B2B just got a whole lot easier with IBM Commerce

This is a big moveservices_WebSphereCommerce for IBM Commerce. You will be seeing some cool videos coming soon with the new B2B functionality. Here are some key quotes from the announcement:

Available this Wednesday, IBM B2B Commerce transforms the complex B2B buying process by providing customers with a more engaging and simplified experience that ensures they can easily find and purchase the products they need across any channel or device. B2B organizations can quickly build these advanced B2B digital storefronts in just minutes with no technical experience required. – link

….

While the U.S. B2B ecommerce market was predicted to reach $559 billion in 2013 according to Forrester Research[1] – more than twice as big as B2C ecommerce sales – a vast technology gap remains in how businesses engage, buy and sell products and services from one another. – link

Also keep in mind, this new store front capability brings the traditional B2C shopping experience to the B2B experience along with all the organizational management and ordering features you would expect from a traditional B2B store. Here are some great statistics from Hubspot that prove more B2B companies are moving to this model:

  • 68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion. (MarketingSherpa) twitter-bird-logo-blue
  • 37% of B2B marketers are using marketing automation to generate leads. (MarketingProfstwitter-bird-logo-blue
  • 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Aberdeen) twitter-bird-logo-blue
  • B2B companies place a higher value on educational formats like blogging and webinars, whereas consumer businesses are slightly more willing to experiment with advanced digital formats like interactive content and online tools. (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014)
Short URL: http://bit.ly/1uRCMNl

Integrated content management and WebSphere Commerce Workspaces!

content_logo_coremedia_gr_1spalte

One of the really big problems in the eCommerce space is you may have a custom or enterprise content management system and a really great eCommerce platform like WebSphere Commerce but the two are rarely ever connected into a single approval process. Workspaces are essentially the “sandbox” and approval process for publishing products, content, etc to your site where you can schedule it to be released on a particular day after approval – or have it released on approval. The workspace is sort of a sandbox of changes where a team can work on the site collaboratively and see the other changes in the system.

You may recall this video series I did about CoreMedia’s Live Context integration with WebSphere Commerce about a year ago, click here for the video series. Well, CoreMedia is back and with an even more important integration in my opinion – Workspaces!

In this video I show how CoreMedia Live Context has been integrated with WebSphere Commerce Workspaces for approval flow and staging.

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1xLtC5O

Great mobile application for Black Friday

I was sent a story idea for a mobile application call Zoomingo and I will say upfront that if someone pitches me an application or story idea I really have to like it to blog about it. This application fits the bill. I installed it and immediately found value with it. What is cool, as you can see from my screen shots below is you can get a glimpse into Black Friday deals.

Zoomingo tracks and displays Black Friday sales as soon as the information is available – the only shopping app that displays local sales and offers from more than 100 national retailers at more than 70,000 retail outlets throughout the nation.

What you get are weekly Ads for Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Macy’s, Forever 21, H&M, CVS & Kohl’s.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.36.15 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.36.36 PM  Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.37.08 PM

 

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1AjoIz5

Afraid big brother is tracking your online activity? Then check out Tor …maybe

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.56.59 AMWith all the worries that big brother is looking at your online activity something like Tor may just be the answer to online anonymity. The announcement that Verizon is planning to have a perma-cookie tracking ID placed on your phone – even when in private browsing mode – is pretty disconcerting in my opinion and clearly shows big companies are moving in the direction of eliminating anonymity. Tor is 100% open source and works on pretty much all operating systems. Facebook recently announced support for the dark network (link). Tor must be raising eye-brows because even the TSA is interested in this technology.

TOR’s privacy enabling software is designed to mask the source and destination of internet traffic. Originally funded by the US Navy as “The Onion Routing protocol” to help government operatives and employees working in potentially hostile areas, it has come to be used by a wide range of activists, dissidents and journalists around the world. – link

I am not sure I will be installing Tor yet but I plan on following this project on its site and in the news. There are also many articles exposing Tor as a trojan horse actually funded and created by the government to spy on anonymous users of the internet, check out this article where Michael Reed claims Tor was created by the US government (link).

