Monday Sep 14, 2015

Coming Soon: Collaboration is Commercial Norm

Has anyone else noticed that the peer-to-peer commerce space is really taking off?

Also known as P2P, ‘the sharing economy’, ‘the collaborative economy’, and probably many other terms I’ve not yet come across, peer-to-peer commerce is where individuals are directly connected to each other to trade goods or services.

Ok, so the concept is not new. People have been trading and bartering for centuries. Even online, peer-to-peer is not a new concept. Napster pioneered P2P file sharing in the late 90s, and eBay is now in its twentieth year.

Still, it’s only in recent years that P2P has been really disrupting traditional commercial business models.

Two of the more familiar P2P businesses - Airbnb, a website for people to list and rent out their accommodation; and Uber an app that connects people with taxis, private car drivers and rideshares, have both faced controversy and lawsuits, mainly because competitors are uncomfortable with P2P becoming the new normal.

But the P2P commercial model is gradually becoming the new normal. Some of the more established companies are seeing huge growth. Airbnb for example, has more than 15 million users worldwide, while Uber is available in more than 300 cities. Plus, the start-up space is scattered with hundreds of new collaborative economy businesses.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the P2P companies on my EMEA watch list:

[Read More]

Thursday Aug 06, 2015

The Dos and Don’ts of Visual Commerce – It’s all about balance.

After my last post on what visual commerce actually means, I decided to start a list of some do’s and don’ts when working with visual content on commerce sites. With global B2C ecommerce sales expected to reach $1.7 trillion in 2015 the stakes are high for companies to out-pace their competition. Visual commerce is one area that companies are betting on to help get them to the front of the pack. I plan to keep updating this list but here is a start – feel free to add to the discussion in the comments!


Mix social + product content

Mixing in imagery and reviews from social media sites can help consumers see your product(s) in a different light, but don’t rely solely on social content. Consumers still want to see your product up close through product imagery and need to know the specifics that only you can provide – what colors/sizes are available? What are the dimensions? Etc. Mixing these types of content on your site will allow consumers to discover everything they need to know all in one spot.

Use video and interactive content when possible

Beyond imagery, consumers want to see products in action. In fact, according to TV Page, brands are seeing a 79% increase in conversion rates after [consumers] watch a video. And, while videos are able to help your customers visualize how your product works or how it will look – remember to make conversions easy by embedding links directly to your product so consumers can purchase. At the very least, lead them to your home page or a category page if you are worried about managing inventory or having to frequently update your videos.

[Read More]

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 Jan 09, 2014

Master B2B Commerce in 2014 – Attend Oracle’s Annual B2B Commerce Summit

B2B commerce is on the rise, especially when it comes to the Web. Forrester Research predicts U.S. B2B e-commerce sales will hit $559 billion annually by the end of 2013—double B2C sales! Even with the tremendous growth of B2B e-commerce, it is hard to find resources that specifically address the unique challenges facing B2B companies.  B2B commerce professionals are in luck because Oracle has brought back our annual B2B Commerce Summit – February 13th, 2014 in Chicago![Read More]

Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Online Commerce in The Middle East – Shopping Online – The Tipping Point Is Now?

Ajlan & Bros, a large Saudi Arabian distribution company specializing in the design, manufacture and supply of clothing across the Middle East has just announced a significant investment in online commerce.  Does this present a tipping point in the development of online commerce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?  Three years ago, there was very little attention outside the core early adopters.  As with many markets breaking into online commerce, those early adopters were electronics retailers catering to very tech-savvy consumers using simple open-source software or custom developments.  Is this move by Ajlan & Bros marking a turning point within the consumer base in the Middle East?[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:
B2B Companies:

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

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 B2B Commerce Survey – Insight Into Key Trends Include Customer Experience, Mobile and Online Growth

According to Forrester Research, B2B e-commerce sales are now more than twice the size of B2C e-commerce and are expected to achieve $559 billion in sales in the US by the end of 2013.1 With an increasing focus on principles and trends of B2B, Oracle conducted our B2B Commerce Trends survey for the third year in a row.2

For this particular report, Oracle surveyed almost 100 B2B 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.

Like B2C, many B2B organizations have established an online channel and the focus in 2013 will be how to grow this channel to maximize revenue, especially with an increasing focus customer experience (CX).  Both are pursuing how to best achieve CX with key success metrics, and keeping a close eye on customer acquisition and retention.  62% of B2B respondents have a CX program in place and 57% said that customer acquisition is a top success metric.[Read More]

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.

Tuesday Apr 16, 2013

Oracle Commerce Hosts 5th Annual EMEA Partner Conference, Awarding Top Partners in Business, Innovation and Customer Experience

The Oracle Commerce team is spending the week in Lisbon bringing together EMEA partners and commerce leaders to share best practices and real-world commerce experiences.   "Our partners deliver highly functional omni-channel customer experience platforms for the leading b2c and b2b businesses throughout the world, so they are vital to our customers’ success" says Frank Lord, Vice President, EMEA, Oracle Commerce. "This meeting of our partners allows us to bring them together to interact with our product development team, customers, and even each other to ensure that they are best positioned to make our customers successful."

This EMEA Partner Conference, which is being held April 14th-17th at the Four Seasons in Lisbon, is dedicated to exploring insights from technology and system integration Partners delivering solutions to B2C and B2B companies in EMEA.  Commerce leaders including Deutsche Telekom, Deli XL, Sonepar Netherlands will discuss the latest trends and share views about how to maximize the effectiveness of commerce channels: 

  • “The journey to e-Commerce for many companies can be a complex one,” says Rene van Gelderen, Director IT and Program Management, Deli XL. “Mindcurv has been a strategic partner for Deli XL along this journey and made it a smooth one. Thanks to this partnership, Deli XL has the technical and strategic foundation to enter a new e-Commerce era with unparalleled capabilities in our market.”
[Read More]

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