Digital Commerce

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Aidalicious | Curated Ecommerce Since 2012 Powered by AbandonAid – Why Traditional Retail Must Embrace Omni-Channel Commerce to Survive

A new breed of customer is here; technologically savvy with their tablets & smartphones.  They will want to engage with you on their terms, if you are not ready your competition will be. The opportunities lost but not having a full 360 degree view of your customer are staggering.  The opportunity to cross channel merchandise, up-sell and cross sell will provide strong ROI.

Jun 5

SAP acquires Hybris, Surprising But Not Shocking

When we evaluated Hybris in July - August of 2012 one of our greatest fears was Hybris being acquired.  At the time Adobe seemed like the mosf likely suitor due to the recent tight integration with CQ5.  We joked that SAP was a logical choice to acquire Hybris but no way they would do it.

I am not sure how I feel about the acquisition, it can either be a great thing for Hybris or can completely derail all that is good about the platform.  Initial documentation states that Hybris will remain as a subsidiary of SAP retaining the Hybris brand.  If that is truly the case there could be hyge benefit in terms of integration with other SAP platforms and services.  

One of the weak points of Hybris was there small consulting force.  SAP can certainly help to increase their scale.

Jun 1

Login with Amazon can be a game changer

Amazon is taking over the world but we already knew that.  The recent announcement of the AWS Login with Amazon service will help accelerate that process.

Using social network platforms as a log in alternative is nothing new or groundbreaking.  Facebook Connect, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft & Google have offered this for some time now.  The difference with Amazon is the trust factor.  The average consumer is quite certain that each of the aforementioned companies are profiting from their personal information.

People go to Amazon.com to buy things, they have willingly handed over their personal information, credit card info and home address for years.  Over that time a trust factor has been built, even though Amazon uses their personal info to target advertisements to them it isn’t quite as shady.

Given a choice between Amazon, Google, Facebook or Twitter I will choose Amazon every time and I know that I am not alone.  This feature will open up all kinds of single sign on access to Amazon Prime, shopping habit information, wish lists, device information, reading habits etc.

“Physically Together”: Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo for Remote Workers and Maybe More
Kara Swisher, allthingsd.com
Cour­tesy of a pletho­ra of very irked Yahoo employ­ees, here is the inter­nal memo sent to the com­pa­ny about a new rule rolled out today by CEO Maris­sa Mayer, which requires that Yahoo employ­ees who work remote­ly relo­cate to com­pa­ny…

I am not sure how I about this.  Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo — Which Extends Beyond Remote http://flip.it/BCc4p

I understand that software development projects in an agile framework are a easier to manage face to face.  That being said taking away a benefit such as working from home can negatively impact morale and motivation.  It will be interesting to see if Marisa sees any backlash from the Yahoo crowd.

“Physically Together”: Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo for Remote Workers and Maybe More
Kara Swisher, allthingsd.com

Cour­tesy of a pletho­ra of very irked Yahoo employ­ees, here is the inter­nal memo sent to the com­pa­ny about a new rule rolled out today by CEO Maris­sa Mayer, which requires that Yahoo employ­ees who work remote­ly relo­cate to com­pa­ny…

I am not sure how I about this. Here’s the Internal Yahoo No-Work-From-Home Memo — Which Extends Beyond Remote http://flip.it/BCc4p I understand that software development projects in an agile framework are a easier to manage face to face. That being said taking away a benefit such as working from home can negatively impact morale and motivation. It will be interesting to see if Marisa sees any backlash from the Yahoo crowd.

Drinking The KoolAid At Google’s ‘Take Your Parents To Work Day’
Meghan Casserly, forbes.com
“I’m here to thank you for your crazy genius parenting,” said Andy Berndt, the direc­tor of Google’s Cre­ative Labs in wel­com­ing the near­ly 300 Googlers and their par­ents gath­ered at the com­pa­ny’s 8th Avenue head­quar­ters to mark the…

This is pretty darn cool.  Young workers at Google brought their parents to work one day http://flip.it/OWiTq

Drinking The KoolAid At Google’s ‘Take Your Parents To Work Day’
Meghan Casserly, forbes.com

“I’m here to thank you for your crazy genius parenting,” said Andy Berndt, the direc­tor of Google’s Cre­ative Labs in wel­com­ing the near­ly 300 Googlers and their par­ents gath­ered at the com­pa­ny’s 8th Avenue head­quar­ters to mark the…

This is pretty darn cool. Young workers at Google brought their parents to work one day http://flip.it/OWiTq

Google Commerce Search Shutting Down

I really wish that Google would do a better job managing their products that are used by large corporations.  It is one thing to shut down an imaging sharing product or social media service used by the general public.  Large corporations often have business processes built around 3rd party products like Google Commerce Search.

My major complaint is that other companies like Hybris had gone to great lengths & significant expenditure to integrate their eCommerce platform with Google Commerce Search.  This integration was an attractive part of the Hybris value proposition for us, a SaaS search solution fully integrated into the Hybris management cockpit was very attractive.  

I can only imagine how frustrated the current crop of Google Commerce Search customers are.  Migrating away from a search technology is trivial in comparison to other aspects of an eCommerce website but I am sure those businesses have higher priorities than evaluating and integrating with another search provider.

