Thursday, January 28, 2010

Island Pacific Launches Island Pacific Direct

Irvine, CA-based Island Pacific, a division of 3Q Holdings, has announced Island Pacific Direct, designed to support the direct commerce channel in a multichannel merchant environment.

The system incorporates the following:

Automated Contact Management for the generation of automatic promotional contacts, running of simultaneous multiple promotional campaigns, and the ability to compare success rates for different campaigns, materials, contact sequences and schedules.

Marketing and Circulation Management, providing tools to help retailers capture customer names from multiple sources, discover purchasing preferences, and provide an enhanced shopping experience.

Customer Service and Order Processing, with flexible reporting capabilities to help customer service management quickly spot problem orders and products, and reduce errors with sophisticated auditing and analysis functions.

Fulfillment and Shipping to allow merchants to keep overhead and costs-per-order to a minimum. Orders can be allocated according to a variety of priorities.

Demand Forecasting that can help retailers control costs by improving cash management, reducing back-orders, increasing fill rates, and optimizing inventories. Extensive capability is provided for forecasting inventory requirements across multiple offers and channels.

Customer-Centric Order Entry with complete customer information, including lifetime purchase history, previous ship-to’s and specific product preferences always available to enhance customer relations. Features include multiple ship-to locations, multiple payment options, real-time stock availability, and detailed product information, including upsell and cross-sell messaging.

A Supplier Portal where merchants and their vendors can communicate quickly and efficiently concerning order management, returns, and invoicing, allowing accurate and timely payments, reducing order queries, and minimizing both delivery and invoicing issues.

With seamless Integration with the overall Island Pacific platform, Direct creating a comprehensive solution for managing a multichannel business.

Jay Fisher, Island Pacific’s Chief Technology Officer, said, “Our customers now have the ability to operate a multichannel business with one integrated solution. Island Pacific Direct brings to the consumer direct channel the same robust functionality and low cost of ownership they’ve come to expect from Island Pacific.”

The system is built on the highly regarded Marketplace Solutions application that Jay developed in the 1990s. In the next few months the system will be ported to an Ajax-enabled Web 2.0 platform and converted to a browser interface. We'll update you when that happens.

Island Pacific appoints Jay Fisher as CTO

Irvine,CA-based Island Pacific, a division of 3Q Holdings, has appointed Jay Fisher to the position of Chief Technology Officer.

Since 1982 Jay Fisher has architected state-of-the-art multichannel software solutions and provided guidance to leading retailers including The Home Depot, Disney, Lenscrafters, JCPenney, Pacific Sunwear, Brookstone, Crate and Barrel, Godiva Chocolatier, Kmart, Whirlpool, West Marine, Dollar General, Figgins Holdings and Meijer.

Previously serving as Chief Technology Officer of VCommerce and Pinnacle Rock Associates and as the founder and CEO of MarketPlace Systems Corporation, Jay has over 25 years of executive-level retail IT experience operating not only in North America but globally in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Puerto Rico, UK, Netherlands and Spain.

Jay has special knowledge of the multichannel retail landscape from planning, purchasing, and inventory management to allocation, replenishment, warehousing, order management and distribution. Jay also has vast experience in a range of pivotal technologies including SaaS, WebSphere Commerce Suite, SOA, J2EE, .NET, Workflow and UCCnet integration and has successfully led several large-scale software reengineering projects.

Davy Rosen, Island Pacific’s CEO, commented, “As Island Pacific continues to develop and deploy high-value and innovative software solutions that enable retailers to manage the entire scope of their operations, we are delighted to welcome Jay to our executive team. Jay has that rare combination of application architecture leadership and technological savvy that makes him so eminently suited to driving the modernization strategy of Island Pacific’s integrated merchandising, ecommerce and store solutions.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Next Generation eCommerce Interface

An Oracle White Paper discusses "A Simple, Intuitive User Experience: The Last Mile in Delivering on the Promise of Enterprise Software," offering an eight-step strategy in which social media capabilities can be used to support a next-gen workflow within state-of-the-art eCommerce Websites. It's short, and worth a read.

Click HERE for a copy of the White Paper.

PCI Compliance is a 24/7/365 Responsibility

A 403 Labs QSA, PCI Columnist Walt Conway has worked in payments and technology for more than 30 years, 10 of them with Visa. Here is the lead to a very insightful article he wrote for the current StoreFrontBackTalk:

It may sound like heresy coming from a QSA, but I see some merchants over-emphasizing their PCI annual assessment. The main event for them is a clean Report on Compliance (ROC) for Level 1 (and soon Level 2) merchants or a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) for everybody else. They believe that once the ROC is signed, they can relax until the next year.

But PCI is not like that. PCI has requirements that demand regular attention if merchants are to remain compliant the other 364 days in a year. CIOs and merchants who focus only on their annual PCI validation may actually find that they unintentionally make themselves more vulnerable to a costly data breach. They also make their PCI revalidation the following year more difficult, and possibly more expensive, than it has to be.

Click HERE to read the rest of this important article.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sigma Micro and Stark Bro’s Fulfillment Consolidate under New Brand: Fifth Gear, LLC.

Indianapolis-based Sigma Micro LLC and Missouri-based Stark Bro’s Fulfillment announce their official consolidation under a new brand: Fifth Gear, LLC. The new company will continue to serve the direct retail industry, offering outsourced direct commerce solutions, managed eCommerce, and interactive marketing and operations services for retailers and manufacturers of consumer products.

