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The Subscription Model: The Shining Star of E-Commerce
July 11, 2019
Subscription sales have become a strong part of e-commerce. Everything from razors to dog toys to movies is being sold on the subscription model, and there is no sign of letting up. "Our customers tell us that opening their BarkBox with their dog is one of the best experiences they share every month," said Allison Stadd, vice president of marketing at Bark, about its monthly dog supply box.
Signpost Secures $52M to Expand Its SMB Marketing Reach
July 10, 2019
Cloud marketing company Signpost has raised $52 million in new funding to "increase the scale of our business and invest in our technology," CEO Stuart Wall announced. The company's SaaS platform for SMBs consists of artificial intelligence-based customer relationship management and marketing automation technology powered by automated data collection and cross-channel marketing.
How to Run a Profitable Business on Amazon
July 6, 2019
Selling on Amazon can be an extremely profitable business all on its own. Third-party sellers like small business owners and authors on Amazon's marketplace account for 58 percent of gross merchandise volume. This provides a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a massive profit. However, most entrepreneurs stop the process at taking a sale rather than scaling it into something great.
Oracle Advances Its Two-Pronged Cloud Strategy
June 26, 2019
Oracle has announced plans to combine its more than 18 related analytics products under a single banner, Oracle Analytics, making it easier for customers to figure out what they need. It's not unusual for a company to innovate a string of offerings before consolidating them into a single product line, and it's reasonable to assume that vendors that have not done so already will follow suit.
Technology Tools and Customer Engagement: It's Complicated
June 25, 2019
The most successful brands today are those that have created engaged audiences and an exceptional customer experience. They have managed to humanize the most unsentimental of buying processes, and somehow made it look easy. Providing a world class customer experience is so profitable that Gartner has estimated the CX and CRM software market alone to be worth $48.2 billion and rising steadily.
Thinking Different at Salesforce Connections
June 18, 2019
Salesforce has a genius way of putting people at ease and opening their minds before any of the company's representatives say a word about product. People who study neuropsychology point to the importance of ensuring that the audience's prefrontal cortexes are wide open and ready to transact ideas. Over the years Salesforce has opened minds by discussing philanthropy and it has worked brilliantly.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
Are You Gish-Galloping Your Business Toward Disruption?
June 13, 2019
Recent events have led to many people learning about a long-understood rhetorical tactic called "Gish galloping." Named after creationist Duane Gish, it means confronting an opponent with a rapid-fire series of arguments -- including half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies. Confronted with such a BS barrage, the opponent may try to refute each assertion, which is a losing proposition.
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
Trailblazing a Path for Blockchain
May 30, 2019
Many of us think of blockchain as the technology that prevents counterfeiting digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the so-called cryptocurrencies have hit the rocks recently, losing value or at least fluctuating wildly, making them look more like the stocks of startups than stores of value. Still, as an independent technology the value of blockchain is only growing.
The Biggest Customer Service Mistakes Brands Make on Social Media
May 29, 2019
Social media has become a part of everyday life. Case in point: Eighty-one percent of people in the U.S. have a social networking profile, and the number of worldwide users is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021. Consumers also have been devoting more of their time to engaging with social media sites. One-seventh of the average user's waking life is spent on social media.
Getting Chatty With Chatbots
May 28, 2019
Chatbots are an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions. Because they can be everpresent, chatbots are vital for keeping customers and potential customers engaged with a brand.
AppExchange Partners Get a Lift
May 23, 2019
For many years, one of the big concerns of the cloud software industry has been ensuring that the user experience was as good for enterprise software users as it was for consumers on big websites like Amazon. That has been a good motivator, because today's apps on both desktops and mobile devices have seen major improvements. That applies to today's partner ecosystem as well.
Better Customer Satisfaction Through AI-Enabled CRM
May 22, 2019
You don't have to be entrenched in the tech world to have heard the term, "artificial intelligence," but what is artificial intelligence, or AI, as it's commonly known? Simply put, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes performed by machines or computer systems. Nowadays, AI is being used to carry out many jobs previously held by humans, but there's no need to panic.
Einstein Analytics for Financial Services
May 7, 2019
It's not that Salesforce has introduced more artificial intelligence apps for its Einstein analytics tool set -- this time for financial services -- that's important. It's that the clear trend now emerging is that you can't really have an industry market solution-set without analytics tuned to the vertical. There are at least two ways to do analytics.
4 Advanced Ways Brands Use Data to Increase Online Sales
May 6, 2019
Data is one of the biggest advantages e-commerce brands have over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Brands that sell products online can glean insights not only from sales figures, but also from impressions, click-through rates, bounce rates, and numerous other data points. They have a constant stream of visitors to help them optimize every image, ad and product description.
