Thursday, October 31, 2013

InOrder’s Web Cart Supports Solr Search and Facet Filtering

OMS vendor InOrder's Web Cart users can take advantage of top-of-the-line search capabilities with Solr Search and Facet Filtering.

Solr is a search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its many advanced search capabilities include distinguishing between plural and singular search, recognizing common typos and finding results. It also supports Facet Filtering,  which helps customers fine-tune their search results by making additional selections within search results based on their individual interests.

PCI Ostriches [and Monkees]: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Website Magazine reports that the most recent version of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS 3.0) that requires Internet retailers to implement and perform rigorous penetration testing using different methods of security authentication and session management are not being met.

These tests are meant to protect against "man-in-the-middle, man-in-the-browser and other similar cyber-attack methods," the magazine reports, adding that "A new study from Tripwire... reveals that the retail industry hasn’t yet implemented these new security requirements and that could result in a big 'ol lump of coal come Christmas."

Reportedly,  just 41 percent of the retailers currently use any kind penetration testing to identify security risks, and "only 44 percent have either fully or partially deployed file integrity monitoring in place."

Perhaps worst of all, Tripwire determined that "62 percent of the IT professionals surveyed say that negative facts about security risks are filtered before being communicated with senior executives."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

MailWare Poses the "Clearly" Challenge

Mailware recently sent out the following email: 

"Mailware has served the needs of our customers for 18 years and will continue to do so. Thousands of Mailware customers manage and ship orders, maintain inventory and serve customers using our Windows-based system.

"Cleerly is [our proposed] cloud-based multi-channel manager, order and shipping system and inventory manager. Because it is in the cloud it is agnostic (you can run it on practically any platform - Mac, PC, tablet, even a smart phone). It is priced as a monthly subscription to put it in reach of every business. And it is powerful. True multi channel management including inventory updates, shipping label printing, customer notifications and an easy to use interface means everyone can provide a transparent, professional and quick experience for their customers.

"Cleerly is fully written and ready to go. But we still have work to do. Your feedback is critical to Cleerly's growth and ongoing success. To make that possible Core Technologies is hiring additional programmers and technical support staff. We will also be announcing Cleerly with ads and forum postings. That takes capital" -- which they might be able to raise if you vote in favor of the new platform HERE.

Why not?! Go for it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

GoECart Selected 2013 Tech Company to Watch by the Connecticut Technology Council

GoECart, a leading provider of fully integrated on-demand eCommerce solutions, has been selected as the 2013 Tech Company to Watch by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and will be among the featured companies at the 7th Annual Connecticut Innovation Summit taking place Thursday, November 7, 1013 at Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT.

The CTC presents the Connecticut Innovation Summit as the ultimate gathering of entrepreneurship and growth in the state, where attendees can be surrounded with the best and brightest minds the region has to offer and meet with collaborators, mentors, and talent. Now in its seventh year, the Summit recognizes Tech Companies to Watch, celebrating the most promising companies of 2013.

"We are very pleased that the Connecticut Technology Council named us a 2013 Tech Company to Watch. This has been an exciting year for GoECart, with many successes to be celebrated," said Manish Chowdhary, GoECart's CEO. "The CTC award recognizes GoECart's commitment to delivering the best digital commerce solutions possible."

GoECart 360 provides multichannel merchants all the tools needed to run an online business, including:

  • All-in-One Ecommerce — A fully integrated ecommerce platform, order management, inventory management, and CRM solution for online retailers.
  • Amazon and eBay Integration — Merchants can automatically stream product inventory to these sites and orders synch up seamlessly with GoECart.
  • Multi-Site Capabilities — Multiple branded sites and microsites can be used to boost SEO and cater to multiple markets and audiences, such as B2B, B2C, and International.
  • Advanced Personalization — Personalization engine leverages Adobe Scene7 so retailers can offer highly customized products (e.g. engraving, monogramming, etc.).
  • Full Sales Tax Compliance Ready — GoECart certification with market leader Avalara AvaTax gives merchants end-to-end sales tax compliance ahead of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.
  • Distributed Web-based Order and Inventory Management — Merchants can use the built-in distributed order management system for picking, packing, shipping, drop-shipping and receiving orders and inventory, including bar-coding automation without need for expensive third-party systems.
  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    FirstSpirit brings full CMS functionality to Demandware

    Content Management System FirstSpirit is the first CMS to be listed and fully certified in the Demandware Marketplace.

