Thursday, December 24, 2009

MasterCard Backs Off PCI Deadline

From StorefrontBacktalk: MasterCard has quietly backed off from a much-complained-about plan to require Level 2 merchants — for the first time — to have an on-site QSA assessment completed by the end of 2010. Having a New Year’s Eve deadline — on the heels of the all-encompassing holiday season — was a recipe for tons of missed deadlines.

The first MasterCard change made this month was pushing the Dec. 31, 2010, deadline back six months, to June 30, 2011. But MasterCard has also made two other key PCI changes. It has redefined what Level a retailer is (Level 1, 2, 3 or 4) to explicitly mirror whatever level Visa has determined. (The language used to say “competing brand.”) The last of the changes is to allow Level 1 and Level 2 retailers to perform their own assessments—using the retailer’s own salaried audit staff—as long as those audit staffers have passed PCI-approved training courses.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Acxiom Adds Social Link to E-mail Marketing

Acxiom, a leader in interactive marketing services, has introduced Impact-X™ Email 8.1, which integrates e-mail and social media while delivering marketing insights to drive improved performance for marketers as part of a major enhancement to the company's e-mail marketing platform.

Impact-X Email 8.1 includes a new share-with-social feature that allows e-mail recipients to simply click a button to post a message to their favorite social networks, without being subject to branding and registration from third-party vendors.

Additionally, sophisticated new analytics provide insights into how successful the newly created social conversations are in engaging consumers. Empowered with these new insights, marketers can segment their e-mail programs based on actual client influence and interaction with brand messages in the social channel.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

iovation Partners with Yvanto

iovation, located in Portland, OR, provider of the world’s first device reputation service for preventing online fraud and abuse, has partnered with Yvanto, a Montreal-based eCommerce fraud prevention solutions provider.

Founded in 2000, Yvanto specializes in online fraud detection, prevention and protection solutions. As part of its core offering, Yvanto’s fraud detection service analyzes online transactions by looking at a range of data elements in order to identify patterns indicative of fraud.

In addition to providing online data services, Yvanto offers multi-currency and language pre-paid electronic vouchers, loyalty rewards cards, address verification, as well as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and voice recording services.

By adding iovation's ReputationManager to its suite of fraud prevention services, Yvanto will be able to leverage iovation’s shared device reputation database of more than 180 million unique device reputations to block cybercriminals and identify activity consistent with fraudulent behavior.

Litle & Co. partners with iovation for online fraud prevention

iovation, provider of the world’s first device reputation service for preventing online fraud and abuse, announces its newest partner, Litle & Co., a leading provider of online payment processing and consultative merchant services. This partnership will combine the payment management and fraud protection expertise of both companies in order to help online businesses increase payment security and reduce losses.

Together iovation and Litle & Co. have more than two decades of experience working with ecommerce companies to minimize fraud risk when accepting payments online. “Our real-time device reputation service in the payment stream provides a valuable option for Litle & Co.’s customers,” said Greg Pierson, iovation CEO and founder.

iovation ReputationManager exposes cybercriminals by identifying the computers they are using to steal from online businesses and blocking fraudulent transaction attempts. iovation shares the reputations of those devices with customers through the world’s largest database of device fraud histories, enabling companies around the globe to benefit from each other.

“Like iovation, Litle & Co. is extremely focused on the needs of online and card-not-present merchants,” said Jason Pavona, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Litle & Co. “iovation’s niche expertise is a perfect fit with our payment management engine for direct commerce, which is designed to offer our merchants fraud solutions that are specific to their needs.”

Litle & Co. is one of few payments companies focused exclusively on providing payment management services aimed directly at businesses in the card-not-present market. The collaboration of Litle & Co. and iovation is not only mutually beneficial but will also help businesses increase fraud prevention while reducing the need for costly manual transaction review.

Enhancements to InOrder from Morse Data Corp.

Morse Corp. has announced that its InOrder multichannel order management suite now supports the setup, selling, redemption and reporting of Gift Cards. However, Gift Cards used in the InOrder system must be purchased through Morse Data because the Gift Card numbers and scratch off PIN's are associated by Morse Data when the Gift Cards are created.

InOrder also supports a Loyalty Program. Loyalty Points earned in the program are not treated as a balance sheet liability, like Gift Cards. Rather, they are a contingent liability. When redeemed, they are either a specific product or a flat dollar discount line item that is applied to the order.

InOrder also supports My ECheck Service, which offers an optional check guarantee service. Alternative forms of payment will account for nearly 26% of eCommerce volume this year alone. In using My ECheck Processing, merchants will have financial access to more customers than with any other payment method, according to Morse Data Corp and My ECheck.

MyECheck Processing is fully integrated with InOrder's manual order entry, electronic order import mapping, eShopping and the default .net cart, and even InOrder Point of Sales (POS) for immediate check validation.

MyECheck utilizes a patented method of creating and clearing remotely created checks (RCCs) for fast, secure and cost-effective payments. Click here to view a copy of the press release regarding the My E-Check Processing interface of InOrder.

Sanderson Upgrades StoreVision Solution

Sanderson, the publicly owned UK provider of retail and multichannel management solutions, has successfully installed the latest release of StoreVision at toy retailer Toys ‘N’ Tuck to improve corporate communications, provide specialized business reports, and enhance the in-store experience.

Toys ‘N’ Tuck has used the retail solution from Sanderson to run both their retail stores and head office functions for over three years. By upgrading to the latest release, the business is already benefiting from a number of additional features and functions available within this new version.

The independently owned and run Toys ‘N’ Tuck business comprises four retail stores, a mail order catalog, and an eCommerce division, each selling children’s toys and confectionery. All four stores are located in the Essex area of the UK, as is the central warehouse, where the mail order and eCommerce businesses are based.

Communication between the stores and warehouse has greatly improved since the upgrade, which in turn has enabled the business to deliver enhanced customer service. Inventory transfers have been simplified, with the stores having real-time visibility of stock held across the business; this functionality has both reduced missed sales and enhanced customer service by minimizing out-of-stocks.

Toys ‘N’ Tuck are also benefiting from the customer-facing screens provided by Sanderson. During the Christmas trading period, these screens will play promotional product videos, providing a persuasive vehicle for upselling and cross-selling as well as boosting the in-store customer experience.

Alan Dadswell, Managing Director of Toys ‘N’ Tuck, explained: "The additional features on offer in this latest version have enabled us to significantly improve our operations, both in-store and in the back office. Aside from the improvements in estate communications, the new solution also provides enhanced reporting, enabling the creation of business reports based on live data, which is crucial in managing a business such as this."

David Mahoney, Managing Director, Sanderson RBS, concludes: "I’m proud to report that the entire Toys ‘N’ Tuck estate was upgraded overnight - therefore providing seamless continuity to their operations. Our StoreVision specialists provide on-site training, ensuring that all staff are able to explore and utilize the additional functionality available in this new release, which will help advance the Toys ‘N’ Tuck business."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Morse Data Preparing for PA-DSS Compliance

Morse Data Corp., Orland Park, IL, vendors of the InOrder multichannel order management system, are completing the auditor's "Discovery Phase" for PA-DSS Compliance, the first of five audit phases. They also plan to release a new, PA-DSS-compliant version of InOrder next year, well in advance of the July 1, 2010, deadline for PA-DSS compliance.

Morse Data Moves

Morse Data Corp., vendors of the InOrder multi-channel order management systems, have moved to new headquarters at 9661 W. 143rd Street, Second Floor, Orland Park, IL 60467


Monday, December 07, 2009

Web Design Must Become Web Architecture

Scratchmedia, a Web Design firm in London, suggests that "There's a sea change going on in web design, spelling the beginning of the end for the familiar web design process.

"What we know as web design is on its way out. The process of briefing the web designer, reviewing a couple of options, implementing their best guess, and hoping for the best is ineffective and it won't be around for long.

"It's time to reinvent the discipline of web design. Web designers are faced with a challenge: to be professional web site architects, or to seek work as decorators."

Click HERE to read the rest of this insightful blog that argues that Websites must be designed to produce measurable results that support well-defined goals: two fundamental principles of direct marketing.

