About Bob Balfe

Writer, learner, video creator of technical content and making eCommerce #iconic for all kinds of brands with the best content management system for commerce - CoreMedia.

Webinar: Maximize your IBM Commerce Investment

Are you ready to hear how you can move forward with IBM Commerce? Do you have questions about your options for maximizing your investment? If so, join Brent Murray from CoreMedia and Rick Miller from Zilker in this 30 minute webinar and hear how your brand can be iconic with IBM Commerce, CoreMedia and Zilker!

Seize the Opportunity to Maximize your IBM Commerce Investment

Thur Jun 20, 2019 • 1-1:30 pm Eastern

Investing in IBM’s eCommerce platform was smart. But the recent divestiture of WebSphere Commerce to HCL likely raises some questions. What can you do to keep your WebSphere Commerce investment on track and moving forward?

Join CoreMedia and Zilker for this exclusive 30-minute webinar and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to transform your customer experiences with advanced brand management and turn disruption into opportunity.

Register Today!

 

 

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Microsoft Word to online article in a snap

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 12.52.42 PM.pngI don’t think the genie in Aladdin can do something this cool so quickly. You might be thinking, well… I have been able to save Word documents to HTML since 2000 and my answer would be “yes, but can you save it with streamlined HTML into a content management system and retain the rich text and images?”. 

One of the frustrating pieces about the HTML Microsoft Word generates is that it’s filled with all kinds of nonsense tags and CSS, it’s barely legible. Case in point is this is the HTML for the article referenced in the video that Microsoft Word generates:

<p class=MsoNormal style='mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto;
line-height:normal;background:#FCFCFC'><b style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'><span
style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"VarelaRegular",serif;mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#3E3D3D;
mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:DE'>In Speed Flying and Speed
Riding, everything happens VERY fast.<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto;
line-height:normal;background:#FCFCFC'><span style='font-size:10.5pt;
font-family:"VarelaRegular",serif;mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#3E3D3D;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;
mso-fareast-language:DE'>It makes sense to build a solid foundation of glider
control skills in a slower, more forgiving aircraft before you move to the big
time. Even a single day lesson will teach you valuable lessons about our
incredible aircraft and you will experience the magic of flight for the first
time. To get started just visit one of the speed riding schools in Chamonix and
go fast!</span></p>

Not pretty!

That same document imported into CoreMedia has this around the same block:

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.58.29 PM.png

The other aspect is just getting the document into your CMS with all of the images properly uploaded and referenced in the article can also be a challenge.

In this video, watch how easy it is to take an MS Word document and import it into CoreMedia Studio; preserving the rich text and images and using the CoreMedia Studio to fix the various crop renderings of the teasers across the social channels.

 

Mobify + SFCC is like peanut butter and jelly, but where is the bread?

Salesforce Commerce Cloud, or Demandware, never really provided the best content management nor a high-converting progressive web(PWA) storefront that is lightening fast. With Mobify you get the latest and greatest PWA technology with their front-end as a service business model. It is specifically designed for eCommerce platforms.

The Mobify Connector API will allow Salesforce ecommerce platform customers to quickly upgrade their mobile websites to high-converting Progressive Web Apps. – link

When I was a child, one of the best breads in the world was from my Grandfathers restaurant, Trinkaus Manor. They made their own bread every weekend and most weekends Mom brought home an entire loaf – it was always a treat and often spoke about to this day. I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but my favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were made with Trinkaus Manor bread!

But where is the bread that can hold together this Mobify + SFCC PBJ?

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks on the treadmill watching the video below – CoreMedia is the bread!  I wanted to learn about the Demo Jams they do over at Salesforce; they are very cool 3 minute demonstrations by different companies and they compete for the best demonstration given. Well, at about 22 minutes and 10 seconds I see the Mobify demo and they showed some iconic companies that use Mobify: Pandora, Payless, and Lancome.

Now, I have spoken about Pandora before and its pretty well known they are a CoreMedia customer. The bread in this case is CoreMedia Content Cloud! It looks like this super fast site is built on top of a headless Salesforce eCommerce platform, Mobify as their front-end and CoreMedia Content Cloud for their digital experience!

I will be participating at the Demo Jam at Connections in late June so I look forward to it!

Can you do this with your headless PWA?

