Posted by on 13 Feb 2015
A recent post by my colleague Scott Regan brings recent store closings to attention. This should come as no surprise to anyone that’s been watching the trends (in fact, I wrote about this a while back and it’s something Scott and I have discussed frequently). Brick-and-mortar retail has been declining in certain sectors for the past few years. To be fair, however, other physical retail sectors are experiencing some growth. But how interesting is it that some of those sectors include retailers that started out as “online only” and are know expanding into the physical retail world? Yes, online | View post
Posted by on 05 Feb 2015
Now that the dust has settled on 2014, retailers big and small are thinking about what will happen this year. The rate of change is only increasing, thanks to a constant influx of new information, new companies, and new competitors. So what do I think this year will bring? Here are a few of my eCommerce predictions for 2015:View post
Posted by on 16 Jan 2015
eCommerce Services, Retail, digital commerce provider
“It’s January. Were you expecting sunshine and unicorns?” While I’m used to hearing this response from salty New Englanders when I dare complain about our lousy winter weather, it’s also become a de-facto response from many retail experts when discussing what has become an annual event for commerce: a slew of brick-and-mortar stores closings right after the holidays.View post
Posted by on 10 Dec 2014
eCommerce Game Changer
Over the past 40 years, I've experienced technology development in many different environments. It all started with meager beginnings in a Denver middle school. It was there that I first used a TTY-33 to dial-in to an HP2000F timeshare using a rotary phone and an acoustic-couple modem. After learning BASIC, I moved on to Assembly, Pascal, C, C++, and Java, through the days of client-server and onto where we are today, picking up experience with other languages along the way. It's certainly been an interesting time to be someone interested in technology. So where are we today? A lot of folks | View post
Posted by on 04 Dec 2014
Today marks a new beginning for Optaros, as we announce the acquisition of our company by MRM//McCann, a global customer experience-marketing agency and part of the Interpublic Group (IPG). This announcement comes at an exciting time and as CEO of Optaros, I am more energized than ever about the power and possibilities that innovative digital solutions can bring to brands and retailers. Together, MRM//McCann and Optaros now offer companies a comprehensive suite of tools, technologies, and services to engage shoppers throughout the entire consumer lifecycle. This begins with customer | View post
Posted by on 18 Nov 2014
While eCommerce is now a common part of our society, it's still evolving so rapidly that it can still be quite exciting. For example, I’ve written a few articles recently about Private Event Retailing (flash sales, daily deals, etc.), and how they’ve revived the “thrill of the find” in online shopping. I’ve also discussed how eCommerce professionals could leverage some of the innovations that video game developers have perfected to enhance online shopping experiences. Because of my interest in these areas, I was happy to happy to discover that there's a new app in town. It’s called Peach. And | View post
Posted by on 22 Oct 2014
Fashion DIgital New York
I just returned from Fashion Digital New York where Optaros was a sponsor and where I, along with our client Dooney & Bourke, had the honor to present a workshop on eCommerce Replatforming. (If you missed it, we have a few white papers that will catch you up.)View post
Posted by on 21 Oct 2014
Flash sales are the most well-known genres of Private Event Retail (which also includes group sales, and loyalty programs). Considered a high-growth eCommerce business model, Private Event Retail (PER) can unlock incremental growth, drive superior KPIs, build deeper customer relationships, and create efficiencies across channels. It can also help liquidate excess merchandise and drive mobile sales. But are they right for your business? I know what you're thinking - haven't flash sales seen better days? Sure, many curated flash sites have come down to earth for a variety of reasons. But while | View post
Posted by on 03 Oct 2014
video games ecommerce
As I mentioned in my first post on this topic , there are many ways that eCommerce user experience designers and developers can drive an engaging online experience simply by leveraging the basic structure and usability pillars of video game design. I specifically discussed the pillars of Fascination, Urgency, and Imperfection, and how they can be applied to eCommerce when trying to develop an engaging and unique customer experience. In part two of this post, I’ll focus on the remaining three design pillars to consider: Naturalism, Time, and Purpose. Naturalism / Sense of Self: In a video game | View post
Posted by on 12 Sep 2014
I recently read a great article about game design. It discussed how most successful video games share the same basic structure and usability pillars, and delved deeply into the basic human behavior that makes those elements so effective. In the eCommerce world, retailers hoping to stand out from the crowd can draw upon these same elements to create effective and engaging online shopping experiences. Of the seven pillars mentioned in the article, several are directly applicable to online retail experience. In fact, some of the best retailers already employ these tactics. In this post (the | View post
Posted by on 02 Sep 2014
A few years ago, I worked with a client who was very disappointed in their current eCommerce platform, citing poor traffic and poor conversion rates. While discussing options for re-platforming, it became very clear to me that while their eCommerce platform did have some issues, the greater problem lied in the in the clients’ expectations. In essence, they expected their eCommerce platform to somehow miraculously fix a very broken business process. I'm a firm believer that technology exists to support the business. After all, it's very difficult to employ technology for technology's sake and | View post
Posted by on 13 Aug 2014
mobile commerce
It’s common knowledge that mobile commerce capabilities are crucial to any business that sells online. In fact, the U.S. mobile commerce market is poised to hit $114 billion in 2014, and projected to influence more than $600 billion in total retail sales by 2016, according to Forrester Research. eBusiness professionals are aware of the dire need to create an engaging mobile experience for shoppers and integrate this experience with an overarching omnichannel strategy. However, mobile commerce itself is still mired in haze of myths and misconceptions, surrounding strategy and technology within | View post
Posted by on 25 Jul 2014
The year was 2004. George W. Bush was running for re-election, and was celebrating its first year as a profitable company. Technology continued to dominate the headlines, particularly after a Nokia executive speculated that up to two-thirds of all cell phones could eventually feature a built-in camera. Social Media was also taking shape. Within 24 hours of its launch, 1,200 Harvard students registered for “The Facebook”, a self-described “online dictionary that connects college students through social networks“ That very same year, Optaros was born. It’s now 2014, and clearly a lot | View post
Posted by on 22 Jul 2014
ecommerce SEO
eCommerce SEO is a very common concern for many of our clients. Given the depth and breadth of their different product, category and transactional pages, their eCommerce websites tend to be much larger than a typical website. While many classic SEO best practices are still applicable, there are some crucial considerations that must be in play to see true success with SEO and eCommerce. 1. Keep it clean There is a lot of advice out there on SEO, but you need to be savvy enough to understand which tactics will help, and which ones will be hurt, your rankings. Google is getting increasingly | View post
Posted by on 21 Jul 2014
internet of things
There are a lot of amazing technologies and devices being brought to market these days. We’ve all seen them — Bluetooth capable health monitors, the Nest thermostat, fitness devices — and the number is going to continue to grow. Underlying all these devices is a technological battlefield where companies are trying figure out the best way to work with and encourage the app building in the developer community. Apple and Google have huge developer camps writing thousands of new apps each week using their tools and technology. Both of these companies have well-rounded software Development Kits ( | View post
Posted by on 17 Jul 2014
M7 chip
A little over a month ago, iOS 8 was released in beta to developers, and one of its key features are enhancements to geolocation capabilities. In particular, iOS 8 will take advantage of the M7 processor in the iPhone 5 and allow developers to take advantage of indoor positioning systems (IPS) that offer great accuracy of information when indoors. I’ll spare you the exciting technical things, which are really cool, but I’m sure most folks will wonder what this means for eCommerce and Retailers. Here are just a few possibilities: I’ve written previously about OmniChannel / MultiChannel and the | View post
Posted by on 10 Jul 2014
award win
We’re proud to announce that earlier this summer, Optaros was honored with a 2013 Spirit of Excellence Award at Magento’s Imagine 2014 Conference in Las Vegas. Magento selected award recipients based on business strategy and growth, deployment, deployment quality, merchant satisfaction, penetration in emerging markets, and eCommerce innovation. Rob Willms, President and CEO of Optaros, had this to say about the honor; “We are thrilled to be recognized by Magento for our dedication to excellence. This award reflects Optaros’ unrelenting commitment to driving our clients’ success in a very | View post
Posted by on 01 Jul 2014
The Optaros team recently spent 4 action-packed days attending and exhibiting at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago. If you’re like me and have attended enough of these “shows” they can start to blend together a bit in a blur of industry buzzwords and buffet lines. You know, “yada, yada, yada, omnichannel….blah, blah, blah big data….yada, yada, yada bitcoin…blah, blah, blah after-party” However, if you pay attention, there are some subtle and some not-so-subtle shifts at play that say a lot about the state of digital commerce in 2014. For me, the following three | View post
Posted by on 04 Jun 2014
ecommerce payment options
At Magento’s Imagine Conference I gave a presentation on the eCommerce payment landscape. Retailers need to recognize that the dramatic changes occurring are providing real opportunities. Payments have moved on from the traditional four options: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Discover. Think your site is hip because you have a PayPal Express option? Think again. PayPal offers an amazing suite of tools and services to help retailers increase their conversions. It is important for retailers to stay on top of what payments companies can provide. A common theme heard is: Make the Transaction | View post
Posted by on 03 Jun 2014
internet of things
I recently read an article about a Google filing with the SEC that describes how Google sees the future of advertising when it comes to many devices. When reading through the filing, I found this gem: "users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future." While Google is probably doing the right thing to expand their business and their opportunity for revenue, I started to think about life when ads appear on, and again I'll quote, "refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities." I | View post
Posted by on 05 May 2014
amazon dash
Amazon’s new Dash scanning device is being used in a few markets that have been selected as test markets for the Amazon Fresh service. I’m not holding my breath for Amazon to expand Fresh into the North Atlanta suburbs, but even so, this is a great bit of eCommerce evolution that we should see have a big impact on how we interact with online services. Why should we care? Here’s why: It’s about more than bar codes: The Amazon Fresh folks in Southern California, San Francisco, and Seattle are now able to place orders by using a bar code scanner or voice search. Bar code scanning is pretty | View post
Posted by on 22 Apr 2014
b2b ecommerce
Although B2B eCommerce doesn’t garner the same buzz and attention of its B2C counterpart, it already accounts for more revenue ($559B vs. $252B) and is growing faster as well – 20% in 2013 vs. 12% for B2C. A key reason behind this explosive growth is the expectations of B2B buyers. Just as they’ve become accustomed to the ability to make retail and lifestyle purchases online, they’ve begun searching for a similar user experience when making business purchases. This has disrupted the B2B market significantly and consumerization is presenting complexities that B2B companies have never faced | View post
Posted by on 16 Apr 2014
Optaros is proud to welcome Bill Thomas to our team as a new Client Partner. Bill has over 8 years of experience launching and supporting immersive eCommerces experiences for exceptional brands. I sat down with Bill to pick his brain on a few key questions that eBusiness professionals everywhere are asking: What do you see as the most impactful digital commerce trends to arise in 2014? Mobile payments are going to be the fastest growing segment in eCommerce. In particular, the explosion in Mobile Proximity payments is going to have a profound impact. Mobile Proximity payments refers to using | View post
Posted by on 11 Apr 2014
I spent three action-packed days at the Demandware XChange Conference in Miami Beach earlier this week, an event that brings together Demandware, its world-class clients, eager new prospects and a great group of LINK technology and solutions partners. Demandware put on a tremendous show that included great entertainment mixed with thought-provoking keynotes from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell and Harley Manning from Forrrester, insightful breakout sessions and interactive roundtables. I left the sunny beaches of Miami with four key takeaways I’d like to share: Customer Experience Matters | View post
Posted by on 10 Apr 2014
customer loyalty
Consumers are constantly bombarded with messaging from online retailers and are presented with an increasing number of outlets to buy from. However, online retailers should be seeking to instill a stronger sense of customer loyalty. According to a report by Adobe , returning purchasers and repeat purchasers account for 41% of all eCommerce revenue. However, these purchasers only account for 8% of all traffic to eCommerce websites. This is a staggering discrepancy, especially when you consider that 80% of online retailers’ marketing budgets are spent attracting new shoppers to their website – | View post


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