Archive for category: Blog

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It’s elementary Watson . . . it’s all about Siri!

Without trying to be too dramatic here, everything has now changed.  The world has shifted.  We are in the midst of a technology paradigm shift.  Thank you, Siri.

Here’s the how and the why of it.  As CEO of EasyAsk, I’m certainly attentive to my company’s needs.  I have to confess, I’m one of those guys who checks on my business at the traffic light.  Yes, I know.  I’m sorry.  But, as one of those guys, I’ve also seen plenty of others driving down the road, weaving across the lanes, and working their smartphones while driving – an accident waiting to happen.

Siri fixes all of that.  Yes, there have been dictation products on the market for awhile, allowing you to press a button, dictate your text or email, send and done.   But what Siri can do goes beyond what you have seen on a smartphone before – it understands the intent of the question.  Why?  Because there’s a Natural Language engine embedded within Siri.

We all cheered when IBM Watson won on Jeopardy!  And we might see what Watson can do when applied to large problems like healthcare.  But Watson ran on a network of computers that could run the Starship Enterprise.  Siri sits in the very palm of your hand using the multitude of services available on the Internet.  Siri will be in the hands of a hundred million consumers.  Watson will cost a hundred million dollars.  Okay, maybe not that much, but you get my drift.

Back to the paradigm shift concept – With Apple Siri on every iPhone or iPad and eventually on your computers, EVERYONE will reap the benefits of voice recognition on top of natural language.  It will become the standard way we all communicate with our computers, tablets, smartphones, and more – interactively, intelligently, naturally.  Ask your question EXACTLY as you would to a live human being and you’ll get what you asked for.  This is the advantage of natural language.  THIS is the paradigm shift.

But how does this apply to the business world?  That’s where EasyAsk steps in. 

Want your customers to find products faster and easier?  Give them a better shopping experience no matter where they search from – iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android, etc.  Allow them to ask for exactly what they want, ‘Ladies blue blouses under $50’.  Magically, blue blouses start appearing. EasyAsk gives your e-commerce site that, and so much more.

Now take it one step farther.  Apply this concept to your business..  You are walking into an investor meeting and want the latest sales figures.  Push a button on your smartphone and ask, ‘What was closed revenue versus forecast last month’? EasyAsk displays both the actual and forecasted sales figures!  You’ve got the answer and your investors know you are on top of things.  Now you’re talkin’! (Pun intended). 

We’ve now taken real business productivity and made it ubiquitous.  You can find the right information faster via the same natural language interface on your smartphone and your computer.  We’re interactive, we’re intelligent and it’s all natural.  Paradigm shift indeed.  Give us a call or send us a note.  We’ll help you get it done, naturally.

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Magento, EasyAsk and IJHANA

IJHANA is a global technology consulting firm that delivers progressive eCommerce sites using Magento Enterprise and Magento Go, along with Magento Extensions. IJHANA is a Magento Silver Partner and have an unmatched understanding of the Magento e-commerce plaform.

IJHANA released a new case study on integrating EasyAsk eCommerce Edition with Magento, and the benefits one client received from the EasyAsk natural language search, navigation and merchanding. Click here to read this case study.

According to Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner at IJHANA:

“The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for.  The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”

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EasyAsk and Magento

This morning we officially announced our partnership with Magento – now part of eBay’s X.Commerce division and a driving force inside the X.Commerce platform.  Magento merchants using any edition of the Magento Commerce platform can now plug-in EasyAsk and improve customer conversion with our natural language search, navigation and merchandising.  To learn more about how EasyAsk embraces and enhances the Magento platform, please visit our Magento partner page.

We have been working with Magento for a while now and have a wildly successful customer implementation at a large, national tools retailer.  IJHANA, a leading Magento solution partner, implemented the solution at the tools retailer, and is thrilled with EasyAsk.  According to Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner at IJHANA:

“The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for.  The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”

We are thrilled to be a part of the Magento and X.Commerce communities and look forward to working with many more Magento customers and merchants.

Thanks,

John-

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Oracle Buys Endeca – Another E-Commerce Software Company to Vanish?

