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

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 Jul 29, 2013

Middle East eCommerce – Shopping is Big Here

I just got back from a week-long visit to the Middle East spending time with retailers in UAE and Kuwait.  It was the height of summer, with temperatures around 44C/111F and the holy month of Ramadan – a uniquely Middle Eastern experience.

Also uniquely Middle Eastern was the state of retail.  Wherever I turned, concierges, friends and well-wishers suggested I visit their country’s malls.  From the Dubai Mall, to the Emirates Mall, to the Avenues Mall in Kuwait.  Shopping is big here.  In 1996 Dubai established the 1-month “Shopping Festival”.  Even Ramadan has been intertwined with a shopping experience, with malls hanging greetings of “Ramadan Kareem” throughout the halls and certain malls running Ramadan Campaigns (‘ A Ramadan to Remember’http://www.tradearabia.com/news/RET_239438.html)

I had to see what they had in store.  Each mall is an architectural marvel.  The Burj Al Khalifa, at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) is the tallest building in the world and an anchor of the Dubai Mall.  The mall of the Emirates includes a ski slope, complete with real snow.  Each mall is marbled and cool, comparable to malls in the US (Natick Mall, Mall of America, Destiny USA) or Europe (Galleries Lafayette in Paris, Westfield mall in London, Colombo Centro Comercial in Lisbon) but for an over-the-top attraction, some Islamic-influenced architectural details and an advertising break for Ramadan prayers.  A great majority of the retailers are familiar- from the highest end Tiffany’s, Chopard, Rolex, Stella McCartney to the practical Nike, Gap, Starbucks. 

[Read More]

Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

Commerce in China Part 1 – ‘Gotta Have Trust’

I have China on the brain.  No, not because of last night’s dinner.

As I put the final touches on the presentations for Oracle Open World in Shanghai (July 22-25 at the Shanghai Expo Center), I cannot help but start to piece together themes for this amazing market. Through the conversations about online retail in the region and discussions on challenges and opportunities, one unique theme jumps out: Trust.

Each geographic market has its own spirit-of-the moment, the table-stakes expected by a customer.  In China today, this focus on experience translates to trust.  Can I trust the site? Will my payment go through? Will my goods arrive on time?

In the first part of my blog post on China, I’ll write about the unique Chinese market that makes the relationship between transacting through digital channels and gaining consumer trust particularly important.  Subsequent topics in the series will be: China – the ultimate mobile consumer, and observations from Oracle Open World Shanghai.

[Read More]

Monday Jul 01, 2013

What’s New for Oracle Commerce? Executive QA with John Andrews, VP Product Management, Oracle Commerce

Oracle Commerce was for the fifth time positioned as a leader by Gartner in the Magic Quadrant for E-Commerce. This inspired me to sit down with Oracle Commerce VP of Product Management, John Andrews to get his perspective on what continues to make Oracle a leader in the industry and what’s new for Oracle Commerce in 2013.

Q: Why do you believe Oracle Commerce continues to be a leader in the industry?

John: Oracle has a great acquisition strategy – it brings best-of-breed technologies into the product fold and then continues to grow and innovate them. This is particularly true with products unified into the Oracle Commerce brand. Oracle acquired ATG in late 2010 – and then Endeca in late 2011. This means that under the hood of Oracle Commerce you have market-leading technologies for cross-channel commerce and customer experience, both designed and developed in direct response to the unique challenges online businesses face. And we continue to innovate on capabilities core to what our customers need to be successful – contextual and personalized experience delivery, merchant-inspired tools, and architecture for performance and scalability.

[Read More]

Thursday Jun 27, 2013

Vision, Integration, Ability—Oracle is once again positioned as an E-Commerce Leader

The new Gartner report is the fifth successive Magic Quadrant for E-Commerce to position Oracle as a leader.

We’re proud of the result, but we’re not too surprised. Oracle Commerce’s functionality is uniquely aligned with a number of the major market trends Gartner describes in its report: from customers ‘expecting a seamless buying experience across all channels’, to organizations seeking to consolidate ‘B2B and B2C applications with a single underlying platform’.

What we think sets Oracle Commerce apart

Why are we a leader? We believe the key strengths of Oracle Commerce include:

Outstanding Scalability and Versatility
Oracle has a long and enviable track record of delivering B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions, and the Oracle Commerce solution supports a broad range of vertical industries – from retail to telecom, and manufacturing to distribution. Additionally, Oracle Commerce is engineered to scale simply and quickly to meet the changing needs of the enterprise.

