The insanity of the Marketing Technology landscape!
Tue, May 14th 2013 7:20a Bob Balfe A very interesting graphic from LUMA Partners (LUMAscape) was recently published. You will notice pretty much all of IBM’s recent acquisitions (in the last 3 or so years) are on this graphic. This is in my opinion a validation of the IBM’s Smarter Commerce strategy as their products become more and more integrated. Having a single company with best of breed technologies integrated and supported by one company makes this landscape a bit more consumable and less daunting.
Many of IBM [read] Keywords: ibm
Make sure you check out CrossViews booth at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit!
Wed, May 8th 2013 7:50a Bob Balfe CrossView is a premier provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a smarter, more personalized shopping experience. You can see their sponsor listing on the Smarter Commerce Global Summit page here. One of CrossView’s customers is Moosejaw - a fast-growing Midwestern retailer specializing in extreme outdoor equipment and apparel. Moosejaw’s site, based on IBM’s WebSphere Commerce is often considered the poster child of social commerce. They have a br [read] Keywords: ibm
Book Review: Creating an MP3 Player with HTML5
Creating a custom build with Dojo Toolkit Web Builder
Fri, May 3rd 2013 7:20a Bob Balfe Do you want to use only a small piece of Dojo? Does Dojo have a really cool feature you want but you don’t want to take the entire library?
Then the Dojo Toolkit Web Builder is for you. I recently created a desktop web application where I wanted to use the Swipe function in the Gesture package of Dojo. I am not using a lot of Dojo at all in this application so I really only wanted the dojox.gesture.swipe package. The web builder allows you to select the packages you want and it builds a s [read] Keywords: ibm
My first day with the Microsoft Surface – this is no tablet
Thu, May 2nd 2013 7:00a Bob Balfe I now see the attraction of the Microsoft Surface. While it has been documented, written about, reviewed, etc by many and in a sense does not get the recognition some of the other tablets get I think it is clearly getting short changed. And the reason is…
This is not a tablet, its a PC. It does pretty much everything my laptop and desktop can do and a whole lot more. The “tablet” is very thin and compares nicely against the other tablets on the market. I have the 128GB model an [read] Keywords: desktop
How to add swipe support to your web application
Wed, May 1st 2013 2:10p Bob Balfe Are you creating a web application that you want to be able to be used on a tablet? Then you might want to check out the Dojo toolkit. Dojo provides a very simple way to handle swipe events in your web application. In this post I used the dojox.gesture package. Why would you want to use Dojo? Here are a few good reasons from the documentation:
dojox/gesture has been designed with the following rationale:
Device neutral – The target is to be compatible with most popular devices(single tou [read] Keywords: application
What are your thoughts on Worklight?
Tue, Apr 30th 2013 1:10p Bob Balfe I have been playing with Worklight over the past several weeks and its definitely a very cool platform to do your development on for web and devices. I am really interested to hear some real world experiences around creating applications based on Worklight. If you care to share them here I would appreciate your feedback. Or if you have a review on your own blog or know of one please share! [read] Keywords: applications
Gift Registry: A pleasurable experience!
Wed, Apr 24th 2013 9:23a Bob Balfe My cousin and his wife are having a baby, we get the invite to the baby shower and see they have a gift registry at Target. We start by simply going to the store but we could have just gone to the Target web site and found the name to see what is there and even order the items online. We enter the store and we go to the gift registry kiosk and look up my cousins’ name. Bingo, it comes right up. I clearly see a “Print Registry” button and click it. What prints out is the entire [read] Keywords:
Image maps now supported in the WebSphere Commerce Business User tooling!