Endeca goes to Oracle. Now that is big news. I’ve read nine articles analyzing the acquisition and they all paint the same picture: good news for Oracle’s BI solutions; an enhanced Oracle BI architecture with Endeca’s ability to integrate unstructured data; new functionality for Oracle BI in analyzing data from Hadoop.

The consensus is clear: the Endeca acquisition was driven by the need for Oracle to expand its BI solutions and have more offerings to sell to existing Oracle customers.

But does anyone remember when Endeca was an e-commerce search company? What about that segment of their customer base? What should Endeca e-commerce customers expect?

The acquisition news is fresh, so there is little solid information beyond a few comments expecting an integration of Endeca’s search and merchandizing with Oracle’s ATG platform. Does this imply that ATG will become the primary, or even only e-commerce platform which Endeca supports? Where does this leave customers using Endeca with other e-commerce platforms (WebSphere, Magento, others)? With all the focus on the BI aspect of this announcement, I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. . . yet!

What I can tell you is this – Endeca e-commerce customers should not be surprised if they’re treated as second-class citizens. A recent study by Computer Economics found that “42% of Oracle (ORCL) customers are dissatisfied with the quality of Oracle’s support while 58% are dissatisfied with the cost of the support.” And that was for traditional Oracle customers! What about Endeca customers coming into the fold? What about Endeca SaaS customers? Who knows?

What I can tell you for certain is that EasyAsk believes in customer satisfaction. Or as Ford Motors used to say it is ‘JOB 1’. Since we spun EasyAsk from Progress Software back in ’09, we’ve made sure our ALL our customers know how important they are to us and how committed we are to making them successful.

Providing the very best search and merchandizing technology is what EasyAsk is all about. We can deploy in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional Endeca site and typically ¼ the costs.

Our natural language based search provides dramatically better results, while our merchandizing tools are so intuitive and easy to use you can return control of your e-commerce merchandizing to the experts – your merchandizers.

This is why NetSuite, Magento and Infor were excited to partner with EasyAsk. We provide IBM Watson-like natural language functionality that is intuitive and optimized for customers and end users. With EasyAsk powering you search, when a visitor searches for a product they get the right result the first time, every time.

Congratulations to Endeca on their sale to Oracle. I’m sure they knocked it out of the park. Congratulations to Endeca’s investors and to their employees.

For Endeca’s e-commerce customers however, this might be a different story. If you are looking for best of breed search technology, remember that EasyAsk is here for you too.

Thanks for listening,
Craig

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Steve Jobs – We Have Lost a Giant

I heard the sad news an hour ago.  Steve Jobs passed away.  My reaction was immediate.  Loss.  Steve envisioned everything I love in our technology world.  He was brilliant.  He was fearless.  He had the courage of his convictions.  He took on the world and made no apologies. 

Think about it for a minute.  Apple competed with EVERYONE !  They competed with all the PC manufacturers back in the ‘80’s.  They competed with the largest software company in the world, Microsoft.  They competed with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell . . EVERY hardware manufacturer, almost every software company. 

APPLE did it their way, Steve’s way.  He had a vision and he never let go of it.  I loved (and bought) everything Apple ever built . . .  well, except for the Newton.  OK, no one’s perfect.  Good idea and they got it right decades later with the IPAD. 

I’ll never forget the 1984 ad introducing the Macintosh, (directed by Ridley Scott) that ran during the Super Bowl.  You could have knocked me over with a feather at the conclusion of that ad.  And it never ran again.  Are you kidding me?!

Who had the moxie, the chutzpah, the pure audacity to take on IBM like that?  One shot, but unforgettable.  Brilliant.

And, years later, after building Apple Computer into a $2 billion company, . . .  they fired him.  Maybe one of the most successful marketing moves since New Coke.  No, really.  New Coke was fabulously successful.  Not for the product, but for stimulating an unprecedented demand for Classic Coke.  The net effect was to propel Coca Cola back into first place vs. Pepsi.  Steve said his firing was one of the best things that could have happened to him.  Off he went to start NeXT Computer, then in his spare time, spun off the Graphics Group from Lucasfilm, creating Pixar.