If the content for your progressive web or headless application can’t be controlled by non-IT employees then you need to look at how you are doing business. The previous post I had about “Headless PLUS” showed why technologies like schema stitching are changing the way integrations work on the glass, this post focuses solely on the line of business user (marketer, merchandizer) and the content management expectations whether it is headless, or not.

I stole this from a presentation we give when we tell why CoreMedia is a game changer for shops with headless apps because its headless PLUS:

Preview

The first thing marketers miss in a headless world is a functioning preview of the experience before it goes out to customers. How does the new experience feel? Marketers have to be able to answer that question with certainty at any time before staging it. To do that, they have to be able to preview the experience in all its variants for all different touch points, devices, customer segments and contexts.

Therefore, CoreMedia Content Cloud empowers marketers with a real-time preview for all touch points including single-page apps built with React, Angular or Vue.

Time Travel

But how will a customer experience feel on Christmas Eve for someone in Stockholm who speaks French with an iPhone XS Max? Marketers need to be able to answer that question too in order to orchestrate complex experiences at scale. We call it Time Travel.

Marketers can jump to any point in the future and simulate the experience for any touchpoint and context they want.

Quick Edit

Previewing an experience in various current or future contexts is a great tool for marketers. It gets even better with the ability to quickly edit the content objects creating the experience right from the app preview. CoreMedia Content Cloud enables developers to add context menus to the app preview that empower marketers to quickly edit all content on the fly.

Multi-Language 

Speaking the language of your customer shows respect. It can be a huge challenge for marketers though. Therefore, CoreMedia empowers marketers to orchestrate any experience in as many languages as needed. The whole translation process is managed within CoreMedia Content Cloud with seamless integrations into established translation services. Marketers can preview any experience in any languages and use fall-back languages for any content objects that haven’t been translated yet.

Multi-Region

Not all content is relevant or even appropriate for all regions of the world. CoreMedia Content Cloud empowers marketers to orchestrate iconic global experiences but empower local marketers to make the necessary changes without breaking the overall experience.

Micro-Experiences

If creating or changing even the smallest micro-experience already requires a developer, marketing teams quickly run into frustration. CoreMedia empowers marketers by giving them the creative tools to build and maintain micro-experiences on the fly without the need for developers or designers. Developers can empower marketers even more by adding more sophisticated capabilities to micro-experience templates used by the marketers.

Heads (Optional)

While modern frontend frameworks are powerful and quickly evolving, not all marketing needs are best met with a headless setup. More often than not, there is the need to support multiple heads at once. Thats why CoreMedia built powerful blueprints for various use cases to jumpstart the development for customers plus an integrated Studio to orchestrate all these heads seamlessly.

The result of all this tooling for marketers is empowering. A marketing executive of ours shared his experience like this: “It is very empowering for our teams. Our marketers can create and edit attractive content with out the need to wait for designers or developers to do anything.”

Book Review: Fascism, A WARNING by Madeleine Albright

 

As many of you are probably aware, I just finished, FASCISM – A WARNING by Madeleine Albright. While I do not normally review political books here, because you will never win a political argument, there is an amazing amount of history in this book with each piece followed up with opinion, however, the book is informative and entertaining. While much of it was a history recap and brilliantly written, the last few chapters seem to be a combination of facts and opinion. These last chapters were my favorite sections because I think it truly brings out what a divided nation we have become.

Below are two bad dreams – one that convinces liberals that the right are Fascists and two, the nightmare that drove citizens to vote for Trump. In the end, both parties are on the brink of either Social Fascism or Nationalist Fascism. There is also a third dream in the book that focuses on terrorism “within” the United States and a world where the United States just becomes like other middle east countries and bombings and killing is just part of life, and we all end up being barbarians- ridiculous rules where we can’t even stop terrorism because of offending a group of people – PC gone really bad. Again, I highly recommend this book for everyone on the right, everyone in the center, and of course the left. The book is filled with all kinds of “bad directions” Trump is taking us and from the many stories told in the book, only time will tell.

“Envision Uncle Same in his long white nightshirt, tossing and turning, his sleep disturbed by three very bad dreams:
In the first, reactionary billionaires conspire to monopolize media platforms and pour their riches into campaigns of favored candidates who, when in office, ensure the selection of complaint judges. Laws are enacted to ban Muslim immigrants, criminalize abortions, unfairly restrict voting, divert funding for public education to private schools, and drill for oil here, there, and everywhere. The president is given full authority to issue or revoke broadcasting licenses, expand Guantánamo to include domestic criminal suspects, and bar investigations of himself. From cradle to grave, an increasing number of citizens spend their lives within a conservative echo chamber, where they watch nothing but Fox News, memorize Breitbart catechism, and learn only what goose-stepping right-wingers want them to know. Finally, as climate change advances and epic floods inundate our cities, heavily armed civilian militias are organized to protect private property, made bold by the promise of presidential pardons should anyone pull a trigger in “self-defense”.

