Thursday, December 22, 2011

ECMOD 2011 A Success

The revamped, reinvigorated ECMOD Direct Commerce Conference -- a London-based conference for "Every Channel: Maximised, Optimised, Delivered!" -- debuted on 30 Nov. in its new location at the Business Design Centre in Islington and was a huge success.

I spoke at the show on "Stop The Systems Insanity: Top 10 Mistakes in Acquiring and Managing Busines-Critical Solutions," and "Making Mobile Work for Multichannel." Attendance was better at these presentations than at any time in the last ten years! If you would like a copy of either or both presentations, please email me at

Exhibitors uniformly reported good traffic both for quality and quantity. A partner show, Data-Driven Business Week, took place simultaneously in this very spacious venue. 

So we are already looking forward to next year's show -- at the Business Design Centre again -- 27-29 November, 2012. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sanderson Brings Portable ePOS to Hamley's

We don't generally cover Point of Sale solutions on this blog, but we are definitely interested in mobile commerce and tablet-based technology in the sales environment. 

Sanderson, the publicly owned UK provider of retail software and services, has won a contract to pilot a new Mobile Electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) solution at renowned toy retailer Hamleys during the busy Christmas trading period. 

Sanderson is delivering the innovative Mobile ePOS solution in partnership with Retail-J software author Torex to enable Hamleys to offer its customers a quick and easy way to purchase their goods during busy periods and cut queues at tils.

The solution, which is being piloted at the Regent Street store in London, uses an Apple iPad together with a handheld Bluetooth scanner, wireless Pin Entry Device (PED), and wireless printer. Hamleys has chosen a utility belt which allows the store assistant to "wear" the ePOS system and move around the store with the devices.

Mobile ePOS is a major new extension to the Retail-J solution which Hamleys use to run their retail business. Sanderson implemented Retail-J at Hamleys in 2010 and since then has delivered a number of significant business-enhancing projects, including customer preferred currency and tax-free shopping options. 

This is the first Mobile ePOS project of its kind within the Retail-J community and will no doubt strike interest across the user base, particularly among those with London stores as they plan to capitalise on increased visitor numbers during the Olympic Games in 2012.

Notes Richard Willis, Solutions Director at Torex:  “This extension of Torex Retail-J delivers the capability to run point of sale and back office functionality using Apple and Android browsers. It is part of our ongoing commitment to the development of Retail-J in consultation with our clients.”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Business Agility Adds Value

Michael Hugos, author of Business Agility, writes in the current issue of CIO that when he worked for a company that supplied Starbucks with paper cups they were not the lowest-cost provider. But they "found 20 things we could do to make our cups easier to order, easier to use, easier to pay for and easier to plan and budget for." When they kept enhancing these as Starbucks's business needs changed they "provided a compelling reason to buy from us. Because we delivered more value than Starbucks could have gotten from a plain, low-priced paper cup, and because we were agile and responsive to the evolving needs of a high-value customer, we earned 2 percent more than the market price on our cups. I call this extra profit the 'agility dividend.'” This is how CIOs have to think to truly add value to the systems they manage.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Digby Powers CHEFS Catalog mComm Site

CHEFS Catalog has announced the launch of a mobile optimized website powered by the Digby Mobile Platform for iPhone/iPod Touch, BlackBerry and Android. 

Key  features of the mobile optimized site include
  • Promotional bar that features unique cooking items      
  • Complete site search and easy-to-navigate categories  
  • Product pages that feature product images with alternate views              
  • Detailed item descriptions          
  • Ratings and reviews       
  • Share to Facebook and email a friend
Says Dave Sikora, President and CEO of Digby, “We are very excited about this partnership, and through our deep  commitment to the retail channel, look forward to making CHEFS  Catalog’s mobile strategy a long-term success."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

AMEX to Invest in eComm Start-ups

American Express today announced a new multi-year digital commerce initiative designed to help identify and develop innovative technologies that will help accelerate the company's digital transformation and strengthen connections to a growing base of customers around the globe by investing $100 million in early stage startups in the digital commerce space.

"American Express is a 162 year old company that has continuously reinvented itself," said Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express. "As we enter the next chapter in our history, we recognize the need to work with emerging technology companies to inspire change, encourage innovation, and ultimately deliver the best products and services to our customers."

The American Express digital commerce initiative will be managed out of the company's newly established office in Silicon Valley and led by Harshul Sanghi, who was recently appointed as Managing Partner, Enterprise Growth Group. Mr. Sanghi previously ran Motorola Mobility Ventures and brings a deep understanding of the venture community, as well as extensive expertise in identifying and working with promising early startups.

"The payments industry is underdoing a fundamental change as the very nature of commerce is redefined," said Mr. Sanghi. "We believe our global network of businesses and consumers, international employee base, world-class customer service and data analytics will provide a significant advantage to potential portfolio companies."

American Express' digital commerce initiative will look to make investments in companies focused on serving critical parts of the digital commerce experience, including loyalty and rewards, mobile and online payment management, fee-based services, security and fraud detection and data analysis.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Paul Fredrick Implements mCommerce with Digby

Paul Fredrick has announced the launch of a smartphone optimized Website on the Digby Mobile Platform so customers can now easily and conveniently access the full range of Paul Fredrick’s clothing for men from the palm of their hands anytime, anywhere.  The mobile site complements the company’s eCommerce and catalog channels, with support for search, browse and purchase of Paul Fredrick products from any smartphone, including iPhone/iPod Touch, BlackBerry and Android devices.  

