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.

Wednesday Aug 28, 2013

Mobile Is Becoming A Catalyst For Commerce

Mobile phones have become almost ubiquitous in our daily lives. More and more people are relying on their smartphones to stay connected with their family, friends, co-workers, and the world around them. Armed with smartphones and tablets, consumers have access to much more product information and can compare, recommend, and share information from anywhere, at any time.

According to Internet Retailer, in the second quarter of 2013 U.S. mobile commerce grew faster than U.S. e-commerce sales via desktop/laptop computers. M-commerce represented 9% of all online commerce in the quarter, comScore says, with mobile shoppers buying more than $700 million worth of apparel and accessories in Q2.

A new report from Juniper Research expects mobile commerce transactions conducted through handsets and tablets will exceed US$3.2trn by 2017, rising from US$1.5trn this year. Research firm eMarketer reports that this year, 62.5 percent of all mobile commerce will come from tablets, despite the fact that they have a lower penetration rate than smartphones. However, lack of mobile site optimization remains a concern. Overseas in Europe, according to the latest statistics that have been released on the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, last month, the sales over mobile commerce in the United Kingdom managed to grow by a phenomenal 129 percent when compared to the figures from the same time in 2012.

Smartphones enable customers anywhere to quickly research and evaluate products prior to purchase. 4G connectivity enables consumers to have faster access to mobile Web sites and apps. Tablets provide more real estate for customers and business buyers to view product information in order to make their buying selection. In June 2013, 91% of tablet users and 90% of smartphones users accessed a mobile e-commerce Web properties, according to comScore.

So companies need technology tools to help them understand the mobile universe and its impact on their businesses. Mobile commerce started in the retail industry and is permeating into other industries as consumer get more comfortable purchasing via their smartphone and consumers migrate from pure research to buying products and services on their phones.

An Oracle study found that only 37% of respondents indicating that their company has mobile commerce in place. You need to continually think about how your customers are engaging with you and your brand via smartphones and tablets, and build mobile into your company’s overall commerce strategy. Click here to learn more about Oracle Commerce.

Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Master Data—and Delivering a Great Customer Experience

In the fast-paced world of the connected consumer, expectations run high. Every time customers interact with a company, they want a positive, relevant, and personalized experience. If they don’t get it, today’s empowered customers won’t hesitate to leave. Yet many companies can’t deliver great personal experiences to their customers because they are struggling with siloed information systems and processes that fail to provide complete and accurate data to sales, support, and marketing teams.

In the new white paper by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Delivering on the Promise of Great Customer Experiences,” learn from several forward-thinking organizations—in industries ranging from travel to telecommunications—how to use Master Data Management (MDM) to collect and integrate all types of internal and external data and create the consistent, connected, and personalized experiences that customers want. Oracle Master Data Management offers the most complete product line on the market, enabling organizations to cleanse, centralize, and govern to create a “master” version of customer and business data—and the foundation for an improved customer experience strategy. Find out how your organization can enrich the customer experience.

Read the whitepaper today!

For more information on Master Data Management, visit us on oracle.com - www.oracle.com/mdm.

Commerce China Part 2:– ‘Talk to me in Internet’

China is booming - and merchants are using social media, multi-media and web sites in innovative ways to reach the growing potential consumer base.  All signs point to a market moving towards differentiation.

Our commerce sessions during Oracle Open World in Shanghai were chock-full.  The experience was surreal with what looked like a DJ box at the at the back of the room containing two humans, translating simultaneously to audience-members wearing headsets.  My only tip if you ever find yourself presenting in this situation is to avoid jokes – the timing is all off.

But I digress.  My greatest curiosity while interacting with the audience was – what are their end customers seeking today?

I found that the Chinese consumer wants to be transfixed and beguiled, all while in transit.  They seem to be the ultimate mobile users.

I was personally frustrated in Shanghai by being unable to post my beautiful and ‘bizarre-to-me’ meals on Facebook, leading me to understand why every one of the social media channels familiar to me in North America and Europe have a Chinese-specific counterpart.  Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare, Vimeo, Blogger, Blogspot, Hulu and Skype are all blocked in China.  This is leading to a China-specific tech boom as the local Chinese versions grow and prosper. 

