Richard Adhikari

About the Author Richard Adhikari


Trends

Fulfilling the Omnichannel Shopping Imperative

The omnichannel approach has become a byword in customer service, but retailers need to do more to make it happen, based on a recent study. Researchers tested 57 metrics across desktop, mobile and in-store buying touchpoints to evaluate the end-to-end omnichannel experience at 30 popular and growing retailers. Here’s the problem: E-commerce absolutely is killing brick-and-mortar stores.

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Trends

It’s a Whole New World With Alexa

Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.

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customer service

Excellent Customer Service Requires Emotional Intelligence

Staff engagement is a key component in a telco’s ability to positively impact customers, according to InMoment. The company recently conducted a survey of 11,000 North American customers of Internet, mobile and TV services and found that telecommunications companies’ customers just plain hate them. Telcos should emphasize emotional IQ, or EQ, in hiring and training personnel, the study recommends.

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Service Providers

Comcast, Google Can Publish Users’ Email Contents

Comcast’s Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to “reproduce, publish, distribute and display” the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.

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Sales

New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts

Onvia on Tuesday launched a new service for companies selling to the public sector. The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency’s scoring criteria. Onvia “helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts,” said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.

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Marketing

InsideView Launches Expert Consulting Service for B2B Marketers

InsideView has announced a consulting service to help B2B marketers implement account-based marketing. Expert Service, the first in the firm’s planned series of InsideView Expert Services, delivers target market analytics and helps customers build a view of their total addressable market using a data visualization console. InsideView’s TAM service is a blend of consulting, technology and data.

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E-Commerce

Amazon’s B2B Business Blows Past 1M Customer Mark

Amazon Business, launched in April 2015, this week announced that it had reached the 1 million customer milestone. “This is rapid growth,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research. It’s attributable in part to a crossover effect from the large number of B2C customers Amazon has, he said. Amazon Business offers business-only pricing on millions of products, and access to more than 85,000 business sellers.

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Government

FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon’s Discount Pricing Practices

The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon’s discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company’s pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. “Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process,” observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

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Marketing

SEO, SEM Rule Retailers’ Marketing Budgets

Retailers have been focusing on technologies to measure and assess customer response, and have been using the data they produce to drive e-commerce decisions, suggests a study of 136 enterprise retailers. Enterprise retailers with at least $500 million in annual revenues participated in the study, which was a joint effort of Adam Software, an Aprimo company; WBR Digital; and ChannelAdvisor.

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Trends

3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge

Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday. Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the U.S., and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.

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Online Advertising

Facebook Launches ‘Discover Growth’ Global B2B Ad Campaign

Facebook on Wednesday launched “Discover Growth,” a global ad campaign targeting B2B marketers.
The 30-day U.S. ad campaign, which will target direct-response marketers as well as traditional brands, will run both on and off the Facebook platform. The on-platform campaign reportedly will consist of one ad per day on Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network.

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Emerging Tech

New AI Assistant Digs Up Specialized Info for Makers

Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, an automated virtual assistant that combines artificial intelligence with on-demand access to industry experts. Ask Avnet targets “engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain — which includes the product manufacturing chain,” said Kevin Yapp, SVP for digital transformation at Avnet.

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Consumer Protection

Free AI Chatbot Goes to Bat for Beleaguered Consumers

DoNotPay, an AI-based chatbot app created to help fight parking tickets in the UK, now addresses roughly 1,000 consumer concerns and is available throughout the U.S. as well as across the pond. The app’s creator, Stanford student Joshua Browder, announced the expansion last week. Powered by IBM Watson, DoNotPay has about 1,000 bots capable of tackling a variety of legal and service issues.

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Trends

Consumers Are Ready to Embrace ‘Futuristic’ Payment Tech

As many as 80 percent of U.S. residents support frictionless payment methods and technologies, suggests a survey of 1,000 consumers Viewpost published this week. Among its other findings:
Nearly 51 percent of survey participants were paid electronically through direct deposit, and
83 percent of respondents believed paper checks would be eliminated completely within the next 20 years.