New Version of Stone Edge Order Manager

Version 5.9 of Order Manager from Stone Edge Technologies was released in late September, with minor revisions released about once a week ever since.  Despite minor bugs and glitches, which are to be expected, the release has been very successful. Here is a condensed list of the new features and improvements:
  • New Main Menu
  • New Dashboard and Stats features
  • All-new Setup Wizard
  • Added Order States (e.g. On Hold) functionality.
  • Added support for AvaTax sales tax system.
  • Added system for taking orders and selling products at Road Trips and Trade Shows. (Enterprise    Version only)
  • Added support for Magento, Infopia, Network Solutions, StoreHost, VP-ASP carts and the SQL Server version of Blackthorne.
The full list of changes can be found here.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

iCongo Moving

iCongo, the Canadian cross-channel and eCommerce platform provider, has announced they will be moving into larger premises in an award-winning building at the heart of Montreal’s downtown core to accommodate our future growth.
      
When:   
Effective Monday December 7th 2009   
Where:   
999 boul. de Maisonneuve West, 3rd Floor
Montréal, Québec
Canada H3A 3L4

Thursday, November 26, 2009

IKEA's brilliant Facebook campaign

From Chris Matyszczyk on CNet: IKEA, the Swedish purveyor of fast-food furniture, decided to open  a new store in Malmo, Sweden, and didn't really have a lot of money to let people know about it.

So it engaged a rather outre advertising agency called Forsman and Bodenfors to create a rather special launch campaign.

The agency created a Facebook profile for the store manager, Gordon Gustavsson. Over a two-week period, it uploaded images from of IKEA showrooms to his Facebook photo album.

Then it put out word that the first person to tag their name to a product in the pictures, won it.

Facebook being what it is, word got out and needy, enthusiastic Swedes begged for more pictures so that they could tag themselves to a new sofa, a new bed, or a new vase into which they could stick their plastic flowers or their dead grandparents' ashes.

Before Facebook could take credit for its own wonderful ingenuity in creating the world's most needed Web site, thousands of Swedes were spreading pictures of IKEA showrooms all around the personal galaxy known as their profile pages.

This was truly a case of "Build It and They Will Come!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Asos (US) Launches Twitter-linked Micro Review Site

From Catalogue  eBusiness magazine:  Continuing to set the pace for retailers’ use of social media, fashion etailer Asos has launched Asosreviews.com, “a Twitter-powered feedback and reviews microsite” that enables customers to post real-time comments.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AmEx Take Aim at PayPal

From the Associated Press: With its deal to buy Revolution Money, American Express is taking aim at the growing market for online and alternative payments, in a challenge to recognized leader PayPal, analysts say.

AmEx announced plans Wednesday to buy the Web payments firm started in 2005 by Internet firm AOL founder Steve Case, with the purchase price set at $300 million.

Analysts say AmEx is most interested in the so-called peer-to-peer services of Revolution, which enables low-cost money transfers among individuals and businesses.

"I think it's a challenge to PayPal, but it's more than that," said Ed Kountz, an analyst who follows financial technologies at Forrester Research.

"AmEx is positioning themselves for more effective innovation, and for the next generation customer."

Kountz said a variety of new technologies are emerging for person-to-person and alternative payments, but that few companies have been able to get the critical mass with both consumers and merchants to gain a foothold.

Revolution also aims to compete against traditional credit card firms by handling payments at a lower fee.

Joe Weisenthal at the online analysis site Business Insider said Revolution is "frequently described as a PayPal killer," but has been unable to grow during the financial crisis.

The action by AmEx comes with PayPal expanding its offerings with new ways to transfer money using mobile phones or social networks like Facebook.

Revolution "offers a unique card that seems to blend the idea of traditional credit and debit cards with Internet-based payments along the lines of PayPal and Google's service," said Jim Kim of the financial technology website FierceFinanceIT. "We'll see how the other big boys react."

"New payments products and platforms are evolving rapidly and it's important for us to keep identifying cutting edge technologies that can extend our leadership beyond the traditional payments arena," said Kenneth Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express in announcing the deal.

"This is a smart, nimble business. It's run by an accomplished management team who have quickly developed some cutting edge e-payment offerings," he said. "Joining with American Express will help unlock their potential, while allowing us to deliver competitive online payment products more rapidly and efficiently."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Elusive Web Measurement Strategy

Brent Dykes has a very good post on the Omniture blog on developing a Web Measurement Strategy. He notes that "In a recently released report by e-Consultancy, we continue to see that many companies still don’t have a measurement strategy in place. After surveying more than 800 digital marketers, e-Consultancy found “…that just one in five companies (22%) has an internal strategy that ‘ties data collection and analysis to business objectives’ and only 27% say their web analytics ‘definitely drive actionable insights.’”

That's alarming...but seems like a realistic assessment, unfortunately. Why bother with the exercise? Dykes sees "four main benefits to developing a web measurement strategy," which I quote below:
  1. Gain a clearer understanding of your company’s online business performance. Without well-defined KPIs, you’re not going to truly understand business performance and take appropriate action.
  2. Achieve greater buy-in and adoption by involving key executives and stakeholders in the business requirements gathering phase.
  3. Align your organization around shared measurement objectives that are tied to key business goals. Having everyone focused on what’s most important to the business is extremely valuable.
  4. Avoid costly missteps that may require re-implementation and delay “time-to-value”. Measure twice, cut once.
The difficulty seems to lie, however, in the challenge of including the right people in determining an appropriate strategy for conducting online sales. Says Dykes, "At a successful high tech company, I met with 15-20 product marketing managers to discuss their business requirements. After some debate about what they wanted to measure online, the product marketing managers told me to ask senior management what their web strategy was and “let us know when you find out what it is.” Ouch." He calls the process of inclusive strategy building "alignment" (point 3 above) and concludes that what you need to do is summarized in the following chart:

Next Generation Web Content Management

The Aberdeen Group has produced a report on "Next Generation Web Content Management: A Comprehensive Assessment of Current Challenges and the Future of WCM," documenting the trouble companies are having in using Web Analytics effectively to serve personalized Web content. They suggest that Adobe's acquisition of Omniture in October was a positive step in a direction that portends future trends in coordinating Web content with profiling and analysis tools.

According to Aberdeen, the next generation of WCM tools might look like this:
The paper concludes with these comments on the "gaping void in today's marketing technology landscape":

Click HERE to read a copy of the full report.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Processors Imposing "PCI Insurance Fees" on Smaller Merchants

From "practical ecommerce" -- Since June of 2008, all merchants accepting credit cards have been required to become PCI-DSS compliant to help prevent and control loses from businesses losing card holder data. For smaller merchants, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires merchants to complete a self-assessment security questionnaire and complete quarterly vulnerability scanning of their servers and network connections.

Until recently, Level 2, 3, and 4 merchants (those with fewer than six million Visa direct commerce transactions per year) have largely been ignored by the Security Standards Council. For Level 4 merchants, who do not generally need their quarterly scanning to be conducted by an official "Qualified Security Assessor," or QSA, there were no repurcussions for non-compliance. PCI's focus was on ensuring that large businesses were secure because more damage could result from a single data breach as observed with the TJX and processing services breaches.

But that has been changing. Under pressure from card issuers, the government, and consumer advocacy groups, Level 4 merchants who are not certified as PCI-compliant are now being charged a monthly "PCI fee" which can range from $20 - $50 per month. This trend started in July of 2008, and it looks to become the standard in the processing industry. While your processor may not have a PCI non-compliance fee right now, there's a good chance that they will in the near future.

Why are processors charging this?

Card issuers don't have the means to police the millions of businesses in the US and around the world, so they are placing liability for a data breach on credit card processors. Essentially, this means that the processor could be liable for all costs incurred if a non-compliant business suffers data loss. Most processors don't have near enough cash reserves for even a few small data breaches. Even a small breach of a few hundred card numbers can result in millions of dollars in damages.

The only option is an insurance fund to cover costs from data breaches that a processor is liable for. These funds are made up from the newly appearing fees that processors are passing to their non-compliant customers. Unless processors are removed from the liability circle, these fees are likely to become a standard.