The mobile site features:   
  • Rich product photographs with additional image views          
  • Complete product descriptions        
  • Customization options          
  • Customer-submitted product ratings and reviews   
  • Sizing Information  
  • Shop by Category, Top Sellers, Big & Tall and Clearance         
  • Share to Twitter, Facebook and email            
  • A complete, ever-present site search            
  • Email signup, shipping info and order status
 “Paul Fredrick is proudly known for supplying men with quality clothing that fits their lifestyle, at an affordable price,” said Amanda Bausher, Senior Marketing Manager, Web UX of Paul Fredrick.  “We work with our manufacturers to design and directly distribute every item in our collection, and we wanted to make this available through mobile devices as well.  We are seeing rapid growth in this area and believe this will help us to better serve our valuable customers.”

Paul Fredrick is going mobile at a very opportune time.  More than 33.3 million U.S. consumers already engage in shopping-related activities on their mobile phones Experian Simmons recently reported in their 2011 Mobile Consumer Report.

“Paul Fredrick is known for their high quality items and eye for style, all at a fair price. We are proud to partner with them on their mobile strategy to extend these same values and rich experiences to the mobile channel,” said Dave Sikora, President and CEO of Digby.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beaverbrooks Implements Elucid

Sanderson, the publicly-owned provider of multichannel retail software, has implemented its Elucid system at Beaverbrooks the Jewellers in the UK. The new system streamlines and improves operations at Beaverbrooks’s Direct business, incorporating Mail Order and Online Sales, offering faster delivery, and enhancing customer service. It also strengthens sales and marketing capabilities across the business by combining and exploiting data from all sales channels to support Beaverbrooks’s multichannel strategy.

Beaverbrooks has grown to be a true multichannel business, employing over 800 people, with 66 UK stores, an established Mail Order division, and a thriving Online channel, reports Sanderson. The Elucid system processes and fulfills all Mail Order and Online sales, increasing the number of orders dispatched per day, providing real-time inventory levels with improved stock control, and driving warehouse efficiency.

Positioned as the central hub between retail stores, head office operations, and online sales, Elucid integrates with existing retail and eCommerce systems and presents consolidated data from all sales channels. Beaverbrooks is also benefiting from improved customer data collection via Elucid CRM, which is enabling better customer profiling, targeting and buyer behavior analysis.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

MNP Debuts StoreActive iPad Ordering Platform

Direct Commerce systems vendor MNP Media, Salisbury, UK, has announced the completion of a contract to provide Soletrader, a leading UK-based shoe retailer, with StoreActive, an integrated in-store iPad ordering solution and the newest addition to MNP's ActiveSeries.

Soletrader, which has a network of 50+ stores throughout the UK selling fashionable shoes to young men and women at value prices, prides itself on its ability to constantly and rapidly evolve its product offerings. Beyond its retail network, Soletrader has also developed a highly effective direct operation with extensive online trading.

The company determined that when a customer could not find their size in a store, shop assistants advised the customer to go online, which can also lead to loss of the sale. But if the retailer could capture the sale and fulfil the order a day or two later, the customer expectations could be managed and brand loyalty continued.

StoreActive Makes the Sale
StoreActive, designed to be tablet-independent, links a company's warehouse inventory to all retail locations to ensure all sale opportunities are captured. For SoleTrade, the system allows the sales assistant to search the customer's shoe requirements and place the order against real-time inventory. The customer can then pay via chip-and-pin, with the order shipped direct to home or work and the order record available to the customer online.

In addition the system supports capture of customer details to help build lifetime value from what was originally a transactional retail purchase.

SoleTrader selected MNP based on the vendor's proven track record of high-volume order processing and its experience providing order processing systems for multi-channel clothing retailers, which StoreActive knows first-hand as a user of the OrderActive back-office order management and warehouse management system.

Pierre D’Arbost, Managing Director, MNP Media commented, “Over recent years we have undertaken a lot of development work to ensure that our software can be easily integrated to satisfy the demands of retailers. Our clients have retail challenges that provide MNP with the opportunity to pioneer many ‘direct’ innovations. We are delighted to be partnering with Soletrader and look forward to our continued push into multi-channel retail.”

Monday, September 19, 2011 Launches mComm Site with Digby, a leading Chinese specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel, has partnered with Digby to launch a mobile optimized website by year’s end. plans to deliver an engaging mobile shopping experience to millions of young, mobile and fashion-focused consumers. This new mobile initiative allows to enhance customer loyalty and gain insight on consumer buying behavior, resulting in a more direct relationship with its customer base through any smartphone, anytime and anywhere.

