Monday, December 17, 2012

First Data Releases Black Friday 2012 SpendTrend® Analysis

First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, has released its First Data SpendTrend® analysis for Black Friday 2012 compared to Black Friday 2011. (SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, provided by both eCommerce merchants and retailers.)

The results highlight year-over-year retail dollar volume growth on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, because 5.6% more retailers started the holiday shopping season earlier and consumers took advantage of the opportunity to find bargains. (Note: top performing categories were building material, garden equipment and supply dealers, and clothing and clothing accessories.)

During the Thanksgiving to Black Friday period in 2012 average retail ticket growth turned around from a -0.9% drop in 2011 to a positive step of 1.9%.  The jump in average ticket prices also reflects the strengthening position of merchants who did not have to offer incentives at the expense of profits.

A summary of the findings is below:

Overall Retail Growth Rates
CHANGE
Dollar Volume +5.6%
Transaction +3.6%
Average Ticket +1.9%
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.

Monday, December 10, 2012

OrderMotion Launches New Website

OrderMotionInc., a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for direct-­‐to-­‐consumer (D2C) campaign and order management, has announced the launch of its new Website at www.ordermotion.com.

"In the early stages of the Internet, most eCommerce organizations focused exclusive on driving revenue through their front-end Websites," notes OrderMotion CEO Marty Fahey. "As the industry matured, more sophisticated merhants focused equally on driving profitability through the implementation of SaaS-based back-end systems that improve cost efficiency and customer retention. With OrderMotion's cloud-based system, merchants can now ensure that they are driving both revenue and profit.



As one of the first SaaS order management platforms, OrderMotion has extensive core functionality, such as high-volume order process, extensive analytics and reporting , cross-channel self-service options, CRM, and email management. Some of its "advanced" capabilities include Product Information Management (PIM), Merchandise Planning & Analysis (MP&A), Marketing Campaign Management, and robust Retention Marketing capabilities.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Vantiv Acquires Litle & Co.

Vantiv, Inc., a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes, has completed its acquisition of Litle & Co., a leading independent eCommerce payment processor, providing a fully-integrated payments solution for companies that sell goods and services to consumers over the internet and through direct response marketing.  Litle & Co. serves leading eCommerce and consumer-direct brands, including Overstock.com, Ancestry.com, Gilt Groupe, Guthy-Renker, ShopNBC and Wayfair.com.

The acquisition of Litle & Co. significantly increases Vantiv's capabilities in eCommerce, expands and diversifies its customer base of online merchants, and enables the delivery of Litle's innovative eCommerce solutions to Vantiv's merchant and financial institution clients. The combined company will offer merchants a "one-stop" suite of Point-of-Sale, eCommerce, and Direct Response payment processing solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vantiv paid $361 million in cash, including $50 million drawn from its existing revolving credit facility.  Litle & Co. will operate as a subsidiary of Vantiv, LLC and will maintain its location in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Vantiv is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

GoECart Adds Global Sunglasses Merchant

GoECart, a leading provider of fully integrated eCommerce solutions, has announced that Chilli Beans, the largest retailer of fashion-forward sunglasses in Latin America, has selected the GoECart 360 ecommerce solution to power its new online storefront.

The retailer selected GoECart after an exhaustive search for an eCommerce platform and order management solution that would provide the company with the complete set of functionality required to run its international, multi-channel retail business.

Chilli Beans, which began as a simple retail stand selling sunglasses in Sao Paulo in 1998, sold more than two million pairs of the sunglasses last year through a network of franchised locations. Today, Chilli Beans is a global company with over 450 exclusive selling points in Brazil, the United States, Portugal, and Angola, with major expansion planned for 2013.

In addition to sunglasses, the company also sells a full line of products that also includes watches, hats, caps as well as prescription eyeglasses frames.

After a review of several mid-market and enterprise eCommerce providers, Chilli Beans found GoECart 360 offered the most comprehensive set of functionality required by the cross-channel retailer: a highly branded online storefront, integrated order and inventory management, robust fulfillment, reverse logistics, CRM capabilities, and high availability via an easy-to-use cloud-based software. Additional requirements for the retailer included:
  • Flexible Web design and product catalog with built-in marketing and merchandising capabilities, complete order and payment processing support, as well as back office QuickBooks integration
  • Robust inventory management with pick/pack/ship capabilities, native integration with UPS, and easy customer service/CRM capabilities
  • Drill-down reporting for each franchise location, whereby each franchise receives a detailed report of who purchased from the retailer based on location (by zip code). The franchise is then able to market and build relationships with the customers in their area
  • The ability to ensure that online store pricing is the exact same as that sold in retail stores.
The retailer summarized several strategic reasons for selecting GoECart:
  • GoECart offered the most comprehensive set of functionality to run an end-to-end, multi-channel business eliminating the need to procure and integrate multiple point applications like online shopping cart, order and warehouse management systems and CRM
  • GoECart was more affordable than competitors' solutions
  • GoECart was the most flexible and open to customization, better aligned with the retailer's goals to rapidly expand its operations, and a better strategic fit for a "fast-fashion" brand like Chilli Beans.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Amazon Lockers Coming to Staples

According to Reuters, Staples Inc, the largest U.S. office supply retailer, will be installing "Amazon Lockers" in its U.S. stores, a Staples spokeswoman said Monday.

The Amazon lockers will allow online shoppers to have packages sent to the office supply chain's stores. Amazon already has such storage units at grocery, convenience and drug stores, many of which stay open around the clock.

Amazon notifies customers of the delivery drop-off via email with a pickup code, which is entered on a touchscreen on the locker to retrieve the package. Shoppers have three days from delivery date to pick up the package.

Amazon pays "a small fee" (not disclosed) to the owners of the stores that house its lockers.

We have covered Amazon lockers before: 

Amazon UK and the Olympics

Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Strategy

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Pitney Bowes As Int'l Shipper

Pitney Bowes is expanding its business services way beyond postage and postage meters to offer international shipping for online retailers selling to international customers.

According to Pitney Bowes vice president of global e-commerce, Craig Reed, “A lot of merchants are seeing growth in domestic e-commerce, but for many of them getting to the next big level of growth means they need to look at international markets, We ... want to be ... a household name in global e-commerce.”

Pitney Bowes’s shipping services provides a Website shipping calculator to let eTailers show international customers the full “landed” costs of items they are considering via a Web Services interface to PB’s databases of international tariffs and other information.  Combined with SKU data on each product in a retailer’s online product catalog, PB calculates the full delivery cost to a customer’s destination using technology acquired from the ClearPath technology unit of Canada Post Borderfree. (According to Internet Retailer, Canada Post sold the remaining assets of Borderfree, which provides international shipping services from Canada, in March to FiftyOne Global Ecommerce, a competitor to Pitney Bowes.)

Pitney guarantees the final delivery rate presented to consumers.

To process an order from a foreign customer, the merchant ships the carton to one of two Pitney Bowes shipping facilities near international airports in Cincinnati and Newark, NJ. PB then  aggregates all shipments and reloads them on international carriers: to Canada generally via tractor trailers, to other countries via commercial or cargo airlines. Finally, PB arranges for local deliveries in the destination country.

