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?

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 4.50.06 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.43.20 AM

 

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

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.46.02 AM

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

BlueMix URL Rating widget on WebSphere Commerce for product ratings

bluemix-ratings-wc

Ok, this is really just a teaser post as I will divulge the process used to get my Blue Mix URL rating widget into the WebSphere Commerce Composer framework a bit later.

I will say, now that the widget is in a real application I was able to test out some more use cases and fix a few bugs to make sure the widget is re-usable across a site. In this use case I am using it to rate products. I made a few changes to the NodeRED flow including adding more data saved for some future ideas I have. Here is the current block of data saved in the MongoDB for each rating received:

{
 "url": "http://mytestserver.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/aurora1/electronics/tablets-10229--1/budget-tablet",
 "rating": 4,
 "host": "mytestserver.com",
 "cookie": "1406562990550",
 "date": "Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:31:35 GMT",
 "_id": {
 "$oid": "53d93a07cb353621005aaadf"
 }
}

Notice I added “date“, “host” and “cookie” to the output. The date is actually filled in by the server for consistency and the cookie is a time stamp saved in the shopper browser for the page using HTML5 storage. I figure I will be able to use this data for reporting later and possibly as a WebSphere Commerce precision marketing action to get me a list of “top products” for a given domain.

The other change I had to make was to allow my service to respond with cross domain calls. I just put a little JavaScript between the post request and response nodes and added “Access-Control-Allow-Origin” to the call. I could probably isolate this to the specific domain eventually.

Cross Domain Setting

The next addition I made was if the browser already rated a product (cookie + URL) is already stored into the database send back a piece of data in the response of the “getRating” call to notify the browser to not let that person vote again. I really like how I can just connect nodes together conditionally and essentially introduce some complex decision making flows into the mix. Here you can see my decision “Check for cookie” and then ultimately append the flag in the “Check for already voted” function:

already voted logicHere is the Check for already voted function:

already voted code

Continue reading

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

URL Rating application on BlueMix – Part 2 – the user interface

starsThe next step in my Node-RED application on BlueMix is to create some user interface that calls the services I defined in my Node-RED flow sheet. If you recall from the last post, I created two services:

  • /postrating – which will post a rating for a given url
  • /rating – which retrieves the average rating for the url

For now, I will use the index.html to test the user interface. I want to make it dead simple for someone to use this in the end so the only need is to include the javascript file and define a div with an id of “urlRate”, like so:

<div class="row2">
    <div class="grid">
        <div class="col-1-2" id="urlRate">
	</div>
    </div>
</div>

In this next video I create a basic jQuery user interface that allows the user to click on a star and register their rating for the given page. There are no checks and balances in the application as of yet – ie. I can click as many times as I want so I can test my services.

Continue reading

Short URL: http://bit.ly/1qE0Pi7

Creating a URL Rating Application in Node-RED on BlueMix – Part 1

starsThis is the first part of a new application I am creating using Node-RED on BlueMix. With very little programming, I show how you can get a basic URL rating application up and running very quickly using Node-RED. In this first part I focus on the two primary web services, posting a rating and getting a rating for a URL.

Continue reading

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