Through the new mobile-optimized website, consumers will be able to easily research and purchase items in as little as 60 seconds. Key features will include: rich product photographs, complete product descriptions, shop by category, store locator, email signup, order tracking, complete site search, ratings and reviews, promotional offers, and email a friend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Urban Decay Launches eComm Site on Demandware

Demandware, Inc., a leader in on-demand eCommerce, has announced that Urban Decay, the largest independently owned color cosmetic company in the United States, has re-launched on the Demandware Commerce platform to support the growth of its online business in the U.S. and into international markets.

Urban Decay was previously running its eCommerce operations on an antiquated legacy platform that required manual intervention to process even basic orders. The system also lacked the flexibility marketers needed to change or upload content on-the-fly. As a result, the company depended on its internal IT staff to make all changes to the site, limiting its ability to introduce new products and promotions quickly and effectively.

With the Demandware Commerce platform, Urban Decay marketers now have complete control over merchandising promotions, catalog, pricing and all other aspects of the shopping experience. In addition, Demandware’s on-demand model eliminates the need to source and maintain costly IT infrastructure for eCommerce, and provides seamless, automatic upgrades containing new functionality to enable ongoing site innovation.

Urban Decay is also building a mobile commerce storefront leveraging the Demandware Commerce platform.

The new eCommerce site, implemented by Precision Design Studios, offers consumers an inside look at color palettes and product finishes. Social engagement tools, including ratings and review capabilities and photo and video uploading, help Urban Decay connect and build stronger relationships with customers.

Urban Decay also took advantage of several pre-built integrations to third-party technologies available through the Demandware LINK Marketplace. These integrations include Bazaarvoice for ratings and reviews, Paypal for regular and express checkout payments, and Avalara for sales tax management. Several more integrations are planned as the company grows and expands internationally.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Online Sales Tax Collection Forecast: Murky With A Chance of Fudgeballs

The state of California has agreed to a compromise deal with that postpones collection of sales taxes on sales to Amazon customers in California until late next year. In the interim, Amazon and a coalition of other etailers have until July 31, 2012, to lobby Congress to pass legislation authorizing states to collect sales taxes for online sales, regardless of nexus (and thus overturning the 1992 Quill Corp. vs. N. Dakota ruling of The Supreme Court that precluded taxation for sales made to a Ship-To address in a state where the merchant has no presence or "nexus."). If Congress does pass that legislation, the deal with Amazon is that it won't have to collect sales taxes for California shipments until January 2013. Otherwise, they will have to start paying the sales tax in September 2012.

This may also moot a series of political and court battles on this issue that have been pursued over the last few years in New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado.

Complicated enough? Well, it gets worse. Illinois recently passed an online sales tax law that sets the rate for the sales tax as the location in Illinois where the order is processed, not the delivery location. If the merchant has no nexus in Illinois at all, then the standard state tax rate of 6.25% is due, but within Illinois, there are different tax rates for each county and municipality. In fact, the rate is 0% in some locations: so obviously some large "processing center" is going to locate there and offer to do third-party processing for any out-of-state direct merchants who want to avoid Illinois sales tax. But more to the point, since it is difficult to determine where the processing location might be -- and impossible for the consumer, in most cases -- this seems like the most bizarre piece of tax legislation out there. Just for starters, the "processing center" could be the location of the server on which the order processing system is running, or the credit card processor handling the transaction, or the credit card issuer authorizing the transaction, and so on, with other possible links in the processing chain. And this doesn't even account for mirrored servers in multiple locations that are often necessary to guarantee up-time for the processing service.

This is sheer madness, whether it's California playing a calendar game, the merchants courting Congress for legislative favors, or Illinois pretending that there is a physical cash register somewhere ringing up online sales. And it seems like there is no obvious way to stop this insanity. So fasten your seat belts. We're all in for a very bumpy ride!

HP Clarifies Future Course

Hewlett-Packard has issued a clarification of its future course, which understandably was widely interpreted as "getting out of the PC business" and discontinuing webOS and the TouchPad. Evidently, the only true statement in the foregoing is "discontinuing the TouchPad." As for the PC business, the HP Personal Systems Group (PSG) is alive and well, and "You'll still be able to buy HP PC products and services through our supply chain partners and online, and you'll continue to receive great customer service." As for WebOS, it is still alive - "Although HP is winding down the device operations of our webOS division by October 31, 2011, we will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software."

"In a nutshell," the statement concludes, "we expect the new PSG—whatever form that will be—will continue to innovate with high-quality products and services to meet business and consumer needs. HP will continue to focus on innovative cloud solutions and services to help tame the explosive growth of data that our customers are experiencing."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

IBM Sterling Enables Mobile Modules as iTunes Apps

IBM's Sterling multichannel order management solutions has made a major commitment to the mobile platform and environment. To supplement Sterling's Order Management and Fulfillment Suite the company offers the IBM Sterling InFlight Data Management Mobile to enable B2B integration teams to search, view, track and monitor data processed through the Sterling Commerce integration as-a-Service platform and exchanged with their trading partners via a mobile device. The module is available as a free app in the iTunes store.

Other Sterling Commerce Mobile Commerce apps include:

Sterling Field Sales Mobile
Provides customers using Sterling Order Management timely access to product content, pricing and inventory availability information from a mobile device. This allows sales representatives to quickly and easily respond to customer inquiries from anywhere.