Pitney Bowes began this type of operation in 2004 to provide eBay e-marketplace sellers an international postage printing service. According to Internet Retailer, Pitney plans to build a stronger presence in serving eCommerce companies shipping between Europe and Asia-Pacific.

It would appear that Pitney Bowes harbors ambitions of becoming a competitor with the likes of DHL as an international express carrier. DHL has a very well done interactive International Capabilities world map. It's worth a look. Give it a whirl!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

National Sales & Use Tax Could Be a Mess

Multichannel Merchant magazine published a good overview of the "mess" that “The Main Street Fairness Act”or other nationwide sales and use tax would create because so much of what any of the several Federal bills under consideration would impose is at odds with state-level sales and use tax methods and procedures. Much food for thought in this very good short piece.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Senate Investigating Data Brokers

The New York Times reports that Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W. Va., has launched an investigation into the businesses practices of data brokers, with the Senate Commerce Committee (which he chairs) sending notices (presumably requesting testimony) to nine of the major brokerage firms in the database marketing business: Acxiom, Experian, Equifax, Transunion, Epsilon, Reed Elsevier (Lexis-Nexis), Datalogix, Rapleaf and Spokeo.

The investigation will examine the practices of these brokerage firms and the impact they have on consumers. “Because consumers are now able to conduct nearly all of their daily business online, an unprecedented amount of personal, medical, and financial information about them can be mined, collected, and sold,” Rockefeller states in the letter to the brokers. “Because your industry has monetized consumer data, it is critical that we understand what information companies like yours are already collecting and selling.”

The Times reports that "Linda A. Woolley, the acting chief executive of the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group, called the senator’s investigation 'a baseless fishing expedition... I hope Senator Rockefeller understands what he’s tampering with.'"

I don't think that in and of itself the investigation is problematic. A little daylight here would be beneficial, in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Traidcraft Goes Mobile With Maginus

Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade company, has gone mobile to offer their customers on the move a better online experience. Traidcraft has identified mobile commerce as one of the most effective ways to take advantage of this year’s Christmas rush and encourage customers to return again when they are looking for a special gift in the future. The new mCommerce site has been designed, built and implemented by Maginus.

 Mobile User InterfaceTraidcraft commissioned Maginus for the project because they have many years’ experience within the broader multi-channel market and within eCommerce specifically. Maginus also provide Traidcraft’s current systems including the eCommerce site which is built on the Maginus eCommerce solution. Traidcraft had identified that they needed to streamline the customer journey via mobile and therefore needed a true mCommerce solution.

Paul Oliver, Head of Supporter Development at Traidcraft said, "Our mCommerce strategy was the natural next step for our multi-channel offering with which we would like to engage with existing customers through their smartphone and we are also looking to increase our customer acquisition via the new mCommerce site."

He continued, "The Maginus consultants were very helpful and knowledgeable allowing us to quickly clarify what we wanted from the new site. It was also important to us that the new mCommerce site was easy to manage and didn’t add to our overheads. The new site is in effect an extension of our eCommerce site, sharing the same product and pricing information so we only ever have to update data in one place."


Mobile Product Listing
One of the key aspects to the mCommerce site is that it shares the shopping basket with the current online shop, allowing customers to shop on the move, log out, and then complete the transaction from their computer at home.

Mark Thornton, eCommerce director at Maginus commented, “The mobile solution will support Traidcraft’s Digital Marketing strategy whilst also servicing the customer that prefers to browse on their phone or ipad.

"Our relationship with Traidcraft has been very successful over the years and once again we have been able to deliver this project within a very tight timescale of just 6 weeks and within budget, providing them with an excellent means of tapping into the Christmas shopping rush which will soon start."

This product will also tap into the multi-channel back office system also provided by Maginus to ensure that customer records & reporting are consistent across channels.

Traidcraft will soon be launching a campaign that will promote the service to their current supporters as well as a group of potential shoppers that could be converted into regular supporters.

Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade company, has gone mobile to offer their customers on the move a better online experience. Traidcraft has identified mobile commerce as one of the most effective ways to take advantage of this year’s Christmas rush and encourage customers to return again when they are looking for a special gift in the future.

The new mCommerce site has been designed, built and implemented by Maginus. Traidcraft commissioned Maginus for the project because they have many years’ experience within the broader multi-channel market and within eCommerce specifically. Maginus also provide Traidcraft’s current systems including the eCommerce site.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

RollerWarehouse Migrates to GoECart

The following is courtesy of GoECart:

The Challenge
RollerWarehouse launched its first online store in 2000 and has since used a myriad of systems, from smaller “shopping carts” to large systems that required pricey in-house infrastructure and IT staff to manage.

Most recently, the company used three systems to run its multi-channel retail operation: ASPDotNetStorefront, a traditional Order Management System, and FedEx Ship Manager Software. Each of these systems required separate licensing, were difficult to use, poorly integrated and required routine upgrades and maintenance. What RollerWarehouse needed was a single integrated solution that would keep up with rising customer expectations and support customer service excellence across all channels—without breaking the bank.

The Solution
GoECart 360 Ecommerce Suite, which provided:
  • a more user-friendly “Custom Skate Builder” product configurator 
  • a superior online shopping experience integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and a blog 
  • real-time inventory visibility from purchasing to the customer-facing storefront
  • ease-of-use, with in-house IT infrastructure 
  • strong security features
  • PCI compliance 
  • improved team productivity and back office efficiency
The Results
eCommerce conversion rates are up 21% and Average Order Value is up 8% in Sept. 2012 from the year before. That speaks for itself!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Managing Nationwide Sales Taxes

In an article entitled "Online Sales Tax Will Create Ecommerce Chaos" in Multichannel Merchant (Oct. 8 online), Steve DelBianco, Executive Director of NetChoice, warns that pending federal legislation that would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales tax on all sales nationwide is "a nightmare coming your way."

We've written about this before, and cited  the 1992 Supreme Court decision, Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota, which said states are not allowed to require out-of-state companies to collect sales taxes unless that company has a physical presence, such as a store or warehouse, in the state.

All this is well known in the industry, and the pending legislation is meant to supercede this case.

To simplify sales tax collection, DelBianco urges:
  1. a single tax rate per state for remote sales
  2. a single set of definitions for state tax liabilities
  3. a common sales tax return for all state
  4. software for rates, filing, and payment
  5. and compensation for tax collection.
The first three are excellent suggestions. The fourth has been available for more than 20 years, with new players coming along all the time. And Number 5 is baffling to me: compensation for the cost of doing business? What am I missing here? Where is the logic in that?

Anyway, for systems to manage sales and use tax collection in the direct commerce environment, see:

Vertex: the Big Fish in this pond, pricey but full-featured
Avalara: whose Avatax system suite has been gaining a lot of ground in the last few years
CCH: whose CorpSystem Sales Tax solution is a SaaS-based application
GovOneSoultions: Taxware

All provide filing services for every jurisdiction in the U.S., with full support for tax rates at the municipal, county, and state levels (or local equivalents), tax holidays, and so on.

