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Zobrist delivers the merchandising piece of the eCommerce puzzle Taking the idea of the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” an eCommerce website finds its strength from a collection of multiple elements that work together in harmony. Although an eCommerce solution can be powerful standing on its own, it finds greater effectiveness when paired with complementary systems.   One complementary system, the Smart Merchandiser from Zobrist, is giving a boost to websites powered by IBM’s WebSphere Commerce. Created to help merchandisers keep up with the pace of today’s...

January 10, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Analytics
What is IBM’s Watson? For all of you Jeopardy junkies out there – you know who you are: The title of this blog could be an answer for a Jeopardy clue something along the lines of: “The future of customer engagement depends on this super computer.” And although Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter probably could have answered correctly, the majority of Americans might not know what IBM’s question-answering computer has been up to since beating the two out on the game show’s ultimate tournament of...

January 06, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Analytics
6 analytics trends for mid-market eCommerce in 2014 Guest post by Avery Cohen – Metrist Partners   If you’re a marketer serving B2B or consumer websites, expect to encounter an evolving use of eCommerce analytics tools in 2014. Why? Because businesses will continue to adapt to a simple yet inevitable shift in buyer behavior in which nearly all buyers, B2B and consumer, research their problem and possible solutions online before ever speaking to a salesperson.   Therefore, marketers need to be a central part of their customers’ research experience on social...

December 11, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: Analytics
Fully enacting a digital strategy, or taking the road less traveled “The cultural and organizational implications are huge. Relationships must be fully reciprocal and once that relationship is established, companies of all sizes need to be prepared to act based on the influence of the customer. In this way, organizations are shifting from being merely customer-centric to customer-activated.”   This was just part of the message shared from the editors at IBM in regard to a recent study, which focused on midmarket companies and their intent on developing a digital strategy. The...

October 30, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: Analytics
Getting introspective: Analytics and your eCommerce site Working off of consumer-wide shopping statistics and customer-engagement best practices is a sound method for launching an eCommerce marketing campaign. But as most businesses owners know, no two companies or industries are alike. What might work for a clothing retailer, might not find traction for a lawn care provider. Therefore, businesses will have to look within to discover how their own customers are attracted and retained.   And as far as best practices are concerned, IBM reminded business owners in a...

September 30, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Marketing with IBM’s Smarter Commerce EMM solutions At the IBM Smarter Commerce workshop, held on Sept. 18-19 in Chicago, presenters showcased the enterprise marketing management (EMM) solutions developed by IBM to drive relationship marketing within the eCommerce arena. The topic was kicked-off with explanations as to how the tools within the platform address the needs of specific users.   For marketing leaders and planners: Maximizing ROI is one of the No. 1 goals of CMOs and marketing managers. Modeling and assessing the mix of marketing efforts is covered within...
IBM’s Digital Experience software tackles the big four: Mobile, analytics, omni-channel and social Mobile, analytics, omni-channel and social might just be the four biggest issues on the plates of eCommerce business owners today. So it makes perfect sense that IBM, a leader in eCommerce platforms, is making it easier for e-retailers to excel in those realms.   With its new Digital Experience software, companies can deepen engagement, uncover customer sentiment and build loyalty. Just last month, in fact, IBM issued a press releasethat outlined the advanced capabilities included in the software: Mobile Experiences: According to...

July 29, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
7 elements for creating a successful ecommerce site Web presence – almost everyone has it. The problem is that not everyone knows what to do with it.   A long, long time ago, in a browser far, far from where we are technologically today, a lackluster website seemed to be "better than nothing" for businesses trying to gain exposure. Today, however, we've advanced to the point where a teenager can put together a website with their hands tied behind their backs. And as anyone in the eCommerce world knows,...

July 02, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: Industry Events

At the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the NetSphere Strategies team hit the convention floor running. During the three-day event, we covered a lot of ground (an exhibit space of 250,000 square feet, to be exact), all the while, meeting a lot of new, interesting people and discovering a host of cutting-edge tools and technologies. And, we caught some of those experiences on film.

Over the course of the show, we got insight from industry leaders like Cheryl Wellman, the CFO at eCatalog Services, and Dan Schottenfels, vice president at CPI Data Services. No matter who we were talking to at IRCE, each conversation revealed a thought-provoking angle on the direction in which the industry is headed. And we discovered that many attendees were focused on four trends: mobile, analytics, social and cloud.

To offer additional information on those key ideas, we tracked down a few statistics that put their relevance into perspective:

Mobile: By 2014, about 25 billion visits to the Internet Retailer top 500 e-retailers will come from smartphones. – Internet Retailer

Analytics: By applying predictive analytics to Big Data, retailers have the ability to increase operating margins by over 60%. – McKinsey

Social: Social media ad revenues expected to grow to $11 billion dollars by the year 2017. – BIA/Kelsey

Cloud: By 2014, IT organizations in 30% of Global 1000 companies will broker two or more cloud services for internal and external users. – Gartner

Every year, the IRCE, hosted by Internet Retailer, is the eCommerce industry’s biggest – and most comprehensive – trade event. So it makes perfect sense that it would serve as the ideal location for networking and discussing the issues that are affecting eCommerce businesses.

For the team at NetSphere Strategies, IRCE 2013 was a major success. We came, we saw, we eCommerced! But it was the people that we met that truly made it worthwhile, and we’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone that participated in the video and everyone who shared their thoughts and feelings on our dynamic industry.

May 14, 2013 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce

Information overload. The phrase barely scratches the surface when it comes to the mass quantities of data available for gathering. Take the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, for example. In 2000, when the star survey project first took off, the New Mexico telescope had collected more data in its first few weeks than had ever been collected in the history of astronomy. Since that time, it has accumulated more than 140 terabytes of information.

And if that’s not enough to blow your mind, according to the Economist, Chili’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is predicted to draw in that much data every five days. But it’s not just the great expanse that holds an infinite amount of information. Even the retail world has mind-boggling amounts of data to collect.

“Wal-Mart, a retail giant, handles more than 1m customer transactions every hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes—the equivalent of 167 times the books in America's Library of Congress,” reports the Economist.

Regardless of the size of the business or the amount of information it takes in, it’s essential for retailers to remember that collecting the data is just the beginning of the process. It becomes big data when each piece of information is analyzed, sized up and put into context.

In the video above, IBM expert Jeff Jonas explains why data matters. What it equates to for retailers is that when individual transactions (individual pieces of data) are placed into the bigger picture, so much can be learned about consumers and their shopping habits.