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March 21, 2018
Checking out is the heart and soul of the e-commerce experience. When it goes well, you've got happy customers who are likely to return. "Checkout is not only key to driving revenue -- it's key to user satisfaction, order size and retention," said Zephrin Lasker, head of ecommerce at Viber. "A good process can allow for optimal conversion, data collection and speed." [More...]

March 20, 2018
EU, UK and U.S. officials have ratcheted up the pressure on Facebook over a user data scandal that threatens to engulf the company. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, summed up the stakes in a tweet on Tuesday: "Facebook needs to clarify before the representatives of 500 million Europeans that personal data is not being used to manipulate democracy." [More...]

March 20, 2018
Markets and companies change as industries grow and as a disruptive innovation commoditizes. Generally, prices come down because the innovation becomes commonplace and competitors fight for every scrap causing margin erosion. Eventually markets equilibrate, and a monopoly or small oligopoly sets in. We can see this playing out right now -- mature industries like databases have an oligopoly set up. [More...]

March 19, 2018
A California legislator has fleshed out the details in legislation that would provide comprehensive Net neutrality protection. Sen. Scott Wiener last week offered an amended version of a bill he introduced earlier this year, which essentially prohibits ISPs from engaging in any practice that would manipulate or hinder consumer access to certain content, devices or services. [More...]

March 16, 2018
Walmart said it would expand its Online Grocery Delivery service, currently available in six markets, to more than 100 metro areas across the U.S. Its plans call for covering more than 40 percent of U.S. households by the end of the year. Walmart will use more than 800 of its stores to fulfill orders, and it will add thousands of personal shoppers to the more than 18,000 already employed. [More...]

March 16, 2018
Salesforce has launched Salesforce Essentials, a collection of intelligent apps targeting SMBs. Built on the Salesforce Lightning framework, Essentials offers a consumer-like experience optimized for any device. Relevant information is displayed on one unified console, with drag-and-drop customization. "Essentials is easy to try, set up, use and maintain," said Salesforce SVP Marie Rosecrans. [More...]

March 15, 2018
Google has said it will stop serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content in June. The ban includes, but is not limited to, initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice. Google also will bar aggregators and affiliates from serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content. Facebook adopted a similar policy earlier this year. [More...]

March 14, 2018
Facebook has millions of users in the European Union, and a German court recently ruled against the company in a case involving its Privacy Policy. Few ever read privacy policies except judges, who must examine them when challenges arise. The new EU General Data Protection Regulations, which go into effect on May 25, will make things even more complicated. If you have any customers who are EU residents, the new GDPR will impact you. [More...]

March 14, 2018
Healthcare might offer the best example of the potential for vertical market CRM, but most people in CRM may not realize this. Healthcare is, after all, a bit of a stretch from what we do in the enterprise or SMB world, but perhaps it shouldn't be. In both spheres we see a relatively small number of highly paid and overworked people addressing the needs of a vast number of people. [More...]

March 13, 2018
How far does the long arm of U.S. law enforcement extend when government agencies seek electronically processed information? The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed that issue in an intriguing session covering global electronic connectivity, the law, and the significance of national borders. The discussion came during last month's oral arguments in U.S. v. Microsoft. [More...]

March 10, 2018
Virtual reality devices, including headsets and peripherals, offer consumers and businesses new ways to experience and share immersive content for entertainment, educational, social and other purposes. VR's unique capability to promote user interaction through highly immersive content provides untapped potential in terms of storytelling, advertising, healthcare, business, travel and much more. [More...]

March 8, 2018
Amazon this week expanded its discounted Prime membership program, already available to EBT card holders, to include Medicaid recipients. Eligible customers can become Prime members for $5.99 a month, less than half the regular $12.99 monthly fee. The move -- another step in Amazon's efforts to reach underserved economic communities -- ratchets up its competition with Walmart. [More...]

March 8, 2018
Pegasystems has launched Pega Sales Coach, an AI-powered addition to Pega Sales Automation. Pega Sales Automation targets business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. It can benefit firms with 100 employees as well as Fortune 500 enterprises with revenues of US$500 million and up, according to Chris Benedetto, Pega's director of product marketing for sales automation. [More...]

March 7, 2018
"Blockchain" is on everyone's lips in the tech industry, with vendors pushing it for everything from banking and finance to retail and apparel. "We're going to continue to see tech vendors trying to push blockchain as the solution to problems that may exist," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. However, it may not be "a privacy-effective or cost-effective solution." [More...]

March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool. [More...]

March 6, 2018
The U.S. voice shopping market will rise from its current $2 billion valuation to $40 billion by 2022, according to a survey by OC&C Strategy Consultants. The trend is being driven by a surge in the number of homes using smart speakers, from the current 13 percent to 55 percent by 2022. It's likely that Amazon will continue to dominate this channel, the survey results suggest. [More...]

March 2, 2018
Amazon has agreed to buy Ring for $1 billion, the companies have disclosed. Ring users already could use the Echo Show to see and hear visitors at the front door. The deal means Ring can further its "mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools to our neighbors that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities and the world," Ring said. [More...]

March 1, 2018
Google Pay launched last week, becoming the latest entry in the world of master-brand confusion. The new Google Pay combines features of Android Pay and Google Wallet, brands that each had different brand relationships with customers. That means the master brand message, which should be simple and clean, and which Google should have been building all along, is shaky at best. [More...]

March 1, 2018
We spend a great deal of time and effort trying to make healthcare more affordable and to ensure better outcomes. Too often, the upshot is to reduce all problems and challenges to a singularity in search of a silver bullet. It never works, but it seems like human nature to take that approach. Salesforce has taken a tactic that is bearing fruit, in part because it isn't really trying to fix healthcare. [More...]

February 28, 2018
Podcasting is one of the hottest media trends. Almost everyone, it seems, has a podcast these days. Should e-commerce business owners jump on this bandwagon? Can podcasting really boost the bottom line? If you do decide to make a podcast, do your best to make it exceptional. That means having good audio quality, excellent content, a unique voice, and a strong sense of audience and purpose. [More...]

February 28, 2018
AdRoll has announced RollWorks, a new division that will provide business-to-business marketers with highly targeted, personalized marketing at scale across multiple channels and devices. The result of a corporate restructuring, RollWorks will focus specifically on B2B marketing, while the AdRoll business unit will focus on the company's legacy products for e-commerce SMBs. [More...]

February 27, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments in a landmark case over whether federal law enforcement can force Microsoft to hand over email stored in an overseas data center as evidence in a drug-trafficking case. The case, United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation, which dates back to 2013, is viewed as a potentially groundbreaking showdown over data privacy. [More...]

February 26, 2018
Fraud is a major concern for 72 percent of businesses, according to Experian's Global Fraud and Identity Report. More than 5,500 consumers and 500 business executives in 11 markets around the world participated in the survey. The situation has not been improving, as six out of 10 businesses experienced the same losses to fraud as they did a year ago -- or more. [More...]

February 23, 2018
One fundamental element of building a brand relationship with customers is consistency. Widely franchised companies like Starbucks compromise consistency, however. They employ several different business models instead of sticking to one. This approach confuses customers and hurts the master brand, since customers never really know what to expect. [More...]

February 23, 2018
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially published its Net neutrality rollback order in the Federal Register, triggering a flurry of legal actions and Capitol Hill scrambling to stop it before it takes hold. The order, which goes into effect on April 23, reverses an Obama era rule requiring that broadband access be regarded as a utility. [More...]

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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.
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