Cabela's Wins Award for Digby Localpoint Service

Cabela’s was named by RIS News as the winner of the 2012 RIS News Fusion Awards. Presented at the RIS News Cross-Channel Retail Executive Summit/Social-Mobile Convergence Forum, the awards recognize retail companies that are leaders, successful performers and technology innovators, specifically in the area of cross-channel excellence and fusing IT solutions with business strategy.

The panel of judges have recognized initiatives that use mobile technology effectively to promote cross-channel customer activity, leading to enhanced customer experience, greater linkage of retail sites and communication channels, and achievement of strong business performance benefits.

Cabela’s, through its new application powered by Digby Localpoint, can engage with its customers through its own mobile app leveraging location, marketing, analytics, and mCommerce. Cabela’s enhances its branded catalog and in-store experiences by incorporating a barcode and QR code scanner into its mobile app so consumers can scan products in store or in the Cabela’s catalog to learn more about products, including product descriptions, ratings and reviews, videos and promotional offers.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Topgrade Sportswear Selects Elucid

Sanderson, the publicly-owned UK provider of multi-channel retail software, has implemented its Elucid system at Topgrade Sportswear, a leading sports and fashion retailer and wholesaler.

The new system streamlines and improves warehouse operations, offering faster delivery and enhancing customer service. It also expands sales and marketing capabilities across the business by consolidating data from all sales channels to underpin the merchant's multichannel strategy.

Part of the JD Sports group of companies, Topgrade Sportswear selected Elucid for its ability to support both the company’s wholesale operation and their ‘Get the Label’ online retail business, which is experiencing significant growth.

The Elucid system processes and fulfils all wholesale and online sales, increasing the number of orders dispatched each day and providing real-time stock levels with improved stock control.

By using a single system across both businesses, and at separate warehouse locations, Topgrade Sportswear is benefiting from extensive visibility of their customers, operations and stock, which is boosting service levels and response times. In addition, the company has reduced ‘product to market’ time scales by streamlining buying processes and strengthening supplier relationships with key manufacturers.

Paul Simpson, Managing Director, Topgrade Sportswear, comments: “Our investment with Sanderson forms an integral part of our growth strategy. The Elucid system allows us to manage multiple businesses whilst generating company-wide efficiencies by optimizing multichannel processes.”

Ian Newcombe, Managing Director, Sanderson Multi-Channel Solutions, added: “We are very pleased that Topgrade Sportswear are realizing the immediate benefits of the Elucid Multi-Channel system. We look forward to working together to support the next phase of their growth.”

L.K. Bennett Selects StoreActive

L.K.Bennett has selected retail module StoreActive, part of the ActiveSeries suite from MNP Media Ltd., to provide an integrated in-store ordering platform that delivers Click & Collect/Ship and (very soon) multi-channel returns management.

With a UK network of over 80 stores, L.K.Bennett is an international luxury brand selling women's shoes, ready-to-wear, handbags and accessories.

StoreActive is designed to be tablet-independent or used through browser-based POS, linking the direct channel warehouse inventory to all retail locations to ensure all sale opportunities are captured. The system works by allowing the sales assistant to search for the customer's product requirements using size/color/style and place an order linked to real-time inventory. The customer can then pay via a chip-and-pin credit or debit card, or securely online. The order is then shipped to store, home or work.

MNP’s was selected based on its proven track record of high-volume order processing together with its experience in multi-channel retail both in UK and overseas. L.K.Bennett has also selected MNP to provide ActiveSeries ERP for their direct channel based in the USA.

Pierre D’Arbost, Managing Director, MNP commented, “As retailers are moving into omni-channel  sales, we must ensure that sales platforms can be easily integrated to satisfy the demands of retail customers. We bridge the gap between retail and online for our clients.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Joseph Turner, UK, Selects Elucid

Sanderson, the publicly owned UK provider of multi-channel retail software, has implemented its Elucid system at Joseph Turner, a leading retailer of high quality men's wear. The Yorkshire-based fashion company operates through multiple channels, including mail order catalog, online retail, and a factory shop.

Joseph Turner selected the Elucid system to support the company’s ambitious expansion plans, which include the launch of their first-ever women's wear catalog, as well as to support the long-term growth of their mail order and online businesses and strengthen operational visibility and control across the company.
 
Elucid integrates ecommerce, ePOS, and mail order sales with back office operations in one single IT solution. Real-time integration of Joseph Turner’s sales with the Elucid back office system ensures fast sales order processing, prompt order despatching, and real-time stock control, increasing operational efficiencies. In addition, Joseph Turner is benefiting from new management information dashboards for more effective decision making, reliable and accurate stock availability on their Website, and a tokenized payment gateway for increased transaction security.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Crossview Sees Improvements in SoMo Markting


CrossView, Inc., a  cross-channel commerce solutions and services provider, released the results of its 2012 Cross-Channel Readiness survey that looked at retailers across a variety of categories, gauging improvements and declines in enabling customers to shop in-store, online, in call centers and via mobile with a consistent brand experience.

This year’s study showed improvement in several key areas from last year, particularly in mobile commerce, social sharing and consistency in marketing promotions.

In an analysis of four touchpoints— online, in-store, call center and mobile—retailers could score up to 280 points, and those surveyed had a combined average of 177 points, with Best Buy achieving a perfect score. Other findings highlighted in a detailed report on the survey include:
  • 92 percent of retailers enabled social sharing in their web stores – up from 88 percent in 2011. 
  • 79 percent of retailers offered the same marketing promotion across all touchpoints in 2012 – up from 65 percent in 2011.   
  • 72 percent of retailers offered ratings and reviews in their web stores – a 39 percent rise year over year.
Big Mobile Gains
The most pronounced move was in the area of mobile commerce. In 2011, only 12 percent of retailers offered shoppers a mobile application for the smartphone. This jumped to 56 percent in 2012. 

This year’s survey shows a steady beat of progress,” said Mark Fodor, chief executive officer, CrossView. While the needle didn’t move terribly far, it registers in the right direction in a few key areas. What’s clear to us in our work with leading brands is that no touchpoint is viewed as a separate entity by consumers – each is an extension of the same brand. So, consistency is critical, fitting hand in glove with an effective cross-channel strategy.“

Each retailer was evaluated via a mystery shopping approach. A variety of criteria were used, including consistency of pricing and promotions, access to customer profile information, merchandising, and, to the extent possible, overall parity of experience between touchpoints.

About CrossView: CrossView is a premier provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a personalized shopping experience that unifies the Web, stores, call centers, mobile devices, and other channels on a single, flexible platform. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

MasterCard Acquires Truaxis For Offer Management

MasterCard has announced the acquisition of Truaxis, a Redwood City, CA-based provider of credit and debit card-linked offers to consumers through merchants and financial institutions.

“The offer and rewards industry is rapidly evolving as consumers have demonstrated their desire for customized offers and savings that truly matter to their individual lifestyles,” said Tim Murphy, chief product officer, MasterCard. “By adding Truaxis’ expertise, its intellectual property and a talented team of software engineers to MasterCard, we increase our capabilities to offer merchants and financial institutions a solution that helps them better connect with consumers while evolving the model from the traditional coupon or daily deals offers programs that are popular today.”

