Easily placing products across your eCommerce sites categories

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In this video I show two ways to assign products to categories. The first method I use is a basic search and dragging and dropping the products to the different categories. In the second method I show how to use the Catalog Entry Assignment Tool to assign the products to multiple categories in a single click. I also show how powerful the search in the Management Center tooling is and the different options it supports.

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IBM WebSphere Commerce v8 is here at last!

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In case you missed the announcement, IBM just announced WebSphere Commerce v8!

There are going to be a lot of posts over the next month on the many new features in this release. I am most excited for two particularly interesting features, the first one is the new customer service representative features (CSR):

WebSphere Commerce V8.0 provides new customer service enhancements with Customer Service for WebSphere Commerce that enable a customer service representative (CSR) to resolve common issues and capture orders. These new capabilities are built into the WebSphere Commerce V8.0 storefront and enable a CSR to perform key tasks on behalf of a guest, registered customers, and for both B2B and B2C business models. Customer Service for WebSphere Commerce is offered for both Professional and Enterprise editions. – link

And of course the next is the long anticipated IBM Commerce Insights which:

IBM intends to deliver Commerce Insights in 2015, as a separately orderable, software as a service (SaaS) offering that can be used with your on premises or on cloud deployment of IBM WebSphere Commerce V8.0. – link

Now that all sounds great but some other important things to know is WebSphere Commerce now supports WAS ND 8.5, DB2 10.5 and of course RAD 9.5 for development.
But the developer in me is really excited because WebSphere Commerce Management Center now leverages dynamic HTML (DHTML) and the open source framework Spring. Which means extending the WebSphere Commerce tooling will be much easier going forward. Woo Hoo!
This really is a great release and I can’t wait to share all of the great features, stay tuned!

Visual Commerce: A Call-To-Action From Online Shoppers​

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One of our Ready for IBM Commerce partners, Invodo, is hosting a Webinar on September 29th at 1pm EDT (10am PDT, 6pm BST):

Title: Visual Commerce: A Call-To-Action From Online Shoppers​
Abstract:
Visual content – like video, images, and spin photography – is becoming more relevant than ever in the online buying process. In this webinar, we’ll take an in-depth look at visual content and explore the results from our study of over 1,000 shoppers and 94 million e-commerce transactions. Join us Sept 29th at 12:00pm CDT/1:00 EDT to learn all about it!

When: September 29th at 1pm EDT (10am PDT, 6pm BST)

Register here!

Learn about Smarter Loyalty for IBM Commerce

The team over at Exchange Solutions have really out done themselves this time. Their Smarter Loyalty plugins for WebSphere Commerce are clean and easy to use. They have created seven easy to use widgets that can be placed on page templates for use throughout your store. These widgets deliver a personalized experience to  your shoppers and your loyalty program.

Smarter Loyalty

Check out the video to learn more about Smarter Loyalty (or click here to see the full-page).//videos.sproutvideo.com/embed/e89bdbb61f19e3cd60/3f67e1dd0e6df443?type=sd

Get hands-on at Amplify!

This year we will have some hands on tutorials which take anywhere from 3-6 minutes to complete at Amplify. Check out below some of the cool features you can play with live in the IBM Commerce tooling. Some key things you will be able to try:

  • Commerce Composer – adding marketing content to a page and creating new layouts
  • Search Rules – control which products rank higher in search results
  • Merchadising attributes – hidden attributes that can be used in precision marketing
  • Mixing advertisements with product results
  • Promotions and Promotion codes
  • Dynamic categories – categories based on attribute values

Make sure you schedule some time in San Diego to play with the IBM Commerce tooling!

Showcase hours are:

Monday – 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Tuesday – 9:30 am – 7:30pm
Wednesday – 9:30 am – 7:30 pm

Not registered for Amplify, register today here!

IBM Showcase

Responsive and Adaptive Web Sites win!

blog.balfes.netIn the past, companies were faced with two primary models for a web site design:

  1. Responsive or Adaptive design with a single source
  2. A separate “m.” sub domain for the mobile version of the site

As Google promised back in February, a site with a mobile design will have priority in the Google search result index. So if you went down the m.domain.com route you may be losing search results ranking according to Google. Check out your site URL to see if your site is “mobile friendly” using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

The WebSphere Commerce starter store “Aurora” is built on a responsive design framework similar to bootstrap. Basing your eCommerce store code on the Aurora template means you will be mobile friendly right out of the gate!

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If you recall, one of my previous posts about SNOW you will also realize that just being mobile friendly with an adaptive or responsive approach is not the entire picture. SNOW gives your site the ability to send properly sized images for the devices hitting your site. This is not only a screen real estate problem being solved but a bandwidth problem. Smaller resolution images also mean faster connections when going over 3G, 4G, or LTE.

Is your site mobile friendly?

Should out of stock be the end game for the shopper?

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With today’s order management solutions and insight into inventory and warehouse management it still surprises me that stores don’t have a way for a shopper to order out of stock items. Instead of just preventing the order from happening why not offer an email or SMS alert when the item becomes in stock?

I purchase many different kinds of consumables and some of them are very hard to come by because of demand. I can order some things online and have them shipped to me or to the store (depending on shipping rules for New York) but many times the web site doesn’t list the item when it’s out of stock. So instead, I have to wait for a newspaper or flyer from the store and show up at 8:30am on the day of the sale to buy the item – and hope the line in front of me is not too big.

Imagine if you had a way to be notified when an item becomes in stock right from the store front. Or, even better, be able to order the out of stock item with a ship date well into the future. I am not saying this would really work for all products but we all know hot items sell out fast and being able to be notified when it is in stock would go a long way in my opinion.

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Lastly, eCommerce systems would have to do two things to make this work:

  1. The first thing is to show items that are not in stock. Many eCommerce systems hide items under certain inventory levels, in order for this to work you need to at least have the products in the catalog regardless of inventory.
  2. You will also need a notification mechanism that has visibility into your inventory. The system should handle (by user profile) how to notify the customer. If they signed up for email or SMS notifications, or if they are a mobile user a rich notification in the store front mobile app.

If you know an online site that allows this today comment here, I am always interested in seeing how companies carry out features like this.

Image optimization delivery with Trilibis SNOW IO

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Optimized image delivery has been around for a long time and one open source technology that has provided this to thousands of sites in WordPress is ImageMagick. I have been a huge fan of ImageMagick because it’s so darn simple and straightforward.

Trilibis, a certified IBM Commerce partner has a WebSphere Commerce extension (SNOW IO) that brings image optimization delivery to this extensible platform. The way it works is you install the ImageMagick software on your server and configure it to point to where your images are stored on the server. You then configure a job to run frequently (hourly, daily, weekly) to resize images stored in that directory. The default setup will create three versions of your images – Desktop, Tablet, and Phone sized images.

Check out my video below where I show how I configured SNOW IO to work with the out of the box Aurora starter store in WebSphere Commerce.

 

 

3 new videos about IBM Commerce!

You may have missed this but three videos were published last month by IBM Think Academy covering three different topics in the IBM Commerce space: Insights, Personalization, and Fulfillment.