Sterling Order Management Mobile Framework
Provides users of Sterling Order Management with mobile commerce capabilities to build and deploy a branded mobile store presence supporting product search, inventory look-up, product information look-up, order capture and checkout, and order history look-up.

Sterling Store Associate Mobile
Provides  users of Sterling Order Management with more choice in how store associates access and use product and inventory availability information to handle customer inquiries and consummate the sale in a retail store setting.

Other Operations-Focused Mobile Applications from Sterling include:
Sterling Control Center Mobile
Provides users of Sterling Control Center with anywhere, anytime, mobile, handheld device access to file transfer system status, exception alerts, and system controls. File transfer support personnel benefit from using mobile access to ensure that decision-critical business information is securely delivered to the people and systems that need it.

Sterling Document Tracking Mobile
Provides users of Sterling Collaboration Network with anywhere, anytime, mobile handheld device access to monitor, search, review and manage document and trading partner activity

Sterling InFlight Data Management Mobile
Provides Users of Sterling B2B Integration as-a-Services products with anywhere, anytime, mobile handheld device access to search, view, track and monitor business critical documents processed by Sterling Commerce and exchanged with their trading partners.

Sterling Integrator Mobile
Enables users of Sterling Integrator to monitor key integration resources anywhere, anytime using their mobile handheld device to ensure that the most time- and content-critical business documents, transactions, and events are successfully exchanged on schedule.

Sterling Order Management Administrator Mobile
Gives users of Sterling Order Management anywhere, anytime access to system response time and performance information from their mobile handheld device to ensure that orders are processed and fulfilled on time.

Sterling TMS Carrier Mobile
Provides carrier users of Sterling Transportation Management System (Sterling TMS) with the ability to manage shipment tender requests between shippers and transportation carriers via a mobile handheld device. This enables carriers to respond immediately to shipment tender requests and report shipment status in real-time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crutchfield Does mComm 2.0

Crutchfield is one of the few multichannel merchants who have already revamped the first generation of their mCommerce site, according to an article in Internet Retailer.

Vers. 1.0 employed transcoding from Crutchfield's eComm site, and was not truly optimized for Smartphone use.  The new version was programmed in-house using HTML5, which the company is also using to redo its eCommerce platform. HTML5 allows Crutchfield to offer an mComm shipping calculator that uses the GPS technology built into smartphones to identify the customer's location and determine shipping costs as well as estimated time for delivery.

Click HERE for the full article.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

hybris Acquires iCongo

hybris, a leading multichannel commerce software vendor, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire iCongo, Inc., a Montreal, Canada-based company with complementary multichannel commerce software and services.  This transaction will reinforce hybris’s position, with over 350 B2C and B2B customers across the globe and a presence in 11 countries. The Company’s global operations will continue to be headquartered in Munich, Germany.  The senior management team from hybris will remain in place, and will be joined by senior management personnel from iCongo.

The combined companies hope for immediate and significant benefits for current and future customers, providing complete and modular multichannel commerce solutions through a single, agile, open platform powered by the highly successful hybris technology stack.

Existing customers of both companies will be able to benefit from this combined platform and the integration of order and warehouse management systems and other rich commerce functionality from the combined solution, which includes:

  • enhanced offerings for B2B and B2C commerce
  • mission-critical capabilities for integrating multichannel commerce across
        - eCommerce
        - mobile commerce
        - order management
        - warehouse management
        - product content management
        - marketing
        - point of sale

hybris will immediately offer a comprehensive managed services and cloud-based offering for customers and partners in addition to the on premise deployment option, and remains committed to a partner-centric delivery model, making the new, complete, multi-channel commerce solution accessible to its customers via more than 90 system integration partners.

“With this move hybris will further enhance its position as the one-stop shop for any company across the globe looking for a commerce solution that delivers a modern customer experience and efficient inventory management, which together result in increased customer retention, revenues and margins,” said Ariel Lüdi, CEO of hybris. “This is a terrific opportunity for our joint customer base and our partner channel to benefit from a broader footprint, both in terms of products and geographic presence. In addition, we will be able to jump start a managed services offering to provide customers with increased flexibility and choice.”

Steven Kramer, Co-Founder and President of iCongo, said; “The combined hybris and iCongo solution provides current and future customers with the fully-integrated, end-to-end, multi-channel commerce infrastructure required to capitalize on expectations for a seamless customer experience.  Channel-optimized touch points, central management of commerce logic, product and customer data, powerful cross-channel, distributed order management, and warehouse management are just a few highlights of the joint solutions capabilities.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Consumer Confidence In eCommerce Security Drops

According to a study of consumer sentiment toward online shopping and security released today by McAfee (a security system firm wholly owned by Intel)  and conducted by Harris Interactive, only about a third of online consumers believe that most Websites are safe for shopping, an 11 percent decrease since McAfee conducted the survey in 2009. 

The majority of online consumers, 84 percent, continue to have some level of concern when providing personal information online.

“While consumers are faced with more options than ever for shopping online, it’s clear that one of their biggest concerns – security – remains,” said Steve Petracca, senior vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee. “It is important for online retailers to recognize, understand and assuage these concerns in order to increase sales and earn trust from their customers.”