Pixar !  What Steve had done for the PC world, he now did for the world of animation.  Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and many more.  26 Academy Awards,  7 Golden Globes, 3 Emmys.  He later sold it to Disney for a lousy $7.4 billion, becoming the largest single stockholder at Disney.  Astounding.

NeXT was, of course, acquired by Apple in 1997.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?  Steve rejoined the company and served as CEO from 1997 until a few months ago. 

Steve Jobs, thank you for my iPhone, my iPad, my Macintosh(s).  Thanks for iTunes, iBooks.  Thanks for defining ‘intuitive’ and building it into every Apple product.  Thank you for your commencement speech at Stanford, 2005.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the speech here is a link to it.

I sent this to everyone here at EasyAsk and to my 3 young adult children.  I’d strongly recommend you set aside a few minutes of your time.  It will touch your soul.

Most of all, thank you for being one hell of a role model as visionary, leader and CEO. 

And thank YOU for taking the time to read this. 

The world has lost a giant . . .

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The fastest online search

Is your old phone scratched, the screen all cracked, and does it work so slow you simply cannot take it? Do you think it's time to get a new mobile phone? When in search for a new, high quality phone, check the easyask.com, make sure you get the best products faster than anywhere!

At EasyAsk, they want to make sure you get the wanted material faster making your online search as short and pleasant as possible. According to the Internet Retailer they are the number one independent site search vendor.

No more losing time

They offer Natural Language Search, Dynamic Navigation, Easy Merchandising Search as you Type, Deep Analytics, Voice-enabled Mobile Commerce and Full Internationalization. Their offer on Natural Language Search means you don't have to worry about typing in the exact words for your wanted merchandize. For example, when online searching for a tracksuit, you don't have to type the exact label, but only warm tracksuit. The Natural Language System gives you the opportunity to being simple and still find what you are looking for.

Only benefits

Other perks of searching per EasyAsk is that you can find the right products faster and easier. You can even order bigger orders. They enable your merchandisers to deliver more irresistible advertising, cross-sell and up-sell offers only to increase add-on sales and the overall purchase value.

What is great is that you can discover new sales opportunities and commodities, with some help from the EasyAsk team. This will only increase the revenue.

Make your online shopping experience more pleasant, don't lose time searching for your commodities, rather use navigation of EasyAsk and shop in faster.

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Bringing Vegas home

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Roulette – for experts only

The team of experts at the Cosmik Casino will make sure you enjoy playing roulette at cosmiccasino.org. They will even give you some tips on how to improve your game moves making sure you master the game and win some money!

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Safety comes first

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Win some money, splurge and have fun – with Cosmik Casino!

 

 

 

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What’s in a Message – SLI System’s Latest Claim

In today’s highly segmented software markets, a vendor can almost always find a way to describe themselves as a leader in some fashion. Put enough qualifiers in the phrase and you can weed out enough competitors, and bingo, you are a leader.

I recently read an ad when SLI Systems claimed to be “the top pure SaaS-based site search provider.” Perhaps this is true. But it is an incredibly misleading statement. Narrowing the market to “pure SaaS-based site search” eliminates providers like EasyAsk, who offers BOTH SaaS-based and on-premise licensing models. SLI is not claiming to be the best… they claim to be the best of a subset of suppliers.

The first question you might want to ask is: why is SLI Systems ONLY SaaS? The most likely answer I can think of is that their solution is too difficult for customers to manage on their own – thus SLI has to manage it for them. But do customers really want to give up that much control?

EasyAsk started in the software business. To be successful, we HAD TO make our software easy to use, as well as scalable, reliable and feature rich. Our analytics and tools allow customers to tune and manage their search application easily and efficiently on their own. The analytics automatically find where to tune, and the GUI allows the user to perform the tune with the single click of a button.

And as customers asked for a SaaS-based solution, EasyAsk’s ease of use became one of our greatest assets, allowing us to run a scalable SaaS platform on which we could deploy customers in days, NOT weeks or months.

Many people assume small- to medium-sized business’ want a SaaS-based solution. At EasyAsk, we don’t assume, we give them a choice. Their answer might surprise you. Just ask Travers Tools or Schuler Shoes – both small business’ who preferred an on-premise license to SaaS. A recent new customer we signed is starting with SaaS and eventually wants to migrate to on-premise. With SLI Systems, you do NOT have these options.

In the end, wouldn’t you want to buy the best solution, regardless of the licensing and deployment model? With EasyAsk, you get the best search, navigation and merchandising solution, rich with Watson-like natural language capabilities that will increase your customer conversion rates – guaranteed. Once you’ve chosen, you then decide how you want to deploy – SaaS or On-Premise. The choice is yours.

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You’re Paying Endeca How Much?!

Endeca customers … when is the last time you looked at how much you are paying Endeca annually?

You might want to take a second look at that.  While it might have looked like the right decision at the time, you’re now drowning in the annual maintenance costs.  And for what?  A search box that really doesn’t work very well.  In fact, it’s hardly functional.  Frustrated visitors who leave your site because they could not find what they wanted?

EasyAsk has a radically new idea!  A search box that actually WORKS!  Plus you will have rich, easy to use analytics and tools that allow your team to tune your search faster and easier than you ever dreamed.  Add to that, we’ve have all the navigation and merchandizing features you’d ever want or need.

Most importantly, your shoppers can find what they want THE VERY FIRST TIME.  If they can find it quickly, they’ll probably buy it.  That’s called customer conversion and no one does it better than us.  Imagine giving your customers the ability to search for ‘ladies blue blouses under $50‘ and immediately delivering the exact product(s).  Try that with Endeca.  Good luck. 

We’ll bring you all the advantages of IBM/Watson to your e-commerce site, but we’ll deliver it NOW and we can get your site up and running in a couple of weeks.  Best of all, we can provide all the benefits that EasyAsk has to offer in an on-premise model or hosted SaaS from one company, with the very best search technology in the industry.

Switch to EasyAsk and you will get superior e-commerce search functionality and your annual Total Cost of Ownership will go down dramatically.  Best of all, you customer conversion rates will go up.  We guarantee it.

Give us a call or feel free to send me an email.  I’m [email protected].  We’ll dramatically cut your costs and increase your bottom line profits. 

Thanks for listening.  Craig

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Mobile Apps and User Experience

Mobile commerce is really hitting its stride.  It seems like every day I see new mobile commerce articles on Internet Retailer.  Check back soon for an EasyAsk customer success story on mobile commerce with EasyAsk.

One of the big issues with mobile commerce is optimizing the user experience.  EasyAsk’s partner in mobile commerce, Unbound Commerce, has tremendous experience with mobile user experience and has contributed greatly to EasyAsk eCommerce Mobile

I was talking with the team from Unbound Commerce last week and told them of an experience I had with a mobile travel site (I’ll leave the site name out).  The navigation on the mobile travel site made it so difficult to narrow my flight choices and find what I was looking for, that I became frustrated and gave up. 

The Unbound Commerce team told me that navigation can often be overlooked in the mobile world.  In some cases, navigation can be more important than search.  That was a revelation to me.  But in retrospect it makes perfect sense.

The screen real estate on a mobile browser is vastly smaller than that on a PC or Mac.  This says that excellent search is critical.  You need pinpoint search results because wading through pages of results in a mobile browser would frustrate a user and cause them to abandon.

But excellent navigation is also important due to the screen real estate constraints.  Using richer, dynamic search criteria in the navigation, such as product attributes, rather than just the static categories, allows visitors to refine their choices faster and easier.  More importantly, this allows visitors to find products in 1 to 2 clicks, rather than plowing through pages of categories – increasing the chances of conversion.

So, something to keep in mind when exploring mobile commerce solutions: you want to offer pinpoint search and rich, dynamic navigational attributes.

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E-Commerce Sales Up 18% at EasyAsk Customer the Gap

The Gap

E-Commerce sales for EasyAsk customer the Gap were up a robust 18% according to Internet Retailer:

“E-commerce sales rose year over year 18% to $348.0 million from $295.0 million”

“the web accounted for 10.6% of total sales compared with 8.9% in the first quarter of 2010.”

The Gap has been a long time user of EasyAsk eCommerce Edition in the main Gap.com e-commerce site and many of the company’s other brand sites such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime.

Ready to see how EasyAsk's eCommerce solution can help you? Request a demo!
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