    According to FirstSpirit, "Consumers increasingly tune out traditional, intrusive advertising, but they tune in to the genuine customer-focused information delivered by content marketing programs.
    While content marketing can take many forms, it’s critical to not overlook one of the most important channels: the point of sale. It’s not enough to just list item sizes and prices on an ecommerce site anymore. Consumers expect to see stories and useful content side-by-side with products."

    FirstSpirit quickly creates "compelling and attractive content while Demandware provides a powerful omni-channel commerce platform."

    Create more content in less time
    FirstSpirit CMS integrated with the Demandware Commerce platform gives editors the creative freedom and usability benefits of a CMS without forcing them to jump from system to system. Time-saving features for content creation include:
    • Live preview of both online store and other content elements merged together
    • Intuitive user interface with WYSIWYG editing
    • Full-featured media asset management with built-in editing tools
    • Tools for maintaining website structure and navigation
    • Graphical workflows to streamline content development processes
    FirstSpirit supports formats such as HTML, XML and PDF through content marketing channels such as eNewsletters, custom landing pages, print and social media as well as smartphones and tablets. FirstSpirit also supports Demandware online stores on a global basis with multilingual support and translation management workflows.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    Amazon Is On-site in Clients' Warehouses (Bedfellows Deal)

    Storefront Backtalk reports that Amazon has embedded its warehouse staff inside a P&G warehouse to pick-and-pack P&G's orders submitted via Amazon. Click HERE to read more about this incestuous relationship, called "The Vendor Flex Program," that is a win-win for Amazon and P&G, but upsetting retail rivals. “Retailers don’t like things that benefit their competitor but not them,” Anne Zybowski, vice president of retail insights at consulting firm Kantar Retail, told The Wall Street Journal, as quoted in Storefront Backtalk. That's an obvious statement if I've ever read one!

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    An Open Letter to Meg Whitman

    Now that Meg Whitman is President and CEO of Hewlett Packard, she has expressed an interest in returning to its heydey, when it "served the channel."

    Indeed it did, and in the 1970s through the 1990s it was very successful with its HP/3000, a "workhorse" "minicomputer" that a half dozen or so very popular OMS vendors (we didn't call them that then) relied on. They relied on Suprtool, a flexible Swiss-army knife utility programming language supported by the HP/3000, to supplement their standard systems, and with it were able to "customize" a lot of their functionality for each user.

    When Windows-based systems began to mature after Y2K, the 3000 faded from the scene. But while it was around, it was a force to be reckoned with.

    If Whitman is able to recapture that kind of channel relationship in multichannel marketing (and other verticals), she will make some very large waves, indeed.

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    hybris ranked by Forrester Research a "Leader" in top B2B commerce suite providers

    Forrester Research, Inc. has done a thorough evaluation of B2B commerce solution providers. If you want to find out which solutions matter the most, you can read "The Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites, Q4 2013.”

    1. The modern Java-based architecture
    2. The embedded enterprise product content management
    3. The embedded and rapidly maturing order management capabilities
    4. The services-oriented “Framework” (makes it easy for developers to extend and customize the solution to cater to unique B2B requirements and process workflows")

    To get your free copy – and learn why Forrester Research, Inc. ranked hybris a leader among the top B2B commerce suites in the market – just fill out the form HERE.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Sanderson (UK) Acquires Cloud-based, Multichannel Solutions Experts One iota

    Sanderson, the publicly-owned UK provider of multichannel retail software, has acquired One iota, a leading provider of cloud-based multichannel retail solutions.