Persistent Concerns
The research showed that online consumers are more concerned about online shopping security than they were in 2009, despite advances in technology and in the popularity of online shopping. In fact, only six percent say they do not worry about security on the Internet.

The survey found that many online consumers would override their concerns about risks if they felt that they were receiving a substantial price discount. Despite their security concerns, four in 10 consumers admitted to having purchased from sites where they were unsure about the security of their personal information. In those cases, a discount in the 11-30 percent range is what drove them to make a purchase.

Increased Confidence in Trustmarks
At the same time that overall confidence is falling, consumer confidence in trustmarks is growing, especially for consumers shopping on small independent sites. According to security experts, SSL and a trustmark indicating a full privacy and data protection policy are the leading indicators that a site is trustworthy: 
  • Seventy-five percent of consumers indicate they would choose a site with a trustmark over a site without one; 
  • About one third of consumers would choose a small independent site with a trustmark over a larger well-known site when making a purchase;
  • Nearly four in 10 consumers indicate they might spend more money online if they had a guarantee of security;
  • About one-third of consumers indicate that they might even spend an additional 25 percent or more.
The Consumer Online Shopping survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of McAfee, between May 19 and May 31, among 605 adults, ages 18+, who shop online at least occasionally. McAfee was not identified as the sponsor of the research. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

McAfee SECURE Service
To address security concerns, survey sponsor McAfee developed the McAfee SECURE trustmark for sale to Web site owners. Sites that display a McAfee SECURE trustmark must pass rigorous daily tests for vulnerabilities that pose a threat to sensitive customer information. McAfee also conducts daily network perimeter scanning, testing for more than 40,000 network and Web application vulnerabilities, security testing to ensure protection against malware, and business practice reviews for Web site owners and online retailers. With the McAfee SECURE service, e-commerce merchants can also demonstrate PCI DSS compliance, the standard for the payment card industry.

The McAfee SECURE trustmark is displayed on more than 80,000 etailer Websites and also in search results enhanced by McAfee® SiteAdvisor® software, allowing merchants to be viewed prominently in those results. A/B testing performed by McAfee in 2009 found that on average sites displaying the McAfee SECURE trustmark saw a 12 percent increase in online sales conversions as compared to those sites that did not.

Pricing is based on the number of IP addresses and page views. For more information, see:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fight Fraud on a Global Scale

Carl Clump, chief executive of Retail Decisions, a payment fraud prevention provider, has a very insightful and useful article in Direct Commerce magazine on Fighting Fraud On a Global Scale. It's brief, concise, and actionable!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Netprospex Ranks Most Social Companies

Netprospex has produced an interesting graphic ranking the top companies leveraging social media in business.

Here's a sneak peak -

PCI SSC Issues Tokeninzation Guidelines

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council has issued guidelines for tokenization of credit card data in card-not-present transaction processing which confirm that a retailer can be "out of scope" if tokens are implemented properly.

To keep the merchant out of scope, the tokenization process must not be "reversed" for any reason, such as processing chargebacks or refunds, updating a credit card expiration date, or for marketing or analysis purposes, loyalty program management, and so on.

Data Tokenization Flowchart
The report summarizes characteristics of a tokenization system that meets PCI DSS requirements as follows:

1. The tokenization system does not provide PAN [Primary Account Number] in any response to any application, system, network, or user outside of the merchant’s defined CDE [Card Data Environment]. All tokenization components are located on secure internal networks that are isolated from any untrusted and out-of-scope networks.
3. Only trusted communications are permitted in and out of the tokenization system environment.
4. The tokenization solution enforces strong cryptography and security protocols to safeguard cardholder data when stored and during transmission over open, public networks.
5. The tokenization solution implements strong access controls and authentication measures in accordance with PCI DSS Requirements 7 and 8.
6. The tokenization system components are designed to strict configuration standards and are protected from vulnerabilities.
7. The tokenization solution supports a mechanism for secure deletion of cardholder data as required by a data-retention policy.
8. The tokenization solution implements logging, monitoring, and alerting as appropriate to identify any suspicious activity and initiate response procedures.

The document also details how to work with a TSP [Tokenization Service Provider].

The Council points out that "An important consideration when evaluating a tokenization solution is whether the token itself can be used in lieu of cardholder data to perform a transaction. Tokens that can be used as payment instruments (sometimes called "high-value tokens") could potentially be monetized or used to generate fraudulent transactions, and may therefore have the same value to an attacker as the data they are intended to replace. Tokenization solutions which support these types of tokens should have additional controls in place to detect and prevent attempted fraudulent activities. Additionally, tokens that can be used to initiate a transaction might be in scope for PCI DSS, even if they cannot directly be used to retrieve PAN or other cardholder data; merchants should therefore consult with their acquirer and/or the Payment Brands directly to determine specific requirements for tokens that can be used as payment instruments."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

VISA to Waive PCI Testing With Chip&Pin Terminals

Network World - VISA today announced plans that will let qualifying merchants in the US eliminate annual validation of their PCI compliance if they are using point-of-sale (POS) terminals that support the chip-based EMV payment-processing technology (instead of magnetic-stripe cards) as well as support the wireless standard called Near Field Communication (NFC) for mobile payments.

