The Latest and Greatest in Internet Retail
Industry trade shows provide a good place for professionals to connect with one another and obtain new sales opportunities. These events, however, can also be a great place for companies to drive brand awareness.
Most recently, Website Magazine attended IRCE in our hometown of Chicago, where our editors discovered some noteworthy brands and technologies that should be on the radar of small and large merchants alike. We brought back 24 companies we think you should check out, either because they recently launched a new product, provided insights into Internet retail trends or are just plain awesome.
Software professionals building and delivering applications should learn more about SmartBear Software’s new AlertSite UXM, which can help them focus on delivering superior customer experiences. AlertSite UXM is an easy-to-deploy platform that unifies load testing, synthetic and real transaction monitoring in a single platform delivered as either a SaaS or on premise offering. AlertSite UXM provides complete monitoring and transaction tracing capabilities, not just for applications, but also APIs to assist in rapid root cause analysis.
Amazon, Groupon, Walgreens, Cartwheel and Etsy round out the top five retail apps in mobile (iPhone, iPad and Google Play), according to App Annie’s Q1 2014 Index. Commentary included in the report indicated that some of the top apps like Walgreens (3), Walmart (6), Target (7) and The Home Depot (16) have enhanced their mobile apps with tools to connect shoppers with physical storefronts, like built-in scanners for product searches, location-based coupons, shopping lists linked to store maps, etc.
Artifi is a SaaS-based product customization engine that launched at IRCE. The platform works on both desktops and mobile devices, and helps businesses deliver a better experience by allowing merchants to empower their customers through product customization. In doing so, merchants have a better chance at improving site engagement metrics and increasing conversion rates. Additionally, Artifi integrates with e-commerce platforms like Demandware, Magento and more.
Cake is a SaaS platform that provides insights and real-time tracking technology to help marketers understand the customer journey across channels. Through the platform, marketers can optimize their campaigns for better performance and track performance marketing initiatives. In fact, Cake offers a variety of affiliate tracking features, including fraud protection with real-time alerts, impression tracking, cookie-less tracking, campaign testing features, etc.
Amy Larson, vice president of digital at The Children’s Place, and CQuotient’s founder and CEO, Rama Ramakrishnan, co-presented at IRCE. In the presentation, “Beat the Competition by Personalizing Content and Communication,” the pair discussed how retailers can implement next-generation personalization by mining data from every consumer touchpoint. The session explored how retailers can use the data they already have to understand each individual customer, and create personalized content and communications across channels. Learn more in, “Retail’s Email Moment: How Personalization Can Revitalize Retailer’s Email Strategy.”
Someone has been busy; eBay Enterprise announced that it will be providing regional fulfillment services for Walgreens and Paula’s Choice for faster and more affordable product delivery, which comes on the heels of expanded operations in Canada. The company also recently announced the availability of two new extensions for Magento merchants in the Magento Connect Marketplace: the eBay Enterprise Display Extension, enabling retailers to deliver personalized product-specific ads to retarget lost customers; and the eBay Enterprise Affiliate Extension, offering reporting tools to analyze, track and launch affiliate programs and easy integration with eBay Enterprise’s network of more than 200,000 affiliates.
At IRCE, eCommera released its Global Retailer Survey entitled “Survival of the Fittest.” A survey of more than 300 retailers in the U.S. France and the U.K found, among other stats, that 66 percent of U.S. respondents see a need for retailers to re-think their businesses to compete with Amazon (compared with just 24 percent in the U.K. and 40 percent in France). Additionally, more than 70 percent of U.S. retailers and 68 percent of U.K. retailers plan on “some” or “substantial” hiring in marketing over the next two years.
In coordination with IRCE, eGifter launched a digital gift card platform that integrates with e-commerce point-of-sale technologies to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with a solution for implementing digital gift cards. The platform enables retailers to sell and reload digital cards from their websites, fan pages, mobile apps or brick-and-mortar locations.
Endicia, provider of e-commerce shipping technologies and services, launched a “Pay-on-Use Returns” solution, which aims to help online retailers save time and money, as well as improve the return experience for online shoppers. Through the solution, return shipping labels are not pre-paid. Instead, postage is only deducted if and when a return label is scanned into the mail stream, which means that merchants don’t have to spend time requesting refunds for return labels that go unused.
Marketers can build and publish landing pages in minutes without any IT support or coding with GetResponse’s new Landing Page Creator 2.0. Aside from its low price point ($15-$50 a month), the new feature provides a drag-and-drop editing for editing and customizing templates, more than 100 high-converting landing page templates with matching thank you pages, easy-to-add video and images (with more than 1,000 free photos), responsive Web design, etc.
INetU debuted its PCI Compliance dashboard at IRCE 2014, which helps clients maintain PCI compliance through evaluation and monitoring of their systems, and compiles the results in a simple interface to ease the burden of managing compliance for retailers and other e-commerce companies that accept credit card transactions.