Oracle Integration
Our commitment to seamless solutions integration allows customers to get the most from our ever evolving range of e-commerce and CX products—and deliver consistent, relevant, and personalized cross-channel buying experiences that drive customer satisfaction, and boost revenue.

Experience and Vision
Oracle has a long and impressive history of delivering B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions to the world’s best brands. We’re constantly putting this experience to good use, and making our solutions even smarter. With powerful merchandising and business tools, and advanced promotions capabilities, Oracle Commerce is one of the most forward-thinking e-commerce solutions around.

Read the report
You can read Gartner’s full report here, or click here to find out more about our celebrated platform.

[Read More]

Thursday Apr 18, 2013

2013 B2C Commerce Survey Reveals Customer Experience, Metrics and Social as Key Trends

E-commerce continues to grow, with 1 in every 10 discretionary dollars spent online, according to comScore. Because of this rapid growth, Oracle conducted our B2C Commerce Trends survey for the third year in a row.

For this particular report, Oracle surveyed nearly 200 B2C commerce professionals across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. We found some interesting parallels for both B2B and B2C this year and their similar goals for 2013.

According to the research, many retailers have their foundation in place but are now looking to truly optimize the customer experience (CX) and tying all of their touchpoints. The report finds these key themes, challenges and investment activities for B2C retailers in 2013:

  • CX is Key to Driving Future Investments: Customer-facing solutions, including commerce platforms and digital customer experiences, are expected investments in 2013. While many B2C companies stated they are currently in the process of executing on their CX strategy, 26% still plan on implementing a CX strategy within their company.
  • Connecting the Dots Isn’t Complete: There is still much to be done by retailers to connect touchpoints and ensure customers have a consistent buying experience. Only 8% of survey respondents cited the customer transition between touchpoints as “excellent” while 59% said customers’ ability to transition between touchpoints as “fair” to “poor.”
  • Know Your Metrics: Executives are focused on key metrics that matter, and measurable metrics are key to tracking success, primarily focused on measuring revenue growth. 65% of companies said that they focus on measuring Web site traffic, 64% on overall revenue, followed by mobile (51%) and social traffic (46%).
  • Social is Evolving: Many retailers have started implementing, but to do truly well in this channel, companies need to define their metrics to gauge success before starting on social channels. Social initiatives cited by respondents include Facebook (45%), Pinterest/Instagram (30%) and YouTube (29%).

Click here to download highlights from the report.

Friday Nov 30, 2012

Bargain Hunter Round Up – Kicking Off The E-Commerce Holiday Season

Everyone has a different way to tackle holiday shopping – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, some have it done months in advance, and others wait until the very last minute.   For me, I’m not big into massive crowds so online shopping to the rescue.   Others thrive on the energy of being in the stores on the busiest shopping day of the year.  With last weekend marking the official kick-off to the holiday season, I thought I’d provide a round up of what’s trending:  

Online numbers are looking up:
Thanksgiving Day – Why wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday:
  • Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day also increased, totaling $633 million in receipts, a 32 percent increase over Thanksgiving 2011
[Read More]

Monday Nov 12, 2012

P-Commerce – What The Heck Is That?

We’ve heard of e-commerce, m-commerce (Mobile Commerce), and f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) but what is p-commerce?  It’s not truly a customer touchpoint or channel but the emphasis on personalization of the buying experience.

Ask yourself how well do you know your customer?  Are you able to take what you know about them and apply it to their commerce activity with you and personalize the shopping experience?

Much of this is dictated by have a complete 360 degree view of your customer, collecting data from your website, sales interactions, historical commerce purchases, call center activity, how they got to your website, etc. and applying it to their current commerce interaction.  Customers expect to have a similar interaction on your website as they would in your brick-and-mortar store, displaying the products and services that they might be interested in purchasing.

Friday Sep 21, 2012

B2B Commerce Best Practice Round Table

Are you struggling with delivering customers a consistent B2B multi-channel commerce experience?

If yes, then you will want to join us for a panel discussion featuring Oracle customers and B2B commerce experts on Thursday, September 27th to learn how leading B2B companies are succeeding in the new age of commerce.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Moving B2B data and content online
  • Multiple site management
  • Mobile platforms
  • Merchandising and personalization

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the latest trends, challenges and successes in B2B multi-channel commerce.

Learn more and register!

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