VISA says its incentive program will help prepare the nation's payment infrastructure for the arrival of NFC-based mobile payments by building the necessary infrastructure to accept and process chip transactions that support a PIN at point of sale.

For more information, see VISA's Information Bulletin.

Transair Implements Elucid

Sanderson, a publicly-owned supplier of multi-channel retail software solutions, has recently implemented their Elucid solution at Transair, the largest and most respected supplier of pilot flight equipment and aviation accessories in Europe.

Transair manages a successful mailorder operation, a rapidly expanding eCommerce channel, a wholesale distribution division, and four retail stores at Shoreham Airport, Gloucestershire Airport, Wycombe Air Park and Cambridge Street, London.

Following a review of their IT infrastructure, Transair recognized the need to replace their existing system and began searching for an IT solution to support their expanding and complex organization. The Elucid multi-channel retail solution from Sanderson was chosen for its functionality and flexibility to support multiple sales channels, underpinned by an integrated back-office system.

The first phase of the project focused on implementation of Elucid back-office at the Transair head office and warehouse facilities, closely followed by the roll-out of EPOS at their four stores. The final phase of the implementation was the launch of the new Trainsair eCommerce site, ensuring a seamless multichannel operation.

Transair is experiencing a number of company-wide benefits since implementing the Sanderson single integrated system – increased visibility across sales channels, more accurate stock levels, better customer information, and improved communication across the company. Elucid provides detailed customer profiling and analysis to drive marketing campaigns and equips Transair with essential management information for monitoring performance in key areas such as warehousing, procurement and finance.

Webtrends Acquires Reinvigorate

Webtrends, a global leader in unified mobile, social and Web analytics and engagement, has acquired real-time analytics company Reinvigorate from Media Temple Ventures to round out its analytics portfolio and become the first analytics company to offer real-time, deep historical analytics for mobile, social and Web channels. Reinvigorate’s solution also brings new data visualization technologies (heat maps, link maps and visitor path analysis) to Webtrends’s portfolio, enhancing their analytics solution.

Lands' End Using Demandware for European eComm Site

Demandware, Inc., a leader in on-demand eCommerce, has announced that global multichannel clothing merchant Lands’ End has selected the Demandware Commerce platform to support its multi-country business model in Austria, Germany, France, UK and Sweden.

“We needed an eCommerce partner who would be able to support our immediate business needs and long-term goals,” said Steve Cretney, CIO, Lands’ End.

Proof of Concept
Lands’ End tested the capabilities of Demandware’s on-demand commerce platform by building a proof-of-concept site for the Sweden launch before committing to a global expansion. During the pilot project, Lands’ End evaluated how effective Demandware was in meeting the following criteria:
  • Response time
  • Ability to launch by deadline
  • Site compatibility with Lands’ End integrations
  • Overall user experience
The pilot implementation began in July of last year and went live three months later in October 2010.

Reports Cretney, “The launch of our Swedish site proved that the Demandware Commerce platform and the cloud-based model would support and allow for the quick deployments we were looking for to support our business goals. With Demandware, our team is able to easily launch multiple sites.”

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Digby & Usablenet Powering mCommerce Sites

Two mCommerce updates:

1) Cabela’s, the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise, has used Digby as their strategic partner for an mCommerce site. The mobile optimized Website features such key elements as large rich product images, detailed product descriptions, complete site search, shop by category, store locator, access to Cabela’s CLUB visa and their full ecommerce site, an FAQ, and ratings and reviews. Click here for more information.

2) Aeropostale Inc., a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories targeting 14 to 17 year-olds, has launched an Android app developed by Usablenet that lets consumers shop their favorite looks no matter where they are across multiple channels, including mobile phones, mobile applications, tablets, Facebook, in-store kiosks, and other platforms. Consumers can shop by category, browse in-store coupons, track orders, find the nearest location and see what’s currently in their cart. Shoppers can also use the search function to look for a specific item. The mobile site uses HTML5 as part of the Usablenet Mobile 2.0 platform.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shopatron Launches 1TEAM Elite

In January of this year Shopatron, which coordinates direct-to-consumer fulfillment for retailers, announced the Shopatron 3.0 commitment to rich customer experiences.

In the five months since the announcement, Shopatron has been at work delivering on the promises of their 5-point customer experience: star-white-5points
"We have been getting great feedback from clients, partners and customers on the upgrades that have been implemented so far with Shopatron 3.0."

Some enhancements that have been delivered or are soon to be launched in support of this commitment include system speed and security enhancements, PayPal checkout, guest checkout, instant order fulfillment, the customer experience bonus tool and the Fulfillment Partner of the Month program. Over the next weeks you will be learning more about instant order fulfillment, which will speed orders through the assignment process, and the customer experience bonus tool, which will allow merchants to reward their best fulfillment partners.

Shopatron has also simplified its fee structure with the 1TEAM program as a framework for customer service both online and in stores.

1TEAMelite.png"One of the biggest rewards we added to the program is the opportunity for Shopatron fulfillment partners to qualify for our 1TEAM Elite program," the company reports. 1TEAM Elite rewards fulfillment partners who consistently provide excellent customer service. Partners that meet the criteria for this program enjoy significantly lower fees.

