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5 Ways Etailers Can Make Online Shoppers Feel Safe

online-shopping-security

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At least 145 million Americans — half the population of the United States — were impacted by the recent data breach at Equifax that netted thieves personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security Numbers and driver’s license numbers.

That pales in comparison to the earlier Yahoo breaches, which affected more than 1 billion accounts.

However, those incidents may be just the tip of a very large iceberg, as reports of data breaches just keep on coming.

Data Breach Disillusionment

“Consumer confidence is at an all-time low,” said Paige Schaffer, COO of the identity and digital protection services global unit at Generali Global Assistance.

“We did a survey with ORC International that found 40 percent of consumers believe businesses aren’t doing all they can to protect their personal information,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “Further, three in four holiday shoppers say they’re either very concerned or somewhat concerned about their financial or personal information being compromised due to a data breach this season.”

Still, “75 percent of holiday shoppers say they’ll be doing at least some of their shopping online,” Schaffer pointed out.

Consumer spending will be up 3.4 percent year over year this holiday season, to total almost US$680 billion, according to the National Retail Foundation.

Companies that want to nail down their share of the bonanza must not only make sure their systems are secure, but also make sure that shoppers know they’re in good hands.

Here are some ways e-commerce firms can reassure skittish customers and potential customers.

1. Have a Good…

Accenture, SAP Plot One CX Platform for All

accenture-interactive-sap-hybris

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Accenture Interactive and SAP Hybris on Wednesday announced a partnership to create a new platform that will let users build and curate end-to-end contextual, personalized customer experiences — from marketing, e-commerce and offline shopping to customer service and loyalty management.

The joint platform will target B2C and B2B firms in retail, telecommunications and resources.

It will help companies

  • discover aspects of their commerce offering that impact the customer experience;
  • identify the impact of their current technology on the way people experience their brands, offerings and services; and
  • act quickly upon insights using the platform’s capability to create, launch and harmonize experiences across channels that drive tangible business outcomes.

“Personalized experiences for customers across all aspects of their interaction with a company are a big challenge for many companies, particularly those that have disconnected sales, service and marketing arms,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“We’ve found that disconnected data sources and silos are one of the biggest challenges companies face in advancing their customer experience goals,” she told CRM Buyer.

Accenture Interactive has conducted pilot projects with retail clients using an early-stage version of the platform, and initial results indicate sales have increased by up to 30 percent; operational costs have declined by as much as 25 percent; and ROI soared up to 700 percent.

“There are good pilots in place, and the experiences are compelling,” observed Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation…

Cloudflare Stream Promises Easy, Cheap Video Hosting

video-streaming

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Cloudflare on Wednesday released the beta version of Cloudflare Stream, a new, inexpensive streaming video service.

Designed for app developers who want to build businesses hosting and streaming videos, Cloudflare Stream bundles encoding, global delivery and video player software into one package. These functionalities can be separated upon request.

Cloudflare wants to remove the need for users to grapple with the nuts and bolts of the technology, and to offer its service at a low price.

Users just shoot a video and upload it to an application programming interface standpoint to make the video available globally. It streams adaptively through an embeddable link that Cloudflare provides.

Cloudflare Stream pricing is based on the amount of time consumers actually spend viewing the video. That charge includes encoding, global delivery and the player.

Compression is enabled by default, and Cloudflare will support new, better codecs upon their release.

Too Much Protection

“Firms regularly use YouTube to distribute content because it’s really easy,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

However, they might prefer Cloudflare Stream if they want better control over the quality and content, he told the E-Commerce Times.

“I know of one instance where Google killed the corporate stream for a live event because their filters identified the background music being used before the event started as protected content,” Enderle said. “With consumer services, because the protections have to be aggressive, you can have lots of unanticipated problems.”

Problems With Video Streaming

Only about 1,000 companies do any meaningful level…

New Cloud Tools Aim to Streamline, Monetize Partner Relationships

partners-resellers

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AppDirect on Tuesday announced new products and functionality for its Cloud Commerce Platform.