Youku – Chinese Youtube - I should have been spending some of that down time visiting Youku, the Chinese version of Youtube. Youku has started  innovative methods of product placement in original videos.  Because of the relatively low number of home-owned recording devices and subsequent low volume of user-created content, much of the content on Youku is produced by brands.  

[Read More]

Monday Aug 12, 2013

T-Commerce - Revolutionizing the Omni-Channel Experience!

After months and months of watching my favorite host on my favorite guilty-pleasure television show give away the 100th Mazel sweatshirt, I finally decided I HAD to have one of my own! So, off I went to find my iPad to buy my own Mazel sweatshirt. As I placed my order through Delivery Agent’s Commerce platform, I was made aware that I had just experienced “The Next Generation of Commerce.” I actually hadn't, but it intrigued me enough to want to learn more!

I received my sweatshirt and fell in love! It really is as soft as the host and his celebrity guests swear it is. Not only that, I get tons of compliments, comments, and sometimes cultish references to the Real Housewives. It made me think - I should have bought this the first time I saw it. Imagine if it were as simple as pressing "Buy" on my remote, as Delivery Agent wants me to believe it soon will be. Would it have taken me that long? Or, would the ease of purchasing capabilities and my human need for instant gratification have made me push that button a long time ago? How many more products would I buy if it were always that easy? 



T-Commerce (TV commerce) had been missing from the omni-channel experience – until now.

The first T-Commerce enabled televisions have been developed!

  • The [t-commerce] application is pre-loaded into 2012 and 2013 Samsung Smart TVs. The platform offered by Delivery Agent is able to map over 1MM products to a given show, episode, network, ad, character or scene, and make them available for sale across hundreds of shows.
  • Samsung is the #1 brand of televisions.
  • North America is predicted to have a total of nearly 136 million “TV households” by the end of this year.

Imagine the possibilities! The typical process to purchase something you see on a television commercial, for example, is to use another device to go online and visit that brand’s page, usually to only then be redirected to a retailer's site. How much time and effort did that consumer expend just to buy a brand's product? Imagine if, instead, you simply hit a button on your remote and buy a product - without ever having to leave the comfort of your couch or transition to another device! Imagine the increase in conversion rates those brands will realize! Imagine the innovation in Customer Experience those brands will be recognized for!



American Express has also entered the T-Commerce space!

  • For years, marketers have dreamed of viewers who could buy products as TV shows are airing. As a viewer, I've imagined what it would be like to be able to buy a dress one of my favorite characters is wearing. 
  • American Express has been trying to make those visions come to life, partnering with Fox and NBC Universal.
  • "As viewer habits change and technology continues to evolve, and scale gets more elusive, context and impact mean everything," - Linda Yaccarino, president of NBC Universal.

Consider this untapped channel and the huge potential that exists!  Let’s examine the Kardashians as an example.  They are a brand in and of themselves and they also have a TV show. Imagine the revenue that the Kardashians could generate!  As their TV show is playing out, they are now able to naturally and easily position their products. Imagine the cross-brand selling potential for the phones they use, the cars they drive, and the clothes they wear! The marketing and selling potential is tremendous, especially considering that, if executed correctly, this is a subtle selling channel, driven by the customer.

So, let us not forget this very important channel. Be aware - T-Commerce is no longer missing from the omni-channel experience.

  • References:

Start-ups | Delivery Agent Inc. Introduces New T-Commerce App for ...

rightstartups.com/delivery-agent-inc-introduces-new-t-comme...

http://m.adage.com/article?articleSection=media&articleSectionName=Media&articleid=http%3A%2F%2Fadage.com%2Fmedia%2Farticle%3Farticle_id%3D240048

Additional Information: 

http://digital.licensemag.com/nxtbooks/advanstar/license0213/#/24

http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2012/t-commerce.aspx

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