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CPG Brands Doubling Down on Direct-to-Consumer E-Commerce
April 20, 2021
An increasing number of consumer-packaged goods companies are shifting to the direct-to-consumer e-commerce model, thus bypassing retailers as middlemen. This raises questions of how manufacturers can meet customers' needs without jeopardizing relationships with their retail distribution partners. The E-Commerce Times spoke with several DTC experts to help shed some light on these issues.
Transitioning to Hybrid Commerce
April 9, 2021
Certainly, the pandemic has caused some upheavals in American business -- and it's true that the record of progress in economics is littered with creative destruction. But the absolutist prognostications about the future of digital commerce taking over the world made me think "here we go again." Trees don't grow to the moon, retrenchment is common.
How to Ride the 'Consumer Wave' to Better Customer Experiences
April 5, 2021
Even the most customer-centric businesses can overestimate their performance or miss the broad trends in customer behavior. That is why NICE inContact conducts annual surveys that track the customer experience from the perspective of businesses and consumers. CRM Buyer discussed the recent findings and related issues in more detail with the company's CEO Paul Jarman.
Sophisticated CRM Now at the Core of Customer Success
April 1, 2021
With most workers continuing to work remotely, CRM has become an important tool for managing relationship risk. Financial firms have to deal with market and operational risk, consumer retailers have to focus on supply chain risk, and all companies have to keep an eye on economic risk. Relationship risk is no different, and the role of the CRM is right at the center.
Implementing Iterative ROI
March 22, 2021
In the old days you could identify weak spots in your business and purchase software systems designed to eliminate or at least to significantly reduce those liabilities. Performing an ROI analysis usually consisted of two parts: a before study to determine the business' steady state; and a post implementation analysis to determine improvement. Good as that sounds, such studies left out a lot.
The CRM Systems Training Issue
March 15, 2021
As the CRM solution set continues to grow, it's likely that training systems will be increasingly important. That growth has the effect of converging vendor functionality at roughly the same place, making tertiary product attributes like training systems important differentiators. Taking this into account, the next big thing in CRM might not be a new customer-facing app -- but one that faces employees.
Mirror Image Solutions
March 8, 2021
Two CRM vendors made news recently. Zoho had an analyst conference that reminded us that many businesses don't benefit enough from verticalized suites; and Microsoft introduced several vertical industry systems, including one for nonprofits. One could say that Zoho and Microsoft displayed mirror image solutions in some ways. Let's take closer look.
Get Your CRM Ready for Some Good News
March 1, 2021
There is budding optimism about the future. COVID-19 cases and deaths are in decline, financial indicators are decent and trending up, and forecasters are predicting a booming economy. This involves a lot of buying and selling at both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer ends of the spectrum. So now might be a very good time to take inventory on plant, equipment and employees through the lens of CRM.
Shifting Shopping Trends Push Retailers to Rethink Marketing
February 25, 2021
Shopping trends are expanding as the pandemic's effect on e-commerce continues, forcing retailers to adapt their marketing strategies to meet new consumer expectations and demands, according to a new report. Consumer adoption of digital shopping is driving increased use of user-generated content, new private labels, and access to product sampling.
New Customer Experience Needs and Commerce Trends for 2021
February 24, 2021
Commerce analysts do not see consumers shedding their newfound buying options in the wake of a post-pandemic marketplace. Concerns for health safety, social distancing, and remote working will remain priorities for many shoppers. Merchants who demonstrate that they are able to quickly get products to consumers, resolve issues with customer service, and provide fast delivery and returns will be the ones that thrive.
Normalized
February 19, 2021
Salesforce has made it official, coming back to the office will be a fluid thing -- and why not? The company has arguably done more in the last year to build systems such as Salesforce Anywhere and Work.com that enable workers -- at least a kind of knowledge worker -- to work from anywhere. Think of what this means.
How Biometric Authentication Methods Will Revamp the Commerce Experience
February 17, 2021
As they become more prominent, consumers will enjoy shopping experiences that no longer rely on payments from a piece of plastic with a four-digit pin. Instead, consumers will use unique motion sensors in smartphone devices to passively authenticate people using their walking behavior and other contextual biometric signals. Some of these contactless procedures are already being deployed.
Oracle's Reinvention
February 16, 2021
Oracle's continued strides in the tech space say a lot about perseverance and deep pockets. It was a darling of the 20th century tech era, rising from a startup in the database wars and becoming the sole surviving independent database company. But at some point, success leveled out its rise and it became just another big company. Then came the challenge of cloud computing.
CRM's Pandemic Performance
February 1, 2021
If you step back and look at what the tech sector has demonstrated to us through COVID, you can feel impressed. Early in the crisis vendors like Salesforce and Zoho began offering their products for free, or at low cost, to companies and end users suddenly faced with working at home. Oracle, Salesforce and others also developed tracking apps that could be easily deployed on the Web to help health authorities track exposure and quarantines.
Misunderstood Loyalty
January 22, 2021
Both marketing and loyalty had delayed starts in the CRM world, and both exhibited traits of confusion among those charged with their rollouts; strongly evidenced by a lack of specificity in the early applications that carried their badges. Loyalty is back in the spotlight now; as multiple vendors have entered the loyalty market as both startups and established businesses take a swing at the ball.