What can you do to avoid these fees?

The only way to avoid these fees is to become officially PCI-compliant. PCI scanning from an officially designated Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) ranges from about $50 per year to hundreds of dollars annually, but in almost every case can be cheaper than the additional fees that processors have been forced to pass down. The PCI Standards Council maintains a list of approved PCI scanning vendors that are allowed to perform the required quarterly scanning for compliance. Click HERE to view the relevant page on their site.

PCI compliance is more than simply filling out the questionnaire and having your networks scanned for vulnerabilities: it requires you to actually maintain secure networks, computers, servers, software, and equipment. But most small businesses can't withstand the cost of a data breach, and security is a business owner's responsibility, no matter their size, whether they want it or not.

Top 50 Third-party Shopping Sites

Website Magazine has published a list of the Top 50 "Virtual Product Shelves," i.e., third-party eCommerce sites that provide pricing comparisons, social shopping, or special deals on merchandise from participating merchants.

Says the magazine, "The top few positions on this month’s list are filled with the product-side interfaces of major search engines and large product networks like Amazon. But the real action happens further down the list. Comparison shopping engines such as Nextag.com, Bizrate.com and Shopzilla.com present major opportunities for e-commerce merchants looking to acquire more traffic and vital impressions from consumers.

"Social shopping engines and tools are also noteworthy. As social media continues its rapid rise, these resources are becoming an integral part of the online experience for researching and buying products. Kaboodle, StyleFeeder and ThisNext make their mark in shopping circles and, as a result, increasingly importance to merchants.

"Deal sites may be your best bang for the promotional buck. Pronto, DealTagger, Sortprice and Dealtime established modest followings with serious shoppers. Price-sensitive shoppers are aware of their existence, and so should you.

"It may be difficult to ensure your products appear on each and every one of these virtual product shelves, but doing so may be what makes this holiday season a festive one. "

Click HERE to see the list.

Runa Offers Conversion Marketing Shopping Cart Tool

Runa (Mountain View, CA) has announced the release of “Conversion Marketing,” designed to enable retailers to offer customers real-time individualized pricing incentives online, picking up where SEO and Search Engine Marketing stop by pro-actively converting Web traffic into sales.

While traditional price optimization solutions have been rule-based tools, using data analysis from historical patterns, Runa Co-Founder & CEO Ashok Narasimhan pointed out that conversion marketing-focused solutions are goal-based and designed to allow real-time data to be combined with underlying data such as cost of goods. Rather than simply setting a price and establishing a corresponding markdown and promotion strategy, Narasimhan said conversion marketing tools are intelligent and learn over time.

“From the outset, we set out to address this opportunity in online marketing with a new approach; one that works within the conversion optimization funnel — not outside of it,” said Narasimhan. “Runa focuses on 'the last inch' with a new approach to convert traffic into sales for our customers.”

Runa has defined conversion marketing by several key factors, including:
  • Real-time shopper segmentation: Understanding the context of shoppers by using pre-click and post-click information.
  • Prediction of purchase intent: Dynamically determining the purchase intent for the items a shopper is currently looking at.
  • Profit-optimized sale pricing: Using the e-tailer’s business rules and analytics to determine the best sale price for each shopper (see last paragraph below).
  • Real-time delivery of profit-optimized sale pricing: Dynamically delivering profit-optimized sale prices to individual shoppers while they are still on an e-tailer’s site. Additionally, the presentation and offer acceptance must be seamless on the e-tailer’s site.
The demo on their Website shows how runa can be used to make a pre-determined offer to a shopper who is about to abandon a shopping cart, but not how it can determine the "best sale price for each shopper." Presumably the demo is for the legacy version, not the just-introduced Conversion Marketing module. If the new platform truly has the level of AI described, it will live up to its name, which is Scandinavian for "undiscovered knowledge."

What's interesting at the moment, though, is that runa doesn’t cost anything to operate. You pay runa only for sales where it helped you close the deal with a "dynamic" sale price.

New FTC Guidelines (Dec. 1) re Product "Endorsements"

New FTC Guidelines go into effect December 1 requiring bloggers and other social media participants to disclose their connections with vendors and products that they mention or endorse.

The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose any connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Epicor Commerce Enables Order Management, Fulfillment

Epicor's new Commerce module enables manufacturers and distributors using Epicor's ERP solutions to process and fulfill eCommerce orders from a seamless, fully integrated platform, while providing a personalized shopping experience for both businesses and consumers.

When orders are placed, Epicor Commerce lets customers select shipping methods and determine their freight cost. There is support for multiple payment options, including purchase orders, COD, credit card, or via customer-specific credit terms. The solution also features merchant account/gateway integration, and can provide advanced automated tax calculations via Epicor Tax Connect using on-demand tax service from Avalara.

Once orders are placed, online tracking allows customers to see when their product was shipped and lets them track the shipment through the carrier.

One of the latest applications with Epicor Extend, Epicor Commerce enables any individual in the business to manage the company’s eCommerce activities, to deploy Website content and images, and configure marketing promotions and programs. Epicor Commerce provides automatic synchronization of information on products, pricing, customers and inventory levels directly from Epicor ERP systems through standards-based Web services.

The Advanced version of Epicor Commerce supports sophisticated requirements in Website design (Flash, Flex, interactive media, product ratings, advanced filtering capabilities, etc), affiliate marketing, gift cards, product configuration, advanced search, and advanced reporting and analysis.

Payvment turns Facebook into "online shopping mall"

According to Internet Retailing, US firm Payvment has introduced an eCommerce application that enables retail store functionality to be added to Facebook. “By harnessing the power of the PayPal X global open payments platform, customers will now be able to shop from multiple vendors in a single shopping cart, turning Facebook into an online shopping mall,” says the company.

The new application uses PayPal's new Adaptive Payments APIs, a set of building blocks that gives developers tools to create highly customised payment services, and is built on the company’s existing shopping cart service that uses a single line of code to add eCommerce functionality to standard web pages.

“One of the big innovations made possible by Adaptive Payments is our ability to let users search and purchase from multiple storefronts throughout Facebook — then pay for everything with a single checkout using PayPal,” says Christian Taylor, Payvment founder and CEO.

“Payvment’s work is a great example of how third-party developers can use PayPal X to create a new generation of payment options,” adds Osama Bedier, PayPal’s vice president of platform. “Facebook’s 300 million users will now be able to go shopping on Facebook. PayPal takes care of the payments and Payvment the shopping cart experience.”

PRIAM "appease" creates "SEO-friendly" URLs

PRIAM Software, a UK-based multichannel direct commerce solution provider (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year), has launched a new module for "appease," it’s eCommerce content management system to provide "Search Engine-friendly" URLs that allow a non-technical user to convert the site’s dynamic URLs to a friendlier format.

A traditional dynamic URL may look like

http://www.myecommercewebsite.co.uk/gp/product/B002RWJG3G/ref=s9_al_bw_ir02?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1AFTD9A3S7G39X443FJP&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=474586813&pf_rd_i=405287011

appease can now rewrite the address to give the user a friendly URL, such as:

http://www.myecommercewebsite.co.uk/products/pavilionnotebook

There is optional functionality that allows appease users to define their own friendly URLs using a supplied database.

PRIAM suggests that friendly URLs can be time-consuming to create and maintain, but that appease can do the work for you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nordstroms Budgets $45MM for Tech Upgrades in 2010

From Retail Info Systems News: Nordstrom recently announced its plans to invest approximately $40 to $45 million in technology upgrades next year, maintaining its level of IT spend year-over-year.

Over the past year, the luxury department store has been heavily focused on evolving its multi-channel business. Its steadfast focus on evolving its multi-channel has clearly paid off since the luxury department store most recently reported in its latest quarter that sales for its online Nordstrom Direct business increased 16.4 percent.

The department store also has recently updated its inventory platform so online orders could be fulfilled from the stores or any Nordstrom location.|

According to Blake Nordstrom, President and Director, Nordstrom, "This continues our ongoing effort to improve our customers' experience by providing them with greater access to more of our inventory whenever and however they want to shop."