In that same article it also states the TorFAQ explains how “exit nodes” can in fact eavesdrop on activity – all be it encrypted:

The TorFAQ clearly states that exit nodes can eavesdrop. “Yes, the guy running the exit node can read the bytes that come in and out there. Tor anonymizes the origin of your traffic, and it makes sure to encrypt everything inside the Tor network, but it does not magically encrypt all traffic throughout the internet.” – link

Another really good article posted on pando.com really highlights the origins of Tor and complexity around why the technology is good or bad for the average person. It also explains what Onion Routing is and why and whom funded the original project (and apparently still does).

Onion routing was like a hustler playing the three-card monte with your traffic: the guy trying to spy on you could watch it going under one card, but he never knew where it would come out. – link

I am very interested in any opinions on this browser as I am already seeing many articles about TSA “marking you” as an extremist if you install or market Tor – doh!
Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.59.59 AM

 

Short URL: http://bit.ly/10Vhnr1

Webinar – Inside the User Experience; Solutions to Mobile Banking Issues

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Our friends over at BlueSky will be hosting a free webinar this Thursday, register here today!

This free webinar will teach you how to see the way your mobile or desktop websites are working through the eyes of each consumer with IBM® Tealeaf®. You’ll also learn current best practices for identifying problems in your organization, and future planning you can initiate to identify them, with or without Tealeaf.

 

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1xSu9QN

Donate to Wikipedia today!

I have long been a fan and user of Wikipedia. And as many of you know, it comes with no advertisements and that means it solely relies on donations. I highly recommend anyone who uses Wikipedia to go and donate $3, $5, $10, or even more to the site today. You can even claim this donation on your taxes, check out this page.

Donate today!

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Short URL: http://bit.ly/1thd8Rb

Want to learn WebSphere Commerce? Check out this new play list

One of my colleagues (thanks Paul V) requested I create a playlist of my videos that could be used for education purposes in a logical order. It is not perfect but I think it is a good start for someone who is just starting to learn WebSphere Commerce.

playlist

You can access the play list here.

Videos         Description
1 – 5             Creating Extended Sites
6 – 7             Content Management
8 – 12           Composer and eSpots
13 – 18         Marketing
19 – 23         PIM
23 – 25         Search and SEO
26 – 29         Promotions
30 – 35         Integration
36 – 42         Coremedia Integration Series
43 – 46         General Tips


Short URL: http://bit.ly/ZWpMt3

What do you think technical eminence is?

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.25.02 AMThis is a very interesting topic for me as I have heard the term several times within IBM. Let’s tear apart the phrase:

Technical – obviously someone who is a technical expert or at least claims they have the capability to enter into a technical discussion about architecture and implementation.

Eminence -fame or recognized superiority, especially within a particular sphere or profession. – link

Mixing these two together can be problematic in the technical world, especially if you are an introvert or someone who is not social at all. In the old days people published books, articles, or spoke at large conferences to gain “eminence“. Today, I see a very different way of achieving technical eminence through social media and social networks.

If you are reading this blog then you are most likely familiar with what I write about and what my YouTube channel is. I have often been on the fence with some of my content because I am trying to reach a variety of skills, mostly developers and users of IBM software and tooling. One could easily argue much of my material is either too technical, not technical enough, or not technical at all. This balance in my opinion is very delicate and in my experience you can potentially lose or gain readers based on this balance. With my videos especially, I do not want to get down the path of being viewed as “just a demo person” with no depth, so I intentionally write about coding, connecting, and architecting the solution. Of course many of my videos and content represent the contributions of a much larger team.

So the question is, how valuable is this “technical eminence” to companies? Should technical architects and software engineers or senior level IT staff be “out there” building their personal brand.  In my opinion, technical eminence is achieved when the individuals material or individual himself is often referenced on the subject at hand. This comes down to mentions, views, readership, and most important of all recognition as someone who “knows this” and is “known” for this. Thoughts?

Short URL: http://bit.ly/12S5C54

Who watches YouTube videos from their TV?

