Multichannel 2.0: Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Commerce Channels?


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While the retail store, call center, print catalog and website (Multichannel 1.0) still play key parts in multichannel retail, a new generation of shopping channels is emerging. Advancements in mobile, interactive digital TV and in-store digital signage (Multichannel 2.0) will change the face of shopping as we know it. This one-hour webinar will cover the possibilities and challenges for both IT and marketing professionals.

Featuring: Linda Bustos, ecommerce analyst, Elastic Path Software & Peter Sheldon, product manager, Elastic Path Software

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  • Hi everyone, thanks for joining us today. If this is your first webinar with us, just want to let you know that this webinar will be available for replay in a couple days, usually I attend our webinars and take diligent notes of the presentation and post a summary on our blog, Get Today since I’m on the other side of the microphone, the recap will go up on Friday.
    Here’s a look at our agenda for today:
    First we’ll answer the question “What is Multichannel 2.0?” and then go into detail about what’s happening with Mobile commerce, Kiosks, Digital Signage and Internet enabled TV
    Then I’m going to pass it on to Pete and he’ll explain how to leverage your existing ecommerce services to create a consistent Mulitchannel experience and bring it home with tips on how to prepare your organization for the Multichannel 2.0 wave.
  • What is Multichannel 2.0?
    When we talk about multichannel retail today, we’re most often talking about brick and mortar stores with POS systems, perhaps a mail order catalog with a call center, and more recently the ecommerce store – that’s mutlichannel 1.0.
    But we need to make room for emerging technologies like mobile phones, Internet enabled TV’s and other electronic devices that access the internet – think of iPod touch and gaming consoles, stuff like Amazon Kindle, and a bunch of stuff yet to be invented, right? --- we’ve also got in-store screens like kiosks and digital signange
    So really, Multichannel 2.0 represents everywhere and every way that customers can access your web assets – whether it be product information, customer reviews, inventory data, or a checkout process.
  • Just to give you a little bit of mobile commerce background,
    You could call Finland the “cradle of mobile commerce civilization” – that’s where the first 2 coke that accepted SMS or text message payment hit the scene in 1997.
    The same year, Finland's Merita Bank also began accepting SMS transactions. In 1998, the first downloadable ringtones appeared in Finland.
    By 2000 Norway introduced mobile parking payments, Austria offered mobile train ticket payment, and Japan mobile airline ticket payment.
    Amazon was the first mobile commerce site, its Amazon Anywhere store launched in 2001
    Last year, North American mobile commerce totaled about $346 million last year expected to hit $577 million this year.
    ABI research predicts mcommerce will quadruple by 2010, hitting $2.09 billiion. Other research forecasts similar numbers.
    Compared to all ecommerce ($204 Billion industry in 2008), this may be a drop in the bucket. But mobile commerce is an area of growth and can greatly enhance the cross-channel experience. The mobile channel can also be leveraged for marketing and loyalty programs.
  • Of course you can’t have mobile commerce without mobile payment and there are a number of ways to do this
    PSMS Transactions
    SMS stands for premium short message service, it’s a fancy term for text messaging. Sometimes you can pay by sending a text message to a short code and the charge appears on your phone bill. Because you’re not giving out your billing and shipping information, this is most common for digital downloads- no home address, right? -- but can also be used for proof of payment for tickets or physical product. For example, you might purchase a movie ticket, and receive a barcode confirmation that you present for admission.
    The problem with SMS payments is they’re not totally reliable. Some messages can get lost completely, others suffer from a time lag and customers don’t get their downloads instantly – which in the customer’s mind is a fail.
    Some customers will also pay for the text which adds to the cost of the purchase. From the retailer’s end, you also have to give a cut to the service that facilitates the transaction, this can be a significant margin cut.
    Amazon Text Buy It
    Amazon has a service called Text-Buy-It … you can text a product name, search keyword, UPC code or ISBN number to “AMAZON” (262966) and Amazon will send back a list of matching products. If you want to buy something, it will use your mobile number to find your account settings and your billing and shipping information. It’s completely secure because you don’t even need to access the internet to purchase.
