2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce report

Whereoware Partner Episerver is named a Challenger in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. Episerver is now the highest placed Microsoft .NET-based solution in the Magic Quadrant.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant report evaluates 21 providers of digital commerce platforms to provide context and clarity to organizations considering vendors and platforms. Read the full report here: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing 2017.

Gartner awarded Episerver top marks for the critical capabilities of Agility, Customer Experience, Time to Productivity, and Total Cost of Ownership. They are the single platform listed in the “Challenger” category.

Episerver within Magic Quandrant

“A large majority of reference customers found it easy or very easy to implement and customize, whereas all reference customers reported high overall satisfaction with both Episerver and its digital commerce platform” Gartner Research, April 2017

Episerver Digital Experience Cloud provides integrated web content management, commerce, marketing and personalization capabilities. The platform provides the ability to leverage content for commerce and marketing functions and personalization/product recommendations as a core of the functionality.

Read the full report here: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing 2017.

Whereoware + Episerver

“Whereoware recognized a huge opportunity partnering with Episerver back in 2013. We’ve consistently been impressed with the platforms’ flexibility, innovation, and performance,” said Joe Harris, Whereoware Partner and Head of Development. “It’s gratifying to see Gartner recognize Episerver as a significant digital commerce Challenger.”

Whereoware is a longstanding Episerver partner. As the winner of Episerver’s 2016 North American Ascender of the Year award, 2015 Commerce Site of the Year award, and 2014 Best Digital Marketing Site award, Whereoware maximizes the Episerver platform to produce huge rewards for clients. See examples of our work here.

Whereoware Releases Product FastLane, Product Information Management System

Product FastLane

Whereoware adds to its product offering with the release of Product FastLane, a cloud-based Product Information Management (PIM) system. Built specifically for e-commerce companies, Product FastLane is a user-friendly system managing all the moving parts (product data, images, videos, sales sheets, inventory, and more) powering organizations’ e-commerce websites, digital catalogs, and third-party marketplaces.

Product FastLane diagram

Within one centralized location, marketers can upload, optimize, search, and organize product data and related digital assets, ultimately reducing data management costs, while improving data quality and consistency. Marketers can access and update their product data, related images, and other digital assets any time and from anywhere. They can easily share them with third-party marketplaces, like Wayfair, Amazon, Google Shopping, and Zulily, so data stays compelling, consistent, and complete across the web.

Our industry is experiencing a transformation, where technology-driven companies are quickly gaining on competitors. The explosion of third-party marketplaces, and the evolving expectations of B2B buyers are driving marketers to take control of their product data. We witnessed our clients struggling to manage thousands of products while using spreadsheets and USBs. They needed a better way, so we built Product FastLane,” said Eric Dean, CEO Whereoware.

For more information on Product FastLane, visit www.productfastlane.com.

Mobile Tip – Understand 3D Touch or Risk “Cool Mom” Status

Emilyann

This week we welcome Emilyann Key, our Digital Marketing Coordinator, to talk through 3D touch and what it means for marketers. 

As digital marketers, we strive to create excellent online experiences by speaking customers’ language. Just as slang changes over time, so does the technology we use to engage customers. If we fail to evolve our digital marketing strategies with technology, we’re analogous to the “cool mom” using outdated slang – in other words, we may as well go fly a kite!

3D touch is a newer feature of the iPhone 6s and all subsequent iPhone models, enhancing users’ functionality based on the pressure of their touch.

In digital marketing, we aim to reduce conversion resistance by streamlining each users’ journey. We minimize the number of clicks required to check out or reduce the fields in webforms, so it’s simple and pleasant for customers to complete actions.

3D touch strives to do the same for iPhone users – offering more navigation options, based on the degree of pressure placed on the screen, instead of forcing the user to navigate to separate screens or click additional home buttons.

While this is exciting news for iPhone users, it tilts the playing field for digital marketers. Today, we’ll talk through how 3D touch impacts users’ email and website experiences, and ideas for how marketers can adapt.

Users Can Write an Email from the Home Screen

Before: Users entered their inbox to start a new email. This subtly forced users to check inboxes at their leisure and every time they wanted to send a new email.

With 3D touch: Applying fingertip pressure on the iPhone mail app opens a menu where users can start a new email, view all inboxes, view VIP, and search their inbox.

3D Touch Mail

Potential Impact on Marketers: Customers no longer have to open their inbox, and might miss many of the new emails in their inbox. While this will do wonders for user productivity (at least mine), it will likely affect email open frequency and overall email performance, especially for time-sensitive campaigns.

Users Can Sneak a Peek

Before: Only from-name, subject line, and pre-header text (for Pete’s sake, use pre-header text!) was visible in the mobile inbox prior to opening.

With 3D touch: With a press and hold, users see a truncated view of the top half of an email or webpage without officially opening.

3D Touch Email Peek

Potential Impact on Marketers: Peeks provide all the excitement of opening an email or visiting a webpage, without the extensive time commitment and physical exertion of actually opening or visiting.

This function affects marketer analysis and design. Peeks will count as opens for email and visits for webpages. Most ESPs and web-tracking platforms do not yet have a unique metric to separate peeks from opens, which makes it trickier to accurately analyze email and web performance.

Before 3D touch, we’d conclude that an A/B tested email design that received 100 opens and only 2 CTA clicks probably suffered from an ineffective CTA. Now, we must recalibrate our reporting, and consider the fact that a portion of “opens” or “visits” might have only experienced the top half of the email/page.

Marketers should consider consolidating the intended user journey. Don’t panic – this isn’t a drastic change requiring a copywriting overhaul. After all, even before peeks, we front-loaded emails and webpages to entice users to scroll down the page.

If a large portion of your customers open/visit on 3D-enabled devices, consider shaking up your designs. Maybe put your navigation bar beneath the hero image or place your value proposition in plain, peek-able sight. Measure how these changes influence email performance and adjust from there.

Get Contact-Cozy with Customers

Before: To view an email sender’s contact information, users had to open the email and press from-name/email address, to open the contact’s record in the Contacts app.

With 3D touch: By pressing the from-name in an opened email, you can view a contact’s profile, save the contact, etc.

3D Touch From Name

Potential Impact on Marketers: For most companies, asking customers to “save as contacts” seems somewhat outdated. Due to 3D touch, this may become a resurging trend, particularly for email campaigns sent from individual sales-reps.

By encouraging customers to save their sales-rep’s contact information, companies can make it easier for users to call or text (and of course, reply via email) from within the opened-email interface.

We’d love to see companies utilize the contact photo space for further branding. Go on – put yourself out there and encourage customers to save your promotional email address as a contact. Make it even easier by providing a link to automatically save all your promotional contact information and create a branded logo designed for the contact photo size!

Over time, marketers will test and develop clever ways to deliver unique engagements using 3D touch. Today, we’re in that exciting stage before 3D touch’s status quo is established in the marketing space. So, go forth and be adventurous!
Explore new ideas of using 3D touch to give your customers the very best marketing experience. Don’t stop there, press on – but remember, not too hard, or you might save us as a contact!

IBM Tip – API Playbook



Thank you to all who attended our session “A Marketer’s Practical Guide to the IBM Marketing Cloud API” at Amplify!

Whether you’ve never used the Watson Campaign Automation API or the only time you did was for the certification, this playbook will help you understand why the API test harness should be your BFF. As a marketers we have a lot of tools in our marketing toolkits and the API test harness is extremely valuable.

Extend the functionality of the Watson Campaign Automation UI by diving deeper into reporting, mass calculate queries, add and remove data, and so much more.

We share tips and tricks, how to get started, and breakdown each section of XML for one of our favorite API calls.

What Retailers Want Infographic

Digital-Dialogs-Banner



Thank you for joining our Digital Dialogs breakfast session “What Retailers Want” at High Point this week!

You can download the infographic we shared by filling out the form.

Marketing Tip – MailChimp 101

So, What Exactly is MailChimp?

MailChimp is an email service provider (ESP) for small to midsize companies with a range of communication needs. MailChimp offers an easy to use user interface with capabilities that personalize the experience for the sender and recipient.

How to Send an Email in MailChimp

MailChimp provides numerous campaign types and templates to customize for your needs. No HTML or CSS coding is necessary to use MailChimp with easy plug-and-chug systems in place. Follow along to see how to send an email:
Step 1
Locate and navigate to “Campaigns” in the top menu. Click “Create Campaign” to get started. Select the type of campaign you would like to build. In this case, we’ll start small. Let’s choose “Regular Campaign.”

MailChimp-Campaigns

Step 2
Choose your list. This is pretty simple – just select which of your lists you would like to send to from the drop-down menu. You then see the option to choose segments. This is where you would apply a specific set of rules to a targeted audience – or, just send to the whole list. (Hint – segmenting does wonders!)

