Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"The U.S. eStore is an exciting initiative that we feel will help us listen, learn and collaborate with online shoppers to find new opportunities to serve consumers' household, beauty and grooming needs," says Kirk Perry, P&G's vice president, North America. "Through our partnership with PFSweb and on-going testing with consumers, we envision the eStore will help deliver new tools, services and features that can ultimately be shared with retailers to provide a real convenience and value for shoppers, while also delivering innovation for the industry and specifically for our product categories."
The eStore's main function is to act as a "living learning lab" for developing eDommerce innovation. Shopper insights will continue to be a strong influence in the eStore's ongoing development to help deliver tools, features and expertise consumers want and also create value and sales for PFSweb, P&G and P&G's retail partners, although how the retailers will benefit is not self-evident.
Prior to the national launch, the eStore enlisted 5,000 shoppers to help guide the design and development of the "ideal" online shopping site. Their input affected site changes and enhancements found on the eStore launch site, including intuitive navigation to find products easily, as well as the ability to navigate by promotions and coupons. These online consumers also helped identify preferred products to feature on the site and, so far, more than 300 new P&G products have been added to the eStore from shopper requests.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Sterling Commerce, which has a comprehensive multichannel direct commerce order management suite, currently serves 18,000 clients and a billion eletronic business transactions per year in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, communications and distribution industries.
According to Joel Reed, senior vice president product management at Sterling Commerce, the company will "not operate as a stand-along unit but will roll in under the Websphere group." Reed sees a lot of synergies between the two companies, especially in combining "Websphere's eCommerce capabilities with Sterling's order management, logistics and fulfillment."
The company believes that through this acquisition, clients will be able to extend the capabilities of their existing systems using, for example, IBM's rules management, analytics and business process management software.
IBM plans to continue to support Sterling Commerce clients and enhance Sterling Commerce technologies while allowing these organizations to take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio. Following the close of the acquisition, approximately 2,500 Sterling Commerce employees will be integrated into the WebSphere organization within IBM's Software Group.
IBM and AT&T expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
Update: Aug. 26, 2010: IBM has announced the closing of its acquisition of Sterling Commerce. The acquisition builds on IBM's growing portfolio of industry software solutions designed to help companies automate, manage and accelerate core business processes across marketing, selling, ordering and fulfillment. Says IBM: our "recent acquisitions of Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics and the intended acquisition of Unica will enhance the company’s ability to support clients' needs in this growing market."
The new Open API program is the first initiative from the newly created MasterCard Labs. A new developer portal will also be launched to enable developers to easily sign up for access to all of the Open APIs that MasterCard makes available will also be launched.
Through the portal MasterCard will provide developers with technical documentation, software development kits (SDKs), sample source code, reference guides, and “virtual sandboxes” for testing new and innovative applications. A developer forum designed to spur collaboration between MasterCard engineers and developers will also be an integral component of the new portal.
In addition to payments, MasterCard has identified approximately 20 platforms and services that it plans to open up to developers via the portal. These platforms and services provide additional functionality and enhancements to MasterCard’s payment capabilities. The Open APIs will further enhance the development of new applications and systems beyond those currently available, including CRMs, ERPs, online games, merchant eCommerce web sites, eWallets, mobile applications, and payroll systems.
MasterCard payment and data services could also be integrated with other data sources and functions to create “mashups,” i.e. new applications that result from combining multiple data sources.
See also MasterCard Launches Mobile App for Its New Marketplace Portal
The Today’s Group Awards acknowledge the contribution and overall performance of the Wholesale Members. Sanderson customers swept the board in the Best Delivered, Wholesaler category:
1. JW Filshill
2. First Choice Cash & Carry
with all three companies winning the same prizes for the second year running. DeeBee also won third place for Best Cash & Carry.
MJ Baker Food Service returned to take first place once more in the Best Food Service Wholesaler category, while Imperial Cash & Carry secured third place for Best Specialist Wholesaler. And leading Northern Ireland Wholesaler, Savage and Whitten was presented with the Life President Award.
The winning Sanderson customers use the Swords IT solution to manage their business operations, from telesales and order processing to warehousing and inventory control.
Sanderson customers’ success continued with a further six awards at the ECMOD Awards Gala Dinner, which recognizes outstanding business performance of multichannel, catalog, and online retailing organizations. Winning customers included:
- Axminster Tool Centre – clinching two ECMOD Awards for Most Effective Engagement and Outstanding Customer Service
- Marshalls Garden Catalogues – Best Gardening Products Category
- BrightMinds – Outstanding Website Innovation
- Nicola Jane – Best Women’s Apparel and Accessories Category
- Presents Direct (part of Scotts & Co) – Best Food and/or Drink Category
Monday, May 24, 2010
Key Features include:
- Monthly budgeted expenses
- Reduced technical personnel requirements
- Computing power flexibility of a scalable platform that expands and contracts automatically to adjust to your seasonal order volume fluctuations.
- Centrally managed software upgrades and enhancements with version control
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Designed for businesses who are working with a qualified Magento Solution Partner, the $2,995 platform includes:
- Reward Points functionality allowing an online merchant to implement programs based on configurable exchange rates for transactions and promotions, as well as customer actions such as submitting ratings and reviews, signing up for the newsletter and so on.
