Ok, I know it has been a long time since I did a book review but I really like this book and now I am trying to get my son to go through it.
While I was at NRF I was fortunate to see a pretty slick demonstration that brings together Coremedia’s Content Management Studio, WebSphere Commerce, and IBM Marketing Cloud into a single seamless demonstration.
I see several very interesting integrations in this demonstration, the first is the single click publishing to IBM Marketing Cloud and the next is the integration with IBM Marketing Cloud Behavior user score being used with a WebSphere Commerce segment – all right from within the Coremedia studio interface. In the video I show how you can create a new landing page (mirco-site) on the Perfect Chef site and then create a news letter from the same content. Then I dive on the slick personalization, check it out below.
I wasn’t sure if I would ever get the Apple Watch but when my health plan offered one at an amazing price I had to give it a go.
First off, I researched the size of the watch I should get. After watching a video on YouTube I realized I should get the larger 42mm one and boy was I correct. I am an average sized guy and as you can see from the picture my wrists are not huge. The 42mm ended up being perfect but I did opt for the smaller band that came in the package. So basically if you are a man you will most likely want the bigger face.
My favorite thing about the watch is the activity monitor and sports application. Because I bought this through my health insurance I am actually reporting all of my activity to their application. This will then allow me to receive my rebate at the end of the year without manually entering work outs. So the problem is, I am basically addicted to the statistics now. I find myself going for another walk or working out just to get the next medal or achievement. It is also interesting when I was sitting all day watching the NFL playoffs I was told multiple times by the watch “Time to get up!”, reminding me of how lazy I am – at least on a Sunday. It is interesting that I could run for 3 miles and workout for 40 minutes (lifting weights) and this records as a Light Workout! Anyway, looking at your actually physical activity is very interesting to me and being pushed to do more than I did the day before actually works.
My next favorite feature is the remote camera. This is where you can set your camera down somewhere, walk away and take the picture by looking at your phone. Below is a picture of my Apple Watch connected to my phones camera:
It wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t review the battery. I have been wearing my watch daily for about 3 weeks. It looks like I average about 50-60% usage a day. I could probably go two days if I really stretched it or knew I wouldn’t be able to recharge for a bit I might be able to go three days or more. I really wanted to monitor my sleep with a sleep application but I didn’t see any app that does motion plus sleep time. (I want to know how restless I am between times). So given the battery basically uses 50% or more juice a day I just put my watch on the charger each night.
Using my phone for navigation on business trips is great! I just set my phone up, start the navigation and my watch takes control from there. I get reminders (audio and physical) for every turn and its very easy to quickly look down on your wrist versus holding or grabbing the cell phone. It is much less distracting and keeps both hands on the wheel. You can even start navigation right from your watch:
Lastly, I don’t hold my phone as much any longer. I get notified for text messages, emails, etc and instead of picking up the phone I just look at my watch to decide if I need to respond. This has really changed my cell phone behavior, basically if I am in the house I no longer carry my phone around. I have even texted via the audio translation to text feature and I think it has worked better than the iphone! If you can get passed the fact you look like Maxwell Smart (a.k.a. Agent 86), this is a pretty nice gadget addition.
Understanding supply and demand has always been a tough thing to master. At the National Retail Conference this year IBM had a really easy to follow demonstration that showed how a supply chain analyst can master demand of your products and categories based on things like weather, news, etc. This applies to both brick and mortar and the eCommerce channel.
You might also think about how buy online and pickup in store could be affected by this demand. In the video below I could easily see myself searching online for rain gear at a local outdoor store and wanting to see store inventory and even buying online and then going to pick that item up – I have actually been in this position on a golf trip I went on a few years back but BOPIS was not really even a thing back then.
Take a look at the story presented in the video below:
This year I did not man a booth or guide people around the IBM pedestals but instead I decided to actually attend the National Retail Federation (NRF) as an attendee. I went to a lot of sessions, visited a lot of booths, and observed our very own IBM booths. As I walked the grounds and even waited in line for the free lunch box I was impressed with the dialog of others around me. Over and over I heard many talking about Watson and cognitive computing which then lead into other discussions about IBM and more specifically dynamic pricing.
The IBM booth was crowded pretty much every day, the turn out and excitement around IBM Commerce seemed to be at an all time high – I could barely walk through the booth!
This was the first year I witnessed a change in the dialog from the usual feature/function discussion of buy online, pickup in store, cart abandonment, catalog management, etc to features that will differentiate a brand in the market. More talk about consolidating brick and mortar and the eCommerce channels. The ugly truth that most companies still have separate teams supporting the same functions on the different channels. This then lead into many discussions around pricing. The theme this year at the IBM booth was dynamic pricing and cognitive (machine learning).
If you are interested in learning more about how this works you might want to check out the IBM Whitepaper “Attracting and retaining customers with insights-driven dynamic pricing“.
“More sophisticated retailers are not just reacting but instead proactively testing various pricing strategies to see what effect they have on their customers; they are sensing and responding,” – link
The paper also goes into discussing the challenges of consistent pricing across channels. The power comes when you begin to mix cognitive learning with dynamic pricing:
“As channels blur and retailers have multiple touch points with consumers, price coordination becomes essential….The holy grail of dynamic pricing is achieved through the application of cognitive computing, a self-learning environment that “Understands, Reasons, and Learns” from inputs to intuitively determine the best prices and promotions for customers in context.” – link
Lastly, the conversations around marketplaces were also very prevalent this year. If you are not familiar with marketplaces think Amazon. Manufacturers are looking to revamp their B2B networks with new user interfaces and shopping experiences that outperform the Amazons of the world. Moving from the traditional green screen ordering system to a friendlier online shopping experience like a Staples.com.
One example I heard was a manufacturer makes a widget which costs $150. It is of high quality and has a life expectancy of many years. However, knock-offs that look identical (literally almost the exact same picture) cost $50 on Amazon marketplaces. The $50 product is manufactured in China and is really a much lower quality with a shorter life expectancy. The problem is when you search on Amazon for the product you essentially see what appears to be the same exact product but one is $100 more – so which one do you think gets sold? This problem can be addressed by using a solution like the Mirakl Marketplace Platform to battle the Amazon problem and also give your interface for your partners a face lift. I had the opportunity to see the Mirakl demonstration live and I was very impressed with the user interface and the management capabilities it offers. It offers a complete vendor management solution where you can not only bring up a vendor very quickly but also get an holistic view of your products performance across vendors. Click the picture below to learn more about Mirakl.
Now, imagine a platform where cognitive dynamic pricing and marketplaces all work together. A manufacturer can then beat out the Amazon marketplaces by controlling their own marketplace and also get pricing insight through dynamic pricing!
Haven’t seen IBM Commerce Insights? Check out the video below to see how you can be a differentiator in your market with IBM Commerce Insights and be sure to stop by the IBM booth at NRF next week to get a personal demonstration of IBM Commerce Insights.
Fulfilling orders is a key element to any online presence and part of fulfilling is picking and packing the product to be ready for shipping. It is funny, this article is getting attention now but my colleagues and I have been demonstrating similar bar code scanners in our demonstrations for years. So to many I don’t think this is news but it’s certainly getting a lot of attention now. Check out some of the information in the article, it is a good read and it clearly shows you the direction people are going because of Amazon. They want to be better, faster and cheaper.
Global sales of mobile scanning devices used in warehouses reached about $850 million in 2015, up 33% since 2013, according to VDC Research. – link
The article really focus’s on the Zebra TC8000, which I think is pretty slick, but the editorial around the topic of shaving minutes off an operation is really the focus to most businesses, especially in the eCommerce world.
Check out the full article here.