MailChimp-Sender

Step 3
Complete your mailing settings. This includes all of the basics: mailing name, subject line, from name, from email address and tracking. MailChimp provides the option to personalize the “to” field based on data, or check different methods of tracing. The screenshot below shows the generic options – which suffice for a typical send.

MailChimp-MailingSettings

Step 4
Now, the fun begins! Don’t get overwhelmed with the mailing template options, go into this step with a general idea of how you would like to layout your email.

You may choose from basic templates, themes, saved templates (from previous sends), set campaigns, or code your own. Once you have your bearings within MailChimp, you can create a saved template with standardized assets such as your logo, header, and footer. For all future sends, you can select that saved template rather than starting from scratch each time.

For now, we will select a simple 1:2 Column Banded template.

MailChimp-Templates

Step 5
Design to your heart’s content! This is your chance to play with the drag and drop functionality within the platform. Pull different content blocks from the right side and insert images and copy to make the email your own. The template you start with is just a jumping off point, customize it to your needs.

The right panel also offers you styling options per content block. Anytime a content block (image, text, column, etc.) is selected on the left, it’s settings will appear on the right. That’s where you can style based on color, size, linking and more.

Here’s a simple before and after:
Before

MailChimp-Template-Before
After

MailChimp-Template-After

Step 6
You’re almost there! Let’s quickly pause and review what we’ve accomplished. You chose the send list, completed the mailing settings, selected and styled the template. Now you can finally press the “send” button to send now, or you can schedule the mailing for a future send time! Always use an email checklist and send with a buddy to ensure your send is successful.

MailChimp-Send

Is MailChimp Only Used for Sending Email?

Nope! MailChimp has many integrations that can be set up to extend its functionality to fit your needs. Let’s break down some of the popular options:

E-commerce Integrations
The more you know about your customer’s shopping behaviors the better you can target and personalize the customer journey. MailChimp has integration capabilities with numerous e-commerce, such as Shopify, Magento, and ShipStation to name a few.

CRM Integrations
Not only is it important to track online behaviors, but it is also necessary to track offline behaviors customers have with sales or customer service reps. Connect this data with MailChimp, through CRM integrations, such as Salesforce or SugarCRM.

Social Integrations
Facebook
Build single image or carousal image Facebook ads, using the same plug-and-chug tools that you use for email. There is no extra fee for this feature within MailChimp, just pay what you would for Facebook sponsored content. Not only can you setup and trigger Facebook Ads within MailChimp, you can set up custom audiences, and access holistic campaign reporting.

Twitter
Easily integrate Twitter information in your campaigns or post to Twitter all within MailChimp.

Is MailChimp Right for Me?

The best ESP for you depends on your needs (and wants) for the tool and your budget. MailChimp is a great resource if you have a smaller in-house team, who are unfamiliar with coding templates from the ground up. We’d love to talk to more about how MailChimp or another ESP would be best to fit your organization.

The State of Online Sales in 2017

Do you still feel the need to go into a store to checkout a product in person before purchasing?  According to Invesp, 78% of online shoppers don’t look at a product in a store before buying it online.

Buyer behavior has shifted with free shipping, convenient free returns, sizing tools, and more. This shift has led to a change in the retail climate which will allow some retailers to flourish and others to perish. The National Retail Federation has stated, “online and nonstore (catalogs, etc.) sales are projected to nearly triple the year-over-year growth rate for the entire retail industry in 2017”

Continue reading The State of Online Sales in 2017

IBM Tip – 3 Things to Know About Your Watson Campaign Automation + Salesforce Integration

Watson Campaign Automation is the IBM solution formerly known as IBM Marketing Cloud / Silverpop.

Is Salesforce integrated with your Watson Campaign Automation instance? Great! But, as a marketer what does that mean and how does it impact the day-to-day function of your leads? We’re here to help. This week we introduce Internal Marketing Manager, Nora Luongo, to share her 3 things every marketer should know about their Watson Campaign Automation + Salesforce integration.

