursday, October 17, 2013
8:30 a.m Pacific / 11:30 a.m Eastern / 5:30 p.m CET

The B2B e-commerce landscape is changing. In fact, according to Forrester, the B2B commerce marketplace is nearly 5 times larger than the B2C marketplace. Leading edge companies such as Carolina Biological Supply know this and have adapted.

Carolina Biological Supply has looked to Oracle and Oracle partners for commerce and JD Edwards product solutions that provide a clear business edge.

Join us for this thought provoking panel and hear how:
  •     B2B commerce is changing and what you should know.
  •     Market leaders are evolving successfully.
  •     Oracle solutions offer unique technology and capabilities that deliver results.

Webcast Panelists:

Chad Petersen
Director, eCommerce, Carolina Biological Supply Company

Andy Hoar
Sr. Analyst, eBusiness, Forrester Research

John Andrews
Vice President, Product Management, Oracle Commerce

Don’t miss this informative, lively discussion from B2B commerce industry thought leaders. And come ready with your questions for our panelists. Register Now.

Thursday Aug 29, 2013

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service August 2013 Release - Leveraging the Power of Oracle’s Best-of-Breed CX Suite! By JP Saunders

The August 2013 release of Oracle RightNow Cloud Service gets super charged by Oracle’s CX portfolio with best-of-breed commerce, automated entitlement management  and enterprise knowledge capabilities to empower people across all channels of interaction throughout the lifecycle journey with the brand.

Streamline Online Sales

Oracle RightNow Cloud Service seamlessly blends the power of commerce into its Agent Desktop to help contact center staff deliver relevant, proactive cross- and upsell offer in real time during successful customer service engagements. This powerful combination of Oracle RightNow Service Cloud and Oracle ATG Web Commerce empowers customer service professionals to rapidly identify and resolve issues within the buying and supporting lifecycle, across all channels of interactions. Customers can now get timely, relevant and consistent assistance with completing an order, adding related items to their shopping carts, upgrading or renewing services, as well as effective support with what they purchase--all from a single agent interaction in chat, social, phone, mobile or Web.

Make Complex Decisions Instantly and Consistently

This release extends the power of automating entitlement management to the Agent Desktop. With Oracle Policy Automation tools now available to service agents, they’re able to instantly get assistance with complex decisions leveraging existing contextual case data. And, those decisions will be consistent with the guidance that a customer receives through self-service on the Web. So regardless of channel or interaction choice, your customers’ service experience is not only efficient but also consistent, personalized and intuitive.

Choose the Knowledge Management Solution That Best Meets Your Customer Needs

Now any business can do what some of the World largest online brands are doing! Businesses that require the ability to connect content silos or to consistently and accurately federate knowledge across their enterprise can now power up their Oracle RightNow solution by leveraging the Oracle Knowledge adapter. The World’s leading Knowledge Management solution, Oracle Knowledge, augments Oracle RightNow Cloud Service knowledge capabilities with deeper language technologies, business intelligence analytics, more support content types, languages and more… Now available in the Oracle RightNow Agent Desktop, this integration provides agents with the ability to accurately assist customers with finding the right answer at the right time.

For more information on these high-value features, please watch the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Release Overview or read the Oracle RightNow Cloud Service – August 2013 Capabilities and Benefits.

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