Thu, Apr 18th 2013 8:50a Bob Balfe As promised, my second blog post on the new features in WebSphere Commerce is here. This is a really nice feature because now you don’t need a third-party tool or HTML snippet to create image maps in your content. This enables marketing teams to do a lot more right within one tooling. There is an entire tutorial posted in the InfoCenter for how to do this with the new Feature Pack 6. [read] Keywords: ibm
This is what an omni-channel solution solves…
Wed, Apr 17th 2013 12:20p Bob Balfe A woman (Linda) buys a pair of jeans from a store that will not be mentioned. After a bit she decides to buy another pair of jeans. Linda wants the same exact pair – same style, size, color, etc. Linda tries to go online and order the jeans but to no avail they are out of stock. There is no indicator on the web site to say if the jeans are available at a store nor any indication they will become available at a later date. Linda then goes into the store and attempts to find the same jeans. [read] Keywords: ibm
WebSphere Commerce meet Tealeaf
Wed, Apr 17th 2013 8:40a Bob Balfe If you read the “What’s New” section on the InfoCenter for WebSphere Commerce you will notice a single line that states:
The Tealeaf User Interface Capture API is embedded in the checkout pages for registered and guest shoppers to allow for high-fidelity replay in Tealeaf. –link
Once again IBM has delivered on its promise of further integrating the products it has purchased in the last several years into its core set of products – forming solutions. This is only one [read] Keywords: ibm
Why do you favorite a tweet?
Wed, Apr 10th 2013 7:20a Bob Balfe I have seen an interesting pattern while watching people favorite my tweets and others tweets. I have never really been a fan of favoriting tweets because I read them and then possibly open the associated link and it its good I re-tweet it. I have come to the conclusion there are three reasons at play here – maybe you can think of more:
They favorite a tweet to read later because they don’t have time to read it now but don’t want to lose it.
They favorite a tweet to keep a l [read] Keywords: twitter
Opinion: Non-relevant promoted content on social networks is BAD.
Fri, Apr 5th 2013 12:10p Bob Balfe You are on your favorite social site and you search for something. The results come back and guess what? The top result has nothing to do with your search term nor does it even contain your search term.
In this scenario I searched for “IBM” on Twitter and it gave the “Top people” which was good, it was two IBM accounts but look at the first entry in the “Top Tweets” section. Its a CISCO promoted tweet from two months ago and IBM is not even a word in the tweet [read] Keywords: ibm
Smarter Commerce Info Graphics on Pinterest!
Thu, Apr 4th 2013 6:59a Bob Balfe Just in case you missed this, the Smarter Commerce team has created an Infographics category on their Pinterest place. I am a very visual person and I really like these kinds of graphics to tell a story.
It also looks like they are preparing for the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in May and created a Gayload Opryland Hotel & Convention Center category so stay tuned!
If you have not signed up for this event then make sure you do. It has a packed agenda of IBM’s customers giving testimon [read] Keywords: ibm
Finding eSpots in WebSphere Commerce
Tue, Apr 2nd 2013 1:26p Bob Balfe As a followup to my post “What the heck is an eSpot?“, I created a video where I show how easy it is to use the site preview function in Management Center to find the names of eSpots throughout the site. I also explain how the Aurora starter store automatically defines different eSpot names for all catalog categories, making eSpots unique across your product catalog. [read] Keywords: websphere
Baiting the Big Guy, the Smarter Shopper has arrived
Mon, Apr 1st 2013 7:43p Bob Balfe Customers are getting smarter. Smarter about products, brands, services, and most of all the way social works. The younger generation catches on quickly and often thinks outside of the box to get what they want. They call you out when they learn things, often using social media to tout their findings. In this post I outline two approaches “kids” use to figure out about a brand or get that special discount. I say kids but the reality is many internet savvy people are doing these thin [read] Keywords: email
What the heck is an eSpot?
Wed, Mar 13th 2013 8:50a Bob Balfe No, I am not talking about a municipality in the comarca of the Pallars Sobirà in Catalonia, Spain. (see here if that’s what you are looking for). However, on that page is actually a really good picture of what an eSpot in the sense of WebSphere Commerce is. Think of a place on a web page, a “spot” if you will, that has a boundary and takes up a rectangle in that page. Just like Espot does in the boundaries of Spain, an eSpot is a piece of real-estate that can be controlled b [read] Keywords: development
What does your next point of sale terminal look like?