 

Nightmare number two: Wealthy liberals from Hollywood and New York invest their money in favored candidates who, when elected, conspire to enforce rigid standards of political correctness across all major institutions of society- government, police, media, sports, theater, universities, and kindergarten classrooms. Anyone who violates these vague and unwritten norms, or is accused of having done so, is labeled a bigot and fired. Right-wing speakers are barred from public gatherings because their exercise of free speech might injure the sensitivities of club-wielding anti-Fascists. Gender-specific bathrooms are banned as discriminatory, and terrorists pour across our borders because to stop them would require racial profiling. The Second Amendment is repealed, fossil fuels are prohibited, and an increasing number of citizens spend their entire lives within a Socialist echo chamber, leaning only what Fascist liberals want them to know”. – Madeleine Albright, Fascism – A WARNING.

 

I think our country is being led by party members that are so extreme that any one of the three “bad dreams” in this book, while meant to be exaggerations, will most likely hit home for many of my readers and friends – on both sides. I see the arguments and I see the passion on both sides; knowing these people personally at some point in my life, they surely aren’t the villains my opposite friends call them out to be. We need to see the danger on both sides, whether it’s ANTIFA or some Neo-Nazi group demonstrating, provoking, or calling for violence, we need to always remember what that leads to, and where it has led us to in the past.

 

The Best CMS for SAP Commerce Cloud

Yes, that is correct. I have said this for IBM WebSphere Commerce, I have said this for SalesForce, and I will say it for SAP Commerce Cloud. Our SAP Hybris integration is just as advanced as our other eCommerce integrations and to show you, I have started to build a play list dedicated to demonstrating why CoreMedia is a great fit for SAP Hybris customers.

With over 200+ Customers and a 98% Renewal Rate, we must be doing something right. link

Being able to have complete control over product and content from a single user interface (CoreMedia Studio) is key. Watch these introductory videos and then stay up to date by subscribing to the channel as I create more videos about CoreMedia and SAP Commerce Cloud!

Dynamic Product and Content Collections

One of the things talked about at SAP CX Live conference this week in Orlando was product and content collections. While CoreMedia Studio lets you define static product and content widgets, it also supports rule driven product collections – or dynamic collections. This means, based on a rule you define, you can dynamically display products mixed with content.

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Made Easy with CoreMedia: SAP Commerce Cloud – Part 2

This second part in the SAP Commerce Cloud series I demonstrate how easily you can create a new banner for the home page and place it in the carousel. From configuring your crops to identifying teaser targets, it’s all dead simple with CoreMedia studio.

 

Discover firsthand how customer experience is the new competitive advantage at SAP CX LIVE 2019 booth #123, taking place May 7-8, 2019 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center West. Gain can’t-miss insights to understand your customers, transform your business model, and provide exceptional experiences while building trust and loyalty.

Made Easy with CoreMedia: SAP Commerce Cloud – Part 1

This first part in the SAP Commerce Cloud series shows our sample website and the various modules we have. From shoppable images and videos to 360 degree spinners and complete product and category integration it is all seamless to the marketer and site manager.

 

Discover firsthand how customer experience is the new competitive advantage at SAP CX LIVE 2019 booth #123, taking place May 7-8, 2019 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center West. Gain can’t-miss insights to understand your customers, transform your business model, and provide exceptional experiences while building trust and loyalty.

Reinventing the in-store experience with digital content

We have seen a lot of offline stores go under in the past several years. Reasons are many but the one simple fact is shoppers aren’t going into the store. There needs to be a reason to go into the store, either for the experience it brings or something more monetary like returning merchandise or picking up merchandise purchased on other channels. You could do what Khol’s did and accept Amazon returns; according to the Motely Fool, Khol’s found that store traffic was 8.5% higher at stores in the program than at those stores that were not (link). While that’s really thinking out of the box and it definitely looks like it’s working out for Khol’s, not everyone can do that or is set up to do that.

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