Thursday, September 06, 2012

ChannelAdvisor Announces 2012 Autumn Release

ChannelAdvisor, a global eCommerce software provider that helps retailers be seen and sell more across online channels, has announced its 2012 Autumn Release, introducing a new feature to manage Google Shopping, along with enhancements to its "Repricer" technology and Marketplaces solution.

Google Shipping Technology
Central to this year’s Autumn Release is ChannelAdvisor’s Google Shopping technology that was created to overcome the challenge of managing and optimizing Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which are the foundation of Google’s new commercial marketing program.  Combining the power of ChannelAdvisor’s feed management software with reporting and optimization technology specific to PLAs, this new offering provides retailers a unified platform to manage this important channel.

“Google has been one of the most successful marketing outlets for our customers, and the launch of Google Shopping presents an exciting opportunity for us,” commented Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor. “Our experience in the industry and established technology allowed us to respond to the new Google Shopping program with a powerful feature that will help retailers be more strategic and successful on this essential online channel.”

Rule-based Pricing Adjustments
The Autumn Release also introduces enhancements to ChannelAdvisor’s Repricer, a feature that offers rule-based price adjustments on Amazon. By improving the functionality of the Repricer, retailers are now able to implement more profitable strategies by repricing their most important items at faster frequencies.

Unlike other repricer tools in the industry, ChannelAdvisor’s enhanced feature includes predictive capabilities that enable retailers to test each individual product in real time to gauge performance, and then make adjustments accordingly.

“Price is one of the determining factors in winning the Amazon Buy Box, so we have made some powerful changes to our Repricer feature,” commented Link Walls, director of product management at ChannelAdvisor. “With the ability to employ advanced strategies, the Repricer is helping our customers succeed and be more profitable on Amazon.”

ChannelAdvisor has also augmented its Marketplaces solution to provide retailers additional support for established marketplaces like eBay as well as new and emerging marketplaces such as Newegg, Sears, OneStopPlus.com and Best Buy. Retailers will benefit from a variety of enhancements such as new functionality that enables a more efficient listing process for their products.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Retailers Show Progress in mCommerce, Social Sharing, and Promotions

CrossView, Inc., a cross-channel commerce solutions and services provider, has released the results of its 2012 Cross-Channel Readiness survey that looked at retailers across a variety of categories, gauging improvements and declines in enabling customers to shop in-store, online, in call centers, and via mobile phones with a consistent brand experience.

This year’s study showed improvement in several key areas from last year, particularly in mobile commerce, social sharing and consistency in marketing promotions.

In an analysis of four touchpoints— online, in-store, call center and mobile—retailers could score up to 280 points, and those surveyed had a combined average of 177 points, with Best Buy achieving a perfect score. Other findings highlighted in a detailed report on the survey include:
  • 92 percent of retailers enabled social sharing in their Web stores – up from 88 percent in 2011. 
  • 79 percent of retailers offered the same marketing promotion across all touchpoints in 2012 – up from 65 percent in 2011.
  • 72 percent of retailers offered ratings and reviews in their Web stores – a 39 percent rise year over year.
The most pronounced move was in the area of mobile commerce. In 2011, only 12 percent of retailers offered shoppers a mobile application for smartphones. This jumped to 56 percent in 2012.

"This year’s survey shows a steady beat of progress," said Mark Fodor, chief executive officer, CrossView.  "While the needle didn’t move terribly far, it registers in the right direction in a few key areas. What’s clear to us in our work with leading brands is that no touchpoint is viewed as a separate entity by consumers – each is an extension of the same brand. So, consistency is critical, fitting hand in glove with an effective cross-channel strategy."

Each retailer was evaluated via a mystery shopping approach. A variety of criteria were used, including consistency of pricing and promotions, access to customer profile information, merchandising, and, to the extent possible, overall parity of experience between touchpoints.

About CrossView 
CrossView is a provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a personalized shopping experience with multi-platform solutions and services that unify the Web, stores, call centers, mobile devices, and other channels on a single, flexible platform.

Thanx Media Partners To Resell Google Commerce Search

Thanx Media, an enterprise solutions company that focuses on providing integrated solutions for B2B and B2C online retailers, has announced a partnership with Google in which Thanx Media will be a Google Enterprise Authorized Reseller of Google Commerce Search (GCS), Google’s site search and merchandising technology, with an emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).  

With hundreds of customers and over 50 combined years of searchandising experience, Thanx Media has extensive experience in selling, managing, and servicing current and future GCS customers.  Through their Managed Google Commerce Site Search, Thanx Media will provide an individualized evaluation, rapid implementation, and a dedicated support team to ensure long-term success with GCS.

Tailored to the User 
Thanx Media’s SMB Google Commerce Search solution will support tailoring the current GCS technology to the individual customer’s size and needs, making the solution available to companies who might not be able to justify Google Commerce Search’s traditional model (given the merchant's catalog size and number of yearly queries).

For instance, a company that has roughly 25,000 SKUs indexed and generates about one million queries a year knows they need the search power Google provides, but couldn’t justify it given the traditional model's pricing structure.  Thanx Media’s SMB Google Commerce Search solution will provide these customers with a more affordable packaging of the Google technology and related services.

Says Matt Eichner, Google’s General Manager of Enterprise Search, "Google is excited to announce this partnership with Thanx Media. Thanx has a great reputation, offering compelling solutions to medium-sized retailers that we feel will be enhanced with our state-of-the-art commerce searchandising cloud technology.  We believe Thanx Media has the talent to make larger customers successful, and we look forward to working with Thanx and its many customers to increase their eCommerce site sales."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GoECart Certified For FedEx Compatible Solutions Program

GoECart, a leading provider of fully integrated on-demand eCommerce solutions, today announced it has completed the FedEx Compatible Solutions Program (CSP) certification for its all-in-one eCommerce suite, GoECart 360, allowing merchants to manage their FedEx shipments seamlessly from within the GoECart software suite.

The new certification eliminates the need for retailers to manually exchange data among separate order management, logistics tracking, shipping, and customer service systems. Plus, it gives merchants the ability to quickly retrieve real-time rates and transit times, fulfill sales orders, print shipping labels and track shipments—all from within the GoECart 360 web interface. They can also reduce time to print FedEx approved shipping labels and manifest forms, and a reduce the risk of shipping errors.

Fully Integrated SaaS Solution
GoECart 360 is a fully integrated SaaS solution that combines an advanced eCommerce platform with multi-channel order and inventory management (for retail, call center, and Web sales) and CRM functionality. The eCommerce suite also automates selling on the leading comparison shopping engines and online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay.

CSP Details
Through the new FedEx web services integration and certification, available immediately, GoECart merchants can use all of the popular FedEx services, including:
  • FedEx Express® domestic services including FedEx Priority Overnight®, FedEx 2Day®, FedEx Standard Overnight®, and FedEx Express Saver®
  • FedEx Ground Domestic Home Delivery and FedEx Ground International
  • FedEx Standard Packaging Types, Customer Packaging
  • FedEx Special services and residential delivery
  • FedEx SmartPost (Large Shipper, Small Shipper and Returns)
  • Printing of FedEx approved shipping labels
“FedEx CSP certification really is a boon for merchants who desire to use a single commerce platform to manage their entire online business from order to cash. Our expanded partnership with FedEx will further enable GoECart merchants to easily and confidently manage their order fulfillment, shipping and logistics operations without any additional 3rd party shipping software or integration,” said Manish Chowdhary, GoECart CEO.