Tue, Mar 5th 2013 1:00p Bob Balfe PR Newswire Photo
Yesterday I posted this (Point of Sale, No, Point of Commerce!) article on the Smarter Commerce Blog about the new point of commerce collaboration Toshiba and IBM have done. I saw a very slick demo of this at NRF and I just heard they will be at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville this May. If you have not seen this product and are looking to change the way your stores do business then get to the summit to see what the hype is all about! Check out the article on th [read] Keywords: collaboration
Properly cleaning up a JQuery Dialog box to prevent memory leaks
Story boarding your customer interactions with WebSphere Commerce
Wed, Feb 6th 2013 2:53p Bob Balfe I started creating a presentation to show to a customer about the journey map a customer has while dealing with your web site and/or mobile device. I wanted to show this in a unique way and have it be in the context of the presentation which was precision marketing using out of the box WebSphere Commerce. Precision marketing is essentially putting forth offers and dialog to the customers that are relevant to them – either through segmentation, online behavior, or purchasing behavior. The [read] Keywords: email
Oreo takes advantage of the power outage with social media
Mon, Feb 4th 2013 6:50a Bob Balfe In case you missed this, which you probably haven’t since it is all over the news now, but Oreo and their ad agency (360i) took advantage of the power outage at the Super Dome last night and tweeted “Power Out? No problem” with the picture on the right. Brilliant! The picture was re-tweeted over 13,000 times. [read] Keywords: twitter
Getting and setting radio button values with JQuery
Thu, Jan 31st 2013 1:13p Bob Balfe I figured I would share this because I found so many inconsistent hits on the internet searching for a solution. I have this dialog that I pop up and want to set the values and then retrieve the values once OK is hit using JQuery.
The HTML is pretty straight forward:
The code to set the value from my model looks like this:
var $radios = $('input:radio[name=transition]');
$radios.filter('[value=' + model.options.transition +']').attr('checked', true);
The code to retrieve the value loo [read] Keywords:
Printing from the iPhone and iPad
Wed, Jan 30th 2013 6:50a Bob Balfe I have waited for this for a while and didn’t think to check the app store for this little app. No, I am not an apple Airprint guy so I don’t have the native print capability in my iDevices. I have an HP All-in-One printer I bought several years ago. So all of you HP fans who are not aware of this cool application you should think about getting it. I have already used it a few times for some web printing and got the application installed on my iPhone and iPad. You can connect dir [read] Keywords: apple
New Video: Subscriptions in WebSphere Commerce!
Sun, Jan 20th 2013 12:00p Bob Balfe In this video I show how subscription based products can be configured in WebSphere Commerce using the business user tooling – Management Center. After seeing the magazine in the store front I show how the product is setup and then show how different rules can be setup for subscription events like a new subscription and a cancel subscription. You can also do another event type “subscription is about to expire” and offer a similar coupon to entice them to renew, more on subscrip [read] Keywords: admin
A great marketing and customer dialog example!
Fri, Jan 18th 2013 11:30a Bob Balfe It was a cold winter night as I went into the garage and retrieved the almost empty Princess House Crystal Truffle bowl my mother left with the a small amount of the tasty dessert remaining. I picked up the expensive bowl and realized there was a crack almost all the way around it, my heart sank as I realized I now have to call mom…
Ok, enough with the dramatics! After much searching I went online and found a replacement site to order the 15+-year-old bowl. Of course the sticker shock was [read] Keywords: email
What’s new in Eclipse Juno?
Fri, Jan 18th 2013 5:20a Bob Balfe Finally got around to installing Eclipse Juno. It has the long anticipated E4 modules that I was playing with a couple of years ago. Check out the E4 page to learn about the underlying SDK.
First off, it has a new shinny logo (on the right) and a pretty cool looking splash screen, see below.
I was able to simply download the zip file and run it! I installed the 64bit for Java EE Developers, check out the page here. You have to love that install model – so simple. I even loaded my older wor [read] Keywords: css
LinkedIn Groups come through again!
Thu, Jan 17th 2013 7:40a Bob Balfe While playing around in Sametime I came across this apparently not too well-known feature and blogged about it last week - Can’t remember that person who Sametime’d you?.
Before I begin I want to thank everyone for responding, liking, and emailing me!
Of course the post shows up on PlanetLotus but I also posted it on LinkedIn in the group named “Lotus Notes/Domino Technologies (7.000+ members)“. Which I usually do when its relevant to Notes and Domino. What I didn’t expect [read] Keywords: domino
Reinventing, Risk, and Parents – One on One with Ginni Rometty
Mon, Jan 14th 2013 10:50a Bob Balfe What a great interview with our Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty. All business professionals should listen to Ginny and her views on becoming the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world and her views on strategy and the company. I took a lot away from this interview and will be sharing with my kids. In my short thirteen years (and over twenty something career) I have seen IBM reinvent itself and its products many times. I love change and I am always looking to expand and reinvent myself. [read] Keywords: connections
Meta tags and WordPress and an interesting answer
Sun, Jan 13th 2013 7:31p Bob Balfe First off, what is a Meta tag??? A meta tag is text that describes your site or individual post inside of the HTML header. It was designed so search engines can quickly index your site and use the “key words” in those tags to provide more relevant results. Here are a couple of examples:
Back in the day, maybe 5-10 years ago, you would place these tags in your HTML so you would be more relevant in the search engines. So why am I writing about this?