The new tools, AppReseller and Cloud Management Suite, enable software vendors to launch reseller partner programs quickly. Software as a Service providers can use the new capabilities to help their small and mid-sized business users manage and leverage their software more effectively.

AppReseller helps software vendors monetize partner relationships by enabling channel partners to spin up customer accounts and place orders in real time.

With AppReseller, vendors can accomplish the following tasks:

  • Set up a portal to onboard and manage partners;
  • Get a granular view of data on the status of partnerships, including leads, pipeline, influenced revenue and attributed revenue;
  • View sales, costs and revenue across a partner ecosystem through a single dashboard; and
  • Automate payments and reconciliations between themselves and partners and resellers.

“AppDirect does provide our partners with this data, but AppReseller’s built as a standalone product to enable partners to build their own reseller networks,” said AppDirect CEO Daniel Saks.

“It wasn’t designed to replace these tools but to supplement these systems,” he told CRM Buyer.

Customers no longer have to be a part of the AppDirect reseller ecosystem, Saks noted.

“Think of it as a distribution channel in a box,” said Michael Jude, a research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Still, “not really seeing a lot here,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“Most CRM vendors provide capabilities for partner relationship management as well,” she told CRM Buyer, “that’s…

Cloud Partner Program Aims to Replace ERP

brightpearl-enterprise-partner-program

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Brightpearl, which offers a cloud-based retail management system for mid-sized retailers and wholesalers, on Wednesday launched a new Enterprise Partner Program.

The company aims to build out its partner ecosystem to deploy an end-to-end management service for omnichannel retailers as an alternative to traditional enterprise resource planning systems.

Brightpearl is seeking technology providers specializing in commerce, EDI (electronic data interchange), accounting, POS (point of sale), logistics, shipping and inventory, and marketplaces.

Ecosystem partners will offer a customized enterprise-grade end-to-end retail management solution for small and mid-sized retailers with gross merchandise revenues of between US$2.5 million and $50 million.

Such potential customers typically would work with solution providers such as such as ShipStation and Silk Software, which already have partnered with Brightpearl.

“The EPP is a new program that we’re launching, and we’re delighted to include a number of partners from across the retail technology ecosystem from Day One,” said Derek Rosenzweig, Brightpearl’s head of partner business development.

Along with Silk and ShipStation, initial partners include SPS Commerce, SIgnifyd, BigCommerce, Avatar, EY Studios, and PayPal Here.

“We believe we can offer retailers a comprehensive end-to-end solution today,” Rosenzweig told the E-Commerce Times. “We expect the EPP to grow as other vendors with particular expertise seek to join.”

EPP Benefits

The program will offer three tiers of partner support to solution providers and agencies that manage various levels of commerce builds and integrations with…

Account-Based Marketing Inspires New Software, Strategies

account-based-marketing

Architecting the Omnichannel Engagement Engine of the Future
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InsideView last week released InsideView Target with ABM, a tool for business-to-business companies that have implemented account-based marketing.

It is a fully redesigned version of InsideView Target, with the addition of ABM workflows and other enhancements, including the following capabilities:

  • Suppressing lists to created highly customized campaigns focused on increasing net new customers;
  • Finding contacts from an uploaded list of companies; and
  • Leveraging technologies used, along with compelling business events data, as targeting criteria for a list of specific companies.

“Previously, InsideView IDs were required to build a list of companies you wanted to select contacts for,” said Joe Andrews, VP of product and solution marketing at the company.

Users now can “type in any company name or upload a list of companies to search for people, technologies used, and compelling news or events within the companies uploaded,” he told CRM Buyer.

Users can exclude customers, competitors or people from new lists. They can access saved lists any time to see all the companies and people they’re targeting.

“Companies who want to [succeed] with ABM need to start with the right set of target accounts and people,” Andrews noted. “Otherwise, the best campaign tactics in the world won’t be effective.”

InsideView Target with ABM is integrated with Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce.

