Today hybris announced its acquisition of iCongo in a creative deal which sees private equity firm Huntsman Gay convert its stake in iCongo into a significant stake in the newly combined companies. The deal combines complementary capabilities and customer bases, while also mitigating challenges each firm faced alone while strengthening a joint balance sheet for the combined $90-100 million in approximate revenues these firms will make up. The deal also changes a number of dynamics important to customers not only of hybris and iCongo, but also of Endeca and many services providers. A few key takeaways and thoughts:
When I first saw the video below of how Tesco’s Korean subsidiary Homeplus had tested a "virtual supermarket" in Seoul’s Hangangjin subway station I was impressed with the customer-centric use of mobile technology to innovate the shopping experience. The test included using basic posters with QR codes to enable the customer to create an order for delivery while on their way home.
Now we have learned that Homeplus is extending the trial to other Seoul subway stations next month with a view to rolling the format out across South Korea within two years.
What makes this possible? First and foremost an investment in a services-oriented architecture that Tesco began years ago, along with a consumer market well adapted to using mobile technology in their day-to-day life, and an operational capability to pick the items and faciliate delivery. It is intriguing to see how this test paints a future where physical displays – be they printed or digital – can be used to enhance the cross-touchpoint research, purchase, and service. Ideally these need to be highly integrated to the commerce platform to support real-time price, inventory availability, promotion, and content updates that enable full cross touch-point commerce, with this yet another interface to support shopping.
Customer experience management (CXM) solutions are emerging on the eBusiness technology solution horizon. These solutions promise to enable businesses to manage and optimize the customer experience across customer touchpoints through a combination of content management, search, customer targeting, analytics, personalization, and optimization capabilities. As digital experiences have grown more complex and the need to target and personalize the customer experience across the Web, mobile, contact center, and stores or branches becomes more and more critical, siloed systems that limit the eBusiness & Channel Strategy capability are failing to keep up. My latest report looks at the emergence of these solutions and how they are quickly evolving to support:
Leveraging cross-channel data for targeted offers. New CXM technologies bring the merchant, site manager, and marketer together with business rules to provide targeted and personalized offers to the customer across touchpoints including the call center. Leveraging web and offline advertising, traffic, sales, and CRM data to enable improved targeting of the customer.
Personalized experiences across touchpoints. As customer touchpoints proliferate, screen size shrinks, and consumers are increasingly distracted, CXM solutions will incorporate personalization tools to drive product recommendations, offers, and content to drive conversion across channels in a personalized, automated, and scalable fashion.
This morning eBay announced it has agreed to acquire Magento, the open source eCommerce platform that will be combined with other solutions to form a unit within eBay called X.Commerce. eBay already had acquired a minority stake in Magento in 2010, but after this latest transaction, it will own all of Magento. The folks down in San Jose have been busy this past year, paying approximately $2.4 billion for GSI -- which came with a controlling stake in Intershop -- as well as a raft of other mobile commerce solutions such as Milo and RedLaser. This announcement today means:
For Magento users, this is a very good thing. It is time for Magento to mature as a solution and as a business. The same development approach and business practices that can support a small insurgent open source commerce platform do not scale to supporting multiple products with very diverse needs and across many maturing clients. Users of Magento’s enterprise solution have been struggling with support and product traction as Magento invested in the MagentoGo SaaS solution and tried to manage a rodeo of new and existing partners, customer acquisition, and diverse product initiatives. In retrospect this was too much to take on at once, and Magento may have outgrown its ability to deliver on the expectations. With the completion of this acquisition eBay has the ability to clarify the product initiatives, add needed investment to product development, and mature the support given to developers, partners, and customers. A failure to do so will erode the Magento value proposition and see a raft of clients evaluating their long-term commerce capability solution providers and platforms. It will take time for the core challenges to resolve, so for Magento users struggling now this announcement will mean little in the short term. For Magento users in the longer term, this should be a positive.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Paul Papas, Global Leader of Smarter Commerce at IBM, to understand what impact the transition to agile commerce is having on IBM, its business strategy, and its organizational structure.
Forrester: Paul, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us about agile commerce. We have been continuing to talk to clients about the evolution of their business from channels to touchpoints that span mobile devices, social networks, advertising, marketing, traditional channels, and various places online. How are you looking at this and what does it mean for your business?
Mr. Papas: Our view is that there’s a very strong and consequential change taking place as the result of the huge surge in the use of social networks and mobile devices. It’s this, customers expect to do business on their own terms, and most organizations are unprepared for this today. This is not only changing how companies and their customers interact, it is thoroughly changing what customers value and expect from companies. One example is this notion of immediacy. People are turning to their smartphones, tablets, and online communities for instant satisfaction -- finding discounts and recommendations, based on their current location -- all available to them at the instant they decide to buy. This is adding intense pressure for businesses to adapt to provide value, personalized and sensitive to the moment or instant, anywhere -- and to do so continuously.
