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IRCE 2016 Highlights

June 13th, 2016 by Paul Matker

irce-2016

 

Once again IRCE was an outstanding experience! McCormick Place West was packed with industry experts, valuable sessions, panel discussions, and opportunities to learn about the latest trends in technology to support evolving shopper preferences.

In particular, UPS’s session, The Pulse of the Online Shopper, provided attendees with fantastic insights into channel dynamics and the “evolved shopper.” It didn’t come as a surprise that the 2016 study revealed these three foundational trends:

  1. Digital fuels future growth.
  2. Smartphones are the driving force in retail change.
  3. Cross channel purchases are growing.

In a nutshell, the trends mean that retailers who don’t up their game to optimize the mobile experience and implement marketing strategies and technology that support the overall flow of the consumer life-cycle won’t be on the playing field for much longer.

We spent the majority of the event in the exhibit hall, where we were able to showcase Hawk Search and ROC Commerce. It’s always fun to catch up with current customers, meet new and interesting people, and share what’s trending.

In case you didn’t have the opportunity to visit us at IRCE 2016, here’s a quick overview of each one of our e-commerce technology solutions that can help you future-proof your digital presence.

  • Hawk Search — Our on-site search and e-merchandising technology that enables Enterprise Search, B2B and B2C e-commerce companies to deliver a next generation experience to visitors. In addition to the advanced core intelligent search engine, Hawk Search offers the ability to implement personalized product recommendations based on individual buyer behavior.
  • ROC Commerce — E-commerce technology for today and tomorrow. ROC Commerce provides the ability to easily deliver the most relevant and consistent shopping experience possible in every channel and along every step of the journey, including desktop, mobile, tablet, social media, in-store, and call center. ROC combines the best e-commerce strategies into a modern platform that meets the demands of today and scales for the future. The platform was designed allow businesses to start with the features they need today and grow for tomorrow with pre-built modules that can introduce new functionality when needed.
  • Site Vibes — A social engagement platform that captures shopping and social activity about the products on your website and exposes them to help extend your social reach and improve the customer experience. The platform gives marketers and merchandisers real-time insights into on-site shopper behavior and social activity at an individual product level. Site Vibes tracks shopper activity, including:
    • Add to cart
    • View product detail
    • Facebook likes
    • Tweets
    • Pinterest pins
    • Product reviews

Once again it was a great conference and we look forward to next year!

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5 Ways to Identify Gaps in Your Online Customer Experience

March 18th, 2016 by Paul Matker

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Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.Tiffani Bova, Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst

Bova sums up the growing importance of delivering a world class customer experience in a nutshell. I think most business leaders would agree and are doing their best to meet or exceed customer expectations, but we still have a ways to go. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, in 2015 customer satisfaction with Internet Retailers dropped 2.4% in spite of an increased focus and investment in technology and resources to support e-commerce.

Why are so many still missing the mark? In my experience the number one reason for the gap is that too many businesses rely on personal preferences and internal opinions when it comes to designing the user interface.

The best way to close the gap and win the customer is to tap into the voice of the customer and use it to define your road map. Let’s take a quick look at five ways to identify gaps between your customer experience and consumer expectations.

Listen to the Voice of the Customer

  1. Check in with your customer care representatives and find out what customers are saying about each part of the experience. Have them track the number of calls that are related to the website, the mobile experience, and the store. Better yet, also sit down with one of them for an afternoon and listen in on some calls.
  2. Read inbound emails and live chat transcripts and identify common themes. Don’t forget to monitor social platforms
  3. Get out from behind the desk and visit the store. Watch, listen, and gain insights into shopper behavior. Pay special attention to how they interact with mobile devices while they’re shopping. Are they taking pictures of products, taking selfies next to mannequins, or asking a sales rep to help them locate a size or color that isn’t in the store?
  4. Conduct focus groups or usability studies that cover a wide variety of scenarios and take cross-channel/multiple-device shoppers into consideration.
  5. Gather feedback through product reviews and/or tools like ForSee to help you turn customer insights into an action plan.