    Bill to Phone (No SMS)
    Bill to phone secure because you’re not entering credit card information, just a PIN number and a one-time password and purchases get billed to your phone. This is not really realistic for retailers as it’s too complicated to set up deals with all the different mobile carriers out there.
    PayPal Mobile, Amazon Payments & Google Checkout
    Each of these services have mobile options. You sign up on the Web, register your mobile and create a PIN to use when you want to pay with your mobile. This requires remembering your PIN which may lower conversion.
    iTunes is what you use to buy applications and download music to the iPhone. Perhaps iTunes will become its own alternative payment company. Not physical.
    NFC (Near Field Communication) is like Bluetooth, it uses a short range to transmit information with an NFC chip. Because it's a short range, it can only be used close to a terminal like an in-store kiosk/self checkout. The short range also makes it secure. Many credit cards already have the chip for "contactless payment." You might have one and not even know it.
    Currently this is big in Japan for mobile train tickets, you just wave your phone at the machine. NFC payments may or may not require a PIN.
    Visa is testing a product called PayWave in Malaysia right now which is a hybrid of NFC and bill-to-phone. Payment is made by waving a phone and the transaction appears on the phone bill.
    Of course you could enter your credit card information through a mobile site’s checkout form if no other billing option is available.
  • What are some of the roadblocks to mobile commerce?
    Currently smartphone penetration is between 6 and 20% of devices in North America, though in other in countries it’s higher than that. Almost 26 Million smartphones were purchased in North America last year and a high percentage use them to surf the web -- 95% of traffic to mobile sites comes from smartphones. Right now most mobile purchases are for ringtones, wallpapers, games, applications and other digital content.
    Some customer roadblocks
    One is findability. Some retailers have mobile specific sites optimized for mobile browsers. But there’s no conventional way to name your mobile URL if you have one – some use or or subfolders – it’s all over the place. So if the customer is guessing your mobile URL, they might get it wrong, and search engines might not be delivering your mobile domain in search results. I actually had a heck of a time finding mobile sites I was aware of both in browsers and in mobile search, so I suggest buying up all the possible mobile URLS and then redirecting them to one mobile site, and also using device detection to redirect mobile visitors if they type your regular URL straight up. Amazon does this and if you reeeeally want to see the PC version there’s a link to switch.
    Usability is a huge problem. Of course we’re dealing with smaller screens, slower page loads, images are way smaller, you can’t see Flash or Javascript and most video on smartphones – so although yeah you *can* view any web page with a smartphone – it’s sometimes like looking through a peephole! We’re actually running a series on mobile web design and usability on Get Elastic starting next week – there’s just more than I can address in this webinar, so if you haven’t already please subscribe to to follow along.
    Cost is another issue for customers. Data isn’t cheap, and when you think of how many pages one might view while shopping – home, browse categories, product page, add to cart, whole checkout process – lots of time and data and battery juice.
    And there’s the fear of security. I’ve looked at several studies, and between 30 and 70% will not shop through their phone because they don’t believe it’s secure. In reality, mobile transactions can use a secure sockets layer, some of the payment options I talked about are completely secure, available do improve security, and there’s more of a risk that personal information stored in the retailer’s database is compromised than through a checkout process. And this is a risk with all of the traditional channels.
    Certainly handing your credit card to a waitress or ordering over the phone is way more risky, but anything new brings along fear and misunderstanding so the industry has a lot of public education to do.
    For retailers
    Building mobile sites takes time, it’s totally separate design, content strategy, there’s mobile platforms to buy, you might need more human resources – that all carries a cost.
    Lack of standards across devices also makes it tricky, you can create different style sheets for mobile, but there’s no guarantee a given device is going to pull the right stylesheet. Obviously application development is device-specific, so you can build an iPhone and Blackberry app and only serve maximum 6% of customers – maybe 1% are interested in your app.
  • Here’s an example of – you can see the difference in home pages. The left is the web version and the right is the mobile site’s home page. You can see the mobile site really gives just high level navigation – you have your transactional links and your customer service links formatted differently which is nice – but there’s no images or promotional content spaces – it’s pretty bare bones.
  • Barnes and Noble, they have a lot of rich media on the home page, image heavy, Javascript tabbed boxes, colorful navigation –
    That’s all gone on the mobile version. You can search, find a store, or browse the menu.
