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What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
To Drive Change, Let Your Customers Be the Messengers
June 30, 2018
Before I was a parent, I was a youth leader. As individuals, teens had unique personalities, skills and stories, but one thing that was universal was the effect that parental communication had on them. Whether it was a criticism, a suggestion, or merely a bit of helpful information, the teens tended to look down on it, or even become hostile toward the messenger.
Breaking the Fraud Chain
June 29, 2018
Retailers' biggest worry is increasing e-commerce fraud -- including data breaches, targeted attacks and card-not-present fraud -- according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Online fraud is one of the biggest challenges facing retailers, with CNP fraud being one of their top worries. CNP fraud will hit $71 billion over the next five years, Juniper Research has forecast.
IBM's Watson Enlisted for B2B Sentiment Analysis
June 27, 2018
B2B customer support firm TeamSupport has added sentiment analysis technology, powered by IBM's Watson, to its customer relationship platform. The new tech provides automatic text analysis of email or chat responses to assess how a customer feels, so customer support teams can prioritize and personalize their outreach efforts. It includes predefined categories such as "satisfied" and "frustrated."
What Net Neutrality's Repeal Means to E-Commerce SMBs
June 27, 2018
E-commerce SMBs are likely to be hit hard by the United States Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Net neutrality earlier this month. The move will let Internet service providers block and manipulate Internet usage and discriminate against users at will, according to critics. Various public interest groups have challenged the FCC's repeal of Net neutrality in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
7 Keys to Global E-Commerce Success
June 26, 2018
If you operate an e-commerce company, the world is at your fingertips, and global markets offer the enticing promise of increased visibility and sales. "International expansion is a great way to mitigate risk and reliance on a single market for all your sales," noted Chris Vincent, global CEO of Practicology. How to get started may seem murky, though.
Amazon Flings Opens Prime Wardrobe Doors
June 23, 2018
Amazon has opened Prime Wardrobe to all Prime members, after beta-testing the service on an invitation-only basis for a year. Prime Wardrobe is included in Amazon Prime memberships at no additional charge. "This is going to be an immensely valuable service for Amazon which will increase consumers' confidence in buying apparel from the company," said Nikki Baird, VP for retail innovation at Aptos.
EU Edges Closer to Adopting Controversial Copyright Rules
June 22, 2018
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee has voted in favor of a directive on copyright in the digital single market, a proposal it has been wrestling with since its introduction in 2015. News of the vote kicked off a storm, as Article 13 of the directive effectively requires online content-sharing service providers evaluate all submissions to ensure they don't breach copyright.
What the GDPR Means for Small US Etailers
June 21, 2018
Large corporations are not the only businesses governed by the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which became effective last month. Small and mid-sized businesses also are subject to its provisions. The regulation applies to the processing of personal data of individuals in the EU by an individual, a company or an organization engaged in professional or commercial activities.
Salesforce Connects With Marketing
June 21, 2018
A good way to understand what Salesforce articulated at Connections 2018 is to recall the direction it set a few years ago, when CEO Marc Benioff said the company would develop most apps for the small screen first. Translated, that was a concession that handheld devices -- phones and tablets -- would become the primary devices we'd all use in business. So far that's been a good bet.
Companies Team to Give Hard-Pressed Sales Reps a Boost
June 20, 2018
Mobile sales and business-to-business e-commerce platform Handshake has teamed up with Square to provide easy B2B ordering and payments via an app that enables a seamless workflow between the two companies' products. Using the app, B2B sellers can accept all major credit cards and see their money deposited in their bank accounts in one to two business days.
How a Newsletter Can Boost Your Business
June 20, 2018
Newsletters are one of the primary means of communicating with both existing and potential customers. For small e-commerce business owners, however, putting together a regular newsletter may seem daunting. It might seem that creating and sending out a newsletter would involve spending more time and energy than you have, taking valuable resources away from sales and marketing.
Breach Litigation: A Growing Risk for E-Commerce Businesses
June 15, 2018
The expanding world of Internet commerce likely will generate a corresponding expansion of data breaches, resulting in more e-commerce businesses becoming the targets of consumer class action lawsuits. Breach litigation has become more prevalent as a result of a perceptible legal trend favoring consumers. Courts have tended to allow lawsuits based on a lower threshold for establishing injury.
Salesforce Adds Google Analytics Capabilities to Marketing Cloud
June 14, 2018
Salesforce has announced integrations between its Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 that equip marketers with a broad range of new capabilities. Marketers now can view consumer insights from both Marketing Cloud and Analytics 360 in a single journey analytics dashboard. If they see a high rate of browse abandons, they can create a tailored journey to re-engage them, for example.
What Ever Happened to Google Fiber?
June 14, 2018
A couple of years ago, one of the hottest new technologies was Google Fiber. Everyone wanted access to it. Every city wanted to be the next on the list to get it, because it would attract new citizens and encourage existing residents to stay. It was thought there would be an advantage to early cities -- my home town Atlanta was one of them. Google Fiber is an ultra-fast Internet service.
Tech Heavyweights Launch AI Global Marketplace
June 13, 2018
A group of data, technology, digital services and other organizations have launched the AI Global Marketplace, an app store that will host more than 2,000 high-value AI assets focused on customer engagement and process intelligence problems for the banking, insurance, healthcare and digital commerce markets. Software assets will be based on the Cognitive Agent Modeling and Execution Language.