Nordstrom continues, "For the customer to go online and be able to leverage the entire inventory throughout the company represents tremendous opportunities. There's significant learnings that are coming from this about our allocation of inventory and, again, our supply chain, but we view it as a real positive and view it as another confirmation on behalf of the customer in the feedback that they're giving us that this multi-channel strategy is super important to our future growth."

Friday, November 13, 2009

PMG Pushes for 5-day Postal Delivery

According to DM News, John Potter, postmaster general and CEO of the US Postal Service, used the open session of the November 13 USPS Board of Governors meeting to press again for structural reform of the agency, insisting that real reform must reduce the number of delivery days from six to five per week. Click HERE for more details.

National Semi's WEBENCH Visualizer

On her Outside Innovation blog, Patty Seybold of The Patricia Seybold Group, author of Customers.com and The Customer Revolution, has a good look at National Semiconductor’s New WEBENCH® Visualizer that allows B2B customers to use his Website and tools to design, specify, simulate, and test complete circuitry, which they can then purchase either as a complete priced-out Bill of Materials from dozens of partners or purchase an evaluation board that is built same day and shipped overnight.


"What interests me about National Semiconductor's WEBENCH Visualizer," says Patty, "is:

1. It's a tool that enables customers to create better designs and to make better design decisions.

2. It's a tool that helps engineers (National's customers) do their jobs and helps them make trade-offs based on the criteria that matter most to their customers (electronics manufacturers like Nokia, Apple, and others).

3. It uses a variety of visualization techniques to let customers work the way their minds work (spreadsheets, dials, graphical bubble chart, circuit diagrams, parts and price lists, waveforms) all in one interactive dashboard.

4. It is interactive and iterative with real-time feedback. As I change my mind or try something different, I see the results.

5. Behind the scenes, there's a lot of data and number crunching going on to provide results that are optimized for my changing criteria.

6. There's an entire customer-centric ecosystem of suppliers, distributors and other partners integrated into this dashboard. Over 100 suppliers' products are integrated into one simple dashboard for customers to use to create their designs and their multi-supplier bills of materials.

7. Customers can share their designs with their customers and engage with them in experimenting with different trade-offs.

8. It's a powerful tool that is provided free of charge to customers because National Semiconductor has learned that the easier they make it for customers to design their products, the more of their business they get."

For more screenshots and details, click to Patty's Blog.

Off The Wall Supports Facebook eCommerce

According to Internet Retailing, US digital agency Resource Interactive has launched Off the Wall, an "ecommerce experience" for brands and their fans on Facebook, allowing Facebook users to purchase products directly from a brand or user stream without leaving the Facebook "wall"environment.

Says a company spokesperson, "several of the agency’s Fortune 100 clients have signed on to implement brand-specific versions of Off the Wall in the 2009 holiday season."

With Off the Wall, brands and retailers can post an item for purchase as a status update to their Facebook page. In turn, fans can purchase the product directly from their live feed, news feed or the brand’s wall. They can also share the status update with their friends and its eCommerce functionality is maintained wherever it appears in Facebook.

"It makes sense from the perspective of both the brand and the fan," says Dan Shust, director of emerging media at Resource Interactive’s research and development lab. "It gives brands an opportunity to reward their fans with privileged shopping access to hot items or time-sensitive deals. It also addresses the on-demand consumer’s desire to engage in and share relevant brand experiences without leaving their social networking environment."

Off the Wall features include a fully customizable look and feel, a complete in-wall checkout process (product details, customer information and shipping options), eCommerce platform independence, a PCI-compliant hosted environment, and a "performance-based compensation model."

"Not only is enabling Facebook users to shop from the feed without leaving the experience ground-breaking in itself, but the sheer network effect is also worth considering," adds Shust . "The average Facebook user has 130 friends. If a brand with 100,000 fans published an Off the Wall eCommerce update, it's merely one click away from being shared with 13 million Facebook users. Imagine the possibilities for the holiday season and beyond."

Shop4Sport on 3EX eComm Platform

Multichannel sports retailer Shop4Sport has gone live on the 3EX.NET eCommerce Software platform.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IBM Beefs Up Support for Mobile Commerce

According to InformationWeek, IBM has introduced software that it says will allow consumers to shop online through mobile devices more easily while letting retailers reach customers more effectively.

The software, the Mobile Store component of WebSphere Commerce 7, includes social networking features and hooks that retailers can use to add personalized messages and offers to individual consumers.

"New sales channels and points of interaction now define and fragment consumers' retail journey, forcing companies to change the way they market, build relationships, and deliver brand value," said Beth Smith, IBM's vice president for its WebSphere brand, in a statement.

The application provides an eCommerce front-end for online merchants that lets them provide consumers with advanced features like side-by-side product comparisons, real-time inventory updates, and store finders on their mobile devices. It also links to back-end services such as IBM's WebSphere Application server and DB2 database.

Retailers can use the software to deliver targeted text messages or e-mails to shoppers or reach them through Facebook or other social networking sites.

"WebSphere Commerce is designed to help retailers around the world execute marketing campaigns and build rich customer relationships that span sales channels and interaction models," said Smith.

According to IBM, the new software underscores IBM's commitment to the mobile space. In June, the company announced a five-year, $100 million research initiative aimed at improving mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide.

USPS Discounts for Small Parcel Shippers

In January the US Postal Service will be offering several new products aimed at small–package shippers, including cubic volume-based pricing for large-volume commercial Priority Mail shippers and a Priority Mail half-pound price, based on distance, in the Commercial Plus pricing category.

As reported in the Multichannel Merchant, the USPS’s half-pound option will likely capture a lot of new interest, according to Gerard Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting and a former vice president for DHL, “because an awful lot of 1-lb. shipments moving today weigh far less than 1 lb.”

And the Postal Service’s cubic volume-based pricing means customers who ship small dense, space-efficient packages will receive a financial incentive through a new, tiered pricing option. Hempstead says this new offering is the opposite of what the commercial carriers do, which is charge the higher of the actual weight or the cubic weight (L x W x H / 194). “The USPS is sharing its productivity improvement with incentive based lower pricing.”

The USPS purchases containers on the FedEx network and it operates its own surface transportation network that has excess capacity on the trucks, Hempstead explains. As a result, the more weight USPS can get into a cubic foot, the lower its costs are going to be to transport and the better yield it will have.

The Postal Service is also offering a Priority Mail Flat Rate padded envelope just for Commercial Plus shippers. The 9-1/2” x 12-1/2” envelope is specially designed for jewelry, electronics and other delicate goods.

A complete listing of 2010 prices is available HERE. The new prices and product innovations are pending Postal Regulatory Commission review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vodat, Broadvision Have Shopping Cart Incentive Solution

Vodat International, a leading communications solution provider to the UK retail sector, has announced an exclusive partnership with BroadVision USA for hosting and supporting the eMerchandising shopping cart incentives Software-as-a-Service solution in the UK.

eMerchandising is a real-time, context-aware incentive solution that works independently from the eCommerce Website and makes it easy to set up incentives, promotions, cross-selling, product recommendations, bundles, offers, companion deals and shipping discounts.

The incentives are pushed to the customer with contextual messages appearing at key moments during the online shopping process and in the shopping cart. eMerchandising can increase an e-commerce retailer’s average order value (AOV) by up to 40%, and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.

How does it work?

eMerchandising is a hosted software solution which pulls information from an eCommerce Website’s database. It’s a form-based tool and does not require any technical expertise, allowing eCommerce websites to create buying incentives in real-time. Product Managers can control eCommerce Website promotions directly, or create an individual price based on the customer’s real-time behavior and product choice.

Most eCommerce platforms offer limited functionality for creating and deploying complex comparisons, product bundling and incentives. eMerchandising manages complex rules across thousands of SKU’s for upselling and cross-selling offers. It purportedly delivers higher conversion rates and strengthens online customer relationships.

In addition, Vodat’s PCI-DSS-compliant payment portal gateway can authorize and provide settlement of all card transactions from in-store sales, eCommerce, mail order and telesales.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SATMAP Call Routing System Reduces Costs 7%

JoAnna Brandi, customer loyalty specialist, has found and recently begun representing a product for call centers that can increase customer satisfaction by almost one standard deviation point on a five point scale.

