A very interesting graphic from LUMA Partners (LUMAscape) was recently published. You will notice pretty much all of IBM’s recent acquisitions (in the last 3 or so years) are on this graphic. This is in my opinion a validation of the IBM’s Smarter Commerce strategy as their products become more and more integrated. Having a single company with best of breed technologies integrated and supported by one company makes this landscape a bit more consumable and less daunting.
A very popular approach over the last five years was to hire a company to transcode your commerce site into a mobile experience. While this niche play was warranted five years ago it is no longer viable for a serious mobile channel presence. Today, most vendors, especially IBM and its business partners are building web applications with responsive design technology; so with a single code base you can target the different channels with the appropriate content for the specific device. This is a game changer for companies taking their mobile presence seriously. The latest WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 6 is now compatible with Worklight. Meaning the responsive design and source code are being re-used on top of a services layer for optimal code re-use and content management.
Here are some key differentiation’s between a transcoder model and a responsive design model like Worklight.
- Responsive design model can have targeted content to a device that is optimized by the precision marketing engine on the commerce site.
- Alternative screen layouts based on device, targeted specifically for a device and a mobile experience.
- Precision marketing can now take into account things like device location, the person, and the device when recommending content and products.
- Since the code is not going through a transcoder you should see a performance gain.
- Because the code is running on the server and not being transcoded you can implement a clear caching strategy that is optimized for each device.
- Because the transcoder essentially “scrapes” the screen to create the mobile experience most eCommerce platforms do not have management tools to optimize the scraping methods. They are usually done at the JSP/Code layer – out of reach of a marketing person or business tool user.
- Having the ability to target specific devices using business user tooling is key. A business user can define the rules behind the specific device and ultimately have total control of the mobile channel experience.
If you want to learn more about this make sure you sign up for the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville or Monaco. There will be many demonstrations about the latest mobile technologies in the Smarter Commerce space.
CrossView is a premier provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a smarter, more personalized shopping experience. You can see their sponsor listing on the Smarter Commerce Global Summit page here. One of CrossView’s customers is Moosejaw - a fast-growing Midwestern retailer specializing in extreme outdoor equipment and apparel. Moosejaw’s site, based on IBM’s WebSphere Commerce is often considered the poster child of social commerce. They have a brilliantly integrated rating system and you immediately get the sense of a “community” on their site. As you can see from the screen shots below, Advanced Auto Parts uses a mobile implementation also based on WebSphere Commerce.
Some key things you will see at the CrossView booth:
- Responsive Design
- Mobile Point of Sale
- No new tooling is required
- Additional data loads are not needed
- Analytics tagging can be reused with little effort and allows you to keep better track across multiple devices
- Future friendly to the next device type and size that will hit the market
Check out these screen shots of the Advanced Auto Parts mobile solution:
My cousin and his wife are having a baby, we get the invite to the baby shower and see they have a gift registry at Target. We start by simply going to the store but we could have just gone to the Target web site and found the name to see what is there and even order the items online. We enter the store and we go to the gift registry kiosk and look up my cousins’ name. Bingo, it comes right up. I clearly see a “Print Registry” button and click it. What prints out is the entire registry with all of the information I need to find the item in the store:
- Asking For
- Categorized items
- Item #
- The store isle it is in
At the top of the print out there are also instructions for how to use the document for myself and for the cashier. We looked at the list and found two items we wanted to purchase, looked at the isle they are in and quickly found them in the store. We the proceeded to the checkout, scanned the items, and handed the cashier the registry printout. She scans in the bar code across the top and viola, my cousins registry is updated with our purchases. Even better, the register identifies the two items we purchased (separate from the 10 other items) and prints out gift receipts for just those two items.
To me this was an amazingly seamless process from the shopper’s point of view. Target, in my opinion, has mastered this process and has made it very easy for its customers. This is a prime example of using technology to make shopping easier. Thank you Target!
As promised, my second blog post on the new features in WebSphere Commerce is here. This is a really nice feature because now you don’t need a third-party tool or HTML snippet to create image maps in your content. This enables marketing teams to do a lot more right within one tooling. There is an entire tutorial posted in the InfoCenter for how to do this with the new Feature Pack 6.
