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

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

Is Pinterest in your marketing plan?

We all have our favorite stores and products and usually expect marketing emails to come from the company itself. But did you know Pinterest has been sending “Price drop emails” since last year (2013)? This is great for people who pin products to a “Wish List” board or simply “like” a product and may have intentions of buying it later.

From a consumer perspective I really like the Pinterest model for two primary reasons:

  1. I provide no information to the actual company and don’t receive “tons” of emails daily or weekly on things I could care less about
  2. I only receive price updates for the products I personally pin

I pinned this watch last year, unfortunately I pinned it because I got the watch as a Christmas present so I really don’t care about the price changes. Maybe Pinterest should have a “Did you purchase this?” option when pinning a product so these emails are not sent.

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Today, I received an email telling me the price has dropped:

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

Easily Creating Widgets In WebSphere Commerce Composer

WebSphere Commerce Composer is a very powerful addition to the tool set. It allows marketing and HTML developers to pretty much design a web site to their heart’s content.

In this video I show how you can use jQuery and the REST services in WebSphere Commerce to display a product list. One thing you will notice in the JavaScript I use a substitution variable [storeId]. These things come in very handy and allow you to create reusable code snippets across pages and store fronts; to learn more about them check out the info center. If you are really adventurous you can even create your own substitution variables, check out this info center page to learn how to do that.

 

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

Taxonomy matters and colorful attribute names

The taxonomy, or often called navigation, of a site is probably one of the most important pieces of an online commerce system. Being able to narrow down to a product through search and a faceted navigation system is very important to the site visitor. One example of this is being able to describe a product through facets (or attributes in some systems). Many times eCommerce systems provide attributes that can be tied to a product and these attributes ultimately drive the faceted navigation system. A brand would use these attributes to aid the shopper in finding the right product. Sometimes a brand may want to have a hierarchy of facets like colors. You may want to promote your colors through high level categories and then drill down to specific colors so your faceted navigation might look like this:

facetsThe facets to the left could be a single facet in the system named “Color”. But because we could assign multiple values to a single product, the product could potentially show up under “Blues” and possibly “Periwinkle, Powder Blue, or Baby Blue”.  This lets the shopper navigate to a single product in multiple ways. You might want to consider offering multiple options for your products to make finding them easier. I mean, who doesn’t want to click on Periwinkle?

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1oDt6xK

One of THE best new features in WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack (FEP) 7

In Feature Pack 7, the advanced configuration allows you to federate and cluster WebSphere Commerce search. This means you can now scale your servers more inline with your sites demand – separating transactional operations and search operations independently. 

Marco Fabbri outlined this in an excellent blog post back in June this year. 

As shown on the pictures I got from IBM Knowledge Center it’s possible to create two different clusters, one for transactional and the other dedicated to no transactional traffic and using CBR (Content Based Routing) functions of a dispatcher to distribute REST calls to the different servers depending on their content (or better on his URL pattern).

- Marco Fabbri

sdsearchadvcluster

Photo From the IBM InfoCenter

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1ooW7SC