- Gift Cards: physical and virtual formats, supporting a personal message when purchasing. Recipients can use the cards to purchase items online or in a retail store.
- Store Credits can be created and tied to customer accounts. Orders can be refunded for store
credit, Gift Cards can be redeemed for store credit, and customers can use the credit to purchase
items during checkout.
- Additional encryption and security standards to support PA-DSS standards, ensuring Magento is a fully secure solution.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Altogether, the Symantec-VeriSign deal will give the security giant VeriSign's SSL Certificate Services, Public Key Infrastructure, VeriSign Trust Services and VeriSign Identity Protection Authentication Service. Under the terms of the agreement, Symantec will acquire specific VeriSign assets, including the majority stake in VeriSign Japan, for $1.28 billion in cash, but could be subject to customary closing conditions such as regulatory approvals. The deal is expected to close some time during the September quarter.
VeriSign executives said that the deal "marked a milestone in the company's history," while hinting at the ongoing trend of market consolidation that made it challenging for standalone products to experience market growth. "The security industry is consolidating, and customers benefit when authentication services are part of a broader offering, which means our SSL, PKI, and VIP products would best be integrated with other security services and applications."
"RedPrairie Corp. has wrapped up the acquisition of SmartTurn, a vendor of on-demand inventory and warehouse-management (WMS) software. The deal adds a multi-tenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) WMS to the vendor’s E2eT productivity suite, while offering warehouse-management capability to distribution operations of all sizes and levels of complexity. SmartTurn’s inventory and WMS application, currently running at more than 200 facilities, will be rebranded as RedPrairie’s On-Demand WMS, focusing on distribution operations that are less complex, and in need of rapid implementation and a flexible pricing model.
"RedPrairie, which recently held its annual RedShift user conference in Orlando, Fla., also announced a number of product enhancements. Its Transportation Management software now has appointment-sharing capabilities, allowing carriers to schedule a single appointment covering multiple shipments. The functionality supports a receiving location’s need to manage the delivering trailer as a single unit, by scheduling a single dock to receive multiple shipments.
"The latest release of RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management application includes a touch screen for packing operations. The enhancement allows for the automated initiation, processing and closeout of packages intended for shipment from a warehouse or distribution center. Features include automatic calculation and selection of shippable boxes, in-line manifesting and scale interaction support, and enhanced visibility of problem containers."
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"Some companies are experimenting, but it is not widely used yet," he says. It is common to see social media analytics at a departmental level, particularly marketing. But scientists are creating new algorithms to establish the relationship between customer information and social data, writes Glagowski. "The ideal scenario is to tie outside data with internal information to make decisions based on holistic data," says Oguzhan.
Integrated data "can explain what is driving people to a site, what they did when they got there, and why," says Mark Chaves, an SAS product manager. "It is a way to get from correlation to engagement." Other data sources primed for integration with social media data include outbound marketing campaigns data and voice of the customer insight, he suggests.
If it were easy to do, opines Glagowski, companies would have integrated their social data already. But integration poses many challenges. "The biggest challenges are that it is unstructured data and that it is not a representative sampling of customers," says James Taylor, CEO and principal consultant at Decision Management Solutions, and coauthor of Smart (Enough) Systems: How to Deliver Competitive Advantage by Automating Hidden Decisions. "To use the data effectively you must adopt text analytics technologies to mine the text and you must be able to map it to customer records so you can see what kinds of customers you are talking about."
Chaves adds that much of the data collected from social media are short-term, in 30-, 60-, or 90-day increments. That may not be a long enough timeframe to give a complete picture to integrate with other data. However, social data quickly changes. Companies must be able to manage the data in near real time.
In additoin, says Oguzhan , the amount of social data available is growing quickly, causing data warehousing and scalability issues. In addition, there are privacy concerns when companies use publically available individual information without permission. "Social media tools are housing more individual information than on any other platform," he says. "You don't want to use it in ways that aren't appropriate or that customers don't appreciate."
While these are genuine concerns, major retailer Dollar General relies on a cloud computing platform to manage its $12 billion enterprise with 8,800 stores. They executed the implementation carefully, chose a provider that relies on farms of "plain vanilla" servers instead of big iron (and that had experience supporting the New York Stock Exchange), and most of all, relied on a consolidated database in the cloud for rapid and actionable analysis of pricing trends, promotion and campaign effectiveness, and demand affinities between unrelated products.
Quoted in an article in Retail Info Systems News, Jim Thorpe, SVP of consumables merchandise for Dollar General, noted there were major measurable productivity gains. "We used to wait to look at item-level performance at the end of the month, but now we can use it every day," said Thorpe. "Extracting data frequently helps up increase productivity and better run our business, not only in merchandising but across multiple functions such as supply chain and finance."
As the RIS article asserts, the bottom line is cloud technology "may be more bullet proof than many retail CIOs think" -- especially if that's the most effective way of consolidating disparate databases and improving analytic/BI effectiveness.