This product is the next generation of call center routing, as it uses "neural networking" to match the call center rep and customer based on over 100 psychographic and demographic factors of the caller (such as age, gender, income level, geographic location and education) to send the call to the next BEST rep, not the next available rep.

SATMAP, as the product is known, is returning an increase of between 15 - 22% in conversion rates for clients, typically decreasing cost for call handling by 7% and keeping customers and employees happier for the largest financial institutions, telecoms and hospitality firms. The product has quietly been installed since 2007 in over 25,000 seats at 20+ customers.

This artificial intelligence product has 24 patents and learns from each and every interaction to return business intelligence back to the company. There is no capital investment involved and it can be up and running in 30 days (on a hosted or on-premises basis). There is a 60 Day risk-free guarantee and they work on a share of the upstream revenue. All results are measurable and auditable.

Here's the catch - it only works in call centers that have over 200 seats and are in a B2C environment. If you want to hear more about how some smart companies are suceeding with this product, contact JoAnna at 561-279-0027 or e-mail joanna@customercarecoach.com

Burberry Launches Social Media Site

On Monday, Burberry introduced a social networking site, artofthetrench.com, to encourage people to share their own trench coat stories with an interface that combines the best of Twitter and Facebook -- boasting a fetching array of classy photos by world-famous photographer Scott Schuman ("The Sartorialist") plus a great soundtrack by The Kooks.

It is the latest step by CEO Angela Ahrendts and her creative director, Christopher Bailey, to build on the brand’s British heritage and trademark plaid with a more modern twist, according to The New York Times.

"It’s our differentiator," Ms. Ahrendts said, although she adds, "It’s not so different from what competitors do. Maybe one was born from shoes and another from luggage; we come from a coat. It’s our job to keep that category hot and cool and relevant for all ages."

Luxury goods companies have generally failed to figure out how to sell their wares online. Indeed, many have shunned the Web as a place for bargain hunters to search for knock-offs or counterfeits.

“The biggest thing that keeps me up at night is how can we continue to evolve this organization in order to stay ahead of the curve,” Ms. Ahrendts said during an interview with a NY Times reporter at company's new global HQ in London last month. “My job is to always look two to three years ahead and look round the corner and see what’s coming.”

With this new "social media" site, she is doing just that!

After a roughly 8 percent decline this year, the $226 billion global market for luxury goods is expected to grow again next year as younger consumers and working women replace retiring baby boomers as the dominant consumer group, according to consulting firm Bain & Company. That’s one of the main reasons Burberry is now focusing on the Internet. Ms. Ahrendts said she gets a lot of inspiration from her three children, who spend time surfing the Web and buy most of their clothes online.

Ms. Ahrendts said she is proud that Burberry has more than 699,000 Facebook fans. The company, founded as a maker of outdoor wear in 1856 by the British draper’s apprentice, Thomas Burberry, is also attracting customers via Twitter and Youtube.

According to The New York Times, Ms. Ahrendts recently revived a 108-year old company trademark of an equestrian knight carrying a flag with the words Prorsum — Latin for forward. The image now features prominently in the headquarters’ glass-walled entrance hall.

Forward indeed! The company is reportedly in talks with a licensing partner to add a make-up and beauty range next year, and is planning to offer more men’s accessories, such as bags and scarves.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

ChannelAdvisor Posts Strong 3Q, Intros New Amazon Solution

ChannelAdvisor, the Morrisville, NC, solution provider that helps merchants sell on eBay, Amazon, Overstock.com, etc., as well as paid search and comparison shopping sites, has announced strong third-quarter results with $2.6 million in bookings and 229 new customer additions.

New customers are driving this growth by signing on for multiple three-commerce channel solutions to maximize their revenue potential. These customers include Foot Shop Limited, Green Cartridge Company Europe BV, Solaris Sport S.L.R. and Tory Burch.

"While our third quarter brought us continued growth across all channels, there was significant escalation among apparel, consumer electronics and media, which are in many cases necessities for consumers," said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor CEO. "Whether shopping for essentials or luxuries, more than ever we are seeing consumers using comparison shopping sites and bargain hunting across multiple websites, leading our customers to embrace a multi-channel selling approach to maximize visibility."

The third quarter also saw the release of ChannelAdvisor's next-generation Amazon solution. The solution has reportedly been well-received due to its ability to provide online retailers control over the Amazon sales channel with actionable information, eliminating the need for online retailers to involve their IT department in every minor change.

"Within one week of implementing ChannelAdvisor’s new Amazon solution our sales increased 34 percent," said Steve McCarty, president of Ultimate Paintball. "We're anticipating continued growth and a successful holiday season with ChannelAdvisor support of the Fulfillment by Amazon program."

Highlights of the next-generation Amazon solution include:
  • Product Match technology that discovers which Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) to select for products based on the listing’s title, price, sales rank, whether or not Amazon is a competitor and more – folding all the variables needed to make a decision into a sleek, simple-to-use interface
  • Categorizer technology that offers intelligent recommendations and dynamically populates Amazon’s complex item classification keyword requirements, categorizing each product as accurately as possible and saving hours of manual data entry
  • A revised dashboard that, for the first time, presents a simple, dynamic, birds-eye view of the status of listings to ensure that all products are live and that all listings are fully optimized for maximum visibility and sales
  • Full integration with the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program to create, track and modify products, shipments and orders, which are then fulfilled by Amazon’s shipping service
Additional third-quarter product updates include the following:
  • Comparison Shopping
    o Full support for Bing Shopping Cashback, including transaction reports
  • Paid Search
    o Advanced network targeting for Google campaigns
    o Negative keyword support for Google ad groups
    o Bing Search Cashback support including transaction reports
  • Rich Image
    o URL-based commands to easily resize and apply filters such as image quality, sharpen and contrast
    o Watermarking and dynamic text overlaying for merchandising
    o Automated cropping for image files
    o Ability to summarize workflow actions into a single URL-based command
  • RichCatalog
    o New message panel allowing images text and external links to be inserted anywhere in the book; the text and links are used to display instructions, highlighted products, vendor offers and sign-up fields

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nordstrom's Website Goes International

Nordstrom has introduced international shopping on its Website, enabling customers to buy merchandise online in foreign currencies and ship to 30 countries.

Available currencies include the euro, British pound, Canadian dollar and Czech koruna.

The new feature is designed to make it easier for customers abroad to shop on Nordstrom's Web site, as well customers in the United States to send merchandise overseas, Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, said in a statement.

The retailer said it worked with FiftyOne Global Ecommerce to introduce the feature.

Google Releases Dev Tools as Open Source

[From PCWorld] Google has decided to release as open source several of its key application development tools, hoping that they will prove useful for external programmers to build faster Web applications.

Google has used the tools in some of its most popular Web applications, including Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps, said Amit Agarwal, a Google product manager. "By enabling and allowing developers to use the very same tools that Google uses, we hope that they can not only build rich applications but also make the Web really, really fast," says Agarwal. "That's our primary motive in getting these tools outside to the global community."

The tools include Closure Compiler, which streamlines, optimizes and consolidates Javascript code to make it run faster and more efficiently, increasing the chances that the application will perform well even for users with slow connections.

Google is also releasing Closure Library, a Javascript library that contains a set of standard application services and components that run across different browsers, and Closure Templates, designed to automate the dynamic creation of HTML. The templates can be used within Javascript in client machines or in Java on servers.

Google Launches Commerce Search

[From LA Times/Technology] Google has launched Google Commerce Search as a service designed to help make the Web sites of large online retailers easier to search.

Google says the service, which costs $50,000 and up each year, will improve user experience and boost sales. Says Nitin Mangtani, a lead product manager at Google. "If it takes shoppers eight to 10 seconds to search for something, and they can't find it easily, they leave the Web site."

The main selling points are that everything that has made Google a dominant company (vast computing resources, algorithms that provide right results, and even the ability to fix your typos and find what you're looking for) will help people navigate clunky retail Websites that cause a major stumbling block to sales. (Of course, if the check-out process is equally clunky, the merchant is even more likely to loose the sale!)