  • This is just to show you the night and day difference between viewing the site vs. a mobile version. These are the product pages of target and sephora, their mobile versions on the right.
  • Not necessarily an alternative
    Maybe a companion to the mobile site is the mobile application. This is 1800flowers’ app for the iPhone, they also have a Blackberry app. 1800flowers’ business was born for mobile shopping as is any industry with quick, frequent purchases like magazine subscriptions, video rentals, B2B supplies etc.
  • Naturally, Amazon has it’s app with some innovative features.
    The far left is it’s mobile website home page, the middle is the application – different design and also different features.
    The application has a feature called Remembers that leverages camera on the smartphone. You can snap a picture of anything and it will try to locate a product you can buy through image recognition. If that fails, it will get humans involved. This shot is from a blogger who snapped a photo of his Zicam medication and 10 minutes later he had a response with links to buy more online.
    So should you have a mobile application?
    Again, you need to develop for different operating systems like Blackberry, iPhone and Android so you might do all this work for a few customers. But the customers who do add your app are likely the loyal customers so giving them that extra experience can have its payoff.
    The app should do something or meet a customer need that your online store doesn’t do effectively. 1800flowers works for busy people on the go, Amazon also adds value with the camera/image search. Other ideas are mobile shopping lists that you can create on the web and push to your phone,
    It doesn't have to be commercial as long as it's on-brand…
  • Here’s an example of the North Face’s Snow Report application that leverages the GPS capability of phones. Oakley has a GPS Surf Report application, and
    Harndmark has a GPS enabled golf course locator for travelers. So get creative.
    Another angle is if you have strong loyalty programs or even a store credit card, but a lot of competitors selling the same items. A mobile app that looks up your inventory based on geo-location can help customers comparison shop while they're in other stores.
    If you have a Purple Cow of an idea for an app, next you want to find out if you are willing to throw all the money for development away if it doesn't take off or have immediate ROI. Building the app is not rocket science but you should have resources set aside to evangelize it and user test it just like a regular website.
    Otherwise, you can still sell to mobile phone users without an app through the mobile web.
  • Mobile marketing is gaining traction and there’s quite a bit you can do with that
    The most common is SMS marketing. Moosejaw is having a lot of success with theirs, response rates of 30-77% which is amazing
    But they really know their market. Some promos are coupon driven and others are loyalty point – like text back rock, paper or scissors and get 20K Moosejaw points.
    They also follow up online orders by texting the tracking code to the customer, which a special 800 number with UPS.
    You can also push coupons to GPS phones as they get nearer to your physical stores. But ONLY to optin subscribers, please.
    Ralph Lauren uses QR (quick response) codes. Basically you take a picture of the code with your phone and it translates into a mobile link to the store. Ralph Lauren puts QR codes in print ads, store windows and mailers.
    Moosejaw actually keeps a few iPhones in the store in case someone wants to look up additional information about products. This is also when an app would come in handy, you can allow customers to demo your app in store. It's a good way to market your app!
  • Kiosks can bring all the advantages of the web right into the store. Think cross-sells, customer reviews, detailed product information, video content, search –
    Inventory lookup – even checkout.
    A perfect example of an industry that kiosks work well for is book selling.
    For example, Borders' inventory is 10x the size of its biggest store, but through kiosks, customers can order the "long tail" of products for home delivery or in-store pickup. Borders reports that 35% of customers who pick up in store will purchase additional items in store.
    Here in Canada, our biggest bookstore chain Chapters/Indigo surveyed over 5000 of its customers who use its store kiosks and found that 50% have used the the kiosks to make online purchases (remember kiosks in-store can drive in store sales too). 37% visit Chapters/Indigo specifically to use the kiosks and 80% said they would visit the store again to use the kiosk.
    Their latest feature allows registered customers to swipe their loyalty card at the kiosk and instantly receive a set of personalized recommendations.
    Contactless payment with NFC chips in credit cards and cellphones is definitely on its way.
