According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, seeing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the next four years. It is therefore essential that B2B businesses optimize the experience for their customers online. B2B sites have typically been known as less usable, but it is time for them to catch up with B2C and make it really easy for customers to do business. B2B eCommerce has unique complexities, which present unique challenges and therefore require a unique set of best practices. We will explore these challenges in our B2B blog series and offer advice and solutions to ensure that your B2B site delivers a superior experience.
According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, seeing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the next four years. It is therefore essential that businesses optimize the eCommerce experience for their customers. B2B sites have typically been known as less usable, but it is time for them to catch up with B2C and make it really easy for customers to do business. B2B eCommerce has unique complexities, which present unique challenges and therefore require a unique set of best practices. We will explore these challenges in our B2B blog series and offer advice and solutions to ensure that your B2B site delivers a superior experience.
Fast-track your Customers
We hope you have found our recent blog posts useful and that you’ve implemented the ideas to ensure your eCommerce site is ready for the Holiday season. Creating an optimized shopping experience for your customers will be a gift to your business accounts as well as your customers. This blog post is the last in the series that lays out best practices and tips as you prepare your eCommerce site for the biggest commercial period of the year.
The summer is now a distant memory and the impending Holiday season will soon be upon us. Now is the time to act to ensure your eCommerce site is ready. Creating an optimized shopping experience for your customers will be a gift to your business accounts as well as your customers. This blog post is the penultimate in the series that lays out best practices and tips as you prepare your eCommerce site for the biggest commercial period of the year.
Is Navigation important if you have great search?
We hope that our recent blog posts have inspired you to make changes to your eCommerce site and improve your bottom line during the Holiday Season. Creating an optimized shopping experience for your customers will be a gift to your business accounts as well as your customers. This blog post is the third in the series of posts that will lay out best practices and tips as you prepare your eCommerce site for the biggest commercial period of the year.
What’s behind your eCommerce search box? You’re not going to like the answer
As an eRetailer, one of the most critical functions on your website is your search box. This is where your shoppers go to find things they want to buy. The truth is that, deep down; you know it just doesn’t work very well. Most eRetailers think that “search” is just “search” and that all search tools are just about the same. They expect that their search has some navigation, basic spell correction, and maybe type-ahead. If that’s all search offers, then what’s the difference, really? Read More
Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?
Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.
But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?
Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.
Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.
From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.
Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.
And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.
For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.
Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.
Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.
You’re currently a customer of Endeca. Your site has been expensive to maintain, but it has worked well enough and you see no need to make a change. Recently however, changes have been made to the company who runs your search. Changes that could affect your relationship and your ability to do business.
In October of 2011, Oracle acquired Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, Web commerce and business intelligence solutions. A year before that, they acquired the Art Technology Group, Inc. (ATG), an e-commerce software platform that is one of the industry’s top-ranked, commerce solutions. Essentially packaging a search and platform duo. But… What if you don’t own both pieces of the puzzle? What if you’re an Endeca customer, but not an ATG customer? Is your site in danger? Is your business in danger?
Before Oracle acquired these pieces of technology, Endeca and ATG were open – meaning they worked cooperatively with other solutions in the market. Didn’t matter who you had for an e-commerce platform, be it Magento, IBM’s WebSphere, in-house, etc., you could still work with Endeca.
Is that still the case?
If recent history proves prophetic, then probably not. Oracle has a history of closing the proprietary loop when they acquire a company, making them a part of the Oracle stack. If you are inside that stack, then your feeling of security should be warm-and-fuzzy. But what if you’re not inside the loop? What if you’re currently using Endeca for your search and have a platform not named ATG? Will Endeca continue to fit? Should you be concerned?
If you are concerned and don’t feel like being at the mercy of Oracle, what can you do about it?
Here’s the good news:
You do have options and one of them can kill two birds with one stone: Get out from under Oracle’s thumb and upgrade your search by switching to EasyAsk. EasyAsk provides a user-friendly and cost-effective way to make complex business data accessible to anyone. With EasyAsk’s natural language engine, it’s Apple’s Siri and IBM’s Watson rolled into one best-of-breed, site-search, navigation and merchandising tool.
In other words, it’s common sense brought to search. It also happens to be platform-agnostic, easy to maintain, plus it puts the power in the hands of the merchandisers, costing far less than Endeca, and touting the lowest total cost of ownership in the business. To learn more about e-commerce search and how it can impact your site, please read our paper, The ABC’s of E-Commerce Search.
