I got this feed URL passed on to me by a colleague and if you use an RSS or Atom feed reader then this is right up your alley. You can view the feed in your favorite reader or even subscribe to it with browsers like FireFox. You can also just view the partner page to see the list of partners and their solutions.
You will immediately see there are three new partners on board already this year:
There are a lot of tools out there that help you measure how effective a tweet is doing. Did you know Twitter added a nice analytic package for your tweets? Last year Twitter launched a new page where you can measure the effectiveness and engagement of your tweets. Here I present two options that can help you figure out how well your tweets are doing in your network.
The first option is the new Twitter activity page on the Twitter site itself. Just follow this link (https://analytics.twitter.com) to view your engagement levels. You can gauge three different categories: Tweets, Followers, and Twitter Cards. Here are some screen shots on what you can expect:
In this video I show a free way to develop responsive design advertisements using a combination of Eclipse and inline editing with Chrome. I showed this technique last year in the post “Tip Of the Day: Modifying and saving CSS with Google Chrome” and now I combine it with managed files in WebSphere Commerce Management Center.
Each year I read around the net how different blogs did for the year and attempt to compare myself to those blogs or just simply learn how I can do things better. I also get asked many times by aspiring tech bloggers how much traffic to expect. I always say “not much at first” but focus on “green content” – ie. content that will forever get hits from SEO and search engines, or timeless content. As you will see below, a majority of my top posts came from previous years. My average bounce rate was 1.37 for 2014, meaning each visitor viewed almost 1.4 posts on each visit. This at least tells me the majority of people who get sent to my blog look at another post for some reason or another.
This year I focused on developer and business content and cut way back on personal information and relied more on platforms like Facebook for that stuff. I also focused on what I considered better content and less frequent posts unless I had something good to share or it was time sensitive. So here are my results for this blog:
Santa has come early for IBM Business Partners!
I remember the days when I worked at Key Services and any time we wanted to try out new software it had to go through all kinds of approval processes because it was expensive. Usually it would require approval for a server and then the man hours to go through the installation and configuration process. Needless to say it was very costly to try out new things or even prototype things on new platforms.
What if I told the IBM Partners they can get going on the latest and greatest for under $200 a month? Well you can. In my previous post (Is your solution Ready for Smarter Commerce?) was the entry point to start building widgets and integrations into the Smarter Commerce platform. If you select the developer option and then WebSphere Commerce you get presented with two options:
If you select option two you could get a fully configured WebSphere Commerce instance up and running in minutes! Just look at all of the different areas you can provide solutions for:
It is that time to reflect on the past year and this year I am starting with my YouTube channel. In case you missed any of these blockbuster hits you can watch them now!
This year I had over 32,000 views (up over 10,000 views from last year, Thank You) on my YouTube channel and gained over 150 new followers. This is the first year where I had five videos over 5 minutes long in top ten. I still stand by the YouTube law that videos over 3 minutes rarely get fully watched but in the end content is king – so maybe I did something right with those 5. I gained 3% in audience retention from last year.
Only two of the top 10 videos were actually published this year (Editing and Saving CSS with Google Chrome and Data Load Utility in WebSphere Commerce Introduction) a 57 second video and a 14 minute video.
Most of my views believe it or not still come from external search (mostly Google) or YouTube search, accounting for almost 50% of my traffic sources.
Before we get to the list let’s look at some demographics:
The United States and India are by far by largest viewership.
I actually started published videos and content at my night-time so it is available to the east in their morning, I have already started seeing shifts in views – it will be interesting next year to see if it made any difference.
So here are the 2014 Top 10 videos:
Yes, this news is actually about 9 months late but I am realizing not many customers know about this so I figured I would re-announce it today. This is the place where you can vote on features and even submit new ideas for features and get them voted on. And it is not just WebSphere Commerce but all the products in the B2B & Commerce portfolio.
Do you shop on a specific site and would like to see what products you have previously purchased in the shopping experience? I have seen some implementations of a “My Closet” where its a specific page on the site that shows what products you have already purchased. What I think would be really cool is if you could get that information on the product page or product listings or even both.
So let’s look at the WebSphere Commerce Aurora site, here is what the men’s shirts category entry page looks like:
Earlier this year IBM announced a partnership with over 16 new partners who have created integrations with the IBM Commerce platform. That number is now up to an astounding 35 partners in less than a year later! You can check out the total partner list here. IBM has a very easy process to get started in this space and get your solution into the certified partner list. Click the picture below to get started:
Commerce systems are getting more and more advanced and specifically in the B2B space you are seeing more and more information about products on the product page or even in product listings. We see things like color swatches, likes, ratings, reviews, etc in the B2C world but in the B2B world its all about value. This little change to WebSphere Commerce (and I mean little, a few lines of JSP code) should spice up your site to show the value of your consumable products. Here is a picture of a somewhat normal looking product display search result. We will be enhancing this with the price per page based on the contract price of the customer:
I present to you a pattern. A pattern you can use across all consumable products in your catalog. The pattern is generic and can be applied to any product simply by assigning an attribute. Let’s start with an example, a printer cartridge. Most printer cartridges, especially high-end business printers, come with a max number of page the cartridge should be good for, like 500, 1000, 10,000, or 20,000 pages. From a business perspective it would be good to know how much you are paying per page so a product listing like this might just do the trick:
Over the years I have had interactions with many of you and I wanted to say thank you for reading my blog!
I am attempting to gauge the value of my blog by getting some reader feedback. So if you have time please write a short email back to me (no need to reply to all) and let me know what value you have gotten from my blog or videos on YouTube.
What I am looking for is any value what so ever, here are some things to consider:
- It helped me with a problem I had at my job or at customer XXX
- It helped educate me on a particular technology or feature
- It helped me on a school or work assignment
- It helped me close business at customer XXX
- It helped my marriage or significant relationship
It is up to you if you want to name customers or companies – the more information the better, I will leave that up to your discretion. I promise this information will not be made public.
This is a big move 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 – 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)
- 37% of B2B marketers are using marketing automation to generate leads. (MarketingProfs)
- 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Aberdeen)
- 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)
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.
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.
With 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!