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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
March 22, 2019
automated ai-powered inventory management can keep retail operations afloat in an amazon-dominated market
Retail is facing battles on all fronts. Up against Amazon's streamlined operations on one side, and a higher demand for flawless customer service and experience on the other, it's either think or sink for many. However, AI has thrown some early adopters a lifeline. As Amazon has proven with its stranglehold on the retail industry, online shopping is unquestionably the future. [More...]

March 20, 2019
instagram has launched a closed beta of checkout an in-app shopping feature
Instagram has introduced Checkout on Instagram -- an in-app purchasing tool -- as a closed beta for consumers in the U.S. Among the 20 participating brands are Adidas, Nike, Burberry, Dior, Huda Beauty, Prada and Michael Kors. "Users in the U.S. can buy from a majority of these brands starting today, with all of them coming on board over the coming weeks," said Instagram spokesperson Paige Cohen. [More...]

March 18, 2019
telling your brand's story is an important way to boost customer engagement and sales
Storytelling is a central part of e-commerce marketing, and it's vital that brands both know their own stories and understand how to tell them. Everything from brand loyalty to purchasing decisions relies on a company having an engaging and well-told story. "Facts tell, but stories sell," remarked Samantha Reynolds, president of Echo Storytelling Agency. "We decide what to buy based on emotion." [More...]

March 16, 2019
Customer relationship management is a term you've likely heard if you have worked in the tech space. CRM software solutions have not always been as far-reaching as they are today. Over the last 40 years, CRM has evolved from a range of disparate business solutions developed for various customer needs. The earliest CRM tools were devices like Rolodexes, which you can hardly even find these days. [More...]

March 15, 2019
brick-and-mortar retailers can cultivate longstanding consumer relationships to level the playing field
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification. [More...]

March 14, 2019
facebook needs to solve its privacy problem or face possible government regulation
The good news is that of the many troubles Facebook has, privacy seems to be front and center for both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. The question is, will the actions they take to address the company's privacy issues be enough? If not, this is the kind of problem that can and will cause long-term damage to the Facebook brand. Its leaders need to come up with an immediate fix. [More...]

March 13, 2019
amazon no longer requires third-party sellers to abide by a price parity contract clause
Amazon reportedly has removed the price parity contract clause that barred third-party vendors on its platform from selling their products at a lower price elsewhere. The company long has been accused of anticompetitive behavior and has come under considerable political pressure because of its use of the price parity, also known as "most favored nation," restriction. [More...]

March 13, 2019
crm developers should include age as a variable when refining processes
Trying to do business without also having a modern CRM system is like walking around naked. You can do it, at least for a little while, but people will begin to think you're weird -- and the trouble is, those people are all potential customers. CRM is essential today because, despite our reverence for the free market, it's really more like free markets -- plural. [More...]

March 12, 2019
senator elizabeth warren has called for breakup of technology giants
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems. [More...]

March 11, 2019
e-commerce companies should consider revenue sources apart from their core products
There's a reason that Amazon's stock skyrocketed 28 percent in 2018, a notable outlier amid the broader market trends. The behemoth retailer is bolstered by a few key differentiators when stacked against the competition -- but let's backtrack for a moment to examine the state of the current online marketplace. In truth, there's an expectation in the market that buying online is cheaper. [More...]

March 9, 2019
e-retailers must optimize their sites for mobile commerce to keep up with fast-moving trends
Mobile search and buying continue to grow as the chosen means for consumers' online shopping, with the market set to reach an estimated $218 billion in 2019. By 2021, it's estimated that 72.9 percent of online purchases will be made on a mobile device. If you factor in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, virtually all sales soon will be mobile-generated. [More...]

March 8, 2019
augmented reality is bringing the in-store experience to online shopping
I grew up thinking the Mall of America was an unbelievable epicenter of retail commerce. Touted as the biggest mall in the world -- even equipped with an amusement park -- the Minnesota complex boasted stores of all kinds: toys, clothing, furniture, home furnishings. Then this thing called "e-commerce" came along and basically made the Mall of America seem like Main Street in small-town America. [More...]

March 7, 2019
google is testing shoppable ads in its image search function
Google wants to become your digital shopping catalog through shoppable ads. The company on Tuesday said it is testing a new format on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers. Merchants can highlight multiple products available for sale within a sponsored ad among Google Images results. Google is testing this approach on broad queries surfacing on searches like "home office ideas," "shower tile designs" and "abstract art." [More...]