Insite’s new platform, Insite Commerce 3.6, introduces capabilities to simplify the e-commerce experience through responsive design and support for localization. Insite Software has also recently extended the platform’s functionality to leverage the personalization capabilities from the Sitecore Digital Marketing System. Together, they have developed a way to integrate e-commerce technology with Web content management systems.
Magento Enterprise 1.14 and Community Edition 1.9 were launched in May and touted at IRCE, drastically reducing the barrier for merchants to get a tablet- and smartphone-friendly responsive site. The new editions also integrate Bill Me Later and PayPal Express Checkout empowering merchants to further streamline checkout.
Popular commerce solutions provider MarketLive unveiled version 14.1 of its e-commerce platform during IRCE. The new version features Responsive Commerce technology, including responsive design templates that can help merchants deliver a better experience across devices. In addition, the new release includes merchant administrative upgrades as well as enhancements that enable rapid extension and upgrading of the platform.
Just released, The Ecommerce Quarterly Q1 2014 report, analyzes a random sample of more than 600M online shopping experiences using “same store” data across each calendar quarter. In Q1 2014 email continued to outpace advertising, search and social as the top Add to Cart Rate referrer, and outpaced social and advertising in driving traffic to retailer’s websites (but not search).
It’s no secret that B2B buyers are expecting B2C-like commerce experiences but the former often has more complexities than a typical e-commerce site. Available now, NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce Implementation Service provides a Web store for distributors that is loaded with features and functionality to reduce complexities for the company and improve the buying experience for the clients. The new offering can help jumpstart e-commerce for distributors looking to expand online to reach new markets and new customers, grow revenue, reduce the administrative costs of phone, email, direct and fax orders, and provide greater ease and convenience of account administration for existing customers.
PowerReviews has been around the block, but the technology that helps brands and retailers better engage their consumers (it has more than 22 million consumer reviews) has found a new home. Consumer reviews platform Viewpoints has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PowerReviews from Bazaarvoice. With the acquisition, the companies will unite under the PowerReviews brand as a leader in the consumer engagement and customer reviews market.
PriceWaiter is a commerce solution that enables retailers to add “name your price” functionality to their websites. Through the platform, merchants can incorporate a “make an offer” widget into their product pages. From there, consumers can make product price offers and merchants can either accept, reject or counter-offer through the PriceWaiter dashboard. The platform provides offer management capabilities as well as insights and analytics. Moreover, the solution helps retailers to get around M.A.P. (minimal advertised price) policies, as it enables merchants and consumers to agree on prices privately.
Purolator International is a parcel and freight delivery services provider. Recently, the company unveiled a solution called PuroPost, which is a B2C solution for delivery from the U.S. to Canada. The solution provides guaranteed service to residential locations in Canada within 2-8 business days. Through the solution merchants can reach up to 34 million Canadians. Plus, PuroPost provides Canadian consumers with notifications when their packages are shipped and again when deliveries are made.
Debuted at IRCE, Inventory Lookup by Shopatron is an API key that retailers can plug into their websites to get a “Find in Store” product locator up and running in the same day. A product like this could take plenty of time and money for retailers to build their own, but Shopatron is offering the feature free, even for non-clients. World Market & Sport Chalet are currently using the feature as clients.
Adding more visual information to an e-commerce site has been proven to increase conversions and reduce product returns. Snap36 photographers shoot 360-degree and 3-D product photography in its Chicago studio using state of the art machinery and an automated workflow. The robotic turntable (shown below) was on display at IRCE.
For many, social commerce is an untapped revenue source. Social Annex is looking to change that with the introduction of an ROI-driven Visual Commerce suite. To maximize the potential of Instagram, Social Annex’s Visual Commerce suite includes tools like Instagram Curated Galleries, Social Curated Products, Social Activity Feed, Products your friends like, Popular products in your area and Social Wishlist. These tools are designed to create a visual immersive onsite experience that engages shoppers up to and at the point of sale.
Trustpilot is an open online consumer review platform that has made a splash in Denmark and is looking to do the same in the United States. Through the platform, businesses can collect verified reviews, as well as respond to and share reviews. Plus, business owners can connect all reviews to an order ID to make it easier to identify customers and reply to them directly. It is also important to note that Trustpilot has a licensing agreement with Google, which can help merchants achieve Seller Ratings in Google Shopping and related AdWords ads.
Product review software provider Yotpo launched a premium product suite for small businesses last week. Through the solution, small businesses are equipped with tools that can help them drive traffic and increase sales. One of the suite’s most notable features is its integration with Google Search. The integration with Google helps merchants boost their search rankings, as it features detailed product information in search results including a product’s average review score. Plus, Yotpo provides data to Google’s Seller Ratings, which show up in AdWords campaigns.