Google you are better than this, your products are some of the best in the world, built by the smartest software engineers in Silicon Valley.  You can do a better job of managing your product road-maps to avoid things like this in the future.

HTML5 vs. Apps: Why The Debate Matters, And Who Will Win
Business Insider, businessinsider.com
Tech/MediaHTML5 is a new tech­nol­o­gy that allows devel­op­ers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a stan­dard web brows­er.Many think it will save the web, ren­der­ing native platform-dependent apps obso­lete.So, whi…

HTML5 vs. Apps: Why The Debate Matters, And Who Will Win
Business Insider, businessinsider.com

Tech/Media

HTML5 is a new tech­nol­o­gy that allows devel­op­ers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a stan­dard web brows­er.

Many think it will save the web, ren­der­ing native platform-dependent apps obso­lete.

So, whi…

Etsy unveils its infrastructure (and its Supermicro love)
By Derrick Harris, gigaom.com
Etsy shared the details of its hardware architecture on Friday, showing the world a whole lot of Supermicro servers running everything from web servers to Hadoop. At this point, software is the name of the game at webscale, so hardware openness is…

Interesting insight into a large scale site’s infrastructure.

Etsy unveils its infrastructure (and its Supermicro love)
By Derrick Harris, gigaom.com

Etsy shared the details of its hardware architecture on Friday, showing the world a whole lot of Supermicro servers running everything from web servers to Hadoop. At this point, software is the name of the game at webscale, so hardware openness is…

Interesting insight into a large scale site’s infrastructure.

Hybris Vs WebSphere Commerce

Recently I had the opportunity to do a deep dive analysis and evaluation of 2, of the top 3 eCommerce packages on the market.  IBM Web Sphere Commerce & Hybris Multichannel eCommerce.  The other comparable product is ATG and since it’s recent acquisition by Oracle was not a consideration.

Both packages that I evaluated have their relative strengths and weaknesses. Neither one is completely superior to the other, choice comes down to the unique needs of your business.

WebSphere Commerce:

Pros:

1. Powerful “out of the box” capability. If your business is more of a traditional eCommerce vertical you may not need much customization.

2. Acquisition of Sterling Commerce provides a best in class OMS. While not a part of the WebSphere Commerce product, the integration is pre-packaged.

3. “Nobody ever got fired by using IBM”.

4. Documentation is easy to use and access from anywhere.

5.  Their “Smarter Commerce” strategy makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.

6.  Integration with Coremetrics is tight and opens up a lot of opportunity to improve digital marketing.

Cons:

1. Content Management (WCMS) is quite weak and will most likely require a 3rd party product to fit the needs of your content developers.

2. WebSphere Commerce OMS capability is weak, will likely require the additional Sterling Commerce OMS product at additional cost and integration complexity.

3. IBM’s strategy has long been to buy technology companies and “Integrate” them with WebSphere Commerce. This strategy is great for marketing and quickly adding capabilities but is a huge problem for their customers. Maintaining the integration between all of these products is a lot of overhead. A survey of WebSphere Commerce users indicates an overwhelming percentage of them are on versions at least 2 major releases back. Upgrading the product is a significant undertaking.

3. The product architecture EJB requires a fairly highly qualified and expensive engineering team to customize and maintain.

Hybris:

Pros:

1. Highly flexible platform built on the Spring architecture.

2. The Product Content Management (PCM) capability is best in class.  Managing structured or unstructured data in relation to a product catalog is very powerful.

3.  WCMS is good out of the box, the UI is a little clunky but once you get used to it the capability is powerful.

4.  The Hybris production was built with internationalization in mind, adding multi-currency and multi-language is straightforward.

5.  Great consulting firm partnerships for implementation and integration.

6.  Recent acquisition of iCongo greatly improves their OMS capability.

Cons:

1.  The administrative UI is clunky, Hybris is aware of it and has greatly improved it but there is room to improve here.  The Hybris 5.x cockpit framework shows a lot of promise.

2.  Product documentation is lacking, most of their information is exposed through a Wiki and quite technical in nature.

3. Hybris is the new kid on the block in the US, they have a good history in Europe but good talent that has worked on the platform is hard to find.  The positive here is that the platform is built on Java Sprint so pretty much any Java developer can learn quickly.

Measuring a brands social performance

The other day I had coffee with some developers from the Dachis Group and discussed a new SaaS product they are offering. Based on an index called the Social Business Index or SBI that provides deep analytics on a company’s social performance.

The product is called SPM or Social Performance Monitor that is a “subscription based Saas application that tracks your brand’s social activities against crucial brand marketing business outcomes like: brand awareness, brand love, brand mindshare and brand advocacy.

Unlike alternatives that focus on simplistic stats in a vacuum, Social Performance Monitor gives you specific metrics correlated to your brand marketing business outcomes and benchmarked against your competitors relative performance, industry peers, and worldwide best in class.”

The beauty behind this system is the ability to pull all social engagements from your company into one aggregated view. This has huge potential for firms that do not have a central “Social Media Management” group.

Given the disparate groups operating social media accounts it is incredibly difficult for an organization to understand and measure their social performance or message. As the old saying goes “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”. Often times the message is inconsistent and there is no good way to aggregate a firms social performance. The SPM system holds a lot of promise and is something certainly worth evaluating for your business.