Well, for some reason I wanted [read] Keywords: application
The careful re-tweeter, some tips for Twitter
Sun, Jan 13th 2013 9:00a Bob Balfe There is a stigma in the social world where one regurgitates information. These are the people who re-tweet things carelessly and often not even reading the content of the Tweet. This specifically addresses Tweets with URL’s. Too often I see a great Tweet, open the URL and the content has nothing to do with the Tweet text. This is a form of phishing or spamming to get a click-through view. Here are some basic tips I try to follow:
Stick to your Twitter ID persona. If your account is for [read] Keywords: profile
Upgraded WordPress and now using ImageMagick for images!
Sat, Jan 12th 2013 9:50a Bob Balfe I just updated this blog to WordPress 3.5 and I also enabled the ImageMagick plugin for my image re-sizing for better quality. I don’t really post high resolution images (photos) but I figured I would check it out and see how it works. I then re-sized all of the images with the tool and saw little change – I am sure if they were photos there would have been a big difference. Here is a high resolution image that I sized with the new tool. The original image was 2848×4272, this wa [read] Keywords:
Shopperception – The future of shopping and some new metrics!
Fri, Jan 11th 2013 10:01a Bob Balfe Location, location, location.
Check out this new video shown at CES 2013 where a system based on the Xbox Connect technology shows where the most physical activity is on a shelf in the store. While most products “sell themselves” this kind of data could be very useful in making sure the most popular items are “in the right spot” on a given shelf. A couple of possible metrics I can see coming from this:
Products on a shelf that get picked up a lot but have little sales mi [read] Keywords:
Why LinkedIn should be worth more than Facebook
Fri, Jan 11th 2013 4:10a Bob Balfe It’s an age-old adage - Business vs Pleasure.
In a world where athletes make millions and the average business person makes less than $100K it is hard to argue that a market designed for entertainment isn’t big business. However, the customers are clearly in it for pleasure. This is why Facebook on paper is more valuable than LinkedIn – how can you argue with almost a billion users? LinkedIn, however, has over 200 million “business users” and the entire focus of [read] Keywords: connections
Can’t remember that person who Sametime’d you?
Thu, Jan 10th 2013 10:00a Bob Balfe There is a cure for that!
With over 400,000 employees, IBM can be considered a very large company and too often I have accidentally closed a chat window or had to reboot and could not remember who I chatted with! Well, there is a tiny little down arrow in the title area for the Sametime Frequent Contacts window in your Notes client. You can select what contacts to show in the list. Notice you have several options:
Sametime Frequent Contacts – shows a list of contacts you often chat with.
[read] Keywords: ibm
Online and FREE Image map tool for HTML
Thu, Jan 10th 2013 4:00a Bob Balfe I was poking around the internet and thanks to Google I found very quickly this Image Map Tool site that lets you create image maps for your graphics. I quickly created a simple graphic, uploaded it to the tool and create maps for different tag categories on my site. I then copied and pasted the HTML into my blog post and viola, works like a charm!
Eclipse | Websphere | Graphics | Gaming | Image Map
Feel free to check it out and donate if you like it!
Online Image Mapp Tool [read] Keywords: eclipse
Gamification for coders, how cool would this be?
Tue, Jan 8th 2013 4:13a Bob Balfe After some dialog with Facebook friends I thought it would be entertaining to write this post. Imagine an extension to Eclipse that connects to a leader board where you can see what “badges” coders are awarded through daily coding. While this is just for fun, I actually think this could end up being valuable in the end. Similar to the way people +1 your skills on LinkedIn, this could give anyone a very good idea of your skills.