    Based in Rossendale, Lancashire, One iota helps retailers and brands keep pace with their shoppers across new and emerging technology, devices, and channels.

    One iota’s offerings, which span mobile commerce, ecommerce, social media and in-store technology, enable retailers and brands to increase sales, supporting new channels and devices such as tablets, kiosks and mobile in-store assisted shopping. These can be deployed quickly and easily with rapid integration with retailers’ existing back office systems and data using One iota’s innovative Software as a Service platform "MESH."

    Used by some of the UK’s leading retailers, including Littlewoods,, Footasylum and Superdry, One iota’s enterprise-grade solutions host thousands of visitors on a daily basis, securely processing large volumes of transactions to deliver multichannel growth.

    Wednesday, October 02, 2013

    The Big Data Bamboozle

    A recent survey by CompTIA determined that a majority of companies are "not getting enough value for their investments in big data because it's difficult to analyze all the information in real time, much less convert findings into actionable intelligence."

    There are numerous avenues of comment to pursue on this subject, but the one I keep coming back to on this blog is that "Big Data" is nothing new for direct marketers/merchants, who traditionally have taken a very different approach to it than the ones currently in vogue. That different approach, which I have detailed in a previous post, is essentially to use the data related to customer and prospect activity to create customer segments with designated RFM scores and segmentation psychodemographics, rather than trying to locate where each individual should be placed in some kind of multidimensional grid of massive relevant variables.

    The reason for the practical approach used by "traditional" direct marketers is that they want "actionable" data (whether it's big or not), and you can't really take action when you have more than, let's say, five to ten rankings. I'll stick with five - A through E. The A listers are your best customers, the E category is the least profitable group. When you test five offers against these five groups, you are dealing with a grid of 25 (5x5) scores, which is more than enough to identify which offers work best with which demographics and purchase histories.

    The Tangled Web of Data
    A lot of the so-called Big Data is tracking data based on a person's online browsing activity. You can generate a ton of this stuff in a hurry, and in the mistaken belief that it will yield value, subject it to all kinds of analysis. But in the long run, all you really need to know is whether elements viewed eventually led to a purchase, or not. Of course, if "intrusive" promotional activity based on the interim data is effective in conversion to a sale, then the real-time analysis is theoretically worth it. and the number-crunching can thus be cost-justified. This is what is most often assumed when referring to Big Data, but I think it needs to be specified better. The Big Data monster lives on the Web, and not in the entire world of marketing as a whole.

    Of course, any real-time interaction, such as behavior in a retail store, could also get entangled. But to explain why much of this is probably "overkill" I will use an analogy with biofeedback. A person can, if they wish to, monitor all kinds of physical functions about themselves, from pulse rate to oxygen level, using wearable gadgets. If you permit yourself to be hospitalized, you can even monitor a lot more with bedside hook-ups, or you can have very frequent blood tests with a slew of panels for chemical analysis. And you can get your genome mapped, and do frequent breathalyzer tests, and have alerts for lead poisoning and UV exposure ... and the list goes on and on.

    What for? If you are reasonably healthy, there is absolutely no point to doing any of this! Even when you are exercising, how much feedback do you really need? For aerobic exercise, there is basically one simple test: are you perspiring, or not? If not, you're probably not working hard enough.

    As a side note, a lot of the profiling data that marketers use comes from ZIP Code or Census Tract data that is derived from data maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a form of Big Data, in breadth and scope, if not in depth (and for a percentage of the data, the depth is definitely there, too). But here again, marketers simplify the data by aggregating it into a range of ZIP Code types (a dozen is fine), and this gets factored into the customer or prospect's demographic "score."

    So the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) applies. And so it should. If I assign a customer to one of five rankings in a segmentation spectrum, and test that assignment with a few offers, the customer will either move up or down on the scale, or stay where they are. There is nothing very difficult about that. And that's all you need to know. It's as John Keats wrote in his Ode on a Grecian Urn: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

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