Conversational Platform Trends for 2021
January 19, 2021
Live chat and conversational platform technologies have made significant advancements in recent years. Thanks to AI and machine learning, these implementations have gone beyond just being a customer support tool, to a crucial component of an e-commerce revenue engine. Here's what retailers need to know to get maximum conversions and satisfied customers from live chat tools in 2021 and beyond.
Consumers Becoming More Tolerant of Chatbots for Certain Tasks
January 15, 2021
If you want to smooth over irate clients and offer more efficient customer services, consider conversational bots instead of a roomful of human company reps. Researchers see consumers' comfort levels with a variety of chatbot technologies softening towards customer service, scheduling, banking, and therapy.
Revving Up for CRM in 2021
January 11, 2021
This might be a big year for CRM. I say might because I am not clairvoyant, and humility is on the resolutions list. CRM has gone through five 5-year cycles during the past few decades. That trend feels as old as SaaS at this point, and I think we're going to embark on a new cycle that will take roughly five years to reach fulfillment. The big question now is: "What will it be?"
Walmart Tackles Return Issues With New Home Pickup Service
December 22, 2020
Walmart has raised the bar for service by an online retailer with its announcement of free home pickup of customer returns. Called "Carrier Pickup by Fedex," the program allows items bought at Walmart's online store to be returned with a minimum of hassle by scheduling a home pickup from the store and printing a return label for the item.
E-Commerce Working Beautifully for the Cosmetics Industry
December 17, 2020
Cosmetics companies traditionally have relied on in-person retail sales to attract new customers and maintain existing clientele. The pandemic, however, has upended the cosmetics industry, bringing new challenges as well as a host of opportunities for companies that are agile and creative enough to take advantage. The E-Commerce Times spoke with experts in cosmetic sales about trends in this dynamic and evolving industry.
Dreamforce and Beyond
December 16, 2020
Three announcements at Dreamforce tell a credible story of the future in which algorithmically driven assistance drives business -- and much more. We've long known that we can't manage what we can't measure, and measurement requires data to deliver real information. These announcements provide an insight into how that gets done.
Where to in 2021?
December 10, 2020
The front office is moving out the front door and into the world. Actually, it's exiting via the Internet, the windows and side doors, to form the basis of what will be the 'next normal' or whatever future historians want to call it. For a while, when we were just dabbling with mobility and social media, we could ignore all that -- but no more.
Salesforce to Acquire Slack in $27.7 Billion Deal
December 1, 2020
CRM giant Salesforce has signed a definitive agreement to purchase enterprise communications platform Slack. "Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, said Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce.
Salesforce Riffs on New Work Styles
November 30, 2020
Back in Q1 Salesforce threw out its annual plan and did a pretty good imitation of a startup or a jazz band. They developed products like Work.com and Salesforce Anywhere as solutions to the evolving need for systems that would help their customers cope with the pandemic. The products supported both working remotely and safeguarding the premises when people returned.
The Great CRM Shift of 2020
November 19, 2020
It is often said that only a poor workman blames his tools and only an inferior vendor blames the customer for their troubles with a product. But too many user organizations just don't seem to be adopting CRM to the degree that it takes to be successful -- even after more than two decades of trying.
Why Digital Transformation Is Essential to Improve Business Outcomes
November 11, 2020
High-performing businesses reach peak commercial performance by reducing friction in customer interactions in the face of a market with increasing complexity. If you look at who's winning, it's the companies that not only embraced digital transformation early, but also made it a core building block of their foundation moving forward. So, what does it take to win today?
Many Shoppers Now Want Zero In-Store Human Interaction
November 10, 2020
The rise in consumer adoption of e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic is pushing the rebirth of brick-and-mortar stores as potential bastions of interactionless shopping that resembles an e-commerce experience. Amenities for redesigned in-store floor space include no-contact kiosks that offer circulars and coupons. Robot greeters and sales assistants to help maintain social distancing are also in some plans.
Chat Commerce Driving Higher Revenue, Better CX
November 6, 2020
More consumers are shopping via phones and other mobile devices, and companies that use chat with commerce are reaping rewards while improving the customer experience. New commerce research reveals that at least two-thirds of firms using chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat see greater commerce gains than competitors that do not.
I Might Differ
October 15, 2020
Last week my good friends Brent Leary and Paul Greenberg opened up their online show, CRM Playaz, to an executive roundtable discussion with some of the movers and shakers in our CRM world. Unfailingly, each speaker espoused the centrality of the customer and visibility through 360 degrees of customer interaction. It's hard to disagree with that -- though I will.
Why Hasn't CRM Taken Over the World?
October 8, 2020
Many businesses have bought into CRM, of course. It isn't an 80-billion-dollar industry for nothing. Still, there's a disconnect between the wonderful features and functions of new technologies and the realities of how companies use them -- or not. Only about a quarter of organizations use CRM appropriately. Others use it for simple record keeping, or barely use it at all.
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Contact Center AI Explained by Pop Culture
What do you think about artificial intelligence systems that can outperform humans?
They are revolutionary tools for solving problems facing humanity.
They won't change the world, but they have many practical, beneficial applications.
There's a danger that humans will lose control of AI and there will be grave consequences.
Some of their so-called big accomplishments, such as beating humans at games, are trivial and overhyped.
AI is one more reason to consider living completely off the grid.
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Digital River - Talk to the Experts