Stark Bro’s Fulfillment has been an industry-leading provider of outsourced warehousing, order fulfillment, and contact center services for over 27 years. Over the same period of time, Sigma Micro, LLC has developed order management platforms and related software technologies. Under the common ownership of Sigma Holdings, the two companies have operated as dedicated industry partners since 2007.

Fifth Gear’s market offering is comprised of three primary components: Outsourced Business Services, Technology Services and Interactive Marketing Services. The company offers a full suite of outsourced business services including order fulfillment, customer contact center, business analysis, product personalization, and related value-added services. Fifth Gear’s proprietary technology platform serves as the foundation for these outsourced business services and managed eCommerce capabilities.

“We have formed Fifth Gear to provide our clients a true operational growth platform,” says Matt Konkle, President of Fifth Gear. “The collective capabilities of our two companies have been integrated to provide a unique and compelling offer to the direct retail industry.”

According to Al Langsenkamp, chairman and CEO of Fifth Gear, “The launch of Fifth Gear marks the next stage of our strategic vision which began with the acquisition of Stark Bros in 2007. We’re lowering the barriers to growth for retailers who want to build profitable direct commerce channels.”

Fifth Gear, LLC is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, where it continues to develop and enhance its technology and service platforms to best serve its clients, many of whom are the top direct retailers in the US. The company maintains major warehouse and contact center operations facilities in the central U.S. location of Louisiana, MO, and additional software development offices in India. Fifth Gear, LLC employs over 400 full time workers globally.

Through its online marketplace,, Fifth Gear is also building a multi-category online discount retailer of new, “close-out” and “excess stock” specialty merchandise. The Company serves over 100 multichannel retailers today and continue to grow its client base each month.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Retailers Hot on Campaign Management Tools

A research paper written by Joe Skorupa for Retail Info Systems News on "The Campaign Management Imperative" reveals some interesting results (although the size of the sample of retailers was, curiously, not revealed, 25% of the respondents had sales of $100 - 500 million, 10% had sales from $500 million to $1 billion, 20% had sales from $1 - 2 billion, and 45% had sales exceeding $2 billion).

Here are key takeaways from this custom research report:

• 36.5% of respondents plan to become up to date with their campaign management systems within the next 12 months.
• The top two key drivers for upgrading campaign management systems are the ability to manage more targeted segments (73.7%) and multi-channel capability (63.2%).
• Since both of these drivers help executives become better at multi-tasking, it demonstrates how this software can help retail organizations do more with less.
• It also shows that retailers recognize the power of using deep customer analytical data to fine tune campaigns, and how important multi-channel sales and promotion have become for successful retailing today.
• Being able to link seamlessly with loyalty-card programs means marketers can better tap into the power of their deepest source of data and most valuable customer segments.
• By a wide margin, customer retention is the number one goal or capability retailers seek when upgrading a campaign management system (77.8%).
• The value of lifetime customers and an emphasis on building true loyalty are more important now than ever before. The best way to achieve these goals and measure your success rate is through customer retention.
• As campaign management tools become fuller featured with greater capabilities, they also demand greater collaboration and accuracy from ther departments they touch. Digging into the data we see that inventory management, for example, is an area that also uses campaign management tools, as do purchasing and pricing.
• It is not surprising the digital channels added together far surpass the
store channel in campaign management usage. The big surprise is the heavy emphasis on the mobile or mCommerce channel (31.6%). Due to a relatively low barrier to entry, mCommerce was the hot marketing buzz word during the 2009 holiday season.
• Desperate to find a growth channel in one of the toughest years on record, a large number of retailers went from zero mCommerce promotions to a full gallop in just a few months. 2010 is shaping up to be the year of mCommerce, as retailers exploit the consumer’s love affair with the smart phone and other mobile Internet devices.
• The vast majority of retailers (80%) collaborate with vendors or suppliers during some portion of their promotion campaigns. This includes 65% who say the process is somewhat collaborative, plus 15% who say they have fully collaborative and integrated systems with vendors or suppliers.
• 15% is a low figure for those with fully collaborative and integrated systems. There are tremendous efficiencies and profits to be made through close retailer/supplier collaboration, especially during promotion campaigns.
• Packaged applications and Software as a Service (SaaS) are the top two IT architecture approaches for campaign management implementation, both of which were chosen by 23.8%. The days of internally developed software (14.3%) are on the wane. CIOs have turned a corner in their approach to IT architecture, and are not likely to look back. Adds iPhone App

According to Internet Retailer: Inc. is launching a fully transactional iPhone app to reach the ever-increasing number of iPhone users coming to its eCommerce site. The app expands the e-tailer's mobile channel, which includes an 18-month-old mCommerce site,, and a text messaging program.

The app, built in-house, features large graphical pages, shop by department, product detail pages with links to comprehensive product descriptions and customer reviews, and the ability to share product pages with friends and family via e-mail.

The checkout process is facilitated by enabling registered customers to log in using their eCommerce credentials so they can use payment and shipping information stored in their accounts.

The highlight of the app, says Overstock, is its Lott-O lottery game. A mobile shopper wipes his finger across the screen to "scratch" away the surface to see if he won a prize. The e-tailer says shoppers are almost certain to at least win free shipping, and some will receive discounts. Shoppers can play Lott-O once a day.

According to CEO Patrick Byrne, mCommerce is alive, well, and growing. Unlike traditional eCommerce, where customers may be searching for bargains, mCommerce is more brand-centric. Mobile shoppers are going to go to their favorite retailers, and having a mobile app is critical to success in that space
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