He notes that "Many small businesses are still under the impression that the rules don't apply to them because they're too small, or because they don't conduct e-commerce. Actually, the rules apply to any business--and even any nonprofit--that takes credit card payments. You can look for ways to lighten the compliance burden, but you can't get yourself off the hook entirely. Even if no one has yet compelled you to complete a questionnaire or conduct an automated scan of your networks, you're still supposed to be locking down your systems."
If you don't fully understand the PCI requirements, or think you don't have to bother with them, read Carr's brief article and take appropriate action NOW!
Friday, May 14, 2010
"Finally, someone has bought into the concept of safe harbor. If a chain gets certified, it will be safe, at least from processors and banks in the state of Washington. (Speaking of Washington, if the feds do the same thing, we’ll be really getting somewhere.)
"That said, the Washington law isn’t perfect. First, there is no reference to consumer compensation for the breach, so that issue is still active. Consumers who are impacted by the breach (such as time spent getting money back and bounced checks fixed and credit records repaired) but suffer no financial losses (because of reimbursements)—courtesy of zero liability—are still unprotected, even in the state of Washington, because the bill simply doesn’t address consumer compensation.
"In addition, the law has a vague reference to encryption, namely that the chain also gets a pass if 'the account information was encrypted at the time of the breach.' But it doesn’t specify the level of encryption, nor does the law mention what happens if the cyberthief also obtained the encryption key. That’s not a hypothetical concern; it was an issue that TJX raised in an SEC filing shortly after announcing its data breach: 'We believe that the Intruder had access to the decryption tool for the encryption software utilized by TJX.'
"Flaws aside, the Washington state law at least gives Washington-state-based retailers (are you listening Amazon, Costco and Starbucks?) and retailers who have a substantial presence in the state a little more cost justification for PCI. And that can’t be a bad thing."
We thank SFBT editor Evan Schuman for this important new information.
Explore the future of QR Codes
The Three Rules of QR Codes
Create and Track QR Codes
My favorite slide from the video: "The ROI of Social Media: Your Business Will Still Exist in Five Years!"
Note: Music on this video is "Right Here, Right Now," Fatboy Slim
Despite social media marketing’s popularity, business-to-business (B2B) companies are still fairly new to it. According to a survey from Business.com, 73% of B2B respondents have less than two years of social media marketing experience.
March 2010 research from marketing automation firm Genius.com and BtoB magazine found that about one-half of business-oriented marketers are staying away from social tools such as blogging and Twitter. Facebook was more popular, with nearly three-fifths participating, and business-focused social network LinkedIn was used by three-quarters of B2B marketers.
B2B companies also have an advantage when using social media because they tend to focus on goals and results, such as leads, that visibly affect their bottom line.
Business.com found in 2009 that those B2B marketers who do use social media tend to do so more extensively than their business-to-consumer counterparts. [emphasis added]
Those with at least one profile were more likely to manage a presence on several sites than the general B2B respondents to the Genius.com survey, and were more likely than B2C companies to measure their social success.
[Click HERE to see Leading Social Media Initiatives Among B2B and B2C Companies in N. America]
Thursday, May 13, 2010
GSI has been commissioned to manage and operate ACHICA’s storage, packaging and shipment operations. Under the agreement, GSI is providing a pick, pack and ship solution to ACHICA for its UK and European customers, integrating its systems with ACHICA's design and hosting agency.
As soon as an ACHICA promotion is concluded, orders are confirmed to suppliers and products are shipped directly to GSI Commerce’s UK warehouse in Manchester. Once the items are received and confirmed on GSI’s systems, customer orders are released and items are packed and shipped. Due to the fragile nature of some of the products, such as glasses or mirrors, GSI Commerce also repackages items to ensure that they are fit for shipping.
Will Cooper, co-founder of ACHICA commented: “GSI clearly demonstrated their expertise in the fulfilment ... management area as well as their technology experience of system set-up and file integration. As a new company – one that was looking to work to a tight launch date, right after the peak season – we were and continue to be very impressed by GSI’s enthusiasm to make our business a success. We are excited at the prospect of a successful on-going partnership.”
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Demandware was selected as a scalable eCommerce platform that allows Panasonic in Europe to build many sites quickly from a common architecture, with the ability to continually deliver country-specific consumer experiences. In addition, Demandware’s on-demand model eliminated the need to maintain a geographically dispersed IT infrastructure for running a pan-European online business.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The support app also allows companies to include a number of commonly asked questions about a product or brand, which allows customers to search for a service answer from within the Facebook page, and if a customer's question hasn’t been answered, Parature’s technology will allow the customer to create a second ticket, or provides the option for live chat.
Parature's users include Rosetta Stone, NPR, Turner and T-Mobil. Twitter support was recently added to Parature’s software as well.
http://ilnk.me/bgam (with material from author Jim Highsmith, author of Agile Project Management, an offshoot of "agile programming," which includes "incorporating agile values, scaling agile projects, release planning, portfolio governance, and enhancing organizational agility. Project and business leaders will especially appreciate Highsmith’s new coverage of promoting agility through performance measurements based on value, quality, and constraints."