Small Biz Reaps Major Benefits With Oracle Autonomous Database
May 4, 2019
Drop Tank is a small company in footprint -- it started with only 22 people -- but it has an outsized mission: to provide loyalty and discount programs to thousands of gasoline retailers. It has been decades since gas stations offered incentives to purchase their products. Last time, in the 1960s, retailers routinely would offer silverware, glassware and china with fill-ups.
What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Digital Transformation
May 3, 2019
Digital transformation is all the rage right now, and tech companies are working hard to promote it. You can hardly take an action online or go to a conference without being bombarded by digital transformation messages from every angle. Some companies are even using it to sell items only distantly related to digitally transforming. However, digital transformation should not be the end goal.
New CRM Research Shows Awareness Gap
May 1, 2019
CRM guru Esteban Kolsky and I did some primary research earlier this year, paid for by Zoho. We wanted to improve our understanding of what buyers of CRM systems were most interested in, and to discover their highest priorities. Our survey population was comprised of more than 200 highly qualified executives and managers in companies with workforces that ranged from 500 to several thousand.
5 Ways to Personalize B2B E-Commerce
April 29, 2019
For B2B sellers, keeping pace with customer expectations is anything but easy. Accustomed to the simplicity and convenience that has become common across B2C transactions, buyers expect more from B2B sellers than ever before. Make the most of a growing B2B e-commerce market by considering the unique needs and preferences of each customer. Avoid funneling customers into a complicated buyer journey.
What Social Can Learn From CRM
April 25, 2019
There's been a chorus of calls from all corners for social media regulation -- from pundits like me to the halls of Congress and even from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. The social media community seems tied up in knots over what to do about the abuse happening within their communities, but if you look elsewhere you might see signs of solutions that could solve some fundamental problems.
E-Commerce Branding in the Time of Amazon
April 23, 2019
I recently made two major additions to my life -- a second dog and a lake house. On weekends, I need to transport all my stuff and my two dogs to the lake, so I decided to upgrade my SUV to a larger model with an additional row of seats and more cargo space. When I began looking around at available models, I was stunned. The amount of competition in the SUV marketplace is astounding.
How to Get Smarter About Influencer Marketing
April 22, 2019
Marrying technical rigidity with unrestrained creativity? Due to its ability to transform brand engagement with creators on social media, programmatic influencer marketing is here to stay. Millennials have been abandoning traditional media channels and instead becoming increasingly invested in social media. However, marketers may find that PPC ads may not reach the desired performance levels.
Disruption Plus
April 17, 2019
There's a chicken-and-egg issue with digital disruption. Making decisions based on numbers instead of gut instinct is recognized to be a superior approach in many situations, but before you can get to decision making, people have to be able to use things like AI and ML. Humans are not naturals when it comes to numbers; thinking back to high school algebra is all it takes to convince most of us.
The Rise of Headless Commerce
April 15, 2019
"Headless commerce" has become an e-commerce buzzword lately, but how can brands use it to their advantage? "In its most basic terms, 'headless commerce' refers to the decoupling of a website's presentation layer -- the front end -- from its commerce and business logic/function layer -- the back end," said Meghan Stabler, vice president of product marketing at BigCommerce.
Back to the Old School With Zoho
April 13, 2019
Customer relationship management keeps expanding, and some people might wonder why we never seem to get all the way to some mythical goal of perfection. One of the chief reasons is that the goal posts are moving away from us and always will be. This isn't some plot by the software companies to drive demand. From what I've seen, most companies simply try to keep up with demand with increasingly diverse products that meet real market needs.
SEO: How Important Is It to Make the First Page?
April 12, 2019
In a recent E-Commerce Times poll, only 4.32 percent of respondents said there was always enough information on the first page of search results to meet their needs. By comparison, 14.05 percent said they found the first-page search results were rigged and limited by algorithmic highlights. More than one quarter, 25.41 percent, said even if the first page provided enough, they wanted to see more.
What Sellers Are Missing From CRM
April 11, 2019
As the B2B buyer continues to evolve, B2B sellers have more solutions than ever in their technology stacks. From CRM, sales content and asset management, to sales enablement, LMS and more, these technologies have been adopted in order to stay ahead of the changing behavior of prospects. The adopter of these solutions hopes to drive individual sales while increasing the team's productivity.
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Which type of online advertising is most likely to attract your favorable attention?
Straightforward display ads
Ads based on my interests
Informational articles on products/services
Video ads
Ads designed to grab my attention, e.g. pop-ups, autoplay
None -- I avoid all online ads