Tuesday May 15, 2012

Engage Customers At The Point Of Need

Where do people often turn to when they need immediate help on a web site?  As consumers spend more time online shopping and managing banking, bills and more, they want easy access to service and support. When they need to ask a question or solve a problem, consumers worldwide said they prefer to get help online, ranking Live Help options like Live Chat and “Click-to-Call” second only to toll-free 800 numbers.

A recent Oracle study found that consumers prefer Live Help for specific reasons such as convenience and the ability to multitask rather than waiting on the phone. Survey results suggest that the more consumers are online, the more comfortable they are communicating with companies there.

In addition, by next year, three-quarters of the online shopping population will have engaged in a live chat with a retailer, researchers predict.  A survey of U.S. and U.K. consumers conducted online by eMarketer researchers in partnership with the retail consultants at the e-tailing group found that 1 in 5 shoppers said they preferred live chat as their communication method of choice for contacting a retailer regardless of the circumstances.

Click to learn more about the study and Oracle's Live Help solutions.

Wednesday Apr 04, 2012

Attend This Webcast To Learn How CG Manufacturers Are Stepping Up Their Efforts to Sell to Consumers

Going Direct to Consumer is top of mind with executives in the Consumer Goods (CG) industry today. But are companies ready to engage? Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducted research sponsored by Oracle to better understand how Consumer Goods companies are engaging directly with consumers today and in the future. The survey involved CG executives across the globe as well as in-depth interviews with corporate leaders in the industry to explore their direct-to-consumer initiatives. Some key findings include:

  • Pushing traditional media through new media channels is not enough to reach today's more plugged in, product-savvy consumer
  •  CG companies are experimenting with new ways to establish and enhance direct, two-way relationships with their target consumers across multiple channels to enhance brand loyalty and drive product sales
  • Survey respondents and other CG executives see their nascent e-commerce efforts as complimentary to, not competing with, existing retail channels.

This webinar will review the results of the research and panelists will discuss what CG companies worldwide are thinking as they deploy their direct-to-consumer strategies in an effort to engage directly with today's empowered consumer.

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.

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.

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 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.

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