So, using Java, I created a few hypothetical badges you [read] Keywords: eclipse
LeetPress – a great game review WordPress theme
Fri, Jan 4th 2013 8:00a Bob Balfe A few weeks ago my youngest son Nathan and I talked about creating a game review blog. I figured this would be a great learning exercise for him and make “gaming” into a positive by applying critical thinking. The idea is he gets a new game on the xBox, Wii, iPad, etc and he has to write a review of the game in a notepad I gave him. So far he loves the idea and has written up some pretty impressive reviews. I do minor edits to his reviews but in general he does most of the writing be [read] Keywords: rich text
Where GIMP 2.8 went wrong
Thu, Jan 3rd 2013 9:20a Bob Balfe I have used GIMP for many years, too many to count or remember actually but I know it was in the early 1.x time frame. This latest release has me a bit confused in the Save As, Export area.
I rarely ever save a file in the native GIMP format (XCF) and usually save the images as PNG or JPG. Given that, I always use short cuts like CTRL+S to save the image and in GIMP 2.6 in “just worked”. Now, you are forced to use the Export function from the menu any time you want to save the image [read] Keywords:
Windows 8 Upgrade – A new beginning
Fri, Dec 21st 2012 9:24a Bob Balfe Since the world is coming to an end this week, I bit the bullet and upgraded to Windows 8. The install was seamless as I opted for the download version. A couple of reboots and my machine had a new look and feel. Unless you want a completely new Windows experience, I would not recommend this upgrade. If you are adventurous and like new things it looks like its a pretty polished upgrade.
It it going to take me a bit to get use to the operating system. The user interface is very responsive and kin [read] Keywords: applications
Eclipse SWT ImageData to the rescue for image resizing!
Thu, Dec 20th 2012 4:20a Bob Balfe A little side project I have here at work has taken a life on of its own. Most recently with the launch of the new Aurora storefront I once again enhanced an internal tool to automatically size product images to adhere to the size requirements for the store. I ended up using Eclipses SWT (The Standard Widget Toolkit) that comes with Eclipse to do this. What I wanted to share today was how easy this was using the SWT API’s.
In the code below I actually base the new scale off of the width p [read] Keywords: ibm
Using the XPath API to figure out my stats
Wed, Dec 19th 2012 4:01a Bob Balfe One major problem I have with base WordPress is while it does a good job giving you stats around views (the number of hits you get per post) it does not do a good job for post counts. In the previous post I had to create a chart that showed how many blog posts I wrote in the months and years past. I am sure there is a plugin out there for this so if you know of one please mention it in the comments!
My first attempt was to export my posts in XML format and then use Excel to parse out the post d [read] Keywords: eclipse
Blogging – Quality versus Quantity
Tue, Dec 18th 2012 8:03a Bob Balfe In the spirit of reading others posts about “how much they are blogging lately” I decided to look at my own statistics in this space. I will admit, in the past year or so I consciously decided to blog much more specific information to my job, programming, etc. and a lot less about personal stuff where as I decided to use other channels like Facebook to put more of my personal posts. One thing I have been consistently watching is “views per day”. I feel as long as I can ke [read] Keywords: blogging
The WebSphere Commerce Ajax Framework
Wed, Dec 12th 2012 8:00a Bob Balfe With the new Aurora store front comes many new and exciting features. One feature I really like is the way the store uses Ajax throughout the user interface. The WebSphere Commerce Ajax Framework is based on Dojo (check out the Dojo Ajax documentation here) and it does a great job in easing the use of Dojo in your store front. You can read more about the framework here in the InfoCenter.
But lets dive on the implementation just a little.
The basic flow of the framework is to define callable acti [read] Keywords: ibm
My new Pinterest board for some GIMP work I have been doing
Mon, Nov 12th 2012 9:01a Bob Balfe Check out my new Pinterest board, I play with GIMP a lot in my spare time.
Link to board is here.
I followed this video I found on YouTube, I think this is the best video showing the mask layer concepts in GIMP. It is amazing how easy it is to do something like this in GIMP. [read] Keywords:
Happy Birthday Marines!
Fri, Nov 9th 2012 7:01a Bob Balfe Photo from Shortwave Central
To all United States Marines in the world, I want to wish you a 236th Happy Birthday! Have a safe and fun weekend. [read] Keywords:
Modifying the Aurora Home Page
Thu, Nov 8th 2012 12:20p Bob Balfe With the new code base in the WebSphere Commerce Aurora starter store it is even easier to modify things like the Home page. Basically all of the store “templates” are now abstracted out into a single folder and are individual JSP pages. If you want to learn how to create a new template for a page “type” you should check out this great article by Drew Harvey. In Aurora, there are several different template types out of the box:
Produc [read] Keywords: websphere
Who’s viewed your profile?
