What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Andy Hoar

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.” So whether you’re a B2B company just starting to sell online, or a world-class B2B eCommerce website managing billions of dollars in sales, you need to know which metrics to track and how to benchmark your efforts against your competitors. Your business depends on it.

Last week, Forrester published three reports focused on helping B2B eCommerce professionals measure and benchmark the impact that digital channels have on both their online and offline sales. The reports, new additions to Forrester’s B2B eCommerce playbook, are designed to guide insiders through the process of defining, prioritizing, and optimizing key measures – both for internal purposes and external comparisons.   

  • Measuring The Fundamentals Of B2B eCommerce.  Understand the value that B2B eCommerce metrics can have across all channels and lines of business, and what roadblocks have historically stood in the way of B2B eCommerce professionals’ measurement strategies.  Learn how to define critical B2B eCommerce metrics and align them with your most important B2B business objectives.
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B2B eCommerce Has Arrived

Andy Hoar

Last month, IRCE hosted its first-ever B2B eCommerce content track at its big show in Chicago.   500+ attended my keynote session in the morning...and Grainger’s VP of eCommerce, Paul Miller, saw similar turnout for his presentation later in the day.  All in all, impressive numbers for an inaugural session series.

In 2012, Oracle hosted the lone B2B eCommerce event.  But by my count, 2013 will see at least six exclusively B2B eCommerce shows: IRCE B2B eCommerce track, Oracle B2B Commerce Summit, hybris Gameplan Chicago, hybris Gameplan Berlin, B2B eCommerce Congress, and B2B Multichannel. In short, B2B eCommerce has arrived. 

To that end, I’m happy to report that I’ve published two pieces of research in the last few months that explore how and why B2B companies are delivering high quality eCommerce online (and on mobile devices as well):   

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Why "We Beat Internet Prices" Isn’t the Best Battle Cry

Adam Silverman

I recently received a direct mail piece from one of my favorite retailers with a massive ad in that proclaimed "We Beat Internet Prices." Now, I am a big fan of straightforward and robust value propositions, but these types of brand exclamations are antiquated and add little value to customers, mainly because they simply reward customers for being good bargain hunters. Instead of simply stating you beat your competitor’s prices, employing strategic pricing and customer engagement initiatives creates real distinct value to your customers by:

  • Showing them you can execute on your low price promise and not just talk about it. Employing a holistic pricing strategy meets your customer’s price expectations can indicate to your customers that you are truly ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to offering the lowest price.
  • Building your credibility. Understanding your customers’ needs and offering solutions that facilitate decisions and generate engagement builds credibility. Simply shouting that you match Internet prices does little to build credibility with your customers.
  • Helping them with real problems.  Shoppers don’t need guidance on finding the lowest price -- they need to understand how your brand and solution help them compared to your competition. 
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eCommerce Logistics Players in Emerging Markets

Zia Daniell Wigder

In my post last month about global themes from recent events, I cited logistics as the scariest part of international expansion for eCommerce organizations. Nowhere is this more true than in emerging markets. Only a small percentage of warehousing facilities tend to be modern enough for eCommerce operations and identifying reliable fulfillment providers is a particularly thorny challenge. Horror stories abound:

For North American and European brands, one of the issues is that many of their existing logistics partners are not present in emerging markets – or do not provide the same depth of offerings in these markets – requiring brands to forge new relationships. There are, however, some less traditional types of players that brands are turning to as potential partners in the logistics space. Below are three models that have emerged beyond the typical suite of solution providers and examples of each:

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When Will Mobile Web Traffic Surpass PC Traffic For You?

Julie Ask

A few of our clients have shared with us their mobile traffic and forecasts. Quite a few - especially retailers - expect mobile (in this case phones and tablets) to surpass non-mobile traffic by Black Friday if it hasn't happened already. This tipping point will be the catalyst for many discussions:

- What web site is my primary web site? Or is there such a thing if I use responsive design tactics?

- How should I be dividing my resources among screens? The backend infrastructure is shared, but PC front end work still takes the lion's share of resources. 

- Is consumer use of the web changing? 

- Is overall usage climbing with mobile? or is mobile or tablets cannibalizing PC traffic? 

Take a look at Branding Brand's report for more stats and information. It's loaded with good stuff. 

 

Mobile Services Help Wipe Out Dengue Fever

Julie Ask

Mobile services in the developed world let people share pictures of themselves in the park or scroll through a retailer’s mobile site on the morning commute. For people in emerging countries, their influence can be more profound. A story recently covered by The Economist shows how mobile is being used to not only change, but also save lives.

In Pakistan’s second-most populated city, Lahore, the number of confirmed dengue patients fell from 21,292 (with 350 deaths) in 2011 to just 255 (no deaths) in 12 months after authorities drafted in mobile handsets to fight off mosquitoes. Officials equipped over one thousand city workers with cheap smartphones and had them record the anti-dengue treatment work they were carrying out around the city, whilst tagging their location. This created an online map showing where and when dengue was infecting people, whilst helping to predict where it would next flare up so that fogging treatment could be better targeted.