    The interesting part about kiosks is it will drive the need for IT investment and commerce platforms for businesses that have managed to survive without online stores until now. Think gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, service providers, etc. Eventually POS systems as we know it will be extinct. There won't be a shortage of jobs in IT but maybe a shortage in people,
    So send your kids to tech colleges :)
    Kiosks also have their own design and usability guidelines, so we could see a new industry born -- Kiosk Optimization Experts. or Gurus.
  • Kiosks also make it possible to set up mini stores in airports, shopping malls, grocery stores, schools, stadiums, movie theaters – pretty much anywhere. Think about in this economy, cutting out floor space, rental overhead, employees, theft problems – just setting up mini stores all over the place, there’s a lot of potential there.
  • Digital signage can deliver a lot of the same information as they’re a little different – maybe a much larger screen, the ability to wave a product in front of it to bring up information, or just replacing traditional signage. It's going to be web enabled, with the ability to call up reviews, additional information, maybe video or stock availability. It's also proximal to the product which might make more sense than going to a kiosk in the middle of a store.
    Right now JC Penney is testing a "smart fixture" in home departments of 3 pilot stores.
    Hold up an item and scan it to learn about its features, colors, sizes and even washing instructions, and that information can be e-mailed. Again in the future you could use the signage to checkout.
  • Internet TV.
    There’s a ton of demand for this.
    Nearly 2.5 million North American broadband households want to purchase a connected TV, and they're willing to pay $100 more than for non-connected TVs.
    * 33 percent of broadband households want on-screen widgets like what Yahoo has pioneered
    Yahoo Widgets which gives you quick access to your stock updates, weather, Flickr photos, instant message, games etc.
    * 27 percent want to access content stored on home computers
    Another study found more than 66 million consumers watch television while surfing the internet (computer, phone or other device) making TV interactive makes sense.
    Cable companies are already shipping set-top boxes that can access the ‘Net and last October, Panasonic introduced the first true2way HDTV to the market.
    true2way is another name for the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP)
    This is a Java based software/middleware standard for developing apps and widgets for interactive TV. So advertising can be truly direct response - with a link to a local store finder, product locator and online checkout. 1800 flowers actually has a fully transactional advertising widget for the internet, which would be easy to access through TV.
    The nice thing about OCAP being an open source standard is you don't have to worry about buying licenses or developing for different platforms/formats. Really innovative retailers can find creative ways to offer shopping widgets or perhaps explore partnerships with television programs.
    For Example, Home Depot might partner with a DIY show where all the tools and products you need can be purchased through the a commerce widget, linked to's IPTV page or even emailed to yourself.
    Or charities like World Vision could accept donations right through their infomercials.
    Now I’m going to pass the mic to Peter, and he’s gonna tell us how make the magic happen:
  • Your ecommerce platform today contains a wealth of data that should be leveraged across all channels. The ecommerce platform is the hub for customer profiles including profile data, saved shipping and billing addresses and even payment methods such as stored credit cards.
    The ecommerce product catalog is rich
  • For example retains shopping carts, saved lists and wishlists across shopping channels. Here my shopping cart on the ecommerce site is reflected in the iPhone mobile application as soon as I register. This is great for shoppers who plan their purchases online but still enjoy the experience of visiting the store to pick up their merchandise. Some retailers offer ‘pick up store’ services, but for many shoppers this is too aggressive and they don’t want to commit to the purhcase until they are in the store.
    The mobile device allows the shopper to find their researched products easily in store and could be enhanced with in-store ailse, shelf and availability information. Big warehouse stores such as Walmart, Ikea and Home Depot could even introduce in-store maps on the mobile device to aid shoppers find their researched products.
  • A holistic view of order history is great for both the customer and the retailer. For the customer being able to track their web orders via their mobile device allows them to track delivery progress from their mobile device and view their entire order history regardless of channel origin.
    For the retailer this is
    Whether you are building your requirements for an in-house developed project or just trying to deciding what to do, requirements are the cornerstone of success. But it's not just motherhood and apple pie. Requirements need to go beyond a wish list of needed features and capabilities. In this one-hour webinar, ecommerce industry expert Bernardine Wu, CEO of consultancy at FitForCommerce, will share key strategies and tactics to help you build the most effective, bullet-proof requirements to ensure project success. Webinar takeaways: • How to build a comprehensive requirements set • How to incorporate workflow design and best practices into your requirements • How to use benchmarking and market data to justify your requirements • How to distinguish between a must-have vs. should-have vs. nice-to-have Presenter: Bernardine Wu, CEO of consultancy, FitForCommerce
  • Multichannel 2.0: Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Commerce Channels?