Use this information along with traditional metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, time on site and pages per session to identify the gaps and develop your road map toward building a world class customer experience.

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It’s Almost 2016! Happy New Year from Thanx Media!

December 31st, 2015 by Paul Matker

It’s New Year’s Eve and another year has flown by. Tonight at midnight, we’ll ring in 2016 and on Monday return to work with brand new 365 days ahead of us. I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be a huge year in e-commerce and both B2B and B2C businesses will be faced with a now-or-never choice: either modernize their digital platforms to deliver a truly omni-channel experience or fall permanently behind. Most, if not all, will opt for the former.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the world of technology and we’re looking forward to rolling out new ideas and product updates that will help our customers win the e-commerce race and delight their users. It’s going to be a great year and we look forward to working with all of you to find and implement the best solutions and the tools you need to to grow your business in this rapidly changing landscape.

Wishing you and your families good health, happiness, and success in the new year.

Happy New Year from all of us here at Thanx Media!

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Will Black Friday Become a Thing of the Past?

December 3rd, 2015 by Paul Matker

The Friday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, has been regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the U.S. since at least the 1930’s. For many retailers it’s the busiest (and most important) day of the year. In recent years the shopping frenzy has started long before Thanksgiving and a larger percentage of that business is happening online rather than in the store.

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Happy Thanxgiving!

November 25th, 2015 by Paul Matker

As we head into the business of the holiday season, I want to take a moment to pause and express my gratitude for all of the blessings we’ve experienced over the past year.  2015 has been a whirlwind year and I am incredibly thankful for my team, our family of clients, and our rich network of partners.

You have all contributed to our success in so many ways. Enjoy your time with friends and family. Here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season.

I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together in 2016!

Happy Thanxgiving!

 

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Thanx for Sharing: Conference Takeaways on Millennials

November 18th, 2015 by Paul Matker

 

 

We’ve had the exciting opportunity to enter into the Electrical Distribution e-commerce space with our Hawk Search and ROC Commerce platforms. E-commerce is increasingly important for distributors as consumers, especially millennials, continue to shift toward doing business online.

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) offers its members opportunities throughout the year for education, networking and booth sessions with industry leaders. Recently we had the opportunity to attend the Eastern Regional NAED Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was a great way to meet people within the industry, but more importantly learn about the challenges, opportunities and future trends facing distributors today and in the future.

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15 Minutes of Fame—Can Your Website Handle It?

November 12th, 2015 by Paul Matker

If you’ve ever watched the TV show Shark Tank, you know how important 15 minutes can be to the potential success (or failure) of a business. Hopeful entrepreneurs have 15 minutes to convince the “sharks in the tank” that their idea is worth investing in. The five titans of industry can be ruthless when it comes to giving feedback to a poorly prepared participant. What makes for juicy reality TV can help—or hurt—businesses. How ready are you to swim with the sharks?

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2015 Online Holiday Shopping Trends

October 8th, 2015 by Paul Matker

Experts are predicting the first slowdown in holiday spending since 2012 and another major shift in where the spending will take place. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently predicted that holiday spending will increase 3.7% this year as compared to 4.1%. While this is lower than 2014, it’s still significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5%.

What’s really notable about the 2015 holiday predictions is the continued significant shift in consumer behavior from offline to online purchasing.

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Business Buyers Spend More Online

September 17th, 2015 by Paul Matker

There’s been a lot of discussion about the growing importance of digital for companies in the B2B space in order to meet the changing expectations of business buyers. If there’s any doubt remaining about the business value associated with upping your e-commerce game, Forrester’s latest report is sure to change your mind.

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The Hidden Cost of Delaying the Pursuit of B2B E-commerce

August 20th, 2015 by Paul Matker

close up of male hand holding burning dollar money

Many companies that have experienced success through traditional “feet on the street” approach to selling products and services to businesses are still not convinced of the need to invest in an e-commerce presence. Why? Because it can be expensive and often involves overcoming concerns from the sales force about channel conflict and the death of the sales person.

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