Before we begin, there are some terms I’m going to talk about in this post that are Salesforce specific that you need to understand in context with Watson Campaign Automation:
Leads: Records that are synced to Salesforce and have not been converted to a Contact
Contacts: Records that have been converted and attached to an Account
Accounts: Company name object, that houses contacts and opportunities
Campaigns: A marketing activity that you can, plan and track within Salesforce
Campaign ID: ID for the specific Campaign you would like to add records to (found in the URL for the campaign in Salesforce).
Campaign Status: Status of Leads/Contacts in your Campaign (Sent/Responded or custom values)

1) Email, Last Name, Company Name

When synching leads bi-directionally between the two systems or just from Watson Campaign Automation to SFDC, every record must have values for three fields: Email, Last Name, and Company Name. If these are left blank, the record will not sync over to Salesforce. If you do not know Last Name or Company Name put an X or another phrase to indicate it is a temporary placeholder and update it when known. Just remember, if you do use X or another phrase in these fields and you use these fields for personalization in mailings, you will need to put in safeguards to make sure the recipient doesn’t see the fake value.

2) CRM Settings in Organization Settings Is Your BFF

Note: You must be an Admin of your Watson Campaign Automation org to see Organizational Settings

There are more sections within the CRM settings, but I will just highlight the 3 tabs I use most often:

a) Status Checklist
The CRM Integration Status Checklist catalogs all the sync agents that are currently enabled/disabled for your organization. Unfortunately sync agents are not stealthy secret agents, they are the kind of syncs that are set up to run between Watson Campaign Automation + Salesforce.com. Looking at the picture below, each of the categories: Profile Data for Leads, Contacts, and Accounts; Alerts to Chatter/Tasks; and are all sync agents. You will only have the ones applicable to your organization enabled and you can remove/add any later if you need to.

If you see green checks across the board and the last successful sync date/time is within 1-2 hours of checking – you’re good to go! But if you see that you have green arrows, but the last successful sync was at 8 AM and you’re checking at 1 PM, this can indicate a sync stall; open a support case if you see this. Also, open a support case if you see a red exclamation point – this means the sync has stopped, which indicates a bigger problem.
Salesforce-Sync-Agents

b) Field Mappings
The field mapping tab can be a bit confusing so let’s break it down. There are two tabs on left called “Active Mapping” and “Working Copy”. Active Mapping is the default view and shows you what fields are currently set to sync, one way or bi-directionally. Working copy is where you can go to add or remove mappings. There are also 4 tabs to the right, “Leads”, “Contacts”, “Accounts”, and “Review”.
If you click on Leads, Contacts, or Accounts you will automatically see their Active Mapping. If you want to update the mappings for Leads, Contacts, or Accounts that must be done in Working Copy, then you must go to the “Review” tab,at the far right,  to activate your new mapping(s). If you do not activate in the “Review” tab after making changes to your mappings in the working copy tab, they will not save.

Note: Your mapping will look different based on your field names and sync directions
FieldMappings-Leads

c) Alerts
Alerts are used to identify contacts “flagged” with an issue. These are not like lead alerts which you create, instead these alerts are created by the system when a record that is set to sync has an issue that does not allow it to sync. Using the “Search In Records” feature for a desired time frame, you can find if a specific record yields an alert. An alert may identify a contact with a missing Email, Last Name, or Company Name for example. Or that the campaign ID associated with the record is not the correct number of digits. If you do not understand how to correct the issue related to the alert, open a support case.
Alerts

The CRM settings are a great governance resource a lot of marketers don’t know exists. If you do not currently have admin permission, but you are the resource who would handle these items, request admin status from the current organization administrator.

3) Syncing Form Submissions

Did you know you can set Watson Campaign Automation forms to sync contacts on submit with Salesforce.com? Did you also know you can push those submitted contacts to a campaign in Salesforce.com? If you answered no to one or both – stick with me! In Watson Campaign Automation, go to the landing page that has the webform you would like to sync. Click directly on the form name and under Form Settings you will see the checkbox (default is unchecked) to “Enable sync record to CRM on ‘Submit’” and underneath that, two text fields relating to campaigns. Adding campaign information is optional, but you must have the checkbox ticked if you do add campaign information otherwise it won’t work. You can paste the campaign ID from Salesforce to the Default campaign code text box in the forms. If you would like to set the status of all contacts who submit the form and are added to the campaign, you can do that in the Campaign Status text box. Save and publish the landing page to activate.
FormSync-Settings

Did you Learn Something New?

I hope my 3 things (okay, more like 5 things) to know about your Watson Campaign Automation + Salesforce integration were helpful. I learned from speaking with other marketers they didn’t know how to optimize or oversee their sync – they just knew it was set up. Hopefully knowing these items will help streamline your sync and save time in your daily tasks.