Also, according to Forrester Research, page load speed is crucial to keeping shoppers on your site. Two seconds is how long a typical online shopper waits for a retailer's site to load before getting frustrated and bailing out....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PCI Superstar Dead of Heart Attack

From Evan Schuman, editor of StoreFront BackTalk: "We’re heartbroken to have to report to our readers that our esteemed PCI Columnist, David Taylor, passed away on Tuesday from a sudden heart attack. A private memorial service is being held in New York and Dave’s family is asking for donations to the American Heart Association.

"Dave spent much of his time running the PCI Knowledge Base, which he launched after a distinguished career as a Gartner analyst. I personally had the pleasure of working with Dave on many projects, panels and podcasts and found his keen observations and sense of humor to be most rare. He called his shots honestly but went out of his way to be kind. Dave’s column was an instant hit with subscribers, as it gave him a forum for his observations and for his wry take on life. We’ll miss him without limit and the industry has lost one of its brightest voices."

Amazon Launches PayPhrase

From WebProNews: Amazon.com has introduced "PayPhrase," a new shortcut for making purchases at the online retailer and other websites.

PayPhrase works by allowing users to choose their own phrase along with a PIN and then set up their shipping information, which is stored at Amazon.

Amazon customers can use PayPhrase to make purchases at any websites that offers Checkout by Amazon, such as DNKY, Patagonia, Buy.com and J&R Electronics.

Amazon says PayPhrase shortens the online shopping process by not requiring customers to share sensitive payment information with multiple websites. Customers can type their PayPhrase into a button on the product page, and click to preview the total cost of the order, including shipping and tax.

Customers can skip steps such as "Add to cart," "Proceed to checkout," by using their PayPhrase information.

"PayPhrase solves the headache of trying to keep track of all the different usernames and passwords people use to shop on various sites across the web. With PayPhrase all you need is one phrase and one PIN to pay online," said Matt Williams, General Manager, Amazon PayPhrase (Matt's PayPhrase is "good to go").

"We think customers will enjoy the simplicity that Amazon PayPhrase offers, and we hope they'll have some fun choosing their own personal phrases," says Williams.

Merchants can accept PayPhrase orders by using Checkout by Amazon, which automatically supports PayPhrase. Parents can use PayPhrase to set up an online allowance for their kids and approve each order via e-mail, mobile phone or text alerts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sterling Debuts "Always In Stock"

Sterling Commerce, a division of AT&T, today introduced Sterling Always in Stock. This new solution combines advanced cross-channel order management with seamless integration capabilities to enable retailers to improve the customer experience and preserve customer loyalty, while boosting sales and optimizing inventory efficiency.

When a customer is faced with an out-of-stock product, Sterling Always in Stock enables the sales associate or call center agent to find the desired item in the retailer’s network and the customer to choose a satisfying fulfillment method.

Sterling Always in Stock is a preconfigured solution that combines modules from Sterling Multi-Channel Selling and Sterling Multi-Channel Fulfillment with an easy-to-use interface for sales associates and call center agents to optimize the entire “save-the-sale” business process. The solution utilizes a special order process that also can accommodate "endless aisle" items. Once the transaction is complete, Sterling Always in Stock automatically triggers fulfillment from the designated location and provides complete order status visibility for the customer and the sales associate.

Note: this is a rebranding of a concept that Sterling introduced in February of last year. See this on the "Endless Aisle," a concept introduced by neXpansion almost 10 years ago.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sanderson (UK) Joins PCI Security Standards Council

Sanderson, the publicly owned UK provider of software solutions to retail and multichannel merchants, has, through Sanderson RBS, joined the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council. As a Participating Organization, Sanderson is working with the Council to evolve the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) and other payment card data protection standards to protect both merchants and consumers from payment card fraud.

As a member of the PCI Security Standards Council, Sanderson has access to the latest payment card security standards, is able to provide feedback on the standards and is part of a growing community that now includes more than 500 organizations. In an era of increasingly sophisticated attacks on systems, adherence to the PCI DSS is the best protection against data criminals. By joining the Council as a Participating Organization, Sanderson are adding their voice, and therefore the voice of their customers to the protection process.

Bob Russo, General Manager of the PCI Security Standards Council commented: “The PCI Security Standards Council is committed to helping everyone involved in the payment chain protect consumer payment data. By joining the Council, Sanderson is playing an active part in this important end goal.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

eBillme Launches eCommerce Option

About 72 million potential eCommerce shoppers don't have a credit card, according to eBillme.com, which is trying to capitalize on this demographic by offering them the option to pay for their online purchases in cash.

Through the site’s “walk-in” payment option consumers can purchase items online from 840 different eCommerce sites, then pay for their purchases in cash at one of Ebillme’s payment locations. Once payment is confirmed, the merchant is notified, and the product is sent.

Sears.com, Kmart.com, and Kenmore.com are recent additions to the eBillme family.

If this service catches on, more online retailers may have to rethink the types of payment options that they offer their customers, and expand these options accordingly.

While paying in cash for online purchases may allow customers to take advantage of special online deals, critics also point out that it may also be time-consuming and confusing for some “cash only” customers who are, according to eBillme CEO Marwan Forzley, primarily seniors or recent immigrants without access to banking.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cabela's Adopts Webtrends Analytics 9

Webtrends, an enterprise customer intelligence company, recently announced that Cabela's Inc., a leading multichannel merchant for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, has selected Webtrends Analytics 9 and Webtrends Marketing Warehouse to help measure and take action with the data that drives its online experience and digital marketing campaigns.

"We are excited about our new partnership with Webtrends as our Web analytics vendor. Webtrends, with its flexible architecture, allows us to integrate Web analytics into our business processes instead of having to build our business processes around a tool. This is the best fit for our analytics strategy," said Mark Thompson, Cabela's Director of E-commerce. "Researching online consumer behavior allows us to make good decisions across all channels with open access to all of our Web data, integrated with the rest of our enterprise data. Webtrends truly understands this and has built a culture to foster it."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Exact Abacus (UK) Offer 3EX.NET

Harnessing over 25 years of software development experience, Exact Abacus have developed 3EX.NET – an integrated eCommerce and back-office platform capable of simultaneously running: Websites, sales, order processing, customer relationship management, stock control, marketing, and financials as well as the supply chain.

3EX.NET enables users to trade via multiple channels with a single comprehensive application available as a boxed set and pre-configured solution. The set includes:

BASE— Contains everything you will need to build and run a content-managed information-only website. Ideal for Companies building product/service/brand awareness and capturing sales enquiries, with prices starting from £100 per month.

LITE— Designed for entrepreneurial businesses looking to take their eCommerce offer to the next stage, LITE provides a comprehensive shopping cart and range of Website tools to take your business to the next level, available from as little as £250 per month.

PRO— A solution for companies demanding a truly integrated front-end and back-office platform. With the PRO product you get everything that 3EX.NET (our back-office solution) has to offer, from Plugins and Payments to CRM and Financials, starting from £500 per month.

CUSTOM— For those looking for a customized website solution. The CUSTOM package selects appropriate modules and functionality from the 3EX.NET suite to meet your requirements, with a tailormade commercial package.

Lee Gregson, Managing Director of Exact Abacus comments: “Exact Abacus has been providing leading edge software solutions for mail order, distribution, fulfilment and ecommerce companies for over 25 years. Our new 3EX.NET range enables us to offer our product to a much wider marketplace, from startup companies capturing sales enquiries, through to bespoke website solutions with integrated backoffice. Whatever your requirement, there is a 3EX.NET solution to suit your needs and budget.”

Achieving PCI Compliance

WCF, the UK company that runs mail order brands including James Meade and Country Collection, recently achieved PCI compliance. WCF use Exact Abacus' Customer Relationship Management software and Company Secretary, Jo Ritzema, has provided some hints and tips on the Exact Abacus blog gained from their 18 month long process in getting to the goal line with PCI.

If you are still uncertain about how to manange PCI Compliance, I strongly urge you to read this brief but very detailed and informative run-down of how to do it right.