Industry research has shown that trust, ease-of-use, rich content, and flexible delivery options are key to sales and customer loyalty. Shopatron's efforts to make fulfillment easier and more streamlined for its retail partners are intended to support "an unparalleled customer experience"

Riding With the Devil: The Enterprise Systems Dilemma

In the next month or two I will be writing a brief eBook entitled "Riding With the Devil: The Systems Dilemma and Tough Truths About Enterprise Software."

It will cover two main themes:
(A) the vast gulf between customized/modified enterprise solutions (which are fraught with bugs, slow to implement, and difficult to support) and those systems that rely on integration of packaged applications with very little if any modification except for the User Interface (and even then, kept to a minimum). Obviously, the former tries to comply with the user's business rules, while the latter usually requires significant changes in business methods. Neither alternative is optimum, but I will explore the spectrum that lies along these two poles.

(B) Agile Software Development, and whether using Rapid Application Development approaches offers a useful "Third Way," or only opens Pandora's Box, pushing companies deeper into the mire.

I invite your comments and insights on both of these topics.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Demandware Files IPO

Demandware, a leading eCommerce solution provider, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

eComm Sales Solid in 2Q11 for Leading Retailers

The Mercent eCommerce Performance Index (MEPI), a report that measures the year-over-year growth of same-seller gross merchandise value (GMV) of national brand name retailers selling across eCommerce sales channels, today announced that for the second quarter FY2011, same-seller GMV for retailers selling through the Mercent Retail online channel management platform was up 17% relative to 2Q2010.

Same-seller GMV for Mercent clients participating in Amazon's "Selling on Amazon" third-party marketplace program 35% and through all Google retail sales channels grew in the second quarter  21%. (*Note: Historical MEPI figures previously reported on only Google Product Search.  The 2Q2011 MEPI reports results collectively for Google’s retailer focused programs: Google Product Search, Google Product Listing Ads and Google Affiliate Network).

“The Mercent eCommerce Performance Index reflects solid but slightly decelerating year-over-year growth in retail eCommerce sales, with same-seller GMV sales growth of 17% in 2Q2011,” commented Eric Best, Mercent CEO.  “Based on Mercent’s data and market analysis, overall 2Q2011 performance figures reflect market factors that include: (1) continued challenging FY2010 baseline comparables across all channels; (2) evolving and maturing channel performance dynamics, most notably as they relate to Google and its algorithm changes, stricter seller/advertiser data policies, and shift toward more aggressive traffic and ad monetization in retail; and (3) ongoing price and offer sensitivity on the part of the consumer.”

Across its portfolio of more than 170 major retailers sourcing and processing a forecasted $1.2B in FY2011 GMV through the Mercent Retail™ SAAS platform, Mercent observed other notable trends and drivers in 2Q2011 - reflecting trailing eCommerce performance in the second quarter and setting the stage for the remainder of FY2011:

  • In line with 1Q2011 figures, year-over-year same seller growth only slightly decelerated from April 2011 through June 2011, reaffirming challenging FY2010 comparables; evolving and maturing channel performance dynamics, particularly related to Google and its algorithm changes, stricter seller policies, and platform focus shift to more aggressive channel monetization; and lastly, (3) price conscientious consumers.
  • Amazon’s third-party seller marketplace remains the consistent top performer, leading the eCommerce market in both volume and growth, delivering retail sales results that steadily outpace organic eCommerce.
  • Growth from Google’s free product advertising program, Google Product Search, shows significant deceleration, while growth of paid retail ad programs including Google Product Listing Ads and Product Extensions to AdWords, continue to demonstrate acceleration.
  • eBay continues to generate growth in line with organic eCommerce industry trends with 2Q2011 stronger than 1Q2011.  Further, with recent acquisition news, eBay has potential to accelerate marketplace performance, specifically in fixed-price listings and in the upcoming holiday season.
  • Shopping engines and CSEs continue to face headwinds, trailing the industry overall and posting low single digit growth rates in 2Q2011.
  • Mercent observes that retailer investment in eCommerce growth is focused on both tactical programs like behaviorally targeted display advertising and price optimization (catering to price conscientious consumers) and emerging strategic investments in hyper-growth channels that include social networks, and local and mobile shopping programs. Based on analysis of current and historical MEPI data, we anticipate the 2011 holiday selling season to deliver solid double-digit figures trending slightly weaker to in-line with holiday 2010.
Mercent eCommerce Performance Index™ Methodology
The methodology for the Mercent eCommerce Performance Index comparison matches all prior studies and reports retail transactions driven through Mercent’s network of online shopping and advertising channels, including comparison shopping engines (CSEs), third-party seller marketplaces, and affiliate programs. To ensure continuity and to eliminate artifact associated with new customer ramp, the Mercent eCommerce Performance Index only references retailers live on the Mercent Retail platform prior to and during the entire reported term. Information regarding Mercent Retail shopping feed management technology, Mercent Performance marketing services, and the complete list of online marketing channels in the Mercent Shopping Network are available at