Web tip – How to Avoid Product Data Pain

Like OZ behind the curtain, product data files aren’t seen by end users, but power everything: our websites, third-party marketplaces, digital catalogs, fulfillment and operations, and more.

Product data files are integral to smooth internal/external operations, a pleasant end user experience, and sales success. The pitfall is they’re overwhelming and time consuming for marketers to consistently update and maintain across all digital channels.

Marketers rarely maintain just one either. In today’s omni channel world, companies aren’t only selling products through their website, digital catalogs, sales reps, or brick and mortar stores. Now, many brands also sell products on third-party marketplaces, like Amazon, Zulily, Wayfair, Google Shopping, and more.

The third-party marketplaces each require their own product data file. Yet the data in every file must be accurate, up-to-date, and compelling, since this information dictates how a product is displayed and marketed to the public.

Inaccuracies in product data means inaccuracies on webpages, wreaking havoc on site visitors’ brand perception and eroding credibility. In fact, a study from Episerver found that “98% of all shoppers have decided against buying due to errors in a retailer’s site content.”

Luckily, there are tools out there, called Product Information Management (PIM) systems,  that stop this manual product maintenance madness.

Today, we’ll talk through product data challenges, and how a PIM system can revolutionize the product data management process.

How is Product Data Used?

Just about everything a website visitor sees on a product page is pulled directly from a product data file. This Wayfair example below demonstrates a typical product data file, and how it drives the final webpage.

Product Data Wayfair example

Examples of fields that may be in a product data file include:

  • Product category
  • Product name
  • Item number
  • Size specs
  • Images and alternate images
  • Product descriptions
  • Designer
  • Weight and dimensions
  • Shipping options
  • Availability

This data is imported into our website and third-party marketplaces on a regular basis, and automatically changes how information is displayed to end users.

Product Data File Challenges

For too many marketers, product data is housed in multiple formats, with more than one person responsible for managing and updating it.

Perhaps image files are stored on a thumb drive or Dropbox, and product descriptions, titles, SKUs, and more are in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or plain old Excel sheets.

When it’s time to update a product’s images or change its shipping options or availability, for example, it is a hassle to locate and modify the correct product in the correct file in a timely manner. The same challenge arises when the marketer is trying to execute a new promotion and needs to gather a subset of themed items from different files.

Furthermore, marketers need to make sure they keep these data files clean of errors or problematic formatting, or their nightly imports could fail. There are a lot of moving parts, and the stakes are high to keep everything accurate and updated.

Third-Party Marketplace Challenges

Third-party marketplaces further complicate product data file management, because each requires its own data file, formatted in a specific way.

Below, we’ve included a sample product data file for Wayfair and Amazon, and an example of what the end user sees for the product “Kitchen Aid Mixer.”

Product Data on Wayfair and Amazon

If a marketer doesn’t perfectly follow their data spec, the product page will be missing, inaccurate, or incomplete.

Introducing Product Information Management Systems (PIMs)

A Product Information Management (PIM) system centralizes and houses all marketing and technical information for product listings and catalogs in one simple tool.

Marketers can import images, product descriptions, titles, videos, sales sheets, and more into the system for immediate access by team members.

Once in the PIM, products can be searched and filtered, so finding images and assets is no longer a time-consuming struggle. It’s then easily distributed to third-party systems, like websites and marketplaces, supplied to customers, or fed into a digital catalog.

The graphic below is from Whereoware’s PIM system ProductFastLane. We built ProductFastlane with the marketer in mind.

We wanted to make it simple and streamlined to get the data you need to create compelling product pages on your website, run effective campaigns in Google Shopping or Facebook, and get a great ROI out of your third-party market places.

Whereoware's PIM System Product FastLane

We also aimed to enhance your search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers can write and update compelling product descriptions, titles, and other data points in Product FastLane to optimize each product for natural search.

By housing all product data in one secure location, marketers update product details one time and easily distribute it to the website and third-party marketplaces. This saves time and headache, but also ensures product data is consistent and compelling across the web.

Avoid Product Data Pains

Too many marketers live in spreadsheet hell, battling their product data. Yet, this seemingly tedious task is vital to e-commerce success.

Looking for a lifeboat? A PIM system helps busy marketers manage, update, and optimize product data. Spend less time in the data weeds, and more time developing creative merchandising and outreach campaigns to delight customers.

Get more information on Whereoware’s Product FastLane here or contact us for a demo.