Online Commerce from A to Z
Website Magazine editors hit the aisles at Shop.org in our hometown of Chicago last week, and as most of our readers would expect, the buzzwords surrounding the annual summit were similar to what we’ve been hearing all year: omnichannel and personalization.
The question becomes, however, how do retailers actually move from A to Z in their digital aspirations? Here are a couple dozen providers who would like to help you find out. All of the companies listed here were exhibitors at the show and some of them were interviewed one on one.
Sixty percent of retailers believe that competitor pricing information is a very valuable component of their pricing strategies, but many enterprises don’t have the data they need to offer effective pricing. 360pi provides that intelligence to medium- and large-sized retailers, so they can make smarter decisions about their pricing. Its quick-start program enables merchants to monitor up to 5,000 products. Retailers simply pick the products and their competitor sites and can be up and running in a few weeks, according to 360pi VP of Marketing Jenn Markey.
360pi is also at the forefront of helping retailers combat showrooming (when consumers shop at brick and mortars but then find the lowest price online) by arming in-store associates with real-time competitive price intelligence to respond to price-match claims. 360mobile is supported on smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops or in-store kiosks.
The home of the world champion Chicago Blackhawks deserves an equally impressive website. Americaneagle.com recently launched UnitedCenter.com, a website for the country’s largest arena where the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play. Website development company Americaneagle.com recently launched the new, graphically pleasing site that is no responsive.
Many of the world’s largest retailers use Bazaarvoice to drive more traffic and conversion on their e-commerce sites. The way it works is each month, more than 400 million people view and share authentic opinions, questions and experiences about 20 million products on the Bazaarvoice network.
Announced post-Shop.org, ClickTale is offering a new free tool that allows businesses to view all user activity on their websites - every mouse move, scroll, click, double-click, etc. – in order to identify and correct Web design mistakes and increase conversion rates. ClickTale invented ‘in-page analytics’ years ago, and has amassed more than 80,000 clients for its pay model. The new Priceless Plan levels the playing field for all businesses – even those who can’t afford a full website optimization program.
Drop-ship merchandising and fulfillment platform CommerceHub announced the release of ProductStream, a solution that helps retailers automate the exchange and management of product item data, images and content between retailers and suppliers. With the wide variety of formats and requirements for publishing products on different storefronts, platforms such as CommerceHub will likely see an increase in awareness from serious retailers in the future.
This mobile technology provider helps retailers defend their positions (those with brick-and-mortar locations) and connect their on- and offline channels, to find new ways to engage with consumers in stores. Digby rolled out Localpoint in Jan. 2012, which is now the mainstay of the company and its primary focus. This is an opt-in service and part of a retailer’s branded application. Cabela’s is a big customer of Digby. The Localpoint technology is inside that app and helps the outdoor retailer offer real-time triggers, such as when a customer enters or exits the store. Those triggers can be used to drive an offer or a message that is sent to the customer through the app.
When asked, Digby CEO David Sikora told Website Magazine that these rich apps are extremely privacy friendly for consumers, because they are 100 percent opted in. At Shop.org, Sikora also spoke to Website Magazine about the investments that Kohl’s is making around its branded app. The department store has around 30 million people who have its branded credit card, so Kohl’s views that number as their market for their app.
Additionally, while Digby is not a payments company, it recommends attaching digital offers directly to credit cards to reduce redemption pains – like having to train tens of thousands of associates on how to redeem a coupon or voucher – and even costs. Sikora advises to look to Starbucks as a company that is leading the way in mobile payments.
Boy did eBay have a presence at Shop.org and, well, in Chicago in general. Days before Shop.org, eBay acquired Chicago-based Braintree in a reportedly $800 million deal. Braintree enables companies to accept payments in their apps or websites at a 2.9 percent plus $.30 per transaction rate.
More than 500 brands measure the customer experience with ForeSee, but it’s mobile business that is building significant momentum in 2013. As of Sept. 26, ForeSee has collected more than 2.5 million mobile surveys from measuring more than 100 mobile sites and apps spanning numerous industry segments, such as retail, education, news media, healthcare and professional services.
One solution for one business is the idea behind this all-in-one e-commerce suite designed for multi-channel retailers.
HiConversion's technology uses real-time adaptive multivariate optimization and predictive modeling to increase revenue for top online merchants like PUMA, DKNY and National Geographic.
With its acquisition by SAP all but complete, Hybris can now turn its attention to what it does best - providing a truly enterprise-ready, robust and scalable platform for multi-channel retailers who understand how the concept of unified commerce is changing the landscape, how they go to market today, and how they will need to grow in the future.
iProspect’s offerings span performance marketing including paid and natural search, performance display, content generation, analytics, social media management, and structured data and feeds.