Thu, Nov 1st 2012 7:20a Bob Balfe Your LinkedIn profile can either be a positive or negative element in the social world equation. I received some good tips from Ben Martin about how to have a profile that gets results. While I am not looking for a job, I do use my LinkedIn profile to connect with customers and partners and I want to be “found” when I am not out looking for others. I want others to find me. Since I expanded my introduction section I have seen a drastic difference in the statistics around how many tim [read] Keywords: linkedin
Promoted Facebook Post Results
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 8:07a Bob Balfe Last week I promoted a post on Facebook just to see what it did. According to Facebook my advertising results “are in” and as you can see below the post received 99% more paid views than “regular” views – I have no way of validating that by the way. I guess that means 99% of the views were from it being in the right side bar and only 1% of the views were in the regular feed.
Some observations, almost everyone that replied to the thread didn’t even see the post [read] Keywords: facebook
Motivation: Hello? You play to win the game…
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 6:16a Bob Balfe Hello? You play to win the game.You don’t play it to just play it. That’s the great thing about sports: you play to win, and I don’t care if you don’t have any wins. – Herm Edwards
When Herm Edwards said those words last year to the press the NY Jets finished the remainder of the season by winning seven of their last nine games. This isn’t just about sports but just about anything you do in life. Giving it your all and playing to win is key, you don’t ne [read] Keywords: email
Lightbox Plus now active on this blog
Fri, Oct 26th 2012 12:20p Bob Balfe I installed the Lightbox Plus WordPress plugin from here. Go ahead and check out the feature by clicking on the image below. I love how simple this plugin was to install and get up and running, very cool and easy to use feature!
Lightbox Plus implements ColorBox as a lightbox image overlay tool for WordPress. ColorBox was created by Jack Moore of Color Powered and is licensed under the MIT License. [read] Keywords:
Effectively using #hashtags with Twitter
Thu, Oct 25th 2012 4:01a Bob Balfe One of the features I love about the Twitter application for iPad and iPhone is the use of the hash tag. I follow a particular hash tag during events like #debates, #ibm, #survivor, etc. The applications on the iPhone and iPad under the Discover area allow you to follow the activity for that particular hash tag and quickly use that hash tag in your own posts. When you click the write icon you get the hash tag placed in the entry field automatically for you and highlighted. This is a big time sav [read] Keywords: ibm
My Top 5 Twitter tips
Wed, Oct 24th 2012 4:00a Bob Balfe Here are my top five Twitter tips for the professional and casual Twitterer:
Use at least one or two hash tags. Many sources on the net will say the most powerful aspect of Twitter is the hash tag and search. I have also read that readership starts to fall after two hash tags, so you can use three but I would not recommend going to four or more hash tags.
Whether you do it professionally or just for fun, be somewhat consistent with what you Tweet. If you need to have mul [read] Keywords: twitter
Was Klout fixed recently?
Tue, Oct 23rd 2012 8:00a Bob Balfe I have been complaining about Klout for about a month because it seemed the data it was capturing was out of date, a lot. I noticed it was mostly Facebook so Twitter started to become my primary scoring percentage for my Klout score – which I know I don’t Tweet that much. Over the weekend it looks like “something” was fixed. If I had to guess, I bet Facebook probably changed an API or something, but that is just a guess.
Being is software development, I can imaging this c [read] Keywords: bug
Why Kred is better than Klout in my opinion.
Wed, Oct 17th 2012 7:00a Bob Balfe One simple word, transparency!
When I go to Kred I get a first class user interface that shows all of my “shares” and the interactions they received – this is hands down the best feature I love about the site. Klout attempted this with “Your Moments” but its flaky and never seems up to date.
The second best feature is the fact I can see how my Kred score is calculated on my points page. I can learn what gets more points and for what reasons. Once again, I share and [read] Keywords: interface
Measuring Influence – My Algorithm
Mon, Oct 15th 2012 8:50a Bob Balfe Over the weekend I had some great dialog with some Twitter folks (@peoplefw, @TedRubin) about the value of Klout, Kred, etc. Spawning from my previous post about “Rewarding Influential Customers” the discussion quickly became one of the value of such applications and are they really accurate. I spent some time thinking about an algorithm that “could” suffice for establishing true influence.
