Adobe recently announced its partnership with hybris. This deal has been a poorly kept secret as Adobe waited to make public announcements at its customer summit even after it has been out selling the joint solution and working with partners. Adobe is integrating the hybris commerce platform with Adobe's Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions, an artist formerly known as Day CQ5. This is intended to add commerce capabilities to the CMS/CXM solution represented by WEM. Companies should consider a number of things when evaluating this product relationship between hybris and Adobe, including:
It seems online marketplaces are cropping up everywhere. Retailers, software companies, media companies, and consumer electronics makers are using marketplaces as a means to enhance and augment their own offerings with products made, owned, and distributed by third-party retailers, distributors, developers, and brands. The most successful examples of these today are of course Amazon’s Marketplace, eBay, Apple’s App Store, and Valve’s Steamworks. But based on numerous inquiries of late, soon we will see many, many more marketplaces online. Key reasons why we are seeing the proliferation of marketplaces in the next 18-24 months:
For retailers, it’s about growing the assortment without the inventory risk. Larger scale pure-play online retailers and multichannel retailers look to the significant growth of Amazon.com’s marketplace — which today comprises approximately 35% of Amazon’s gross retail sales — and wonder if they could also benefit from a marketplace. Adding a marketplace provides the opportunity to extend the product assortment and available pool of inventory without taking on the inventory risk and expense of merchandising, buying, warehousing, and shipping an assortment in unproven categories. For some it may be even a way to bring licensed products under a brand umbrella. Amazon’s model is to take roughly half the margin of the products sold — based on expected margin by category — as the fair value of driving that demand, but they bear none of the inventory sourcing, carrying, or logistical costs.
One of the key things that differentiates mobile phones from any other device is their ability to deliver a constant stream of real time data coupled with the processing capability to help consumers make a wealth of decisions based on this information. Tablets — we're going to leave home without them, and the majority of connections are over Wi-Fi. Wearable technology collects real-time information and may have applications/display, but we aren't yet seeing devices with the same flexibilty as the phone. The highly anticipated Pebble may yet be the device, but for today, it is the phone. (My colleague Sarah Rotman Epps writes a lot on these devices — see the rest of her research for more information).
With that fact established, my open question is, "Who is making my life better with this ability to process information near instantaneously to help me live a better, healthier life . . . or at least how I choose to define it?" I think the key to measuring mobile success must lie here — from the perspective of the consumer first before mobile will deliver huge returns in the form of revenue or lower operating costs.
I attended Finovatethis week to get a preview of new financial services digital technology vendors. I say preview because if you have ever been to Finovate, you know it’s a little like speed dating, where 63 vendors have 7 minutes each to show you their best moves. The themes at Finovate this year were not much different as previous years with the focus being on mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments. However, this year, a few new topics emerged: rewards, coupons, and mobile banking services for Pre-Paid Visas customers. Apparently, Pre-Paid Visas are the new black.
While there was plenty of interesting and innovative demonstrations, Forrester attended the conference to identify trends and solutions relevant for our retail digital financial services clients. Specifically, we looked at innovative solutions for our clients related to mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments. The following vendors stood out as innovative solutions for mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments:
DWOLLAis a next-generation social, mobile and online payment network. Its financial service product, FiSynch, integrates its technology into financial institutions.
IP Commercesolves the development challenge of multi-payer acceptance and multi-payee disbursement
iQuantifiprovides users with automated and personalized financial advice online
Money Desktopoffers the next generation of personal financial management. Its slick design makes excellent use of the native app features.
Websites are the most widely used touchpoint for credit cardholders interacting with their providers. The quality of a credit card company's secure website impacts the relationship that firm has with its customers. To understand the state of card issuers' digital services, Forrester has just released our 2012 US Credit Card Secure Website Rankings. We found that:
Discover leads the pack with exceptional service features and valuable transactional functionality. With a score of 80 out of 100, Discover received the highest overall score among the six credit card issuers whose websites we evaluated. The firm earned a whopping 91 in our online servicing category, as well as an impressive 84 in our transactional content and functionality category.
eBusiness teams at card issuers have room to improve in cross-selling and usability. Although the websites we looked at revealed strong digital services among credit card issuers overall, our benchmark also uncovered opportunities for improvement, specifically in the areas of user experience design and secure website cross-selling. eBusiness teams need to enhance their websites’ navigation, task flow efficiency, and location cues while improving the contextual cross-selling & upselling on the secure site.
