If you can't beat 'em...

Rusty Warner

Yesterday SAP formally launched its hybris Marketing Solution, hailing it as “the industry’s first contextual marketing platform.” Customers will welcome the new functionality, which SAP has highlighted in roadmap presentations during the past year.  Claims of being first-to-market, however, fall short. First to offer an analytics suite for marketers? SAS Institute may disagree. First to leverage marketing analytics with eCommerce? IBM may challenge the claim. First with an enterprise customer data management platform? Teradata has offered data-driven marketing for years. First to integrate marketing with sales and service? Oracle and Salesforce.com may have differing views. Even marketing vendors that SAP lists as launch partners – Adobe and Marketo – would likely disagree with SAP’s first-mover claims, for both B2C and B2B environments.

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We're Hiring: Analyst Serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals, Amsterdam Or London

Benjamin Ensor

We are looking for a new analyst or senior analyst to join our eBusiness and channel strategy team, based in either London or Amsterdam. We're looking for someone with an analytical mind, good communication skills, a clear perspective on the future of digital financial services, and experience of the complexities of retail financial services and of different European markets to help our clients make great business decisions, shape their firms' strategies and lead change. 

If this sounds like you, or like someone you know, please see the full details in the job description.

Announcing Forrester’s 2015 B2C Global Commerce Service Providers Wave

Adam Silverman

Global Commerce Service Providers

Today’s technology-immersed customers have high expectations when it comes to the retailers they engage with. Not only do they expect their retailer of choice to offer an endless array of products that can be fulfilled from any location within the enterprise, they also expect a more fulfilling and connected experience both online and in the store.  In order to meet these higher expectations, organizations that sell directly to customers must pivot to become digital businesses, and this transformation requires them to double-down on their investments in people, process, and technology.  As the complexity and importance of commerce technology swells
B2C organizations are increasingly seeking out the help of Global Commerce Service Providers to not only implement commerce technology, but to help their organization refine business processes and create innovative omnichannel experiences. 
 
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Video Consumption Behavior -- Corroborating Evidence

Jim Nail

Sorry for that rather legalistic/nerdy headline. As I mentioned in my last post, Forrester's data on Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behaviors stimulated a discussion of methodologies, and particularly the challenges with our self-reported survey methodology. I agree, this approach has some flaws, as does any research methodology. That's why we're trained here to look for multiple data points and then to interpret them to give as accurate a view as we can of what's happening in the market.

So I just came across an article that I had read while I was writing that report which provides additional evidence. In it, NBC Universal's AlanWurtzel describes the digital viewing numbers they are beginning to provide, using behavior data from Nielsen, Rentrak, Omniture, and Hulu. These numbers point in the same direction, and perhaps point to even larger changes than Forrester's data indicate.

The article cites numbers for two shows, on a live-plus-seven-day basis. For The Blacklist, digital viewing accounts for 17% of the total viewership, while digital views are 37% of Parks & Recreation's total.

These data sets and NBC's methodology have their own gaps and weaknesses, no doubt. But I believe that is a matter of degree, not direction. These numbers -- and Forrester's -- don't have the degree of precision needed for the currency of the TV market, but they clearly indicate that a significant change is happening in consumer viewing behavior that advertisers need to factor into their planning. 

The Future Of Mobile Wallets Lies Beyond Payments

Thomas Husson

Apple Pay makes up more than $2 out of $3 spent on purchases using contactless payment across the three major US card networks. I agree with my colleague Sucharita Mulpuru that this is likely a big chunk of a small pie, considering the lower maturity of the mobile contactless ecosystem in the US. It's always better to look for absolute value. In this regard, PayPal processed $46 billion in mobile payment volume in 2014, up 68% over 2013.

Should marketers care about mobile wallets? Yes. Mobile wallets are not just about mobile payments. Consumers want a better shopping experience. Offering faster or more-secure payments is not enough; wallet providers will have to solve real pain points, such as giving consumers the ability to see what’s on stored value cards at any moment in time, access loyalty points, or automatically receive digital copies of payment receipts. In particular, 57% of US online adult smartphone users are interested in having access to loyalty program points and rewards within a mobile wallet. Access to loyalty rewards from brands is the most wanted feature from consumers, and it's the one least integrated in mobile wallets today.

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Black Friday Plagues the 2014 UK Holiday Sales Season

Michelle Beeson

Black Friday has been a constant feature in the postmortem of the 2014 UK holiday sales season. It has gradually extended its influence across the Atlantic over the years; despite having no cultural significance outside of the US (Black Friday is a sales day that traditionally follows the US Thanksgiving holiday). Retailers in France, Germany and Spain tested the waters with Black Friday promotions in 2014. But it was in the UK where Black Friday sales surged to new heights.

