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Walmart Ups the Ante in Grocery Delivery Competition
June 18, 2019
Walmart has a new weapon in the grocery delivery wars. Online shoppers can subscribe to a $98-per-year "Delivery Unlimited" plan that aims to siphon customers from Amazon's Whole Foods and Target's home delivery programs. Online grocery shopping is growing steadily as a key revenue generator and customer draw. The food division was critical in boosting Walmart's e-commerce performance in Q1.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
Retailers' Most Common Cloud Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
June 15, 2019
It's easy to understand why so many retail organizations have moved their infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud-based architecture allows provisioning nearly infinite compute instances on-demand in minutes. There is no need for upfront licensing or infrastructure costs, meaning a faster ROI can usually be realized. Best of all are the unmatched agility and scalability of the cloud.
Can Brands Protect Privacy While Personalizing?
June 14, 2019
I sometimes think personalization is the best thing that happened to humankind in terms of marketing. As a consumer, I love getting suggestions on what to buy, especially when it's exactly what I need. Sometimes I feel as though I'm under constant surveillance, however, so I turn on my ad blockers, I surf in private mode, and I report ads that are not relevant to me.
Are You Gish-Galloping Your Business Toward Disruption?
June 13, 2019
Recent events have led to many people learning about a long-understood rhetorical tactic called "Gish galloping." Named after creationist Duane Gish, it means confronting an opponent with a rapid-fire series of arguments -- including half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies. Confronted with such a BS barrage, the opponent may try to refute each assertion, which is a losing proposition.
When Retail Customers Take It on the Chin, Investors Win
June 6, 2019
I am a reluctant Costco shopper. My wife is one of the many who really love the chain. Me... not so much. Seriously -- someone should knock Costco's top officials on the head and wake them up to the need to focus on their customers. After all, it's the customers who make Costco successful. When my family owned lots of retail stores, I learned many important lessons that Costco needs to learn.
The Biggest Customer Service Mistakes Brands Make on Social Media
May 29, 2019
Social media has become a part of everyday life. Case in point: Eighty-one percent of people in the U.S. have a social networking profile, and the number of worldwide users is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021. Consumers also have been devoting more of their time to engaging with social media sites. One-seventh of the average user's waking life is spent on social media.
Getting Chatty With Chatbots
May 28, 2019
Chatbots are an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions. Because they can be everpresent, chatbots are vital for keeping customers and potential customers engaged with a brand.
Leveraging the Tools That Fuel E-Commerce Growth
May 25, 2019
E-commerce technologies have been innovating fast. It's no surprise, considering e-commerce in North America grew by 15 percent in 2018, to reach more than $500 billion. Today's e-commerce businesses need to stay ahead of the curve if they want to be the consumer's choice, as convenience and relevance remain king. Companies can stand out by deploying some of the latest technologies.
Better Customer Satisfaction Through AI-Enabled CRM
May 22, 2019
You don't have to be entrenched in the tech world to have heard the term, "artificial intelligence," but what is artificial intelligence, or AI, as it's commonly known? Simply put, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes performed by machines or computer systems. Nowadays, AI is being used to carry out many jobs previously held by humans, but there's no need to panic.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Walmart Enters High-Stakes Next-Day Delivery Game
May 15, 2019
Walmart has announced free one-day delivery for 220,000 of its most-frequently purchased items. The service will be available first in Phoenix and Las Vegas, because "these locations are major metro markets served by our fulfillment center in Southern California ... where we expect strong customer adoption of our NextDay delivery offering," a Walmart spokesperson said.
Online Shopping Gets Real: The Rise of Interactive Product Visualization
May 13, 2019
The shopper's desire to touch, feel, see and hear is what interactive product visualization is all about. In a world dominated by digital interfaces, interactive product visualization gives consumers the opportunity to experience, see, and understand products before buying them. Interactive product visualization brings products closer to the people interested in purchasing them.
Google, Microsoft In Step in New Era
May 13, 2019
Apple, Google and Microsoft are three very powerful companies. Two of them had big events last week -- Google I/O and Microsoft Build. What I found interesting was that both Google and Microsoft largely were on the same page about focusing on the customer. Both Google and Microsoft have been making massive advancements with AI. Both have increased their efforts to make the world a better place.
The Vital Role of Customer Service in the Sharing Economy
May 8, 2019
By 2022, the sharing economy is expected to double, reaching $40 Billion. Pioneers such as Airbnb and Uber are now global titans, taking in billions of dollars per year. From sharing furniture to sharing clothing, every industry seems to be trying to make its way into the lucrative sharing business. With the market becoming more saturated with products, how do companies differentiate themselves?
5 Ways to Personalize B2B E-Commerce
April 29, 2019
For B2B sellers, keeping pace with customer expectations is anything but easy. Accustomed to the simplicity and convenience that has become common across B2C transactions, buyers expect more from B2B sellers than ever before. Make the most of a growing B2B e-commerce market by considering the unique needs and preferences of each customer. Avoid funneling customers into a complicated buyer journey.