GoECart’s engineering team worked closely with the FedEx CSP team to ensure that GoECart 360 fully integrates with all supported FedEx features.

“GoECart’s native integration with FedEx has made us more efficient,” said Rick Davis, CEO of RollerWarehouse.com. Previously, we were using separate desktop software from FedEx. However, this had to be integrated with our Dydacomp Mail Order Manager— and this was in addition to our ecommerce platform. GoECart 360 has helped us streamline our business and shipping processes from multiple systems down to one.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jagged Peak Posts Net Gain for 2nd Quarter

Jagged Peak, Inc., a provider of enterprise-class eCommerce solutions and supply chain services, has announced financial results for the second quarter. Net revenues for the 26-week period ended June 29, 2012 increased 21% to approximately $16.8 million, compared to approximately $13.8 million for the same period last year. Jagged Peak realized a profit from continuing operations before provision for income taxes of approximately $339.8 thousand for the 26-week period.

The increase in revenue primarily resulted from continued expansion of services to existing customers, the addition of new customers, and increased sales from Canadian operations.

Tampa, FL-based Jagged Peak is an eCommerce solutions provider with software and services that enhance the scalability, flexibility and profitability of multi-channel online businesses. Its cornerstone technology is EDGE---an enterprise-class eCommerce platform that includes a full-featured eCommerce Platform (ECP) and robust Order Management System (OMS) as well as a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transportation Management System (TMS). These platform elements can be deployed alone or together through a license or SaaS delivery model to form an end-to-end, Web-based software suite that integrates the entire order life cycle with visibility across business units, distribution channels and trading partners---all while allowing the client to have complete control of their online brand.

Combining its technology with a comprehensive array of eMarketing, customer support, and IT professional services along with “anytime, anywhere” order fulfillment through its FlexNet warehouse network, Jagged Peak offers a holistic approach to eCommerce. Jagged Peak’s blue chip client roster includes NestlĂ© Nespresso, United Health Care, LVMH, RG Barry, Tag Heuer, and Pier 1 Imports.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Commerce Guys Partner with PayLeap for Drupal Commerce Kickstart

Commerce Guys, open source eCommerce specialists working with Drupal Commerce, have created an alliance with PayLeap Gateway Solutions, a secure online payment processing company, to deliver a secure, intuitive end-to-end merchant solution for Commerce Kickstart application users.

PayLeap’s dynamic, secure payment platform will provide advanced online fraud prevention, end-to-end encryption, tokenization and secure vault storage with cost-effective payment processing for Commerce Guys’ online merchants based in the Unites States and Canada.

All setups include a virtual terminal for face-to-face or hand-keyed transactions, with support of credit, debit, check/ACH and gift card transactions bundled in a single account. Merchants with Website stores and physical store locations can use PayLeap’s single transaction management and reporting platform for both online payment and card present transactions.

“PayLeap was the right partner for our new program because of their superb technology and easy-to-use interface,” said Mike O’Connor, president of Commerce Guys North America. “Their commitment to customer usability, product functionality and merchant support are critical to delivering the powerful eCommerce solutions our customers desire.”

“PayLeap is excited about having been selected to partner with Commerce Guys to provide a seamless, integrated online payment solution to their customers,” said Scott Miller, CEO of PayLeap. “They are making breakthroughs with Drupal and it’s a perfect fit for what we’re able to deliver."

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Dydacomp, CommerceV3 Announce Expansion of Partnership

Dydacomp, a provider of business technology platforms for small and mid-sized eCommerce and multichannel merchants, has announced it will expand its strategic partnership with CommerceV3 (CV3), a dedicated eCommerce platform provider for multi-channel merchants, through tighter integration between the companies’ solutions.

The partnership, first announced in February, allows eCommerce merchants to more easily enhance and expand their operations by using CV3 to capture and convert online sales, while relying on Dydacomp’s Multichannel Order Manager (M.O.M.) to control back office functionalities.

The expanded partnership adds greater efficiencies in moving data between the Dydacomp and CV3 systems by leveraging the M.OM. V8 API. Mutual clients will be able to more seamlessly sync and manage inventory, order processing, fulfillment and shipping.

“Dydacomp’s partnership strategy involves selecting best-in-class solutions that enable us to create a variety of comprehensive offerings that will help our customers grow their businesses,” said Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp. “Through this expanded strategic partnership with CV3, users can more closely couple CV3’s commerce management solution with M.O.M.”

“Our partnership with Dydacomp has been very successful, and we're looking forward to continuing our relationship,” said Blake Ellis, CEO and founding partner of CommerceV3. "Dydacomp is a true leader in the eCommerce market, and its solutions complement and enhance CommerceV3’s. Our customers will benefit significantly from the cost savings and increased efficiencies enabled by our expanded partnership."

The integration provides CV3 users with a PCI-compliant solution that can import orders, handle point-of-purchase or telephone orders, automate order workflow, track and manage products and inventory data as well as track, organize, and access customer information for improved levels of service.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Amazon Career Choice Program

Amazon.com posted the following message on its primary landing page this morning:
[Quote is between the two rows of asterisks]
*****************************************
Dear Customers,
At Amazon, we like to pioneer, we like to invent, and we're not willing to do things the normal way if we can figure out a better way.

One area where we've seen particular success is our fulfillment center network. Sustained innovation inside our fulfillment centers has driven improved reliability, accuracy, and speed of delivery, as well as productivity and safety. Our high productivity allows us to pay our fulfillment center employees 30% more than traditional physical retail store employees while still offering customers the lowest prices. Our work on safety practices has been so effective that it's statistically safer to work in an Amazon fulfillment center than in a traditional department store.

Our bias for reinvention extends into our recruiting teams. For most of the year, our full-time fulfillment center employees can keep up with customer demand. But during the holiday gift-giving season, our peak needs temporarily double, and we employ many more people. Our seasonal recruiting program called CamperForce — where RVers combine work with camping — has been very successful and much written about in the media. And our military veteran recruiting program effectively helps vets transition into the civilian workforce. Amazon was recently named the #1 Top Military Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine.

Those are just a few examples, and innovation doesn't stop. Today, we're announcing our newest innovation — one we're especially excited about — the Amazon Career Choice Program.
Learn about the Amazon Career Choice ProgramLearn about the Amazon Career Choice ProgramLearn about the Amazon Career Choice ProgramLearn about the Amazon Career Choice Program
Many of our fulfillment center employees will choose to build their careers at Amazon. For others, a job at Amazon might be a step towards a career in another field. We want to make it easier for employees to make that choice and pursue their aspirations. It can be difficult in this economy to have the flexibility and financial resources to teach yourself new skills. So, for people who've been with us as little as three years, we're offering to pre-pay 95% of the cost of courses such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and many other fields.

The program is unusual. Unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Like many of our innovations at Amazon, the Career Choice Program is an experiment. We're excited about it and hope it will pay big dividends for some of our employees. This is one innovation that we hope other companies in this economy will copy.

Thanks for being a customer.
*****************************************

This is a very intriguing and innovative program that addresses several urgent issues that are plaguing the job market and the economy. I applaud Amazon for truly thinking "outside the box" on this one, where many people who may be filling boxes for Amazon today may be studying to be skilled workers and technicians with Amazon's help in just a few years' time. And let's face it, for a huge percentage of the workforce, this is WAY BETTER than a standard college-track degree program. Tip of the hat to Jeff Bezos and company! You've done it again!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Amazon UK and the Olympics

I received the following email from amazon.co.uk this evening:

"As London 2012 approaches, customers in parts of London may be preparing to make changes to their daily routine. We wanted to let you know about the steps we've taken at Amazon to ensure that your deliveries continue uninterrupted.

"We have worked closely with our carrier network to ensure that you receive your packages on time, from the moment the torch arrives in London on 16 July until the closure of the Olympic Park on 14 September. This includes residential and commercial addresses in or around the Olympic venues. The carriers delivering your Amazon orders have all planned for any disruption that the Olympic Road Network could cause. They're using a variety of different methods to ensure your usual delivery service continues including employing more staff, bicycle routes and foot deliveries, to name but a few.

"If you'd like more information, we've created a dedicated page with all you need to know about deliveries to London and the other Olympic venues. This page will give you all the latest details about Amazon's delivery options during London 2012: http://www.amazon.co.uk/londondelivery

"We're also pleased to let you know about a new way to receive your Amazon orders. There will be 25 automated Amazon Lockers situated at convenient locations like shopping centres, high street locations and some transport links. The Amazon Locker network is growing and will continue to be available even after the Games have finished, allowing you to choose where to have your Amazon order delivered--then you can collect at a time that's best for you."

Ironically, I mentioned the Amazon Locker network in a previous post today.

PCI and the Cloud

Robert Westervelt, News Director of Cloud Security, has an excellent in-depth interview with Diana Kelley, a partner at Amherst, N.H.-based consultancy SecurityCurve on the impact of Cloud Computing on PCI compliance, discussing in part how the PCI Data Security Standards (on a three-year update/approval schedule) are struggling to keep up with fast-evolving technologies.

Things are complicated enough when SaaS providers offer gateway services for things like tokenization and encryption, but these are relatively straightforward compared to "custom payment software such as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where the responsibilities [of the provider] change a little bit," to say the least!

I highly recommend Westervelt's succinct, insightful article.

Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Strategy

Now that Amazon has given in on the sales tax issue, it has decided that it should leverage its new "nexus" in populous states with a strategy of same-day delivery on most purchases (for a small surcharge), based on a bevvy of new state-of-the-art warehouses (using picking robots from newly acquired Kiva Systems) it is building in New Jersey, Virgnia (2),Tennessee, Texas, and California (2) costing over $500 million. Ten more states will see new Amazon warehouses in the next three years, employing 10,000 people.

For details on this and other possible Amazon delivery strategies (such as PIN-accessed lockers in drug and convenience stores), see this article in Slate.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

3dCart Adds SEO, PPC

3dcart, used by tens of thousands of Internet businesses, is considered one of the most dependable eCcommerce platforms on the market.

With its latest service offering, the company now makes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click management (PPC) available to its customers, along with a dedicated Search Engine Marketing (SEM) team. This gives 3dCart clients high-end online marketing at a fraction of the cost of major search marketing agencies. And because the 3dCart SEM team knows the many intricacies of its eCommerce platform, there is no learning curve between marketing strategies and execution.

In addition to 3dacart's new marketing solution, the 3dCart SEM team has begun a blog aimed at educating online merchants about the shopping cart's long list of SEO-friendly features. The blog is also available to the public at http://www.3dcartsem.com. Instructions on managing SEO guidelines within the shopping cart software is a primary focus. Their new blog also features an area for anyone to submit SEO questions, which are often publicly posted and answered. This is done in an effort to educate merchants on SEO and how to better optimize their own websites -- and probably to show off the expertise of the 3dCart SEO team!

3dCart's SEO benefits include a focus on categorization and meta tags for individual pages; the ability to specify keywords that best describe each page's content, which makes optimizing each item easy and efficient; and 3dcart's 301 redirect control panel allowing its users to manage the URL of every page to keep the same page URL's within a new shopping cart system.

Friday, June 29, 2012

TurnTo Joins Demandware LINK Partner Program

TurnTo Networks today announced that it has become a Demandware LINK Technology Partner, joining a community accelerating adoption of eCommerce technologies complementary to the Demandware Commerce platform.

Through the LINK Technology Partner Program, TurnTo has developed a pre-built integration between its Social Q&A Platform and Demandware Commerce, making it possible for Demandware clients to implement its Social Q&A solution in a fraction of the time normally required.

“Demandware is excited to have TurnTo as part of our LINK Technology community.  Fresh, unique content is increasingly important to successful online merchandising, as is meaningful shopper engagement.  The TurnTo solution delivers on both these goals, providing a key element in a well-rounded ecommerce strategy,” said Jamus Driscoll, Senior VP of Marketing for Demandware.

Active Outreach
TurnTo’s social approach to product Q&A enables shoppers to get their questions answered by previous purchasers of the product they are considering.  The patent-pending “active outreach” model delivers answers in under an hour, on average.

Merchants experience conversion lift of 300-900% for shoppers using the system and SEO benefits from tripling the user-generated content (UGC) produced by their customer reviews tool.

“Being able to easily add our Social Q&A system to sites built on the Demandware Commerce platform is exciting for us and great for retailers. Several Demandware clients have already experienced the ease of integration and witnessed firsthand the amount of UGC our system has generated for them on their product pages,” said Cathie O’Callaghan, TurnTo Director of Marketing.

Demandware LINK
The Demandware LINK Technology Partner Program provides Demandware clients with a rich of set of pre-built integrations to eCommerce technologies and applications that support revenue-generating opportunities and enhance the brand experience. By reducing the cost and complexity of integrations, Demandware LINK allows retailers to adopt innovative third-party technologies quickly and cost-effectively, allowing them to accelerate time to market and realize a faster return on their investment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3dcart Adds Bizelo to Partner Group

Bizelo has joined the suite of partners for 3dcart to provide for management of centralized inventory, plus supply and returns management, between multiple online stores.

Bizelo pulls in disparate streams of data, running them through a central hub and sending them back  to sync inventory, supply, returns and accounting information in real-time. For 3dcart merchants managing storefronts on other software platforms (like eBay or Amazon), the tool simplifies how sales channels are managed in four key areas:
  1.   Inventory: Merchants can manage what’s in stock, how items are priced—anything relating to inventory. When an item sells on one channel, inventory is updated through Bizelo.
  2.   Supply: Navigating relationships with suppliers can get tricky. Through Bizelo, 3dcart retailers easy ways to manage the supplier relationship from end-to-end.
  3.   Returns: Product returns and inventory restocking are simple with Bizelo. Whatever the channel, the application handles returns smoothly, updating data on all fronts.
  4.   Accounting: Bizelo simplifies bookkeeping by bridging multiple sales channels with the merchant’s accounting software solution.
Bizelo App Preview
“Partnering with 3dcart opens up our potential audience to more than 15,000 online merchants,” said Evan Schwartz, Bizelo community manager. “The 3dcart integration makes our solution more comprehensive for all of our customers.”

