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Why Are Tech Companies Trying to Kill Us?
November 13, 2017
This is the question that keeps me up at night after seeing the news of Russian influence through social media, and the rapid rise of road deaths due to smartphone use. I wonder if the executives in these firms understand not only that dead customers don't generate revenue, but also that some of the victims could end up being their own kids, spouses or parents.
Dreamforce Pivot
November 9, 2017
Dreamforce 2017 is in full swing this week in San Francisco, which means that Salesforce is changing, shedding a skin to reveal a new and improved creature. This time, rather than announcing a new cloud or a mountain of technology, the company seems focused on improving what it has and delivering a tighter and more powerful solution set for a future that's just emerging.
5 Ways Etailers Can Make Online Shoppers Feel Safe
November 8, 2017
At least 145 million Americans were impacted by a data breach at Equifax that netted thieves personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security Numbers and driver's license numbers. That pales in comparison to the earlier Yahoo breaches, which affected more than 1 billion accounts. However, those incidents may be just the tip of a very large iceberg.
Amazon Sneaks In Third-Party Seller Discounts
November 7, 2017
Amazon recently began reducing prices on merchandise sold by third-party sellers, ratcheting up its market share competition with discount stores, including Walmart. The company has started to display a new tag, "Discount Provided by Amazon." Price cuts so far have been a little less than 10 percent on goods sold by independent retailers. Amazon has been absorbing the losses itself.
5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty
November 6, 2017
Getting customers -- and keeping them -- is the name of the game in e-commerce. "The e-commerce market is crowded and noisy, and brands need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the pack," said Eric Hansen, CTO of SiteSpect. "Loyalty programs do just that, giving a brand the edge they need to stay a step ahead of their competitors."
The Long Black Friday Shopping Day Has Dawned
November 6, 2017
Black Friday falls on Nov. 23 this year, but retailers already have begun to promote the huge discounts they plan to offer in its name. Some deals already are available to shoppers. Although Cyber Monday has grown in significance, Black Friday "is still significant as the kickoff to the holiday season," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
New Relationship Marketing Hub Aims to Goose Conversion Rates
November 3, 2017
Optimove has released a new version of its relationship marketing hub. Optimove 6.0 lets users automate targeted marketing campaigns for new visitors as precisely as they can for current customers, the company said. It combines Web analytics with look-alike data, machine learning, and AI from its retention ecosystem to make accurate predictions of future spend before customers make a purchase.
6 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Offer Great Customer Service on a Tight Budget
November 1, 2017
Keeping customers satisfied is the No. 1 priority of any retail business. Technological advances such as interactive voice response systems, chatbots, omnichannel accessibility and robotics have helped many large e-commerce companies improve customer satisfaction rates. However, these options require financial and manpower resources that small and mid-sized firms often don't have.
Amazon May Disrupt Prescription Drug Space Next
October 31, 2017
The rumor that Amazon has set its sights on disrupting the pharmaceutical industry has gained greater currency recently, just months after the company set the grocery business on fire with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and in the midst of its widely publicized search for a second U.S. headquarters location. Amazon reportedly has taken major steps toward becoming a drug distributor and seller.
Fake News: Amazon Wants a Key to Your House
October 30, 2017
I'm getting tired of headlines that present something you might want to do as something you'd have to be crazy to do. Last week was a case in point: Headline after headline shouted out that Amazon wanted to get a key to your house. The initial reaction was hell no -- but the reality is far more nuanced. You see, there are a lot of folks who live in places where their front entrance isn't secure.
New Search Tool Helps Firms Find the Best B2B Software Fit
October 27, 2017
Siftery on Thursday announced the launch of its new Product Alternatives search tool, which is designed to help companies find alternative B2B software products when replacements are needed. It allows users to search a database of more than 40,000 software options, Siftery said. Its AI technology not only helps find suitable alternative products, but also ranks the various options.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
AI Integrations Help Sort Out Sales Signals
October 25, 2017
Clari, which develops software focusing on the opportunity-to-close, or OTC, process, on Wednesday announced integrations with DocuSign, Clearslide and Xactly. Clari's artificial-intelligence-powered OTC platform already integrates Google and Microsoft email and calendar activity, which gives sales teams immediate knowledge of sales reps' and prospects' behavior.
