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October 20, 2017
PayPal has announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family. PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot, which gives Messenger customers payment and account support right in the app. An agreement struck last year with Facebook allowed 2.5 million PayPal customers in the U.S. to connect their accounts with Messenger and use PayPal to shop on Messenger, as well as to communicate with other PayPal users, noted COO Bill Ready. [More...]

October 20, 2017
email-marketing
ShippingEasy on Thursday launched Automated Email Marketing as an addition to its customer management module. This new tool has a powerful rules engine that helps users increase sales, the company said. Among other things, it can set up a trigger to send an email to first-time buyers immediately after an order is downloaded -- customized with a logo and specific coupon code if desired. [More...]

October 19, 2017
google-home-mini
There's a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market -- like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there's also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies' assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter. [More...]

October 19, 2017
subscription-saas
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do. [More...]

October 18, 2017
b2b-b2c
picor this week released Epicor Commerce Connect, a cloud-based application designed to help wholesale distributors quickly deploy e-commerce sites that will automate many of the steps required to move product to their customers. The Commerce Connect software is now available for Epicor Eclipse, a cloud-based platform geared toward helping companies deploy rich B2B and B2C solutions. [More...]

October 18, 2017
accenture-interactive-sap-hybris
Accenture Interactive and SAP Hybris have partnered 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. [More...]

October 17, 2017
In-home broadband has become "the fourth utility" in United States households, many of which have multiple connected devices and viewing screens. More than 85 percent of U.S. homes have broadband service, according to Parks Associates, 93 percent of those have DSL, fiber or cable high-speed, fixed-line Internet services. Fixed broadband demand is a key contributor to operators' ongoing profits. [More...]

October 17, 2017
in-app-customer-service
"As services are getting more and more mobile, service needs to get mobile as well," said Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija. "If you look at customer service over the last 10 to 15 years, first it was all about average handling time. If you grew quickly as a business, you needed to stack up a call center. The next five to six years were all about self-service, so technology started building up." [More...]

October 16, 2017
retail-customer-omnichannel
Most retailers don't have the in-store technology to view customer information across various touchpoints, suggests a new study from Kibo. Fifty-eight percent of retailers who participated in the study, released last Thursday, acknowledged they did not have that capability. The study was based on questions posed to 115 retail executives during the Future Stores 2017 conference. [More...]

October 16, 2017
internet-of-things
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options. [More...]

October 14, 2017
in-store-customer-experience
Music can enhance the customer experience even in nontraditional retail environments, suggests a study released Thursday by Mood Media and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers. The study was conducted in France. Customers had a more favorable experience in five business locations -- including gas station, optical, banking, sports apparel and pharmacy locations, the study found. [More...]

October 13, 2017
salesforce-cloud-services
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets. [More...]

October 12, 2017
social-media-marketing
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary. [More...]

October 11, 2017
walmart
Walmart on Tuesday outlined plans to grow its critically important e-commerce business in the U.S. by 40 percent over the next fiscal year. The company intends to leverage a series of key acquisitions and its more than 4,600 brick-and-mortar locations to mount a direct challenge to Amazon for millennial customers. Walmart is the largest retail operation in the world and the leading U.S. challenger to Amazon. [More...]

October 11, 2017
The Cloud Foundry Foundation has launched Container Runtime as the default deployment and management platform for containers using Kubernetes and BOSH. The foundation announced Container Runtime at its annual European user conference. Cloud Foundry is an open source Platform as a Service offering used for building and managing applications in the cloud or in data centers. [More...]

October 11, 2017
banking-customers
If you need an example of digital disruption, you can't do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers. Even innovations like the ATM, which entered the scene several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers. [More...]

October 10, 2017
cyberattack-small-companies
Nearly 60 percent of small businesses have been the victims of a cyberattack over the past year, but the vast majority didn't realize that they had been attacked, according to Nationwide's third annual survey of 1,069 businesses with fewer than 299 employees. Initially, only 13 percent of the participating companies said they had been victims of a cyberattack. [More...]

October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers. [More...]

October 9, 2017
apple-iphone-x-face-id
Apple's use of facial recognition to unlock its iPhone X may open the gates for developers champing at the bit to bring the technology to the Android world. Face ID, which will replace fingerprint scanning in Apple's new iPhone X, uses Apple's TrueDepth 3D camera to verify the owner of a phone. Android developers have been working on similar systems, said Sensible Vision CEO George Brostoff. [More...]

October 6, 2017
hewlett-packard-enterprise-hpe
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has allowed experts working with Russia to review the source code of cybersecurity software that is used by the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon uses HPE's ArcSight software to protect sensitive computer networks. The review of its code was conducted by Russian firm Echelon on behalf of a Russian defense agency that deals with cybersecurity issues. [More...]

October 9, 2017
Helpshift's new Web Chat application uses AI to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions. The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers' ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in customer support for the gaming industry. [More...]

October 5, 2017
artificial-intelligence-warning
Here's a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence -- possibly based on IBM's Watson -- could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it's conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously. [More...]

October 4, 2017
online-shopping-shipping
Shipping has become a key part of e-commerce success. Amazon has raised consumer expectations dramatically when it comes to shipping, and etailers have been scrambling to keep up. Because changes occur on a near-daily basis in the shipping world, here are some tips for getting ahead of the game. The faster you can get your goods out the door and into your customers' hands, the better. [More...]

October 3, 2017
enterprise-security-ssh
There are times when it seems like technology can work almost too well. Now, if working too well sounds to you like an impossibility, reflect that there's more to a technology than end-user experience. In addition to the experience of using the technology, there are other considerations that play a role: things like maintenance, operations and ongoing support. [More...]

INSIGHTS
Show Season
October 4, 2017
crm-conferences
Autumn officially kicked off about a week ago -- not with some celestial convergence but with show season, with companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM holding conclaves of their faithful. This is traditionally the beginning of attempts at closing the calendar year on a high note, as CRM vendors work to garner customer dollars based on the promises of new technologies unveiled at conferences. [More...]

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