“Maintaining multiple sales channels is a crucial way that online merchants extend their influence and gain more sales,” said 3dcart CEO Gonzalo Gil. “Bizelo is one of the easiest tools available to ensure those channels are managed efficiently through centralized, synced order processing.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

PA To Tax Cloud Computing

In a private letter ruling issued May 31, 2012 (Letter Ruling SUT-12-001), the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue stated that accessing pre-written software via the Internet is taxable if the purchaser and the user are both located in Pennsylvania.

The ruling represents a departure from the Department's earlier treatment of cloud computing whereby access to software solely through the Internet was not a taxable transaction, as long as the server did not reside in Pennsylvania.

"User" is defined as either an employee or a customer of the software purchaser/owner (according to the Letter Ruling, "In order to access the software, Taxpayer's customers either pay a subscription fee to Taxpayer or pay Taxpayer on a per-use basis. Both Taxpayer's employees and customers may collectively be referred to as 'end users' of the licenses to use the software.")

The reasoning for the new ruling is that computer software is "tangible personal property," and therefore, the charge for electronically accessing such software is taxable if the user is accessing the software from within Pennsylvania. However, if the end user is located outside the Commonwealth, the transaction is not subject to tax, even if the server is located in Pennsylvania.

If the billing address for pre-written software accessed remotely is a Pennsylvania address, all users associated with that billing address are presumed to be located within the state. To show that some users are actually out of state, the purchaser must submit an exemption certificate to the seller stating the percentage of users who are located outside the Commonwealth (this presumably applies only to employees, not customers).

So, in a nutshell, it doesn't matter where the server is located. If the user is in Pennsylvania, the user pays a tax on a subscription or per-usage charge. What the letter does not really address directly is software used only in-house, and not by customers. Presumably, there would be a one-time tax levied at the time of purchase (or on installment payments made by the purchaser).

While this seems like an effort to "rationalize" the taxation process, it may have the effect of discouraging companies from locating facilities with a large head count inside Pennsylvania, or encouraging those (few, these days) who are expanding to look elsewhere (if they use cloud-based solutions on a pay-as-you-go basis to run their business, which businesses increasingly do). And it will certainly discourage companies who offer access to software to their customers on a subscription or per-use basis from locating in the Commonwealth (although only PA residents will be so taxed, but PA is the sixth most populous state). Yes, this can be said of any tax, but unless and until nationwide treatment of situations like this are resolved at the Federal level, states will have to decide between trying to collect additional revenue or encouraging large employers to love Pennsylvania.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

GoECart Cited by Connecticut Quality Improvement Partnership

GoECart, a leading provider of fully integrated on-demand eCommerce solutions, was honored on June 5th by The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership Inc. for the outstanding innovation of its latest eCommerce suite, GoECart 360.

Web merchants require not just eCommerce storefront technology but robust order management, inventory management, and CRM capabilities. GoECart 360 provides merchants with all of these applications in one unified system using a single data source.




For 25 years, the CQIA has been promoting and recognizing innovation in Connecticut organizations. It is America’s first state-level quality award utilizing the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria.

“At GoECart, innovation is critical to our vision and we are thrilled to receive this award from CQIA this year," said Manish Chowdhary, GoECart’s CEO. “This award recognizes the tireless dedication of our team and our outstanding new multi-channel eCommerce suite that was designed from the ground up with one idea in mind—to help SMB merchants succeed in today’s hyper-competitive eCommerce world.”

GoECart 360 empowers emerging brands and established merchants with affordable software as a service (SaaS) eCommerce solution that includes full multi-channel integration with online marketplaces such as Amazon.com and eBay, plus robust reporting with built-in dynamic dashboards and drill-down reports.

GameQuestDirect, a leading retailer of video games, has seen order volume increase 40% since migrating to GoECart 360 from three systems. RollerWarehouse.com, a recreational sporting goods outfit, migrated to GoECart 360 and eliminated all in-house IT in the process.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alternatives to QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) Codes are slowly catching on in print media, from magazines and newspapers to product labels and billboards (a dangerous variation, in my opinion). Many people still don't know what they do, and the majority of marketers aren't yet using them, but they are a handy way of letting you scan a link with your smartphone taking you to the Code owner's Website or landing page.


There are numerous free online generators to create QR Codes for any URL.

But they are not the only game in town. Apart from standard 2D bar codes that have been around for decades, there are other kinds of 2D and 3D bar codes that encapsulate much more data than the standard 2D bar code, and in a more compact space.

There's the colorful Micorsoft Tag:


The MaxiCode tag:

 The Data Matrix


The JagTag:
QR codes by JAGTAG allows feature phones to take action on bar codes too
And image recognition tags like the Blippar and some specialized Custom Tags using image backgrounds (produced by Microsoft).

In short, even before QR Codes have become widely adopted, there are numerous competitors. And with image codes, the sky's the limit on how we will be interacting with Weblinks and smartphones in the years to come.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

eCommerce Recommendation Site Uncovet Wants To Own The “Style Graph”

Interested in knowing how recommendation sites like Fab and Ofakind work? TechCrunch sheds some interesting light in its profile of the latest reco site, Uncovet (debuting today), that wants to "own" the “Style Graph." Take a look.

Uncovet screenshot 1

Thursday, June 07, 2012

giggle Selects Demandware Commerce

Demandware, Inc., a leader in on-demand eCommerce, has announced that giggle, a major baby specialty retailer ("the one-stop source for today's new parent"), has relaunched its eCommerce site, www.giggle.com, on Demandware Commerce.

The site features giggle’s Best Baby Registry, a sophisticated, interactive section that ushers expectant parents through the process of creating the perfect baby registry for their unique needs.

“Our mission is to make the transition from not having kids to having kids simple, easy and fun. Our Website and Best Baby Registry are critical vehicles for reaching and servicing our customers. We needed a digital commerce solution that gives us the functionality and brand control necessary for delivering a superior shopping and gifting experience. With Demandware, we now have a flexible, scalable platform that we can leverage to grow our brand and continue to expand our reach,” said Ali Wing, CEO and founder for giggle.

giggle required an eCommerce platform that could scale to support its growth and provide its team with full control over the user experience and site functionality. The company switched from an on-premise platform to Demandware Commerce, which provides a robust set of multichannel commerce capabilities, a fully customizable development environment, and a scalable world-class infrastructure readily available for giggle to plug into.

“giggle wanted to feel confident about site reliability and functionality with its online business. With Demandware, they get peace of mind, knowing they have a best-in-class cloud commerce platform with industry-leading performance and uptime, capable of supporting its digital commerce strategy today and tomorrow,” said Jamus Driscoll, senior VP of marketing for Demandware.

Friday, June 01, 2012

NetSuite Announces "Commerce as a Service"

NetSuite Inc., a vendor of cloud-based business management software suites, has announced NetSuite “Commerce as a Service” (CaaS), enabling businesses to manage their interactions with other businesses and directly with consumers via a cloud platform that delivers the customer experience, via any current or future device, directly on the core NetSuite cloud ERP/CRM business management application.

At the heart of the CaaS initiative is NetSuite SuiteCommerce, a new commerce-aware platform that provides a central system to manage all transactions and associated customer interactions with consumers and other businesses regardless of touchpoint (Website, smart phone, social media site, in-store, etc.).

“Over the past decade, NetSuite has transformed how our customers operate their businesses internally. Over the next decade, NetSuite will transform how businesses operate with other businesses and with their customers through NetSuite Commerce as a Service. Our new NetSuite SuiteCommerce offering is at the heart of this transformation,” said Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite. “By transforming the NetSuite business application into a commerce-aware platform, we enable our customers to extend the richest set of cloud operational capabilities available anywhere directly to their customers, regardless of the device those customers are using – be it a smart phone, a tablet, a personal computer, a point-of-sale system, or touchpoints not yet developed.”

Increasingly, the proliferation of new end-user preferred “touchpoints” such as smart phones and social media has increased customers’ expectations of a tailored, individualized experience. Consumers assume businesses have full visibility to their transactions across touchpoints and will use that knowledge to provide an optimized experience. Likewise, businesses expect their suppliers to have insight into their business relationships, and assume that they will deliver a B2B experience as compelling as a B2C website. Finally, physical products increasingly include commerce-embedded capabilities, which enable machine-to-machine (M2M) commerce without the involvement of humans, based upon defined business rules for predictable needs.

The Architecture
NetSuite SuiteCommerce is architected to enable companies of all sizes to deliver rich, touchpoint-agnostic experience to their customers,” added Zach Nelson. “The secret sauce is an integrated back-end system that combines core business processing capabilities with rich customer profiles, to deliver the brand promise of a personalized experience, anytime from anywhere.”

SuiteCommerce exposes native NetSuite commerce capabilities -- including merchandising, pricing, promotions, payment processing, support management, and customer management -- as services that can be leveraged by any presentation layer, while providing an integrated back-end business management system. The NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform includes several new important technologies:

SuiteCommerce Experience – The SuiteCommerce Experience is the page serving and development framework that enables companies to deliver rich user experiences, regardless of touchpoint. The SuiteCommerce Experience is flexible so as to enable designers to create any type of customer experience – from page layout to interaction design. SuiteCommerce Experience offers sub-second page times by avoiding the redundant rendering and downloading associated with traditional presentation frameworks. Leading eCommerce design agencies including Fluid, Sweden Interactive, Live Area Labs, and Pod1, among others, joined as initial customer experience partners supporting the SuiteCommerce Platform.

SuiteCommerce Services –The SuiteCommerce Platform includes a new group of services called SuiteCommerce Services that expose NetSuite’s back-end commerce functionality and data as services to the SuiteCommerce Experience and any other commerce front-end application. These services, combined with associated SuiteCloud development tools, enable customers to develop new business logic and leverage that business logic across multiple touchpoints. For example, promotions can be implemented once and enabled across online, telephone and in-store transactions to augment the core transactional capabilities, and customize the system to their exact requirements. Leading B2C and B2B commerce providers such as Square, Stripe, SPS Commerce, and Retail Anywhere have announced new product offerings to support omni-channel commerce on top of the SuiteCommerce Services platform.

NetSuite Commerce Platform –The NetSuite Commerce Platform provides the core native business processing capabilities to run modern commerce operations, including order management, inventory management and payment processing with personalized promotions, merchandising, account management and support management technologies. The power of providing an integrated experience and cross-channel business logic with SuiteCommerce is apparent in the following use cases: 
Retail: When customers appear in a retail setting, not only will they be recognized, but store clerks will also be able to see on their point-of-sale system what is in their eCommerce shopping cart or wish list as they serve them.

Multi-Channel Business Logic: Since SuiteCommerce offers a single back-end system for processing orders, managing inventory and generating offers, a business rule such as a maximum number of purchases on a sale item, can be implemented once and enforced across the website, in-store and via telesales.

Rich Customer Profile driving promotions: SuiteCommerce provides a single system for customer history, product/item details, and promotions management. For example, a promotion could be created in seconds targeting customers who have purchased more than $1,000 across any channel and offer a limited time 30 percent off promotion on any item with a gross margin greater than 50 percent.

Product Configurations
There are two versions of NetSuite SuiteCommerce, one designed to meet the needs of small and mid-sized enterprises and one designed for large and very large enterprises. NetSuite SuiteCommerce Mid-market is available immediately and includes the core functionality of SuiteCommerce Services, as well as access to a number of add-on modules including product feeds, ratings and reviews, and loyalty programs. It is designed to support companies with smaller order volumes and product catalogs. NetSuite SuiteCommerce Enterprise includes the entire SuiteCommerce offering (SuiteCommerce Experience and SuiteCommerce Services Platform). It provides support for enterprise scale order volumes and product/item catalogs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MasterCard Mobile Point of Sale Best Practices

MasterCard has issued Best Practices for Mobile Practices, focusing on Mobile POS (MPOS) card reader accessory solutions. Click HERE to access this document.

GoECart: All-In-One eCommerce Suite

GoECart today announced the immediate availability of GoECart 360, the industry’s first Web-based, all-in-one eCommerce suite targeted at emerging brands and growing midsized retailers.

The new solution provides a single, integrated set of applications that combine an advanced eCommerce platform with multi-channel order management, inventory management, fulfillment, and CRM. The multichannel suite also automates selling on the leading comparison shopping engines and online marketplaces like Amazon.com and eBay for merchants.
  













Eight Problems GoECart 360 Solves:
  1. My current eCommerce systems are not (well) integrated.
  2. The features on my eCommerce storefront are not state-of-the-art.
  3. Getting our storefront and back office systems to sync up is difficult.
  4. My current solution is not multi-channel.
  5. My current system is out of date and very difficult to use.
  6. I am paying too much for multiple sub-par and disjointed systems.
  7. My systems are not "on-demand" and cannot handle spikes in Web traffic.
  8. I don't have key metrics to make timely business decisions.
GoECart delivers a unified eCommerce suite that enables online sellers to automate key business functions across all departments, including sales, marketing, customer service, inventory, order fulfillment, purchasing, and returns, and to obtain real-time data on demand for better decision-making.
The system was recently featured among leading eCommerce offerings targeted at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in the Forrester Research 2012 Guide, Selecting Your eCommerce Solution Across North America And EMEA.

GoECart at Internet Retailer Conference & Expo 2012 in Chicago
From June 5-8, GoECart will be exhibiting at Booth 1720 Internet Retailer Conference & Expo 2012 in Chicago.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Celerant Has an mCommerce Module

Celerant Technology Corp. has developed a Mobile Commerce module that is worth looking into:
  • The mobile site will run in parallel to your regular E-Commerce site.
  • It is compatible with mainstream smart phones, tablets and iPads that support current standards for mobile devices.
  • It adheres to search engine common practice standards and algorithm guidelines, enabling the site to appear in more searches.
  • The mobile site runs against the same database as your E-Commerce site and does not require any additional hardware, hosting or human resources.
  • Uses jQuery programming to simplify and enhance development

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