S.E. Marshall Select Elucid

Sanderson, a publicly-owned provider of multi-channel order management and fulfillment solutions in the UK, has won a major new contract to supply their Elucid system to S.E.Marshall & Co Ltd., the Huntingdon, UK-based specialist multi-channel retailer of perishable gardening products supplies seeds, plants, gifts and hardware to avid gardeners of fruit and vegetables.

In selecting Elucid, S.E.Marshall hope to gain wide-reaching benefits, from sophisticated warehouse management functionality controlling pick/pack/despatch and back order operations, underpinned by a greater visibility of stock control across their three primary product brands, to strong database management.

Martin Harvey, Managing Director, S.E.Marshall & Co Ltd said "it was essential our chosen supplier has proven capabilities of delivering complex solutions, which is why we have selected Sanderson.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CRE Offers Hosted Payments Page for PCI-compliance

As the remaining Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) deadlines approach, e-commerce merchants must quickly determine how to bring their checkout process into alignment with the new required standards for protecting sensitive cardholder data. To ease the burden, CRE Secure Payments, LLC has unveiled a Hosted Payment Page technology aimed at reducing the scope and cost of PCI Compliance for eCommerce merchants by moving the storage, processing and transmittal of payment information from the merchant's environment to a PCI-Compliant data center without interrupting checkout flow.


Hosted Payment Page with Patent-Pending HTML CLONE™ Technology
CRE Secure's Hosted Payment Page is a PCI-compliant service that presents itself in the normal checkout process to provide a smooth and familiar experience to customers for payment collection. Unlike traditional services that redirect customers off-site for payment, CRE Secure's patent-pending HTML CLONE technology calls on the merchant's shopping cart or website CSS to provide an exact replica of the merchant environment to ensure a seamless checkout experience for the user, including access to all links and live navigation of the merchant site.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pod1, SagePay Partner for Magento Module

Pod1 has partnered with Sage Pay (formerly Protx, and a leading UK payment services provider) to develop an open-source payment application module for the open-source eCommerce platform Magento.

The module will allow Pod1 clients and any other retailer who wants to work with Sage Pay to use the Sage Pay Server solution, which serves all payment pages from Sage Pay’s server to assure PCI-DSS data security.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UK Direct Commerce Suppliers of the Year

Eight supplier companies in the UK were celebrated for their contributions to the catalogue and online retail sector at last week’s Catalogue Exchange/ECMOD Supplier of the Year Awards ceremony. The winners were:
  • 3rd Party Order Fulfilment & Contact Centre Services: CITIPOST
  • Catalogue & Promotional Print Production: EC2I
  • Catalogue Creative & Design Services: TA DESIGN
  • Delivery Services: ONEPOST
  • IT Platforms inc SAAS: MAGINUS
  • Website & Digital Development Services: MAGINUS
  • Most Innovative Solution Online Customer Engagement: YUDU
  • Most Innovative Cost Saving Solution Off-Line Customer Facing: ABACUS DIRECT and GARNETT DICKINSON PRINT (Joint Winners)

Maginus Launches "My Genius" Microsites

Maginus, a major UK-based multichannel solution provider (call centre, eCommerce, retail, fulfilment solutions on the Microsoft Dynamics/AX platform), has launched a very clever microsite for the company "mascot," My Genius. Very much worth a look. Very cleverly done.

CREATETHE GROUP Launches La Perla Site

CREATETHE GROUP, the digital commerce leader for elite global brands, today announced that La Perla Fashions Inc. has launched a new global Website on the CTS/SELL platform. Recognizing the need for a richer online presence to drive sales for its expanding product offering, La Perla selected CREATETHE GROUP because of its platform’s scalability, global multi-language, multi-currency capabilities and the flexibility to create a unique brand experience that showcases their products.

The revamped LaPerla.com features a branded eCommerce storefront supporting 26 countries, six languages and three currencies. The site highlights the breadth of La Perla’s products with an easy-to-use navigation that enables customers to find and buy exactly what they want quickly and easily. For example, customers can locate merchandise available in their size without having to click on every category or collection. In addition, oversized product images with multiple views and a rich zoom help convey the details and artisanship that goes into the creation and construction of La Perla products.

La Perla will also showcase new offerings on the site, such as a bridal line, and will introduce its line of men’s products in the U.S., a highly popular line for the company in Europe. Beyond eCommerce, the site will enable customers to engage with the La Perla brand and to learn about the company’s rich history in intimates.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ecometry PA-DSS-Compliant

Escalate Retail reports on Twitter that Ecometry vers. 10.0.4 passed it's PA-DSS audit and that its PCI Council Website listing will be coming soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Litle, Accertify Holding Fraud Prevention Seminar

Litle & Co., a leading payment processor for direct merchants, and Accertify, a provider of fraud prevention solutions, will be holding a free seminar in New York City, Oct. 13, on "Commerce Fraud: Moving from Tools to Solutions," presented by David Montague, Founder and President of The Fraud Practice.

Creating a fraud management plan, and finding the right solution, can be difficult and confusing when you consider the vendors offering services for fraud prevention have exploded from a handful into the hundreds in the last few years. In this session participants will learn what the core features of a fraud solution are along with how they can segment and differentiate fraud solution providers by the techniques they offer (“apples to apples” comparison). Emphasis will be placed on how you should approach the evaluation of third-party tools and services in terms of an overall fraud mitigation plan. Participants can expect to be able to answer thre questions after attending the session:

(1) Define the meaning of a tool, signal, feature and a solution.

2) Describe the core features and capabilities needed to implement a Card-Not-Present fraud solution.

3) Describe how to categorize a third party fraud tool in terms of “techniques"

The seminar will be held from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM at
HUDSON TERRACE
621 W 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

David's presentation will be followed by complimentary cocktails and dinner.
Space is limited so please R.S.V.P. by October 2nd to Christina Wilson, cwilson@litle.com

Escalate Has CoMarketing Alliance for Scene7

Escalate Retail has a business arrangement with Adobe Systems Inc. that will allow retailers using Escalate’s eCommerce and Ecometry Commerce suites to utilize Adobe Scene7, a leading hosted rich media platform designed for companies doing eCommerce and multichannel marketing.

Adobe Scene7 is an on-demand cross-media platform that enables eCommerce and multichannel marketing companies to create rich content for Website, e-mail or print campaigns by automating the production and delivery of high-impact data-driven media.

MOM Vers. 7i is PA-DSS-Compliant

Dydacomp, a provider of business automation software for multi-channel merchants, retailers, and cataloguers, has released the latest version of its Mail Order Manager (M.O.M.) software solution, Version 7i, the company's first PCI PA-DSS certified product.

"PCI compliance is of vital importance to our customers as the way they will need to process credit cards and store data is about to drastically change," said John V. Healy, Dydacomp CEO. "We've eliminated our customers' primary pain point by pursuing and receiving PCI PA-DSS compliance certification for Version 7i as well as adding numerous customer requested enhancements."

M.O.M. Version 7i includes more than a dozen significant enhancements to Version 6 (on which the current release is built). Key features include (but are not limited to) graphical and text on-demand reporting, advanced automated drop shipping, EDI, branded gift cards as a payment method, detailed data transmission to QuickBooks , and mobile access from the iPhone, iPod Touch, or other PDA devices.

Customer Service Innovations

"Customer service" is defined as "the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase," and it is a process that should never be overlooked simply because the service is occurring online, says Pete Sheldon, a product manager at Elastic Path Software, which provides a flexible Java-based eCommerce platform for enterprises.

"An effective online customer service campaign can drastically change the face of online shopping by infusing features into sites that are not easily replicated in a real-world setting. For example, Shoeline.com's Return O'Meter increases customer trust -- as well as the company's conversion rate -- by showing customers how many times a style of shoe has been returned and the reason for the return, a feature you wouldn't normally find in an offline shoe store."

Qualsys Announces QualysGuard PCI 4.0

Qualys, Inc., a leading provider of on-demand IT security risk and compliance management solutions, has announced availability of QualysGuard® PCI 4.0 which adds network discovery capabilities and introduces PCI Connect features to "the most popular PCI platform in the industry, already in use by 60 percent of all Approved Scanning Vendors (ASVs) and 49 percent of Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) to help merchants streamline PCI DSS certification and validation."