A woman (Linda) buys a pair of jeans from a store that will not be mentioned. After a bit she decides to buy another pair of jeans. Linda wants the same exact pair – same style, size, color, etc. Linda tries to go online and order the jeans but to no avail they are out of stock. There is no indicator on the web site to say if the jeans are available at a store nor any indication they will become available at a later date. Linda then goes into the store and attempts to find the same jeans. No success! So she goes up to the store associate and asks if these jeans can be ordered or if they are in the back room inventory. Instead of using a point of commerce or a mobile device to check inventory the associate goes into the back room for almost 10 minutes looking for these jeans. The associate comes out and claims there are no jeans in that size. Being a good employee the associate suggests she calls around to other stores to see if she can find this size of jeans. The associate brings out a list of stores and starts calling each store to see if this pair is available. In the mean time Linda continued shopping and 45 minutes goes by. The store associate then approaches Linda and says “I called four different stores and none of them have your size, I suggest you wait a week or two until we get in more inventory”.
This could have been a much better story for Linda and Linda would not have left frustrated. Let’s start with the web site. If there was an order management system that linked the site into store inventory Linda could have done this search herself. The web site could also have insight into distribution centers and warehouses and offer a time to promise for the delivery of the jeans.
Now for the store: the associate, while very nice and wanting to help, did not have the proper tools to really assist Linda. If a point of commerce was available in the store the associate could have quickly gotten a clear view of inventory and availability across all of the stores and not just stores within driving distance. A point of commerce would have allowed the jeans be ordered and delivered from any store – essentially saving the sale. So while Linda may not have left with the jeans the visit would have been less than five minutes and the jeans would be on their way! There could have been a possible cross sell also, since a point of commerce could potentially “know Linda”, there could have been promotions or other products that could compliment the jeans based on Linda’s tastes.
If you want to hear how some customers are doing omni-channel then you should make sure you attend the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville or Monaco!
If you read the “What’s New” section on the InfoCenter for WebSphere Commerce you will notice a single line that states:
The Tealeaf User Interface Capture API is embedded in the checkout pages for registered and guest shoppers to allow for high-fidelity replay in Tealeaf. –link
Once again IBM has delivered on its promise of further integrating the products it has purchased in the last several years into its core set of products – forming solutions. This is only one of many exciting new features put into WebSphere Commerce, lot’s of blogging material! As you can see below, enabling the integration is simply the click of a button in the store properties.
I have seen an interesting pattern while watching people favorite my tweets and others tweets. I have never really been a fan of favoriting tweets because I read them and then possibly open the associated link and it its good I re-tweet it. I have come to the conclusion there are three reasons at play here – maybe you can think of more:
- They favorite a tweet to read later because they don’t have time to read it now but don’t want to lose it.
- They favorite a tweet to keep a list of things they like – ie. favorite it. So they can always go back to it later.
- Draw attention to yourself from the tweeter.
While I can see the value in 1 and 2, number 3 simply annoys me. I also think if you favorite a tweet, why wouldn’t you re-tweet it? If it truly is a favorite then at some point you should re-tweet it in my opinion, otherwise you quickly fall into number 3.
You are on your favorite social site and you search for something. The results come back and guess what? The top result has nothing to do with your search term nor does it even contain your search term.
In this scenario I searched for “IBM” on Twitter and it gave the “Top people” which was good, it was two IBM accounts. But then look at the first entry in the “Top Tweets” section. It’s a CISCO promoted tweet from two months ago and IBM is not even a word in the tweet or the content! I don’t know about you but this is very annoying to me. I know Twitter has to make money and CISCO and IBM are technology companies but really? What is even more interesting is if I search IBM many times I see totally different CISCO promotions.
So then I got thinking, maybe Twitter is using some kind of analytic engine to actually associate a CISCO tweet with IBM? Clearly it can’t be completely random, right? Is there no IBM partner or promoted IBM content that would surely show on Twitter before a CISCO tweet? Did CISCO purchase the promoted rights to the search term “IBM”?
Just in case you missed this, the Smarter Commerce team has created an Infographics category on their Pinterest place. I am a very visual person and I really like these kinds of graphics to tell a story.
If you have not signed up for this event then make sure you do. It has a packed agenda of IBM’s customers giving testimony to their Smarter Commerce story and how IBM’s solutions are helping them in execute their eCommerce strategy.