How a Route Planner Can Streamline E-Commerce Operations
April 27, 2019
With jam-packed delivery schedules, driver shortages, and impatient millennials who refuse to wait three days for their goods, it's clear that running an e-commerce company is not an easy walk in the park. It seems the "Amazon effect" is only growing stronger and stronger. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to surpass $735 billion in 2023. With this growth, naturally, come several challenges.
How Customer Expectations Contribute to Fraud and Losses
April 25, 2019
Contemporary online retail enables faster, smoother and more profitable interactions between consumers and merchants. Individuals can shop and make purchases at any time, from any location, with the help of the devices resting in their pockets. Plus, with innovations like same-day shipping, IoT-connected devices, and much more, it's never been easier to be a consumer.
New Apriva Partnerships Promise Mobile Shopping Innovations
April 24, 2019
Apriva has announced partnerships with AveriGo and Vagabond to offer innovative mobile shopping and payment solutions. Apriva offers an adaptive platform for secure mobile communications and omnichannel payments. Both its new partners are in the vending and F&B service industries. AveriGo offers the Averiware business platform. Vagabond offers technologies for the convenience services industry.
E-Commerce Branding in the Time of Amazon
April 23, 2019
I recently made two major additions to my life -- a second dog and a lake house. On weekends, I need to transport all my stuff and my two dogs to the lake, so I decided to upgrade my SUV to a larger model with an additional row of seats and more cargo space. When I began looking around at available models, I was stunned. The amount of competition in the SUV marketplace is astounding.
NICE InContact Packs CXone With Tons of AI Features
April 19, 2019
NICE inContact has released the Spring 2019 version of its CXone cloud-based contact center software, with multiple AI-powered updates for smarter customer and agent engagement, plus enhanced CRM integrations. NICE inContact CXone "is the most complete, unified, and intelligent cloud contact center platform available in the market," said company spokesperson Cheryl Andrus.
Managing Sales Tax Complexities in Merchandise Returns
April 17, 2019
As the world has become increasingly digital, the retail industry has gone through tremendous transformation. To survive in the competitive landscape and keep up with evolving customer preferences, merchants have had to adapt and learn how to deliver the seamless omnichannel experience that shoppers expect. Delivering that efficiency and convenience comes with challenging operational intricacies.
The Rise of Headless Commerce
April 15, 2019
"Headless commerce" has become an e-commerce buzzword lately, but how can brands use it to their advantage? "In its most basic terms, 'headless commerce' refers to the decoupling of a website's presentation layer -- the front end -- from its commerce and business logic/function layer -- the back end," said Meghan Stabler, vice president of product marketing at BigCommerce.
SEO: How Important Is It to Make the First Page?
April 12, 2019
In a recent E-Commerce Times poll, only 4.32 percent of respondents said there was always enough information on the first page of search results to meet their needs. By comparison, 14.05 percent said they found the first-page search results were rigged and limited by algorithmic highlights. More than one quarter, 25.41 percent, said even if the first page provided enough, they wanted to see more.
What Sellers Are Missing From CRM
April 11, 2019
As the B2B buyer continues to evolve, B2B sellers have more solutions than ever in their technology stacks. From CRM, sales content and asset management, to sales enablement, LMS and more, these technologies have been adopted in order to stay ahead of the changing behavior of prospects. The adopter of these solutions hopes to drive individual sales while increasing the team's productivity.
10 Steps to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Business
April 9, 2019
During the last year, longstanding brick-and-mortar retailer chains such as Toys "R" Us, Payless, and Diesel USA have filed for bankruptcy. Failures like these happen despite the fact that U.S. consumer spending currently is high, and the unemployment rate is low. Why is that? We cannot address this topic without first taking a good look at Amazon and the massive power it represents.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Extreme Customer Experience
April 2, 2019
CRM guru Samson Lee has a new idea about customer experience. I don't know that I agree with it, but Lee has a way of making you question your assumptions and possibly change your viewpoint. Lee describes extreme experience as the inevitable pain you have to go through to reach nirvana -- that is, get the product or service you want from the vendor you want.
Retail Tech for Millennials
April 2, 2019
It's time to get strategic about winning over Gen Y. Members of the millennial generation were born roughly between 1980 and 2000. They're the largest age cohort in human history, making up about 25 percent of the entire global population. When they're mentioned in headlines, however, the news sounds bad for business: They're broke. They're self-obsessed. They're definitely not buying your stuff.
Using the Contact Center to Help Build Brand Loyalty
March 29, 2019
In 2018, 8.8 percent of all retail sales globally, totaling more than $2 trillion, were made online. As the total number of online purchases grows, a compelling case can be made that e-commerce customers expect to receive support that is as good as or even better than those who purchase the very same products in a store. In person, it is very easy to verify the proper set-up and operation.
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How important is a candidate's knowledge of technology in winning your vote?
Extremely -- technology is at the center of most of the world's big problems and solutions.
Very -- a candidate who doesn't understand technology can't relate to young people.
Somewhat -- a general understanding is sufficient.
Not very -- choosing good advisers is more important than direct knowledge.
Not at all -- technology is often a distraction from more important issues.