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Marketing

The 3 Crucial Stages of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

There are three key stages of implementing a content-based lead generation strategy — content development, targeting and prospect nurturing — that marketers should take into account. However, they often focus on one stage more than the others, missing out on opportunities for optimization. That is one of the findings of a new study from NetLine, a B2B content syndication lead generation network.

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Trends

Consumers Will Pay to Be Pleased: Survey

Eighty percent of participants in a recent Capgemini survey said they would pay more for a better customer experience, and 9 percent were willing to pay up to 50 percent more. Researchers polled 3,300 customers of 125 companies in the utilities, consumer products, retail, retail banking, and Internet-based services sectors. Among the respondents were 450 senior executives from 150 companies.

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Marketing

4 Marketing Strategies That Can Boost B2B Sales: Study

Four business marketing strategies can boost business-to-business sales conversion rates by up to 25 percentage points, based on results of a survey Altman Vilandrie released this week. However, only 15 percent of businesses fully take advantage of them. Even those that do use the strategies sometimes fail to maximize sales conversions because of a lack of coordination and integration.

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Virtual Reality

Google Makes It Easier to Create Virtual Reality Videos

Google has introduced a new video format, VR180, developed with input from its Daydream team. The VR180 format, which displays what’s in front of the user only, delivers good video quality both on desktop PCs and mobile devices. While VR180 videos appear in 2D on desktops and mobile devices, they appear in 3D VR when viewed with Cardboard, Google’s Daydream headset or a PlayStation VR headset.

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Products

SugarCRM Launches Hint, 1st in Relationship Intelligence Line

SugarCRM has launched Hint, the first in its new line of relationship intelligence products. Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for information. That data, along with other details from a company’s internal files, will be served up to the user in a side-panel view.

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Trends

Experts Identify 6 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing has become an area of strategic importance for marketing departments, according to Traackr. B2B technology companies are aware of the trend, according to the paper’s coauthor, business consultant Mark Schaefer, but they lag in implementing influencer marketing programs. Interviews with 10 marketing experts suggest that influencer marketing requires a fundamental shift.

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Deals

Digital River, Adobe Strengthen Cloud Commerce Alliance

Digital River has expanded its ties with Adobe Experience Manager to offer an end-to-end cloud commerce solution targeting the high-tech industry. The new solution, which is based on a 2015 agreement to integrate Digital River’s cloud-based Global Commerce Platform with Adobe Experience Manager, offers brands a fresh approach for bolstering their direct channel strategy and competitive position.

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Sales

Hootsuite Adds New Social Selling Tool

Hootsuite on Monday launched Amplify for Selling, a mobile-first solution that helps sales teams succeed on social by generating leads and fostering revenue-driving relationships. The new tool is an extension of Hootsuite’s Amplify employee advocacy product, which is focused on the business-to-business market. Amplify for Selling integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

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Deals

Verizon Makes New Oath

Verizon last week completed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business assets, merging it with its existing AOL business to create Oath. The new subsidiary encompasses more than 50 media and technology brands — including HuffPost; Yahoo Sports, Finance and Mail; AOL.com; Makers; Tumblr; TechCrunch; Flickr; and Build Studios.

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Deals

Amazon Spends $14B on Whole Foods

Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market for close to $14 billion in cash. The agreement includes assumption of Whole Foods’ net debt. Whole Foods will run as a wholly independent subsidiary of Amazon. It will continue to operate stores under its own brand and source products from vendors and partners. Cofounder John Mackey will continue in his role as Whole Foods’ CEO.

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E-Commerce

Visa Seeks to Build Online B2B Ecosystem

Visa this week announced the Visa Ready Program for Business Solutions, a strategic framework to help ensure that tech companies integrating with Visa’s B2B payment services and data solutions meet the company’s standards and are market ready. The program lets Visa’s tech partners quickly integrate and approve various Visa B2B payments solutions, including enhanced data, virtual card integration, payables automation, and payment controls.

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