UK retailers who embraced Black Friday reported massive sales uplift on the day. Department store House of Fraser recorded a 125% increase in year on year sales while Very.co.uk saw orders jump 134% compared to Black Friday 2013.Yet, for most, this uplift did not translate to an overall sales increase or the holiday season.

Our new report "Black Friday: The Sales That Stole Christmas", written with my colleague Martin Gill, evaluates the impact of Black Friday sales in the UK holiday season 2014, foretelling what is on the horizon for the rest of Europe as:

Black Friday Has Changes The Cadence Of Holiday Sales. Black Friday has arrived in the UK with a bang, but for most eBusiness executives it hasn’t driven a massive sales uplift. Instead, it’s pulled customer purchasing forward in the holiday season, leaving like-for-like sales reasonably static.

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Black Friday: The Sale That Stole Christmas

Martin Gill

Black Friday is here.

By here, I mean here in Europe. And it’s here to stay.

Amazon launched Europe’s first Black Friday sale in 2010, with a small fanfare and some success. Most European retailers did the polite thing, and looked bashfully away while their brash American cousins celebrated a day with zero cultural significance this side of the Atlantic. “We’ll wait for Boxing Day” was the overwhelming sentiment.

But consumers bit, and the following year a small handful of global brands like Apple and Walmart (in the form of its UK subsidiary Asda) followed suit. Black Friday grew somewhat organically.

But 2014 was different.

Previous Black Friday successes unleashed a literal tidal wave of copy-cats in the run up to Christmas last year. This was most publically a UK phenomenon, with well-known brands like John Lewis taking part, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it was just a quaintly British emulation of the American trend. French and German retailers like Darty and Saturn also indulged. Akamai saw triple the normal web traffic to retail websites across Europe on Black Friday. But it was the UK that bore the brunt of the impact as:

  • High profile websites buckled and crashed under unprecedented load, with many retailers reporting upwards of a 300% uplift in traffic on Black Friday.
  • Riots in stores saw police called.
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Two Weeks Left To Enter The 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards!

Nate Elliott

You deserve to be recognized for the great work you do in social -- but there's not much time left! 

We're now accepting entries for the 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards, and we'd love a chance to recgonize your social programs for their excellence. The deadline for entries this year is February 20, and we're once again accepting entries in both B2C and B2B marketing categories. Entry is free, and winners will be invited to accept their trophies in person at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in April.

For more details, check out our FAQ and our entry form. We look forward to seeing your entries by February 20!

Spend on Commerce Technology Set to Nearly Double by 2019

Peter Sheldon

Over the past four years, the commerce technology market has undergone significant consolidation. Commerce technology is now table stakes for any enterprise software vendor with a focus on systems of engagement. Consequently, Forrester has observed an unprecedented chain of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in this space over the past four years with eBay, IBM, Oracle and SAP alone, having spent in aggregate over $10 billion on commerce related acquisitions. Furthermore venture capital and private equity firms have been making big bets in this space. Between them, Shopify, Volusion and Big Commerce have accumulated $337 million in funding in the past few years, while Siris Capital Group are set to shortly complete their acquisition of Digital River for $840 million. Beyond these headline transactions, dozens of smaller deals have been done, with vendors including Demandware and NetSuite both having been on acquisition binges’ in the past 12 months. 

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Five Key Trends In Global eCommerce

Zia Daniell Wigder

Yesterday I had a chance to join the fantastic Global eCommerce Leaders Forum here in New York. Leaders from Puma, Borderfree and Alibaba delivered keynotes at the event, and in the afternoon, I did a quick presentation on five key themes in global eCommerce to tee up a panel on international expansion:

The Asia pivot. Arguably the biggest story in global eCommerce over the past five years has been the rise of China as an eCommerce force. No other eCommerce market has rivaled China’s ascent to power: Between 2009 and 2014, revenues increased by 16-fold, reaching over $440B in 2014. That shift fundamentally changed how brands view eCommerce in Asia. Instead of contemplating expansion into Asia only after years of operating in North America or Europe, a digital strategy for Asia—and China in particular—is now front and center for many brands.

Options for brands beyond direct sites. Today there are very few brands whose global expansion plans focus exclusively on localized, direct-to-consumer sites. Cross-border shipping and marketplaces —two relatively low-cost, low-risk approaches to international expansion—now factor into the consideration set of almost every brand evaluating new global markets. Indeed, today many solutions are available which enable brands to tap into online shoppers overseas without massive investments or years of preparation.  While direct sites will remain a core part of brands’ global expansion efforts—and their value unrivaled in many ways—other approaches will increasingly supplement this tried and true method.

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