In my simple mind the concept of sharing should not even be in the equation of a [read] Keywords: applications
Rewarding the influential customer – Part 1
Fri, Oct 12th 2012 11:50a Bob Balfe So you have heard of Klout Scores or Kred Influence and are not sure what it means in the end. One scenario I have played out is rewarding an influential social person when they comment or rate a product on a commerce site. This will be a two-part post where I set up the logic engine in the first step then show the result in the second post. In the scenario below I have extended the Management Center tooling with a new Klout Score checker, allowing the marketing person to target customers with [read] Keywords: ibm
After you click the buy button
Wed, Oct 10th 2012 4:01a Bob Balfe You get an email from your favorite store and see a coupon for 20% off now through the next weekend. You click on the link and you are now shopping online. You add a few items to the cart and finally click that “Buy” button. Ok, it is probably a check out button but that didn’t sound as good as the way John said it in his post on the Smarter Commerce Blog.
The first thing the customer does after hitting the button is go through the checkout flow. This is a critical pi [read] Keywords: email
Getting started on LinkedIn – My Top 5 tips
Tue, Oct 9th 2012 8:00a Bob Balfe I joined LinkedIn in December of 2005. This was at a time when MySpace was King and Facebook was a college only thing slowly getting into high schools as a social network. At first I didn’t think the concept of LinkedIn would be successful but at the same time I did believe it had a lot of potential, boy has it changed (for the better) over the years. Let’s get to some tips for effectively using LinkedIn.
Tip #1 – Your Profile
You must complete your profile with a picture. Th [read] Keywords: connections
Dynamic Customer Segments by Example
Fri, Oct 5th 2012 4:01a Bob Balfe A few months back I initially wrote about dynamic customer segments. I explained the basic concepts and even showed the possible targets you can use with the out of the box functionality in WebSphere Commerce. The next few posts are going to focus on a similar topic of pointing promotions, advertisements, and products to customers based on data points or events.
In WebSphere Commerce, the primary area I am focusing on in this post is the Dialog Activity function under the Marketing tab. This is [read] Keywords: ibm
The power of SEO when no one is home…chirr chirr chirr chirr
Wed, Oct 3rd 2012 7:40a Bob Balfe One of the interesting things about the internet and writing on the internet is once you get some kind of solid foundation you realize some articles are actually read sometimes months or even years after they are posted. Google does a good job in relevancy finds but its only as good as your title, tags, and content. If you are lucky you may create enough articles that when someone searches on their favorite search engine they get directed to your masterpiece.
I try to tag/categorize every singl [read] Keywords: google
What is real time inbound marketing?
Thu, Sep 27th 2012 7:10p Bob Balfe I guess first we have to understand what “inbound marketing” is before we get into the real time aspects of it. According to Wikipedia the definition for inbound marketing is:
Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value. Blogs, podcasts, video,eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other fo [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM’s Processor Value Unit [PVU] licensing for Distributed Software
Thu, Sep 27th 2012 11:30a Bob Balfe WebSphere Commerce fits into the “Distributed Software” pricing model at IBM. This means you pay by processor type and how many cores that are active for the software. Essentially any “active” core the software is running on you have to pay the Processor Value Unit (PVU) for each of those cores. From the writing of this article the suggested retail price per 100 PVU’s is $119,000*. You can read more about that on the Passport Advantage site here. I specifically say [read] Keywords: ibm
Enabling a second extended site to use Distributed Order Management
Wed, Sep 26th 2012 6:40a Bob Balfe While WebSphere Commerce (WC) can do basic order management very well, you may have some requirements that will push you to a third party order management system. One example would be a cross-channel call center, like the one in Sterling Order Management, another solution in the Smarter Commerce portfolio. If you have the developer edition of WC 7, feature pack 4 you can configure the base Madisons store for the external order management function by following these instructions: link here.
Now, [read] Keywords: ibm
HTML5 Automation best in Internet Explorer – See for yourself
Tue, Sep 25th 2012 7:00a Bob Balfe The video in the previous post did not do the test justice as many could not tell it truly is a smoother animation so here you go, you can view this web page yourself on the different browsers.