Thank you for your interest in reading our Agile Commerce post in Portuguese. After we published the original post in English, we noticed a number of clients and readers of the blog discussing the post in other languages across various social channels. We decided to make translations of the post available in a few of those languages to further a conversation on one of the big ideas we’re writing about in eBusiness & Channel Strategy. At this point, our translated posts are simply a trial. Forrester’s other blog posts and our syndicated research reports remain available only in English, but we look forward to your comments on how you see the ideas presented playing out in your area.
Obrigado pelo seu interesse em ler o nosso post sobre agile commerce (“comércio ágil”) em português. Depois de publicarmos o post original em inglês, percebemos vários clientes e leitores do blog discutindo o post em outras línguas através de vários canais sociais. Decidimos disponibilizar as traduções do post em algumas dessas línguas para ampliar a discussão de alguns dos principais temas abordados por nós em eBusiness & Channel Stategy (Comércio online e estratégia de canais). Por enquanto nossos posts traduzidos são simplesmente uma experiência e os demais posts do blog da Forrester, assim como nossos relatórios de pesquisa sindicalizados, continuam disponíveis apenas em Inglês. No entanto estamos ansiosos pelos seus comentários e para saber como você vê as ideias aqui apresentadas na sua área.
Thank you for your interest in reading our Agile Commerce post in Spanish. After we published the original post in English, we noticed a number of clients and readers of the blog discussing the post in other languages across various social channels. We decided to make translations of the post available in a few of those languages to further a conversation on one of the big ideas we’re writing about in eBusiness & Channel Strategy. At this point, our translated posts are simply a trial. Forrester’s other blog posts and our syndicated research reports remain available only in English, but we look forward to your comments on how you see the ideas presented playing out in your area.
Gracias por su interés en el post de nuestro blog sobre el comercio ágil. Después de publicar el post original en inglés, nos hemos dado cuenta de que clientes y lectores del blog lo habían discutido en otros idiomas a través de los canales sociales. Hemos decidido traducir este post en algunos de esos idiomas para poder continuar la conversación sobre una de las ideas más importantes escritas por nuestro equipo de eBusiness & Channel Strategy. Por el momento estos posts son una prueba, los otros blogs de Forrester y los estudios seguirán estando disponibles solamente en inglés. Esperamos sus comentarios sobre este post y como sus ideas se aplican en su región.
Thank you for your interest in reading our agile commerce post in French. After we published the original post in English, we noticed a number of clients and readers of the blog discussing the post in other languages across various social channels. We decided to make translations of the post available in a few of those languages to further a conversation on one of the big ideas we’re writing about in eBusiness & Channel Strategy. At this point, our translated posts are simply a trial. Forrester’s other blog posts and our syndicated research reports remain available only in English, but we look forward to your comments on how you see the ideas presented playing out in your area.
Merci pour l’intérêt que vous avez porté à cet article en français sur le commerce agile. Après avoir publié l’article original en anglais, nous avons observé que plusieurs clients et lecteurs discutent cet article en d’autres langues, sur des réseaux sociaux variés. Nous avons donc décidé de traduire l’article dans quelques-unes de ces langues afin de continuer la conversation sur certaines des idées que nous traitons au sein de l’équipe eBusiness & Channel Strategy. Pour le moment, l’initiative est simplement expérimentale. Les autres articles et les rapports de Forrester sont uniquement disponibles en anglais, mais nous attendons avec impatience vos commentaires sur le blog, ainsi que vos réflexions sur les sujets présentés et leur application dans votre contexte professionnel.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Craig Shields, vice president of eCommerce at Jewelry Television, to understand what impact the transition to agile commerce is having on Jewelry Television, its business strategy, and its organizational structure.
Jewelry Television was founded in 1993 and is the only television home shopping network focused entirely on jewelry and gemstones. Today the Internet plays a large role in the company's growth strategy including JTV.com, auction site JTVauctions.com, and the newly launched DiamondDesignGallery.com.
Forrester: Craig, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us about agile commerce. We have been talking to clients about the evolution of their business from channels to touchpoints that span mobile devices, social networks, advertising, marketing, traditional channels, and various places online. Your business is a little unique with your use of TV as a direct response marketer. How are you looking at agile commerce and in particular the potential impact of iTV and other consumer devices such as tablets?
If you have not read it already, I encourage you to read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. In the book, Mr. Gawande explains the phenomenal results checklists can deliver in both routine processes and when processes go hay-wire. Much of the book deals with Mr. Gawande’s experiences in delivering improved results when using checklists in performing surgeries — literally a matter of life and death. The book makes a compelling case for using checklists in any matter of activities to help even seasoned, highly trained individuals — such as surgeons and pilots — deliver positive results.
While eCommerce technology selection is not a matter of life and death, still much goes wrong. And when things go wrong, there are many impacts, including cost and time over-runs, lost business opportunity, and the delivery of failed customer experiences. (And of course negative impacts on careers and reputations.) Many of those bad outcomes can be avoided. In our work with clients — and technology vendors who deliver products and services to those clients — we hear over and over again stories of what goes wrong. Many times these are problems that could have been avoided had simple best practices been followed. We have created this checklist to help eBusiness leaders and their teams to run technology selection processes consistently and routinely, following best practices.
The checklist illustrates these steps in a tool you can use as is or customize as needed: