Great example of a customer dialog activity!

I went on to Tommy Hilfiger’s site and I instantly got this splash screen:

I love their products and getting 20% off for simply registering is a great idea to me! I went ahead and registered and sure enough a little bit later in the Balfe household I get an email to verify my email address and account with a coupon code!

So how did they do this? Well, I don’t know exactly how they did it but I can pretty much guess.

First, they set up a flash advertisement on the site for unauthenticated customers to show the “Register Now” page. This is a pretty basic rule and easy to accomplish using the tooling. Once the customer registers, there is an event (a trigger) that is sent to the commerce system that a dialog activity can catch. Here is a basic flow of a dialog activity that sends an email when a customer registers (link to InfoCenter):

Email Templates can be used to have generic emails with key fields and advertisements put into a template. Below is a sample email template from the Madisons Starter store. Notice the “Insert Content” button where you can select from a range of fields and content like First Name, Last Name, Link, Content Spot, E-Marketing Spot, and Promotion.

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The coupon model they most likely used was a coupon set up for 20% and a redemption count of “one”. Here is a sample promotion image cut out from the Management Center showing some of the options for redemption:

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Dialog activities are a powerful feature and you have the flexibility to use the many built in triggers or create your own triggers.  From the Info Center, here is a list of the current out of the box triggers for dialog activities:

Trigger What triggers the activity to start or continue

Trigger: WaitWait

A specific period of time has elapsed.

Example: Wait for two weeks and then continue the activity.

Trigger: Customer RegistersCustomer Registers

A customer successfully registers with your store.

Trigger: Customer Places OrderCustomer Places Order

A customer places an order with your store.

Trigger: Customer Participates in Social CommerceCustomer Participates in Social Commerce

Introduced in Feature Pack 3 This trigger is enhanced to provide more options.

A customer has participated in any social commerce activity on your site.

Example: A customer has done any of the following things at least three times:

  • Posted a product review or comment, or rated a product
  • Posted a blog entry or comment, or rated a blog entry
  • Uploaded a photo

Introduced in Feature Pack 3 A customer has participated in any social commerce activity, or a specific activity, on your site. 
Example: A customer has created a product review with at least a three-star rating in the Televisions category.

Trigger: Customer Abandons Shopping CartCustomer Abandons Shopping Cart

A customer has placed something in the shopping cart and has not checked out within the number of days you specify.

Example: A customer has abandoned a shopping cart for three days.

Trigger: Customer Is In SegmentCustomer Is In Segment

A customer belongs to a customer segment you specify on the day the activity runs.

Example: The customer belongs to the Preferred Customer customer segment.

Trigger: Customer Celebrates BirthdayCustomer Celebrates Birthday

A customer is celebrating his or her birthday in the number of days you specify, or today.

Example: The customer is celebrating a birthday in 7 days.

Introduced in Feature Pack 1

Trigger: Wait for EventWait for Event

A custom event that the triggers listed in this table do not support.


  • A customer adds an item to a wish list
  • A customer clicks a custom link on a store page
Introduced in Feature Pack 2

Trigger: Customer SearchesCustomer Searches

A customer searches in the store.

Example: The customer searches multiple times for the same product.

Introduced in Feature Pack 2

Recurring Order EventRecurring Order Event

A customer has triggered a recurring order event.


  • A customer orders a recurring order
  • A customer cancels a recurring order
  • A customer’s recurring order is about to expire or has already expired
Introduced in Feature Pack 2

Subscription EventSubscription Event

A customer has triggered a subscription event.


  • A customer orders a subscription
  • A customer cancels a subscription
  • A customer’s subscription is about to expire
  • A customer’s subscription has already expired
Introduced in Feature Pack 3

Trigger: Customer Checks Out With Promotion Customer Checks Out With Promotion

A customer checks out with a specific promotion applied to the order.

Example: A customer checks out with the Furniture Blowout promotion applied to the order.

Feature Pack 4 or later

Trigger: Customer Checks In Customer Checks In

A customer checks in to a specific point of interest or region using a mobile device.

Example: A customer enters a brick-and-mortar store, and then uses a mobile phone to “check in” and see what the current store promotions are.


Aurora – the new WebSphere Commerce Starter Store

No audio in this one! Just a high level view of what you get out of the box with WebSphere Commerce. This new look and feel was introduced in feature pack 5. Very slick, new, and fresh looking. I don’t show anything really technical, I just wanted to highlight the new visuals in the starter store. The store pages were designed to take advantage of the new page template feature in Feature Pack 5. There is also tighter integration with Order Management which is what I will be focusing on a bit in the next coming weeks.

Customer Centricity and The Smarter Commerce Summit

According to The Business Dictionary, customer-centric is defined as:

Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.

A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.

Read more here.

I have been in the software industry for well over 20 years and have attended many conferences that are catered to customers. I had the pleasure of attending the summit last year and the number one thing I got out of it were the customer stories. Story after story I got to hear how partners and customers use IBM’s software to run their business. Being new to the commerce side of IBM these stories were invaluable to me. I heard the good and the bad experiences and in most cases the bad experiences were heard loud and clear by us.

Outside of fixing or adding function to the software, IBM is extremely focused on this new buzz “customer-centricity”. When I speak of “my team” I speak of us (IBM), the customer, and the business partner. When we are engaged with a customer, we stay engaged from sales through delivery. I have the pleasure of being on some great accounts where the broader “team” really does feel like a real team – all of us working together to make sure the customer is successful.

If you are a customer or business partner attending the conference make sure you spend time with your IBM account team and get suggestions for which sessions would benefit you most.

And don’t forget to sign up with an “expert” in the Meet The Experts! You can schedule a meeting prior to the event with your IBM representative so make sure you get on the calendar.


Presentation Tip: Locating the pointer for the viewer

When you create tutorial videos or live presentations of software you may want to have the viewer see where the mouse is at certain times throughout the video. Windows 7 has a pretty slick feature that you can enable in the Mouse dialog box. Enabling that option will then allow you to simply hit the CTRL key to get a visual indicator of where the pointer is. This is great for highlighting the pointer and also highlighting a button or a click option you will click.

Many video production software packages do something similar as this but if the one you are using doesn’t you can always use this as an option. This is what it would look like in the end video: