VOICE FIRST: Amazon has always been at the forefront of Internet innovation, including Artificial Intelligence. I’m not just talking about Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent assistant and perhaps the most impressive consumer technology of 2016. Amazon also utilizes AI in its core product: the personalization engine that drives Amazon.com. Whenever Amazon’s website recommends an item to you (e.g. “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”), part of the technology behind that is AI. More specifically, deep learning via neural networks.
ECOMMERCE: Greg Selkoe, streetwear retailer Karmaloop’s founder and former CEO, is once again flexing his e-commerce muscles with a new company, Looklive. Looklive blends e-commerce with the content of celebrity-focused magazines. The men’s fashion site features photos with captions often seen in tabloids, such as “Lana Del Rey grabs coffee at Western Bagel,” or “Justin Bieber Leaves Tape Nightclub.” Consumers click on the images and see where they can buy the outfit the celebrity is wearing in the photo, or where they can buy a similar version at a lower price.
DATA: The ecommerce industry is highly competitive. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the area of pay-per-click advertising. With heavyweights like Amazon and Ebay spending millions of dollars on PPC, it can seem daunting for smaller businesses to compete. But, with enough competitive intelligence, all businesses can benefit from pay-per-click advertising. In this post, I’ll address ways to spy on on your competitors, gather information about them, and keep them from seeing your ads.
ECOMMERCE: Needless to say, your digital commerce experience — both mobile and web — has to stay (at least) one step ahead of the competition. Brand leaders use content as a key part of the digital experience to inform, inspire and engage, and many rely on content management systems (CMS) to create, manage and deliver that content. Yesterday’s CMS can no longer keep up with the explosion in e-commerce. Brands need a CMS that learns and adapts — with changes in customer behavior, the ways shoppers engage and the ways they consume content.
ECOMMERCE: Practical Ecommerce periodically asks industry insiders to share a great, innovative idea that could help an ecommerce company. Here’s what ten of them had to say for the August 2016 installment of “10 Great Ecommerce Ideas.”
OPINION: “Data-based” concepts like “big data,” “conversion rate optimization,” “personalization,” and “business intelligence” — RJMetrics’ strengths — all go hand in hand. However, I don’t believe that any of those concepts have truly made their way from the enterprise downstream to the mid-market.
MEDIA: FOX Sports GO has now arrived on Apple TV, allowing viewers to watch up to four games at the same time, thanks to an innovative split-screen interface that lets you arrange video feeds side-by-side, picture-in-picture style, or in a mosaic pattern. With the app, you’ll be able to stream from channels including Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, and Fox College Sports, as well as select regional events based on your location. In addition to the viewer’s location, access to content will also depend on their cable or satellite pay TV subscription.
BRAND: The next big thing in tech could come from the unlikeliest of places: a pizza purveyor. Domino’s took to tech early, introducing in 2008 the Pizza Tracker which marked its transition away from a pizza company that sold online to an e-commerce company that happens to sell pizza. Today, more than half of Domino’s sales come through its digital channels and about half of those sales are coming through mobile channels with no sign of slowing. "When more than half of your sales are coming through your digital channels, you are, by default, an e-commerce company."
BRAND: The financial services firm assessed the “brand temperature” of luxury companies, based on the ratio between the editorial coverage they receive in print magazines, and their print advertising spend. Brands are ranked as “hot” if magazines give them more editorial space than their advertising spend should warrant, meaning they have more editorial coverage than print magazine advertisements.
BRAND: Forget the rivalry between Uber and Lyft. The two companies’ long term ambitions are very different. Even their definitions of success are different. Who knows who said what to whom? (Actually, I have an idea; reporters get caught in the crossfire. But alas, “off the record” is “off the record.”) But suffice it to say, both sides are guilty of spewing all sorts of dirt on the other and have been doing so for years.
BRAND: With the help of several high-profile athlete endorsements — namely with Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry — as well as a string of buzzy, amateur basketball tournaments, Under Armour is making serious strides among college athletes. Results from a new CBS Sports poll suggests that the Baltimore-based athletic brand now has a greater influence in the world of college basketball than rival sneaker brand Adidas.
ECOMMERCE: Three years into Amazon’s aggressive push in India, the country’s two home-grown e-commerce competitors are feeling the pressure. According to a report in India’s well-respected Mint newspaper, Amazon’s sales in India eclipsed those of No. 1 Indian competitor Flipkart for the first time in July. Sales at Snapdeal, another well-funded competitor, are much smaller than either, according to the report. Flipkart has also recently given much more control to an executive.