PCI Connect was the industry's first Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) ecosystem for PCI compliance, connecting merchants to multiple partners and security solutions in order to document and meet all 12 requirements for PCI DSS.

Monday, September 21, 2009

iCongo: Virtual Marketer for Enriched Communication

iCongo, Inc., a leading provider of eCommerce and multi-channel systems, has announced the availability of its new Virtual Marketer (VM) module for its eCommerce online systems and as a supplement to the company’s existing E-marketing systems.

VM allows merchants to host virtual events for conducting product demonstrations, seminars, training sessions, two way communications and more, all within their existing customer-facing online environments.

Available under a pay-as-you-go Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pricing model, Virtual Marketer can be inserted as needed in any eCommerce B2C or B2B site. VM presentations can be made available for any length of time, from one day to a week or longer—even indefinitely. Viewers can experience a presentation live or on-demand, giving sponsors a host of options for imparting information, encouraging a sale, or generating leads.

Live and recorded video is supported in VM as well as collateral download libraries containing brochures, images, charts and audio files. During a session, participants and/or customers can be allowed to initiate two-way private or public online conversations with sales or training support specialists via the built-in chatline.

Adding further value to VM is the ability to purchase products within the same iCongo-powered online environment. For example after viewing a retailer’s presentation on BBQ grills with demonstrations from multiple manufacturers, customers can ask questions, make comparisons and immediately click on a specific product brand to make a purchase.

FedEx SmartPost Offers Returns Service via USPS

FedEx SmartPost announced today that it is introducing a new, convenient way for consumers to return items back to a direct commerce retailer using the U.S. Postal Service for package pickup, including collection boxes, Post Offices, and delivery carriers.

Retailers will include a prepaid label in the original shipment along with return instructions. Initially, the service will be available for shippers with high volumes of returns.

After packages are picked up, they will be consolidated into larger shipments at local Post Offices and picked up by FedEx for shipment to the original retailer.

The returns option is an expansion of the existing FedEx SmartPost offering that utilizes the Postal Service for cost-effective final-mile delivery of low-weight packages to residences.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Retailers Rapidly Adopting Social Media

Multichannel Merchant reports: The penetration of social media tools within brand and retailer organizations is extremely high, given the length of time these tools have been around, according to a study released by e-commerce consultancy the e-tailing group and software provider PowerReviews.

Five out of 10 social media tools have been adopted by more than 50% of brands and retailers, with the Facebook Fan Page leading the way (at 86% adoption). The other top tools include Twitter Publishing (65%), customer reviews (55%), blogs (55%) and viral videos (50%).

In addition, the study found three-fourths of the 117 survey respondents feel brands have accelerated their use of, and commitment to, community and social media in the past six months.

Study respondents say that over the next 12 months, they plan to adopt Facebook Connect (31% of respondents), social listening tools (31%), customer reviews (26%) and product suggestions (26%).

Aside from increasing sales, the study also found the primary goal for adopting social media was customer engagement (39% of respondents), along with mobilizing advocates to drive “word of mouth” (30%) and increasing brand loyalty (21%).

The most striking finding was the reason behind this accelerated adoption, specifically the top three concerns of marketers and merchandisers related to social media. These motivators, which drove the last wave of social media adoption, will also be driving the next wave in the coming year:

1. Brand degradation fear – “people can trash my products in front of large audiences”

2. Competence fear – “I am using outdated marketing/merchandising techniques”

3. Concern – competitive fear – “customer’s inclination to leave their site to find a more socially-engaging site”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Channel Intelligence Launching New Services

Channel Intelligence, Inc. (CI) will be unveiling several new marketing services for retailers and manufacturers at the upcoming Shop.org Annual Summit in Las Vegas, Nev., September 21-23, 2009.

Among the new services are several resulting from the key assets recently acquired from VCommerce Corporation as well as new enterprise-level Paid Search and Online Display Advertising Solutions.

The Display Advertising Solution is a performance-based program designed to drive higher converting consumers to marketers' Websites via display ads on other Web properties. The solution lets advertisers target specific types of individuals or retarget previous customers via a variety of low-cost standard ad templates as well as customized ad creative services. It also makes available accurate performance metrics including sales lift via the company’s proprietary tracking technology TrueTag™.

In addition, a new enterprise-level Paid Search Solution will be on display in the CI booth at Shop.org. This service helps drive revenue growth through Paid Search by leveraging multi-variable rules, auto-optimization, and bid management.

Some of the recently acquired Vcommerce assets will be highlighted as a part of CI’s product portfolio: the eCommerce Storefront, Order Management and Fulfillment and Integration Solutions. On-site demos of the company’s BETA SellCast® Self Management portal will be available for retailers to show how they can use it to directly manipulate and customize shopping engine data feeds on demand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adobe Buys Omniture

Adobe said Tuesday that it has reached a deal to acquire Web analytics firm Omniture for $1.8 billion. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen called the move a "game changer" for the company.

"Adobe customers are looking to us for solutions to deliver engaging experiences and more effectively monetize their content and applications online," Narayen said in the press release announcing the deal.

In an interview with CNet, Adobe senior vice president Paul Weiskopf said the deal will allow Adobe to merge the "art" of developing and delivering content with the "science" of measuring the impact of that content. "Today that's a real pain point for customers," Weiskopf said. "We have the opportunity to integrate what is today a pretty disparate and not tightly integrated set of workflows."

The deal is the Adobe's largest since its $3-billion-plus acquisition of Macromedia in 2005.

Festive Lights Implement Exact Abacus

The UK’s largest online Christmas and Festive lighting store, Festive Lights, has chosen to implement 3EX.NET back office software from Exact Abacus to manage their rapid business growth. Specialising in Lighting for domestic and commercial displays, Festive Lights carry a comprehensive product range and required a more flexible and intuitive system to handle sales order processing, purchasing, stock control and customer relationship management. The system is on schedule for launch in October 2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catalog-On-Demand Sends Personalized PDFs

If you manage a Magento-powered eCommerce site, you can send vistors/shoppers customized PDF or printed brochures of wish lists or individual products using a new service from Catalog-on-Demand, which can also be used to support affiliate marketers and for sales force lead follow-up and conversion applications, as well.

You can also pursue data mining opportunities with "PDF-e-Link™" reports.

Versions for other eCommerce platforms will be developed in the future. For more details on how this works, check ouf the Catalog-on-Demand website.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feds Reveal More Re Cyberthief Gonzalez

According to StoreFront Backtalk: When cyberthief Albert Gonzalez pled guilty to many of the charges against him last Friday, the government revealed a bit more about the case, e.g. "it was BJ’s Wholesale Club that was first attacked and that the Secret Service has collected 'more than forty million distinct credit and debit card numbers from two computer servers' controlled by Gonzalez and his associates and has counted the consumer, retail and bank victims as 'an enormous number of people, certainly millions upon millions, perhaps tens of millions.'

"Those comments from Assistant Boston U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann during Friday’s hearing may be the beginning of the end of details to be released about the case, as the guilty plea means the avoidance of a trial, which in turn means that the government won’t be forced to reveal even more details. That’s a relief to many of the retailers involved, as they see the less light shed on their roles, the better."

For more of Evan Schuman's trenchant views on this important case, click HERE.

Friday, September 11, 2009

David Fry Redefining Role with Fry Inc.

Reports Internet Retailer - David Fry, president of Web design, development and managed services vendor Fry Inc., is moving to a part-time role with the company he founded in 1994. Rudy Pataro, who joined the company in 2001 and currently serves as both chief technology officer and vice president of sales, will head the company as president.

Fry, who will remain involved with the company as a strategy consultant and will continue to work with major customers, says he plans to take a larger role in his family’s long-time printing business. Fry says that’s part of the reason he sold the company last year to enterprise applications vendor Micros Systems Inc. for $49.7 million.

That deal brought Fry’s Open Commerce Platform and other eCommerce technology into the Micros Systems portfolio, which previously focused on point-of-sale and loss-prevention applications and includes the CommercialWare CWDirect and CWSerenade platforms (as part of Micros-Retail). It also extends Fry’s reach into the hospitality industry where Micros is well established, and other industry sectors, as well as internationally.
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