I love statistics and especially love them when something new starts to happen. This year something definitely changed with what devices people use to watch my videos. I have seen a huge growth in mobile and tablet however TV has now entered into the picture. Check out the table below for my 2014 statistics, TV is at .5 percent of my views. I wonder how much that will be this time next year.

Do you watch YouTube from your TV?

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Short URL: http://bit.ly/1FNnjlm

Searchandizing part 2 – Promoting a Category

In this demonstration I get some requirements from my marketing manager Mary to start a new sales category called “Sale” on the North American site. I create the category with a custom layout using Commerce Composer along with a promotion for 30% off all items in the new category. I then create a search rule to generally promote the items in that category for any search term.

 

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1pFf7JJ

Webinar this Thursday! Optimizing e-Commerce Site Search for IBM WebSphere Commerce

Our partners over at Coremedia and NetSphere Strategies will be hosting a webinar about WebSphere Commerce search tomorrow, register for it here.

DATE:  Thursday, October 23, 2014
TIME:  2:30pm Central | 12:30pm Pacific

Solr, an open-source enterprise search platform, is a powerful tool in the hands of business users wanting to maximize the power of search merchandising. Webinar attendees will learn how to:

  • Engage and keep customers on-site longer
  • Provide sorted search results that are most relevant and likely to lead to a purchase.
  • Promote products in search results
  • Minimize dependence on agencies or IT resources for faster marketing turnaround

See practical examples of how to leverage Solr with CoreMedia LiveContext and IBM WebSphere Commerce’s Management Center to:

  • Create auto-suggest lists for keywords, categories, brands, site content and search history
  • Offer automatic search term suggestions, spelling corrections and search term synonyms
Short URL: http://bit.ly/1tMCCaY

The power of the dataload utility – loading data into any table

I read a great article that shows how easy it is to configure the WebSphere Commerce dataload utility to load data into any table. In this case it is a custom table and Pradeep walks you through the configuration of the utility. Check out his article today:

Websphere Commerce: Dataload for Custom Table by Pradeep Batchu

If you want a primer on what the dataload utility is you can watch my Youtube video:

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1raT79d

GreenWheels 2 – The Shop.org demonstration from the IBM booth

katieThis was the live demonstration we gave at Shop.org for the enhanced greenwheels demonstration. The focus of the demonstration was to show the different organization imperatives the greenwheels brand is attempting to carry out:

  • Execute Cross-Channel Marketing Campaigns
  • Create Behavior Based Rewards Program
  • Enhance Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Insight
  • Extend the Digital Experience to the Store
  • Offer Customers Choice and Flexibility in Fulfillment
  • Leverage & Optimize the Use of Inventory Across Channels

 

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1BJ7KGB

How the iPhone is made info-graphic

I thought this graphic was very interesting:

Short URL: http://bit.ly/ZQtaFZ

Greenwheels version 2 comes to Shop.Org – don’t miss it!

greenwheels2This year at one of the IBM pedestals you will see the extension to the original demonstration given at the Smarter Commerce Summit (you can watch that video here).

The greenwheels company is focusing on three main company imperatives in this story.

  1. A new cross-channel riding kit campaign
  2. Enhancing our progressive profiling through gamification (a new polling application)
  3. Pushing out a behavioral base rewards program (loyalty points)
  4. Expanding our cross-channel experience through the new store associate mobile application

 

 Katie’s story continues:

katieSince the purchase of her road bike, Katie has been on many rides with the online community and is starting to venture into mountain biking. Katie uses the greenwheels mobile application and community to help her decide on which mountain bike she should buy.

In this story you will watch Katie interact with the greenwheels site and see her participate in the new polling application. Katie quickly realizes she gets rewarded by participating socially on the site.  Katie’s buying experience is then extended into the store where she is presented with a last chance offer for a riding kit with a heavy discount if she purchases it with her new mountain bike.

Make sure you come by the IBM booth and see a live demonstration of this story! For more information you can follow @IBMRetail or #IBMRetail and watch their videos on YouTube.

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1msBB4q