E-Commerce Firms: Get Ready for New Privacy Laws
October 24, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the United States, and under the FTC rules, a website need not have a privacy policy at all. However, a website must comply with and not violate its policy if it has one. ifeLock learned that lesson the hard way when " target="_blank">the FTC sued it for failing to abide by its privacy policy. How do other countries' privacy laws apply to U.S. businesses?
7 Tips for Highly Effective Content Marketing
October 23, 2017
Content marketing, which bridges the divide between marketing and storytelling, is vital to attracting and keeping e-commerce customers. "Content marketing is the practice of sharing information your target audience will find helpful and valuable with the intention of creating a profitable customer relationship," said Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions.
Fighting Off the Harvey Weinsteins of the World Through Technology
October 23, 2017
Harvey Weinstein just went from most powerful man in Hollywood to punching bag -- and while he deserved this, perhaps greater attention should go toward taking aggressive measures to prevent future Weinsteins -- and there will be future Weinsteins. We need to stop acting surprised when this stuff comes out and instead take stronger steps to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Email Marketing Goes Hand-in-Glove With E-Commerce Shipping
October 20, 2017
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.
Accenture, SAP Plot One CX Platform for All
October 18, 2017
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.
New Tools Offer Wholesale Distributors Fast Track to E-Commerce
October 18, 2017
Epicor 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.
Retailers Slowly Embracing In-Store Tech Tools
October 16, 2017
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.
AWS, Microsoft Offer New Open Source AI Framework
October 13, 2017
AWS and Microsoft have announced the availability of Gluon, an open source deep learning library for building AI neural networks. Gluon will make it easier for researchers to define machine learning models using a collection of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. It will enable software developers and enterprise users to manipulate machine learning models like any other data structures.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
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.
Walmart Throws Down Gauntlet to Amazon
October 11, 2017
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.
LogicHub CPO Monica Jain: Focus on Results
October 11, 2017
"I was always interested in analyzing the data," said LogicHub Chief Product Officer Monica Jain. "I was introduced to a company that was a pioneer in the market, and that's where my career in security started. I fell in love with security because it's all about finding and analyzing the data, and about crunching the data. That's how I started with security. I've never left it since then."
3 Timely E-Commerce Shipping Tips
October 4, 2017
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.
Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers' Paywalls
October 2, 2017
Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called "first click free" policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.
New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution
September 30, 2017
Bpm'online has introduced software update 7.11 for its intelligent CRM and BPM platform, with more than 200 improvements designed to accelerate strategy execution. Among other features, it provides new machine learning capabilities and predictive algorithms that offer users relevant information and automation within a specific context based on analysis of historical data.
Red Hat, SAP Team on New Integrated Enterprise Linux Platform
September 28, 2017
Red Hat on Tuesday announced the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, a new platform that combines two existing systems for analytics and data management into a single offering. The new platform combines the existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Applications and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA into a single, consolidated platform.
Cloudflare Stream Promises Easy, Cheap Video Hosting
September 28, 2017
Cloudflare on Wednesday released the beta version of Cloudflare Stream, a new, inexpensive streaming video service. Designed for app developers who want to build businesses hosting and streaming videos, Cloudflare Stream bundles encoding, global delivery and video player software into one package. These functionalities can be separated upon request.
New Cloud Tools Aim to Streamline, Monetize Partner Relationships
September 27, 2017
AppDirect on Tuesday announced new products and functionality for its Cloud Commerce Platform. The new tools, AppReseller and Cloud Management Suite, enable software vendors to launch reseller partner programs quickly. Software as a Service providers can use the new capabilities to help their small and mid-sized business users manage and leverage their software more effectively.
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If the FAA approved the use of autonomous drones as passenger "air taxis" for short commutes, how interested would you be in riding in them?
Very -- too much of my life is wasted in clogged traffic.
Not interested -- even if they were safe, they would be ridiculously expensive.
I'm looking forward to them -- smart machines will save human lives.
I'm skeptical -- but if they proved reasonably safe, I'd get on board.
I'd use them -- human pilots could take over remotely if necessary.
No way -- I would want a human on board to take over in an emergency.