We conclude that B2B eCommerce enterprises have something to learn from their more experienced B2C brethren who have set a standard for customer expectations and established a series of eCommerce best practices. A few key findings:
B2B eCommerce is still in its infancy but making impressive gains. In 2009, the latest year for which data was available, the US Census Bureau reported that US B2B eCommerce (net of EDI) totaled $352 billion. By comparison, that’s over twice the size of the $145B market for US B2C eCommerce. Further, a growing number of companies now report that B2B eCommerce will represent nearly 50% of their total sales within a few short years.
Consumerization is driving the B2B eCommerce experience. All B2B customers are also B2C consumers. And like it or not, they’re comparing their B2B eCommerce experiences with gold-standard B2C eCommerce experiences from Amazon and others. And like B2C consumers these days, B2B customers demand products faster, less expensively, and more conveniently than ever before.
I was thrilled to be back in São Paulo last week visiting with different companies in the eCommerce space. I met with over a half dozen online retailers, as well as other players in the industry including payment providers and market entry specialists. It was also great to have the opportunity to speak at Rakuten’s event on April 24th announcing their official launch in the country.
Below are a handful of takeaways from the trip:
Online momentum is building in categories such as apparel and beauty. In markets like the US and the UK, apparel represents a significant percentage of total online sales. In Brazil, by contrast, this category is just starting to take off, with online sales currently representing a very small percentage of the total market. As issues such as inconsistent sizing are increasingly addressed, however, and new entrants boost the market, the online apparel sector is set to grow substantially. Likewise, there’s much talk of growing beauty sales in Brazil (the country is set to surpass Japan to become the world’s second largest beauty market) – as with apparel, online beauty sales are a tiny fraction of the total today, suggesting substantial growth opportunities going forward.
Mobile remains a fragmented strategy in many companies. Ownership is not always clear. And customer service is commonly — woefully — overlooked.
The gap between overlooked mobile customer service and innovative mobile customer support will widen. And those innovative eBusiness leaders will increasingly look to mobile chat.
Website chat has revolutionized how customers and eBusinesses engage with one another, and it has quickly grown into one of the most satisfying channels among online customer service options. In the last two years, consumer’s adoption of website chat has nearly doubled; at 62%, it has the highest satisfaction rating among all online customer support channels. In fact, Generations Z and X have higher satisfaction chatting with a live agent than speaking on the telephone with a live agent. (See my the January 23, 2012, "Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy" report.)
Mobile chat can do the same for mobile offerings.
Today's innovative mobile features offer consumers wide-ranging functionality, such as making access to reviews and product specs as easy as scanning a QR code, turning passive catalogs into interactive style guides, and proactively sending mobile coupons. Mobile chat will increasingly enhance these mobile offerings, making them even more interactive and engaging while also supporting revenue goals.
Take Aveda’s mobile app, for example. Consumers can have a chat session to get product recommendations from an expert. This is a quick, engaging interaction — one that may never inspire a telephone call, but the convenience of a mobile chat could easily support a sale while also extending Aveda’s ability to engage customers.
Last week I visited the Dutch SNS Bank because it has an interesting story to tell. It is one of the few banks that have radically changed their behavior toward digital channels. Instead of reasoning, like the majority of banks are doing, that the Internet is about adding another sales channel in addition to branches, SNS Bank has changed its way of thinking fundamentally: "We are an Internet bank with shops that are an outbound extension of our Internet value proposition." The bank understood two things: 1) The digital revolution is not only limited to the younger, tech-savvy generations, and 2) digital is affecting every aspect of the banking operation regarding product and processes. I haven't seen many retail banks that truly sense the pace of digital change. As always, financial services companies don't necessarily feel the sense of urgency to make radical changes in their distribution methods. A lot of times, we see an attitude like "OK, let's try digital and see what happens, and if it proves itself after one year we have plenty of time and our pockets are deep enough, to respond." This might not be true in the coming years. In a time where digital touch points are growing quickly, this attitude won't work and companies have to make the adjustments earlier and faster. It's good to see that some banks are appointing mobile directors of heads of digital channels; this illustrates that they take digital seriously. In our latest report, Trends 2012: European Retail Banking eBusiness And Channel