About Mercent
According to Mercent, the company "ensures the world’s leading retailers are visible, competitive and profitable wherever consumers are shopping online" through paid search, comparison shopping channels, online marketplaces, and social media outlets.  Through its Mercent Retail™ SAAS technology and Mercent Performance™ professional services, Mercent helps the world’s most successful online merchants including 1-800-Flowers, Bass Pro Shops, GUESS?, L'Occitane USA, REI and others, maximize their online shopping channel marketing performance to drive inventory velocity, customer acquisition, revenues and profits. Supported online shopping destinations include, Google, eBay, Bing, comparison shopping engines (CSEs), affiliate networks, social shopping sites, and paid search and display advertising campaigns.  The company was founded by a seasoned team of veterans and is a venture-funded company based in Seattle, WA.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Endeca Offers New "InFront" CXM Solution

The new "InFront" solution from Endeca is a customer experience management (CXM) platform designed to power adaptive digital experiences for customers through multiple channels, integrating backend technologies and data sources with an eCommerce site to deliver enhanced customer experiences to display to the shopper relevant content and merchandising across unpredictable customer paths.

What's more, retailers can create and manage experiences without IT assistance, and deliver content without having to predict customer paths or set up scenarios in advance.

Utilizing all underlying product data and content, merchants are able to influence customer behavior regardless of where or how customers choose to engage: online, on-the-go on their smartphones, or on a kiosk in a retail store. And with integrated analytics and agile business user tools, InFront solutions help businesses adapt to changing market needs, influence customer behavior across channels, and scale a relevant and targeted experience for every customer.
 Integrates with Other Endeca Solutions
Put the business in control: business teams want to make customers happy, but they also need to meet business goals. Using Endeca's Page Builder lets business teams guide and influence customers along every unpredictable path or unforeseen context with advanced merchandising and content targeting tools.

Leave no content and data behind: consumers expect access to relevant and intelligent experiences, wherever and whenever they find you. Page Builder lets businesses get personal by extending the investments they’ve already made in content, technology, and data to target and personalize every click. And InFront Intelligence helps business teams make decisions that drive business performance, by providing insight into what’s happening inside and across the entire organization.

The new release also is expected to provide fast insights into all customer touch points by leveraging Endeca’s Business Intelligence product, Latitude

Endeca's solutions give IT departments the agility to adapt to diverse and changing information through its MDEX Engine technology, a patented hybrid search-analytical database. This drives the industry-leading Guided Navigation user experience while consistently helping end-users find the information they need and understand what they found. Of the top 100 online retailers, nearly half use Endeca’s technology to make products more "findable," including,, and The Home Depot.

eGain Offers Interactive Sales Suite

eGain, the Mountain View, CA, provider of cloud and on-site customer interaction software, now offers the eGain Interactive Sales Suite for transforming B2C websites into interactive shopping destinations.

The solution helps eBusiness and marketing teams quickly deploy, assess, and refine customer engagement strategies with contextual promotions and proactive assistance. As an integral part of eGain’s "Customer Interaction Hub" solution set, the new suite works seamlessly with eGain's service applications to ensure consistent customer experience at all touchpoints.

The need for an agile Web sales and service strategy
Despite escalating investment in online initiatives, B2C businesses struggle to keep up with proliferating touchpoints and rapidly evolving interaction preferences. Abandoned shopping carts, discarded forms, and fractured experiences are still the norm. eGain Interactive Sales Suite addresses these challenges by enabling deployment of holistic customer engagement strategies with a solution that is both quick and complete.

“The multichannel Web is rapidly becoming the central point for business-to-consumer interactions,” said Johan Jacobs, Research Director for Gartner. “Organizations that do not focus on leveraging web channels for unified sales, marketing, and service will struggle with customer engagement and ownership."

The Interactive Sales Suite enables Websites with rich interaction choices by means of the following products, all built on a eGain’s knowledge-powered customer interaction platform:
  • eGain® Offers™ to enable proactive, real-time, rule-based offers to engage Website visitors; offers include coupons, promotions, personalized content, contextual self-service, and agent assistance.
  • eGain® Social™ to monitor social media, proactively publish offers, and privately engage with prospects.
  • eGain® Multibrowse™ to enable customers and phone or chat agents to jointly navigate and fill forms on any Website securely in real-time with no downloads required.
  • eGain® Chatbot™ for avatar-based, brand-aligned natural language conversations.
  • eGain® Chat™ and eGain® ClickToCall™ to provide Website visitors the ability to chat or request a callback.
  • eGain® Notify™ to offer customers the ability to sign up for multichannel sales and service alerts across social networks, mobile apps, voice updates, email, and SMS.

eGain Interactive Sales Suite enables B2C marketing and sales teams to easily test alternative customer engagement strategies.

No IT help is needed to deploy, measure, and refine website offers, except a single-line Javascript addition to the website footer. Users get out-of-the-box A/B testing capability and a fully configured customer engagement dashboard. In addition, businesses can extract unique customer insight using the eGain Multichannel Analytics capability.

Going beyond proactive chat, the eGain solution spans all assistance options (chatbot, chat, click-to-call, cobrowse, and FAQs) as well as personalized content (coupons, promotions, and newsletter subscriptions).

It is also the industry’s only suite to include next-generation cobrowsing and multimedia chatbot capabilities.
Web Analytics