Tuesday Nov 10, 2015

Elaine Turner Achieves the "D.R.E.A.M. Service Model" on Oracle Commerce Cloud

For the benefit of our global community, here is an editorial view on the Internet Retailer Webcast featuring Elaine Turner last week. 

On average, the purchase of luxury goods online is growing at a faster rate than other online sales, with North America, Europe and Asia—most notably China—leading the way. During this week’s Internet Retailer webinar series, Build Your Brand with e-commerce: Elaine Turner Extends Her Reach with New Dot Com,” Don Davis, editor-in-chief of Internet Retailer, noted that as the rate of luxury purchases online grows, so do the needs of these retailers.

That’s where Oracle’s new Commerce Cloud-based solution comes in. Launched in June, the platform recently partnered with Elaine Turner, a luxury brand based in Houston, to transform the retailer’s digital solutions. The women’s apparel and accessory company, founded by designer and CEO Elaine Turner, has a unique image—beautiful products that also have a purpose. Turner wants women to have a pampered shopping experience, but the entrepreneur also wants to give back. In order to spread her message, Elaine Turner needed to reach more women.

Before adopting Oracle’s technology, Elaine Turner’s online sales were stifled by technology that did not scale. The move to the Oracle platform provided the retailer with an scalable automated system that is user-friendly and customer centric. The new commerce platform is helping Elaine Turner expand the brand beyond its 10 brick-and-mortar stores to become a nation wide retailer.

The Oracle Commerce Cloud solution was developed at the request of Oracle clients looking for an end-to-end e-commerce solution. Retailers wanted “to keep costs low,” when it came to customer acquisition and wanted to “capture market share while responding rapidly to market and customer needs in an agile way,” said Katrina Gosek, director, commerce product strategy, Oracle. Some of the unique benefits of the new solution include the freedom for the retailer to design and layout the e-commerce site, for viewing on all digital devices, while still having the underlying platform maintained and upgraded by Oracle. Oracle provides the scale, security and foundation for innovation around the customer experience.

On the new platform, Elaine Turner has turned its focus to several areas in which to grow brand loyalists. The first is through video content. Using Oracle Commerce Cloud, the retailer is able to broadcast the reality web series “Elaine’s Big Ideas” within the site, so the viewer never has to leave the company’s web page.

In addition, Carrie Leader, director of e-commerce, Elaine Turner, said the new platform has made navigation of the site, especially when sorting products to view, more user friendly. And to capitalize on the brand’s growing social media following, the new site reflects in real-time what’s happening on the brand’s Instagram feed. And finally, the retailer has made several photos and style looks on the site shoppable by allowing a user to click on any piece of the outfit, and without leaving the page, pull up more information.

Ultimately, Elaine Turner is creating what Leader refers to as the “D.R.E.A.M. service model.” “We needed a platform that could help translate that experience a woman gets in a physical store to online, where a customer can’t touch and feel things and there is no associate to help them style.”

Already, Leader says the brand’s key performance indicators are showing great results and the company predicts strong e-commerce growth.

“With Oracle Commerce Cloud, we expect to increase conversion rates by two times,” said Leader, “and traffic between 20 and 30 percent.” Looking to the future, Elaine Turner predicts a sales increase between 50 and 100 percent with the help of the solution. Carrie Leader and her team of five non-technical resources were able to deploy the solution in less than four months with a strong partnership with Oracle. 

To replay the Webinar, register here and Internet Retailer will send details or request a demonstration of the solution. Better yet, shop www.elaineturner.com to see the responsive design of the website, the multi-media content to support inventory and the stunning merchandise from Elaine Turner that is now available nationwide. Hint: this is a perfect time to starting your holiday shopping. 

Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Amazon Winning the Race

Amazon has been at the forefront of innovation in e-commerce, and that's because they are constantly looking for new ways, not to sell, but to satisfy customers.  That's a key point.  Instead of advertising products, they provide information and advice to customers either directly or via other customers.  This helps people make better decisions about their purchases.  Looking back, we can see Amazon has been a leader in many areas:

  • 1995 - customer reviews
  • 1997 - recommendations & bundles
  • 1997 - 1-click ordering
  • 2001 - look inside the book
  • 2001 - where's my stuff?
  • 2002 - free super saver shipping

The latest feature I've seen is the Customer Questions & Answers. On certain product pages, you can click on "Questions" and pose a question to other customers that have purchased the product.  Apparently Amazon send the question via email to past customers that purchased the product and they are encouraged to reply with an answer.  Shoppers can browse past questions and answers as well.

This emulates the physical world quite nicely.  You see a product, like a digital camera, and want to know how many pictures it can take without a memory card.  A current owner responds with an answer, and you are better positioned to make a decision.  Its just like asking your co-workers and friends, except Amazon knows who already owns the product so they do the "matchmaking."  Amazon claims 96% of the questions get answered, and 40% within two hours.

So what should retailer's take away from this?  Focus less on traditional advertising and selling, and shift to satisfying your customers' needs.  The selling part will eventually follow.

Check out this fantastic presentation on Amazon to learn more:

Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

From Transactions To Engagement

I've mentioned in the past that Oracle has invested quite a bit in acquiring social companies to build out its Social Relationship Management suite.  The concept is to shift away from transactions and towards engagement.  Social media represents a great opportunity to engage with customers, learn what they want, and personalize the shopping experience for them.

I look at SRM as the bridge between traditional CRM and CX.  If you're looking for ideas, check out Five Social Retailing Suggestions and Social Analytics and the Customer.  There are lots of ways to leverage social media to enhance the customer experience and thus drive more sales.

My friends over at 8th Bridge have just released their Social IQ report in which they rate retailers on their social capabilities.  They also produced a nice infographic so you can consume the data quickly, but I'd still encourage you to download the full report.

Retailers interested in upping their SRM abilities should definitely stop by the Oracle booth at NRF in January.


David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

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