An important element of this is about people trusting in mobiles capabilities; whether it’s leading them to a nearby restaurant or protecting their credit card information. A study in medical journal, Lancet demonstrated that sending text messages to remind Kenyan patients to take their HIV drugs correctly improved adherence to the therapy by 12%. A recent trial by American firm, WellDoc found that a behavioral psychology m-health scheme that gives advice to diabetics had more effect than putting them on the leading diabetes drug.

Over the next few months Forrester will be conducting some research in this space and are continuingly looking for interesting examples, so please forward any along.

Want To Better Understand Data And Metrics? A Recommended Reading List

Peter Wannemacher

"Let's just say I'm not lost when it comes to data . . . but I could be more found . . ." – (eBusiness team member at a top 50 US bank)

Digital teams are surrounded by data and metrics — from KPIs to customer analytics. Yet I often hear from clients who wish they were just a little more comfortable knowing what the data is really saying, or which metrics are most important.

We just published a brand new report on The Mobile Banking Metrics That Matter which outlines how mobile strategists at banks can put the right metrics in place and work with their analytics teams to get data outputs that guide them toward smart business decisions.

Writing this report got me thinking about which books, blogs, and articles I’ve found most useful when it comes to really getting data and metrics. Here are five I think might help you too:

  1. The Tiger That Isn’t. Probably my personal favorite book about stats and measurement. Written for a mainstream audience, the book works as a guide to thinking through what a given stat or data point really means — and when to trust or doubt such data. It’s also a great read, full of interesting nuggets and statistical oddities (like how the vast majority of people have an above-average number of legs). The book’s thesis is that people who consume data should be skeptical but not cynical about statistics. From there, it helps the reader more easily contemplate and act on the data and metrics they encounter.    
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The Path Toward eCommerce Maturity

Zia Daniell Wigder

Last year, we introduced our framework for how eCommerce markets evolve: Consumers come online to connect and entertain, then start to engage in eBusiness basics like online banking and travel.** Only later do they tend to start purchasing physical products online, with readily comparable goods like mobile phones, computer hardware and books being some of consumers' first online purchases. The final phase involves consumers buying across a wide variety of categories online, including those with a strong “touch and feel” component to them:

Clients can access our recently updated report on this topic, which includes lots of new forecast data and notes how countries have moved through these phases. Brazil, for example, which was solidly in phase 3 last year, has started moving toward the final phase, where categories like apparel and beauty start to become a much more critical piece of the eCommerce market. A look at the shift in MercadoLivre’s GMV category ranking in 2012 gives one snapshot of this evolution:

Source: MercadoLivre

Also included in our updated report is a look at how online retailer offerings in each market tend to differ depending on the phase the country is in. This report forms the vision report chapter of our upcoming eCommerce globalization playbook. 

 

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GSI Commerce Becomes eBay Enterprise – Why This Is More Than Just A Re-Branding Exercise

Peter Sheldon

It’s been more than two years since eBay’s $2.4B acquisition of GSI Commerce and behind the scenes a lot has been happening. Gone is GSI’s entrepreneurial founder Michael Rubin and in his place sits a new executive team that is now strategically aligned with eBay’s senior management and corporate strategy group. Historically, eBay has been a C2C company, but yesterday’s re-branding of GSI signifies that eBay is now deadly serious about providing a holistic suite of enterprise technology and services to leading retailers and brands beyond their core Marketplace and PayPal payment services.

On paper, the new eBay Enterprise is a "jack of all trades." For retailers and brands, eBay Enterprise represents a one-stop shop for enterprise commerce technology, commerce services, marketing services and outsourced fulfillment and customer care. Let’s take a closer look at these offerings and what they mean to eBusiness professionals:

  • Commerce technology. With eBay Enterprise, eBay is stepping up to compete with industry heavyweights in the enterprise commerce technology market. On offer are three core product lines:
  1. Magento, the ever popular open source eCommerce platform purchased by eBay in 2010.
  2. ECP (Enterprise Commerce Platform), GSI’s new platform (formally known as v11) which after almost four years of development is now finally operational and running live client sites.
  3. A home-grown order management solution supporting omnichannel retailers managing order fulfillment and distribution across channels.
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Selecting A Vendor For Your Translation And Localization Needs

Peter Sheldon

This is a guest post from Lily Varon, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals

Today, eBusiness professionals are struggling with how to engage their clients around the globe via a website that meets varying language and cultural needs. Additionally, they’re faced with deciding between the different technical implementation methods with language service providers. Forrester has recently published a report to help eBusiness professionals navigate the maze of solutions and vendors at hand to help implement their translation and localization strategy.

Before evaluating solutions and signing contracts, eBusiness professionals must consider these important questions:

What is the right mix of translation methods? There is no replacement for translation done by a professional translator in terms of quality output, but the sheer volume of website content, the increasing demand for quick turnaround, and the number of languages needed far exceed the capacity of using all human translation. Many enterprises use a combination of translation methods (e.g., human translation, machine translation, human-aided machine translation, crowdsourcing) to execute on their international initiatives and fulfill their translation needs while keeping project costs under control.

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