    1. 1. Elastic Path™ Presented by Linda Bustos, ecommerce analyst, Elastic Path and Peter Sheldon, product manager, Elastic Path Listen to audio using your computer’s microphone & speakers (VoIP) or dial in: United Kingdom: +44 (0) 161 660 8220 United States: +1 516 453 0014 Access Code: 441-870-154 Multichannel 2.0: Are you ready for the next generation of commerce channels?
    2. 2. Elastic Path™ Introducing Elastic Path Software • Provides a flexible, feature-rich framework • For enterprises that have unique business requirements and a complex IT environment • Over 200 clients rely on Elastic Path • #1 ecommerce blog
    3. 3. Elastic Path™ Agenda • What is Multichannel 2.0? • Mobile (M-commerce) • Kiosks & Digital Signage • IPTV • Leverage your existing ecommerce services to create a consistent Mulitchannel experience • How will you prepare for Multichannel 2.0?
    4. 4. Elastic Path™ What is Multichannel 2.0?
    5. 5. Elastic Path™ Mobile Commerce - History • SMS Coke machines and banking, 1997 • Ringtones, 1998 • Parking, transportation, 2000 • Amazon first mobile commerce site, 2001 • $346 Million in NA, 2008 • $577 Million in NA, 2009 • $2.09 Billion by 2010
    6. 6. Elastic Path™ Mobile Payments • PSMS transactions • Amazon Text Buy It • Bill to phone • 3rd party payment solutions (eg PayPal Mobile) • 3rd party billing (iTunes account) • NFC (Near field communication)
    7. 7. Elastic Path™ M-commerce Roadblocks • Smartphone penetration (around 6- 20%) • 95% of traffic to mobile sites from smartphones • Most m-commerce is for digital content Roadblocks - customers • Findability • Usability • Cost • Security Roadblocks – retailers • Cost/resources • Lack of standards across devices • Lack of consumer interest
    8. 8. Elastic Path™ Mobile Websites
    9. 9. Elastic Path™ Mobile Websites
    10. 10. Elastic Path™ Mobile Websites
    11. 11. Elastic Path™ Mobile Applications
    12. 12. Elastic Path™ Mobile Applications
    13. 13. Elastic Path™ Mobile Applications
    14. 14. Elastic Path™ Mobile Marketing • Opt-in SMS marketing (Moosejaw) • Text order tracking # post-sale • Locative coupon push • QR codes (Ralph Lauren) • In-store iPhones (Moosejaw)
    15. 15. Elastic Path™ Kiosks
    16. 16. Elastic Path™ Kiosks
    17. 17. Elastic Path™ Digital Signage
    18. 18. Elastic Path™ IPTV (t-commerce) • Uses broadband connection instead of cable to deliver content. • Set-top box or true2way enabled
    19. 19. Elastic Path™ Ecommerce Platform Leverage eCommerce Services Shopping APIShopping API Order History & Tracking Product Catalog Saved Carts Customer Profiles Wishlists Product Reviews Analytics & Reporting Cross & Up Sells Personalizatio n Multi Channel Shopping ApplicationsMulti Channel Shopping Applications
    20. 20. Elastic Path™ Holistic Customer Experience Cross channel shopping cart
    21. 21. Elastic Path™ Holistic Customer Experience Cross channel order history
    22. 22. Elastic Path™ Holistic Customer Experience Cross channel product reviews
    23. 23. Elastic Path™ Leverage eCommerce Services
    24. 24. Elastic Path™ Q&A
    25. 25. Elastic Path™ Next month’s webinar Requirements Diligence: The Cornerstone to Ecommerce Project Success Whether you are building your requirements for an in-house developed project or just trying to deciding what to do, requirements are the cornerstone of success. Learn key strategies and tactics to help you build the most effective, bullet-proof requirements to ensure project success. Presented by Bernardine Wu, CEO of consultancy at FitForCommerce Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Time: 9am Pacific/ 12pm Eastern Register at