New Video: Integrating IBM Mobile Web Push and WebSphere Commerce

targeted messageMarketing people usually only have control over the layout of an eCommerce page and other things like pop-up advertisements or slide in advertisements are controlled by third party plug-ins. IBM Mobile Web Push integrates pretty easily with existing web sites because it’s really just a JavaScript include; however, it also allows you to completely control the end-user experience as I show below.

In this video I show how I integrated IBM Mobile Web Push and WebSphere Commerce using basic jQuery and a few marketing campaigns to target product categories. There will be an article on developerWorks published soon, walking you through this implementation so stay tuned for that. If you have any questions please let me know!

The next big thing in customer loyalty is…

shirt-embeddedI don’t often blog more than once a day, even write during the day for that matter but during lunch today I read this article and it got me thinking this really could be the next big thing in retail. Granted the article is for better health but how about this…

Today we see technologies that track you in the store based on your mobile phone or an application on the phone and even send coupons or offers to you. Well imagine this, retailers offer an automatic 10% off all their merchandise if you are “wearing their clothes or accessories“. Embedded technology in wearable gear and clothes will certainly spark many retailers to “reward” customers in the store that are wearing those clothes.

This means you don’t have to install an application, check into a store, or even have your phone on you (yeah, that’s kind of funny I know), to receive a loyalty discount. And talk about promoting loyalty – “just wear our clothes in our store and we will reward you at the register“.

 

Calling all Business Partners, Developers, Hackers, and Consultants alike!

So this week I got the opportunity to create my first widget for the new WebSphere Commerce Composer in feature pack 7. I have to give big kudos to the documentation team and the InfoCenter because I followed the five steps in this tutorial and after a couple of hours got it all up and running in my first attempt! I am not going to say what kind of widget I created to extend WebSphere Commerce but I will say its pretty cool and I am excited that I got past this first hurdle. The I could barely contain myself as I rebuilt the Management Center project and then launched the Commerce Composer to see if my widget was listed with all of the other widgets to be inserted into my page layout (and no, I am not showing my widget name in the screen shot, more on that on another day):

Widgets Panel

The instructions are very easy to follow if you have the development environment for FEP7 already up and running, however, the info center accounts for this if you don’t and shows you how to install things like JET.

Speaking of JET, while the emitter is not 100% with its output, it is pretty darn close, I would say about 99.9%!  Mainly because there is a file or two you have to merge into existing files. All of the source code for the widget was generated for me from this simple XML:

[codesyntax lang=”xml”]

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<pageLayout vendor=”IBM” targetFolder=”src”>
<widget>
<widgetDef identifier=”BobsWidget” UIObjectName=”BobsWidgetObject” displayName=”Bobs Widget” description=”Bobs Widget” widgetDisplayGroups=”AnyPage,SearchPage”
widgetRestrictionGroups=”AnyPage,SearchPage” >
<property name=”channeldID” displayName=”Channel Id”/>
<property name=”maxNumberOfOffers” displayName=”Max Number of offers”/>
</widgetDef>
</widget>
</pageLayout>

[/codesyntax]

 

Once you run the XML through the JET emitter class specified in the instructions all of the code is generated for you. This also gives you an idea how the architecture of Management Center works and is a great primer just for that.

So in short, if you want an integration with the one of the largest ecommerce deployment packages in the world (ie. WebSphere Commerce) then get your widget created today!

Top 5 reasons why you would want IBM Mobile Web Push on your web site

Many marketing platforms offer advertisement placement within the layout of the web site. eCommerce solutions (like WebSphere Commerce) even offer powerful precision marketing engines to personalize content inside of widgets or espots within the layout of the page. I have five reasons why you would use a marketing tool like IBM Mobile Web Push for your site that will enable marketing beyond the page layout:

  1. You get an out of the box “inbox” of the offers you have received. The marketing person can even control whether to send the offer as a popup message or directly to the inbox.
  2. The inbox can easily be customized as there are API’s to the offer data store – I am thinking jQuery or Dojo for a really cool experience.
  3. You can send customer and page data to the Reactor server which gives the marketing person the ability to isolate offers specific pages and shoppers on the site
  4. You can completely customize the offer user interface – ie. have a popup in the middle of the screen, a slide in to the right, left, bottom, or top of the site.
  5. You can create custom events for tracking, analytics, and custom messaging.

IBM Mobile Web Push Slide

Playing with Final Cut Pro X and my new green screen

I had the 30 day trial version of several different video authoring programs and I finally decided on Final Cut Pro X. It seemed to me by far the most comprehensive and feature rich tool and while the price was somewhere in the middle, it wasn’t cheap – especially for a hobby. You may have noticed my last two videos on YouTube had some titles, an ending, and even a little bit of green screen in them.

Final Cut Pro X

As an advocate of “free education” I loved the fact I could search YouTube and get all kinds of great tips to learn how to use it. Tips from setting up a very cheap green screen (and lighting it) to actual feature tips for Final Cut Pro X are all on YouTube – so for that I thank you!  Here are some of the ones I watched:

I have already done a cool video with my son for a school project he had where he gave the weather on Saturn – he loved it!

The first video I created with the software was the new CKEditor in WebSphere Commerce video:

Understanding the widget framework in WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 7

I have recently spent some time reading the Info Center about the Commerce Composer Widget Architecture. Think of widgets as the building blocks to construct a page in your store front. Widgets are basically JSP snippets with a data JSPF and two user interface JSPF’s, one for the horizontal representation and one for the vertical representation. This is essentially a basic J2EE programming model. The widget code structure is still pretty much the same as it was in FEP5 but in the new FEP7 you have to do some more steps in registering the widgets with the store.

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Data Load Utility in WebSphere Commerce

This is not a very sexy topic but I think it is important to many people who integrate WebSphere Commerce with other systems or do mass data loads. This video is not one of my normal videos in that I do show some slides up front but I end with some live demonstration. This presentation was actually designed for a customer and I generalized it for broader consumption. I do read a few of the slides but hopefully if you are interested in this utility you will have a basic understanding once you have watched it.

Really the goal of the video was to show how flexible the utility is and how you can use comma delimited files (CSV’s) for the import format. This makes editing files very easy because you can do it in a spreadsheet application – which many eCommerce product managers still do today.