On the heels of Shop.org, social login provider Janrain released date for Q3 2013 that reveals the battle between identity providers is heating up.
Kount delivers an all-in-one fraud and risk SaaS-based platform for online companies to simplify their fraud operations while improving bottom line results.
The email solution provider is ramping up its efforts to prepare merchants for the busy holiday seasons with its holiday toolkit.
More than 200,000 businesses run on Magento and there’s a few reasons why. First is flexibility, as retailers can create the look and feel, content and functionality of what they want for their online stores. Another reason, according to Ben Pressley, Head of Worldwide Sales at Magento, is time to market, because their product is feature-rich out of the box and they have a very rich ecosystem of third-party extensions. Pressley told Website Magazine that the cost of ownership is also far less expensive than competitors’.
For 2014, Pressley says that merchants should expect continued momentum and innovation out of Magento, and he is excited by growth in terms of emerging markets. In Australia, for instance, Magento has a 42 percent market share. Pressley reports there are some very sophisticated use-cases of Magento in Australia.
At Shop.org, Monetate released two updated to its Acceleration Cloud: Monetate Email and Monetate Display. Read more about it at Open-Time Personalization Comes to Email.
Like in Magento's case, Australia was also a sidebar of conversation in Website Magazine’s interview with NetSuite General Manager of Retail Branden Jenkins. NetSuite recently helped Williams-Sonoma expand to the country with four stores and four separate brands in months versus the projected timeline of years with another platform.
The real digital beauty of Australia, which is said to be about 5-7 years behind the U.S. in terms of shopping sophistication, is that many retailers there can learn from the growing pains of e-commerce in America, especially concerning omnichannel. They can start out of the gates with a single platform, like NetSuite, that delivers a centralized look at POS, e-commerce, CRM and marketing, merchandising and order management, financials, and warehouse management.
Could you get one of your brand advocates to sell a $39,000 camera for you? That’s exactly what “Jess” (a real person we actually met) did for one of Needle’s customers. Needle works by recruiting brands’ strongest advocates, like Jess, and gets them to work for companies, answering questions, making recommendations and being passionate in online conversations with like-minded customers. Needle calls it “guided shopping” and it’s a proactive approach to addressing customer concerns pre-sale rather than post-sale.
OpinionLab is a leader in omnichannel Voice of Customer (VoC) feedback solutions, with patented real-time listening technology for every brand touchpoint. The VoC platform behind the familiar [+] symbol helps organizations collect, understand, and leverage both structured and unstructured customer data.
PrestaShop’s free e-commerce solution provides everything you need to open, operate and maintain an online store.
Qubit can improve conversion rates by consolidating visitor analytics, A/B testing, personalization and tag management within a single integrated platform.
RedEye offers behavior email marketing by collecting data on individual consumer behavior and feeding it into their database. The company considers itself to be quite affordable.
Shoutlet is an independent cloud-based social marketing platform that enables marketers to publish, engage, and measure social marketing campaigns and activities on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and YouTube.
Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem for Internet retailers, but the savviest digital merchants are actively engaging reluctant shoppers and visitors with a combination of real-time offers and data-driven intelligence. SeeWhy, one of the true innovators in the remarketing space, is focused on leveraging its powerful processing architecture to help retailers not just understand buyer behavior, but capitalize on it.
There may be no one better to answer questions about your products than shoppers who have purchased and used them. This, of course, is the very idea behind user-generated reviews, but TurnTo is different. It’s social Q&A for your online store. When shoppers submit questions about products, the questions are emailed to selective opted-in past customers who actually bought the product. Those customers then return to the store site to answer the shopper questions. Answers are then added to the product pages and emailed to the shoppers. TurnTo finds that 41 percent of all qualified questions get their first social answer in less than an hour. The network also finds that shoppers who ask social questions are 10-15 times more likely to purchase a product.
uTest provides” in-the-wild” testing services for mobile, web and desktop applications. By leveraging a community of more than 80k professional testers from 190 countries, uTest helps companies test their products under real-world conditions.
Virtual Piggy, Inc. is an e-commerce solution that enables kids to manage and spend money within parental controls. It enables parents to teach financial management through the use of a secure family wallet that is available online or via mobile and is always 100 percent free to use. Retailers like Claire’s and Fathead use it.
As the name indicates, WorldPay is a global payments service. It supports the complex payment processing requirements of the largest enterprises, processing millions of payments every day. They accept and reconcile a breadth of international and country-specific payment methods in numerous currencies and languages.
Do you have an e-commerce solution that starts with an X? Let our editors know by commenting below!
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