So… You’re an Endeca customer, but you are also now a customer of Oracle, the 4th largest software company in the world. Will your company get lost in the shuffle? Maybe yes, maybe no, and you’re welcome to stick around and find out, but… Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to “Find, Analyze, and Understand” that it’s time to switch to a Search That Means Business.
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The Integration of EasyAsk Search and Merchandising with Magento Allows Customers of Any Size to Take Advantage of the Conversion Power of Natural Language
BURLINGTON, MA and LOS ANGELES, CA—November 1, 2011 – EasyAsk, the industry leading provider of natural language e-commerce search and merchandising solutions, today announced a partnership with Magento, the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the world, to integrate EasyAsk’s best-in-class natural language eCommerce search, navigation and merchandising platform with Magento, bringing the solution to Magento merchants around the globe. The integrated solution makes it faster and easier for Magento Enterprise and Community customers to power their sites with EasyAsk’s enterprise-class natural language search and merchandising to increase conversion rates, deliver the best shopping experience and grow their e-commerce revenue.
“Converting visitors into buyers is a significant priority to our customers regardless of size or sector,” said Phil Robinson, Vice President of Business Development at Magento. “The EasyAsk search and merchandising solution uses natural language technology to provide an enterprise-class solution that is affordable and easy to use by any size customer. Now, any of our merchants can take advantage of EasyAsk to increase their conversion rates and grow their eCommerce revenue.”
The EasyAsk eCommerce search and merchandising software – available on-premise or as a service (SaaS) – is a comprehensive, full-featured solution that uses natural language technology to offer superior capabilities, including:
- Intuitive natural language search that allows customers to enter highly descriptive search phrases – “men’s blue polo shirts under $50” – and find the exact products they seek in a single click
- Powerful automatic features such as relaxation, spell correction and more, virtually eliminating the “no results” page creating a better shopping experience and drastically reducing lost visitors due to search
- Integrated faceted navigation powered by natural language attributes that make it faster and easier for shoppers to navigate to products they like and speeding conversion
- Easy to use merchandising tools which allow non-technical users to create powerful promotions with cross-sell and up-sell offers driven by natural language rules
- Advanced analytics that identify trends in shopping behavior, brand experience and more, providing pinpoint advice to merchandising teams to better tune the shopping experience
EasyAsk eCommerce Edition has helped customers achieve industry-leading conversion rates that dramatically increase their e-commerce revenues.
The EasyAsk Magento Extension integrates EasyAsk search, navigation and merchandising with the Magento eCommerce platform for fast, easy implementation and delivers a seamless customer experience for site visitors. The Extension and the easy to use EasyAsk tools allow customers to implement EasyAsk natural language search and merchandising in days versus the weeks or months required by other third party search platforms, for faster return on investment.
“We are pleased to partner with Magento to create an innovative eCommerce solution that combines to deliver the best customer conversion rates in the industry,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk. “Blending EasyAsk’s natural language technology with the state of the art eCommerce functionality of Magento allows customers of any size to offer a superior shopping experience that will fuel their eCommerce growth. We are truly delivering the benefits promised by IBM/Watson to all of our EasyAsk eCommerce customers and doing it today.”
IJHANA, a leading e-commerce consulting firm and Magento partner implemented the combined Magento and EasyAsk solution for a large tool retailer with a catalog of over 5,000 items. “The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for,” said Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner, IJHANA. “The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”
Magento (https://www.magentocommerce.com/) is a feature-rich, open-source, enterprise-class eCommerce solution that offers merchants a high degree of flexibility and control over the user experience, catalog, content, and functionality of their online store. In August 2011, Magento was acquired by eBay Inc., and is now part of the X.commerce division (www.x.com). Launched in 2007, the Magento platform now serves tens of thousands of merchants worldwide, and is supported by a global community of solution partners and third-party developers. Magento Go is a hosted, software-as-a-service solution that provides small and growing merchants with the ecommerce tools they need to succeed online. Based in Los Angeles, Magento, Inc. is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial organization dedicated to the mission of enabling the eCommerce ecosystem. www.magentocommerce.com
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results on demand. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising. EasyAsk Business Edition revolutionizes enterprise decision-making, moving beyond traditional business intelligence solutions with easy, low-cost deployment and a unique natural language interface that extends access to information anywhere in the organization.
Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as Coldwater Creek, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and e-commerce operations daily. For more information, please visit EasyAsk.
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,