Headsup: E-Tailers Leave Money on the Table - InformationWeek

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Headsup: E-Tailers Leave Money on the Table

How long will it take to get this consumer Web commerce thing right? Ten or so years into it, many e-tailers, including very large brick-and-mortar retailers, are still leaving money on the table with sites that deliver bad user experiences.

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How long will it take to get this consumer Web commerce thing right? Ten or so years into it, many e-tailers, including very large brick-and-mortar retailers, are still leaving money on the table with sites that deliver bad user experiences. ForeSee Results and FGI Research conducted a study that showed a strong correlation between consumers' satisfaction with sites (as measured by ForeSee Results' methodology) and their propensity to buy from them. Furthermore, an unsatisfactory experience with Web commerce sites can reduce customers' future offline in-store spending with the same brand.

"Many companies don't understand which things most influence consumers and therefore they make decisions about Internet strategies and tactics that are sometimes unimportant to people and other times actually turn off buyers," says Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results. Top scorers Netflix.com, Amazon.com, QVC.com, Newegg.com and LLBean.com are 36% likelier to convert people who are just browsing to buyers than the lowest scorers, Chadwicks.com, Buy.com, CompUSA.com, Costco.com and Kmart.com.

The winning Internet strategy isn't to simply price merchandise the lowest. Segmenting customers as much as possible in order to control messaging, personalize offers and tactically modify pricing is more important. Clickstream analysis and comparative A/B marketing analysis play important roles in optimizing those techniques.

New Oracle Data Hubs: Better Than Customer Hub?

Oracle released two new data hubs, the Product Information Management (PIM) Data Hub and the Financial Consolidation Hub, but it's unclear how well they'll serve your needs. So far, the Oracle Customer Data Hub, available for more than a year, has failed to demonstrate much value compared to alternative products. A recent Magic Quadrant report from Gartner puts it nearly at the bottom of the heap, ahead of only a few minor vendors. In theory, though, it's good to have more choices. When SAP and IBM decided to get into the PIM game, they merely acquired successful point vendors Trigo and A2i, and SAP took A2i out of circulation. But if Oracle's new hub products are comparable to its Customer Data Hub, it may take several release cycles for them to become true alternatives.

SOA Providers Publicly Test Their Mettle

SOA solutions vendors stuck their necks out a bit at this year's Integration Consortium Global Integration Summit in Banff, Canada. They entered a contest to prove they could create a simple (very simple) supply-chain SOA application to spec within 27 hours, on the spot at the summit. Software vendors Above All Software, Fiorano Software, 5by5 Software, Grand Central Communications, iWay Software, PolarLake, Softare AG, Sonic Software and webMethods, and consultancy Online Business Systems, all completed the challenge. However, attendee votes and a panel of judges distinguished webMethods with a special award for the quality of its composite application. This is the closest thing we have to an industry benchmark in SOA technology right now; we could do with something that proves fitness for enterprise-class applications.

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