March 6, 2019
target saw a huge e-commerce sales boost in the holiday season
Target has reported higher gains in last year's holiday sales, largely due to improved e-commerce strategies and store makeovers, and has offered an upbeat outlook. Its stores fulfilled nearly 75 percent of its fourth-quarter digital sales. Holiday sales increased 5.3 percent. Physical stores open for at least 12 months saw a sales jump of 2.9 percent. Online sales soared 31 percent. [More...]

March 5, 2019
resource optimization is more useful than assigning blame to victims of data breaches
Following a natural disaster that causes property damage to businesses and homes -- say a hurricane, fire or flood -- how often do you hear suggestions that the victims were at fault for their misfortune, or that they could have done something to prevent the event from occurring in the first place? Not often, right? We all know that events like that are possible. We plan around those possibilities, and we don't blame the victims. [More...]

March 4, 2019
many businesses have been adopting online learning to improve staff training and customer service
Online learning platforms have made it easier than ever to offer workshops, courses and educational content of all kinds. In addition to the growth of online learning in traditional educational spheres, there's been growth in the business world. Companies increasingly have been using online learning platforms both to train employees and to educate customers. [More...]

March 1, 2019
amazon has launched project zero to help brands eliminate counterfeits of their products
Amazon has announced Project Zero, a program that empowers vendors to help drive counterfeits down. The anti-counterfeit campaign will employ Amazon's advanced technology, machine learning and innovation. Amazon will partner with Project Zero's participating vendors to protect their intellectual property by detecting and removing counterfeits of their products. [More...]

February 28, 2019
the ftc's settlement with a supplement company could curb the use of fake paid reviews online
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms. [More...]

February 27, 2019
collaboration with latin american tech resources offers many benefits for us companies
The artificial intelligence revolution has been going on for a while, but that does not mean all of software research and development is part of it. It is, nonetheless, an interesting example of what pushes the software industry forward. The ideas and techniques that brought machine learning into existence were developed over the span of several decades. [More...]

February 26, 2019
both the crm industry and salesforce have matured but there is still plenty of room for growth
Salesforce will be celebrating its 20th birthday on March 8. Where did those decades go? "Time flies like an arrow," said Groucho. "Fruit flies like a banana." There it is. A respectable chunk of the analyst community that follows Salesforce converged last week in San Francisco inside the company's cavernous new headquarters to hear about its plans for the year ahead. [More...]

February 25, 2019
it may seem contradictory but e-commerce is how analog toolmakers are marketing their anti-digital products
From fountain pens and high-end pencils to unique paper notebooks, analog writing tools have legions of fans, even though we're living in a primarily digital world. It's precisely the physicality of analog tools that makes them appealing to many people immersed in a digital reality. They're grounding and real in a world that has become increasingly ephemeral. [More...]

February 23, 2019
online retailers can save money and win customer loyalty by focusing on sustainability
For online retailers, creating an unmatched customer experience is not only a top priority -- it is also a business imperative. They must make sure the items customers want to order are in stock, and that the orders are packaged correctly and shipped quickly, and delivered to the right address. Focusing solely on these necessities tends to be a shortsighted way of viewing the process, however. [More...]

February 22, 2019
This winter has been very rough on Google Fiber, Alphabet's high-speed Internet service. An overabundance of snow, ice and water have caused service outages. Why do these issues not seem to hamper competitors? The latest news is that the service is leaving Louisville, supposedly due to a faulty installation process. Why not correct the faults? What is the real problem at Google Fiber? [More...]

February 21, 2019
net neutrality has become a political football subject to court challenges and new laws
Way back in the dark ages in May 2011 -- about 2,345 Internet years ago -- I wrote a column about Net neutrality, which was in court at the time. For those of you who are not sure, "Net neutrality" is short for "Internet neutrality" or "network neutrality." The concept addresses user access to the Internet, and the debate around Net neutrality centers on whether ISPs can limit, tier, block or otherwise affect Internet performance. [More...]

February 20, 2019
walmart ecommerce sales skyrocketed in q4 fy 2019
Walmart's e-commerce sales were up 43 percent for Q4 FY 2019. Sam's Club e-commerce sales grew 21 percent. Customers "continue to respond to our increasingly omnichannel offerings. We're executing against our strategy and it's working," said Walmart spokesperson Robyn Babbitt. Walmart's e-commerce focus "remains on earning repeat visits and strengthening our assortment of merchandise." [More...]

Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Has technology made transportation more or less safe?
Traveling by all modes of transportation has become riskier with each passing year.
In general, transportation safety has been improving steadily, despite some failures.
Some modes of transportation have been improving while others have become less safe.
We may have reached a tipping point where more tech means less safety.
Don't blame the tech -- greedy companies haven't done adequate testing.
Government regulators have not been playing a strong enough oversight role.
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide