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An SMB's Guide to PCI 3.0 Penetration Testing
February 04, 2014
By now, if you're an IT professional and you're in an organization that has PCI-DSS in your scope -- that is, you store, process or transmit credit card data -- you probably already know that an update to the standard, Version 3.0, was released late last year. With this update come a few changes to the technical measures that organizations handling credit card information must implement.
Give Customers a Buying Experience They Can't Resist
January 31, 2014
When people talk about the customer experience, the thinking gets lofty quickly. The word "delight" is dropped a lot, people cite things like the American Girl Store or Nordstrom -- and soon over-the-top seems like what the norm should be. The experiences provided by the very best at creating experiences are great because they fit their product, their customers, and the objectives of both groups.
4 Processes for Turning Customer Ire Into Loyalty
January 24, 2014
If you're in business, you're going to face a customer relationship issue that's your fault. It happens. We're human -- and though we may strive for perfection, the best we can do is get close to that goal. When your business errs, the first people who are likely to hear it are your customer service reps. Customer service reps end up apologizing a lot in these situations.
Cloud Powers the Internet of Things
January 18, 2014
The Internet of Things is a key driver of accelerated growth of cloud-based alternatives to traditional on-premises systems and software, and as the new year begins to unfold, it is gaining momentum. The idea of the IoT evolved from the more narrowly focused concept of machine-to-machine communications, which has been floating around for a while and is now getting more attention.
Winning the CRM Race
January 17, 2014
"Customers do not want a relationship with your business, they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them." Mitch Lieberman, managing partner at DRI and an all-around bright thinker, first said this around 2009. He wasn't trying to smash anyone's illusions about the value of CRM. He was trying to reset business' thinking back to reality about the nature of buyer-seller relationships.
The Year of...
January 15, 2014
There are some good reasons to consider platform's primacy in our thinking. Platform makes sense from both vendor and customer perspectives. For vendors, platform rebuilds the walled gardens that were prevalent back when compilers and databases drove things. For customers, platforms and their ecosystem partners offer a reasonably robust environment for doing most of their business processing.
Accenture Tapped to Doctor HealthCare.gov
January 13, 2014
The raft of problems connected to the launch of HealthCare.gov appears to have sunk the fortunes of the private contractor paid for running the site. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, charged with overseeing the health insurance marketplace, has awarded Accenture Federal Services a one-year contract for $45 million to implement technical improvements to the site.
CRM's Collaboration Conundrum
January 07, 2014
CRM has gained significant attention and adoption among businesses eager to enhance their processes for building and maintaining customer relationships, thanks to industry visionaries such as Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft. However, there's a major element of effective sales strategy that CRM systems neglect to address: collaboration. True collaboration requires more than data.
TV Apps: New Markets, New Revenue Possibilities
December 28, 2013
The TV industry has been quick to move into the app market, and these offerings may foster a new era for television services. The term "app" was initially coined for small applications that run on mobile devices, but apps are now common to several platforms, notably on smart TVs and game consoles. A TV app either initiates or includes functions related to television programming or services.
5 Winning PCI 3.0 Ways
December 21, 2013
As most security and compliance pros already know, PCI 3.0 is now officially out. The specific changes it includes have already been covered in quite a bit of detail elsewhere in the industry press, so I won't cover them all again here. However, one area that is often less discussed is how to use these changes to carve out resources for things that also have benefits more generally.
KlearGear Admitted to Social CRM Hall of Shame
December 13, 2013
Technology and social media give businesses new ways to interact with customers, to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships, and to create two-way conversations that lead to better products and happier people at both ends of the conversation. They also allow dumb businesses to expose their incompetence faster and to a wider audience than ever before.
CRM's Frayed Ends
December 06, 2013
The buyer-seller relationship we most often think of is one in which all the responsibility is loaded on the seller. The seller convinces the customer to buy, then provides support and further marketing to keep the customer loyal. Not every selling relationship works this way, however. When both ends of the sale have a responsibility, things get a little cloudier and more complex.
5 Key Dashboards for Managing the Season With Confidence
November 30, 2013
For e-commerce companies, the time has finally arrived. After months of extensive preparations, the holidays are here and the top business priority is to drive conversions. Many of these companies have applied valuable lessons from 2012 and previous years by implementing basic Web performance-optimization techniques such as content compression, caching and using content delivery networks.