InsideView “is a bit late to the game with this one, as many others offer ABM capabilities,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

However, its core strength, “pulling together contextual information on contacts and…

The Internet of Things Is a Boon for B2B: Report

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Businesses have been focusing on the Internet of Things as an enabler of growth and increased operational efficiency, as well as the means to provide a better experience to customers and partners, according to the State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017 report Verizon released this week.

Seventy-three percent of executives surveyed said they either were researching or currently deploying IoT, according to the report.

“Few industry sectors, business people or ordinary people will not be impacted by this, as augmented intelligence and machine learning use the data from IoT to transform markets,” Constellation Research Principal Analyst Andy Mulholland told the E-Commerce Times.

However, a variety of factors have dampened IoT momentum:

  • Long capital cycles;
  • Organizational inertia;
  • Lack of suitably skilled staff;
  • Lack of industry-wide IoT standards; and
  • Concerns about security, interoperability and cost.

Ready for the Enterprise

Despite those challenges, the IoT has become enterprise-grade, with the focus on B2B communications, according to the Verizon report.

For example, 70 percent of the Fortune 500 property and casualty insurance firms surveyed indicated they were tapping network-connected drones to perform inspections and other claims-related work.

The energy and construction industries have been using drones to perform inspections, maintenance and other high-cost tasks, while the pharmaceuticals industry has been using IoT solutions to track and trace medicines from production to patients.

The current business focus appears to be on simpler use cases — to track data and send status alerts, for example, which are easier to deploy but lack data analytics capabilities.

Those limitations will prevent these businesses from…

Robots May Become Go-To Customer Service Reps

robot-customer-service

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The customer service robot market will be worth US$88 million by 2022, according to a report Tractica released earlier this week. Annual shipments are expected to increase from 2,730 units in 2016 to nearly 4,800 in 2022.

The robots will be both humanoid and non-humanoid. However, telepresence robots, chatbots, and stationary customer interactive systems that don’t have moving parts are not included in the count.

Nearly half of all customer service robots will be deployed in the Asia Pacific Region; other significant markets will be North America and Europe.

Demand for customer service robots is driven by the following factors, according to the report:

  • interactive marketing and re-branding strategies;
  • the cost of human staff;
  • customer service digitization and competition;
  • robotics as a tool for customer behavioral analytics;
  • the shifting roles of human staff; and
  • initiatives to promote robots for the service industry, particularly in Japan and China.

Jobs for Robots

Robots will be useful in situations where customer interactions are standardized and repetitive — such as in banks, shopping malls, family entertainment centers, exhibitions and events, airports and stores, Tractica noted.

Robots “can pick up where self-service in kiosks leaves off by humanizing some of the capabilities and using other sensory areas such as vision, hearing and speech to improve engagement,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“The demand’s coming from the automation of lower-skilled white collar jobs,” he told CRM Buyer.

Japan’s Henn-na Hotel, for example, is fully staffed by robots, Wang pointed out.

A number of organizations already are using robots on a trial basis in…

Comcast, Google Can Publish Users’ Email Contents

comcast-google-email-privacy-terms-service

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Comcast’s Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to “reproduce, publish, distribute and display” the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet.

This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor to authorized persons over the service, independent security analyst Randy Abrams warned Tuesday.

The “excessively broad language” of Comcast’s ToS “should be of concern,” Abrams told the E-Commerce Times.

“There are no limitations or privacy controls with ISPs,” he pointed out.

“The revised language in our Residential Services Agreement is meant to make it clear that we are expressly authorized by the customer to send around what the customer wants to send around where we are the conduit or intermediary,” said Comcast spokesperson Jenni Moyer.

“We are not taking their content,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

It’s not just Comcast. Google’s ToS gives it — and the third parties it works with — a “worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, and distribute” content users upload, submit, store, send or receive to or through its services.

This license continues even if a user stops using Google’s services — but the rights then apply to the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving Google’s services, and developing new ones.

Where Google and Comcast Differ

Some Google services may offer users ways to access and remove content that has been provided to them, and some have terms or settings that narrow the…