How B2B Sellers Can Keep Buyers Engaged
June 12, 2018
The gap between B2B buyers and sellers has been growing. More than 70 percent of B2B buyers preferred to wait to engage a seller until the latter demonstrated a clear understanding of its needs, a CSO Insights survey found. Nearly 58 percent of buyers saw little difference among sellers, and more than 10 percent saw no difference at all among sellers.
Challenger Banking Picks Up Steam
June 8, 2018
No-fee mobile bank Chime recently announced a $70 million Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures. With the Series C funding, the company has raised more than $100 million in total funding. Investors seem to have confidence in Chime's business model because "it's very clean with extremely low overhead," remarked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Cryptocurrency Basics for E-Commerce Businesses
June 4, 2018
With all the talk about cryptocurrencies, you might be wondering whether your e-commerce business should start accepting them as a form of payment. There is no simple answer to that question. It all depends on the type of business you have and your tolerance for volatility and risk. In any case, it's a good idea to understand what cryptocurrencies are and how they work.
There's a New AI-Based Data Service on the CRM Block
May 30, 2018
Cien this week released its AI-based Data Enhancement Services to help companies manage CRM records in Salesforce Sales Cloud implementations. Data Enhancement Services "is an optional standalone Cien offering for companies that aren't ready to start tackling their sales productivity traps and feel a more urgent need to augment their CRM data," noted Cien CEO Rob Käll.
Feds Open Probe Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation: Report
May 25, 2018
The DoJ and the CFTC have opened a joint criminal investigation into price manipulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a report. The illicit tactics reportedly being investigated include spoofing and wash trading. Bitcoin's share prices have been fluctuating wildly over the past year, ranging from $1,800 to almost $20,000, leading to rumors of price manipulation.
ProsperWorks CEO Jon Lee: You're Going to Need Great Data
May 23, 2018
"There's this notion that software is primarily something you have to work for," said Jon Lee, CEO of ProsperWorks. "There's a lot of data entry, a lot of navigating screens and moving between different windows. Software as it was designed in the 1980s was a database for recording information. The trend you're seeing today is ... what if my software works for me?"
Middle Office or No-Man's Land?
May 20, 2018
It was once common knowledge that Apttus was the next big acquisition target on Salesforce's radar, until Salesforce decided to acquire another CPQ vendor to augment its Sales Cloud. In the two-ish years since, Apttus has nicely pivoted, diversifying its partner base and justifying its existence with a new strategy and nomenclature around what it calls the "middle office."
SCOTUS Opens Stalls for Online Sports Bettors
May 16, 2018
Hundreds of millions of dollars soon could start flowing into online betting emporiums due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to regulate sports wagering. "Right now there's a tremendous black market for illegal, offshore sports book being offered to U.S. citizens," said Matthew Kalish, CRO of DraftKings. "We think it's in the range of $150 billion being waged that way right now."
Oracle's Drive to Automate
May 13, 2018
Oracle -- or could we say "Autoracle"? -- has introduced more autonomous products, generally in keeping with what I see as a build-out of an information utility. The products include Autonomous Analytics, Autonomous Integrations, Autonomous Builder code generation and free premium service. The autonomous products broadly leverage a variety of analytics and machine learning tools.
Senate Action on Net Neutrality Could Change the Debate
May 11, 2018
All 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have expressed support for a resolution to save Net neutrality, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, under the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is a legislative tool that lets Congress reverse federal regulations via a simple majority vote. For the resolution to become law, it also would need support from a majority of House members as well as the president's signature.
Fresh Funds Help BorderX Open Chinese E-Commerce Market to West
May 10, 2018
BorderX Lab, which was founded in 2014 by three former Google computer scientists, has raised $20 million in a financing round led by Kleiner Perkins. BorderX Lab offers the Beyond App mobile marketplace solution to facilitate cross-border e-commerce for global brands and merchants seeking access to the burgeoning Chinese consumer market. Beyond App is available for Android and iOS.
How to Come Up With a Logo That Speaks Volumes About Your Business
May 7, 2018
A key part of any business' marketing strategy is its logo. Your logo is the public face of your company, the mark that will appear on everything from apps and websites to stationery and stickers. Making sure that your logo captures the spirit and purpose of your brand is vital. "A company needs a logo to stand out from the crowd," said 99designs' Pamela Webber.
HubSpot Connects With Shopify, Workplace by Facebook
May 6, 2018
HubSpot has rolled out platform integrations with Shopify and Workplace by Facebook, which are designed to support the marketing and sales efforts of SMBs. The Shopify integration lets e-commerce marketers sync specific merchant sales data from Shopify into HubSpot for use as a marketing signal; segment users based on products, deals and order history; and follow up on abandoned shopping carts.
New Video-Making Tool Targets B2B Sales Pros
May 4, 2018
Consensus, which offers a Software as a Service platform for intelligent video demo automation, this week released Consensus Snap, a Chrome plug-in for business-to-business sales teams. Snap enables sales reps to record, send and track personalized screenshot video demos on the fly. Users can activate the screen recording or webcam features of Consensus Snap to record anything on their screens.
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