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.
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.
As a followup to my post “What the heck is an eSpot?“, I created a video where I show how easy it is to use the site preview function in Management Center to find the names of eSpots throughout the site. I also explain how the Aurora starter store automatically defines different eSpot names for all catalog categories, making eSpots unique across your product catalog.
No, I am not talking about a municipality in the comarca of the Pallars Sobirà in Catalonia, Spain. (see here if that’s what you are looking for). However, on that page is actually a really good picture of what an eSpot in the sense of WebSphere Commerce is. Think of a place on a web page, a “spot” if you will, that has a boundary and takes up a rectangle in that page. Just like Espot does in the boundaries of Spain, an eSpot is a piece of real-estate that can be controlled by business rules – which are defined by a business team, not the IT staff. Content like HTML, text, pictures, Flash, product recommendations, category recommendations and pretty much anything else web related can exist there.
Yesterday I posted this (Point of Sale, No, Point of Commerce!) article on the Smarter Commerce Blog about the new point of commerce collaboration Toshiba and IBM have done. I saw a very slick demo of this at NRF and I just heard they will be at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville this May. If you have not seen this product and are looking to change the way your stores do business then get to the summit to see what the hype is all about! Check out the article on the Smarter Commerce Blog to see the product PDF.
Here was the original announcement at NRF:
In this video I show how easily you can arrange and hide and show facets for a specific category in WebSphere Commerce. For more information you can check out the WebSphere Commerce InfoCenter.
In this video I show how subscription based products can be configured in WebSphere Commerce using the business user tooling – Management Center. After seeing the magazine in the store front I show how the product is setup and then show how different rules can be setup for subscription events like a new subscription and a cancel subscription. You can also do another event type “subscription is about to expire” and offer a similar coupon to entice them to renew, more on subscription events can be found in the online help here.