Dreamforce 2013 Notebook
November 22, 2013
There's always a lot to digest after Salesforce.com's annual bacchanalia, Dreamforce, which drew 135,000 registrants this year. Some of it is about Salesforce's announcements, but a lot more of it is about the implications of those announcements, the people who attend, and what goes on around the show. Despite its peculiar name, Salesforce1 is an important step for Salesforce.
Keep Holiday Shoppers Happy, in 3 Easy Steps
November 21, 2013
This holiday season, everything from Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blasters to Doc McStuffins dolls and even diamond jewelry will be purchased via mobile devices to a greater extent than ever before. In fact, mobile shopping will surpass the growth of all other channels during the upcoming holiday season, eMarketer has predicted, as more and more consumers change they way they purchase gifts.
9 Ways to Stay Up and Running on Cyber Monday
November 16, 2013
The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and that means e-commerce companies are now in the midst of the great run-up to the holidays -- an all-out sprint to get every possible new feature, bug fix and version tested and released in time for the big crush. This year, the stakes have been raised even higher with one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Securing the Internet of Things: 5 Easy Pieces
November 15, 2013
The Internet of Things has been receiving quite a bit of attention. Definitions vary, but at its core the concept is a simple one: Extend computing and data-processing capability to the physical world around us. The earliest manifestations of this are starting to be seen already in the growth of smart devices: televisions, automobiles, appliances, electric meters, etc.
Jargon to Jettison: 4 CRM Buzzwords that Should Be Retired
November 14, 2013
There's one thing in the post-industrial world that's never affected by economic slowdowns, changes in customer preferences, or technological advances. In fact, production of this commodity seems to pick up when there are disruptions, and each year an increasing quantity is produced. I'm talking about jargon. As technology has taken over our lives, it's brought a lot of this jargon with it.
3 Ways Corporate Culture can Crush CRM
November 08, 2013
CRM technology often gets blamed for the failure of customer initiatives -- and sometimes it's deserved. In many cases, though, the technology works exactly as advertised -- as far as technology can work. Still, CRM is a discipline, not a technology -- the technology merely helps business scale up the discipline. For that reason, the people and the processes around CRM are vital to its success.
Starting the Cyberinsurance Conversation
November 02, 2013
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1789. You have to wonder if Old Ben wouldn't add cyberattacks to that list were he alive today. We live in a world in which hundreds of thousands of new threats are created every day. Nary a day goes by without a new piece of malware or other threat finding its way into a network.
Your Employees Are Rock Stars
October 30, 2013
I go to a lot of conferences. Usually they're a combination of customer user group meetings and analyst days, and we all hear more or less detail about product futures, new functions and features, and policy rollouts. If you know how to look at these events, you can see a certain scene repeated: A customer meets an employee face to face for the first time and gushes like a kid meeting a rock star.
Hidden in Plain Sight: 3 CRM Analytics Pearls
October 25, 2013
CRM technology is all about collecting data -- which means it should go hand-in-hand with the trend toward analytics. Often, though, what is analyzed is not what's important. In CRM, many of the most compelling data are hiding in plain sight, but businesses are looking elsewhere. These hidden metrics can be accessed without expensive analytics tools in most cases, but they're overlooked.
Make Every Employee an Ambassador - Not a Salesperson
October 18, 2013
One of the phrases CRM vendors love to toss around these days is this saw: "CRM makes every employee a salesperson." I'm sure the VP of sales loves this vision, in which he suddenly is served by a quadrupled or quintupled number of salespeople, many of whom he doesn't have to manage and to whom he doesn't have to pay commission. The idea is a canard. It's a sham.
Post-M&A, It's Time to Sync Up Your Channel Marketing Content
October 16, 2013
In the world of small business, mergers and acquisitions are a dime a dozen. For marketing organizations, however, they can cost a lot more in terms of the effort required to communicate them effectively. M&As mean integrating two separate brands into a unified message -- one that must then be collated into hundreds of pieces of collateral and distributed to a broad range of global constituents.

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