What I see on my machine is a much smoother animation of both the outer box and the growing text. Notice it is not choppy at all in IE, very smooth. And just an FYI, I am a solid Chrome user for a few years now, before that FireFox, and before that IE. With all of these IE commercials on television I had [read] Keywords: firefox
Internet Explorer KILLS the competition with HTML 5 Animation
Mon, Sep 24th 2012 9:00p Bob Balfe I downloaded the Adobe’s new Edge Animate and played around with the tutorials for a bit and even did a basic animation. After I saved the HTML I then launched it into my default browser (Chrome) and was not very impressed. The animation was very choppy and even left blit marks throughout the animation, some really bad double buffering going on…
I then went back into Edge Animate and added even more animation, the text growing over the time line. This made it even worse in Chrome! I [read] Keywords: firefox
Update to the Unica Campaign to WebSphere Commerce video on YouTube
Fri, Sep 21st 2012 7:30a Bob Balfe I had to remove the first video because I left an image in the video that should not have been in there. I changed the image to one of our stock images for our demo environment versus the custom image I used for a customer. So you may here an audio change in the video where I spliced it out. I already updated the previous post with the new video URL. [read] Keywords: websphere
Integrating Unica Campaign and WebSphere Commerce
Wed, Sep 19th 2012 9:50p Bob Balfe In this video I show one way how Unica Campaign and SPSS scoring can be integrated with WebSphere Commerce. I demonstrate how basic customer segmentation based on unauthenticated, authenticated male, and an authenticated female customers get a different experience in the online store. This is a basic integration of WebSphere Commerce and Unica Campaign, depending on your environment and the data repositories in your environment you may have a different approach. [read] Keywords: integration
Why inbound marketing is becoming key to retailers
Thu, Sep 13th 2012 5:00a Bob Balfe I read this article today (How to Grow Your Business with Inbound Marketing) and totally agree with the writer about how a transition from the traditional outbound marketing is becoming less popular to inbound marketing. This is a fundamental premise of Smarter Commerce! It puts the knowledgeable customer at the focal point of the business and marketing machine. Having my friends recommend products or product reviews in general are much more powerful than an advertisement on television (outb [read] Keywords:
This just in: Google+ is still uninhabited
Tue, Sep 11th 2012 6:10p Bob Balfe I know that blog title will attract some attention and it even sounds like something you would see on The Onion but I had to write this.
I joined Google+ well over a year ago and I still see little activity on it. I post “most” everything I post on Facebook and Twitter to Google+, not everything, but pretty close. Guy Kawasaki might be right stating Google+ is the Mac of Social:
“From my perspective, Google+ is to Facebook and Twitter what Macintosh is to Windows: better, but f [read] Keywords: facebook
Why Khan Academy is a great site
Mon, Sep 10th 2012 8:10p Bob Balfe If you have a child that is a student at pretty much any level, then you need to check out Khan Academy. Even parents can learn a lot from this site, from basic math to trading stocks – there are over 3000 videos and tutorials to learn from.
I started a couple of weeks ago having my youngest son use Khan Academy to learn and review school subjects and even simply watch things on the site that interest him. I am sure teachers will have a different opinion about the site but I promise, thi [read] Keywords:
Great example of a customer dialog activity!
Fri, Aug 31st 2012 8:40a Bob Balfe I went on to Tommy Hilfiger’s site and I instantly get this splash screen:
I love their products and getting 20% off for simply registering is a great idea to me! I went ahead and registered and sure enough a little bit later in the Balfe household I get an email to verify my email address and account with a coupon code!
So how did they do this? Well, I don’t know exactly how they did it but I can pretty much guess.
First, they set up a flash advertisement on the site for unauthent [read] Keywords: ibm
Aurora – the new WebSphere Commerce Starter Store
Fri, Aug 31st 2012 6:10a Bob Balfe No audio in this one! Just a high level view of what you get out of the box with WebSphere Commerce. This new look and feel was introduced in feature pack 5. Very slick, new, and fresh looking. I don’t show anything really technical, I just wanted to highlight the new visuals in the starter store. The store pages were designed to take advantage of the new page template feature in Feature Pack 5. There is also tighter integration with Order Management which is what I will be focusing on a b [read] Keywords: integration
Customer Centricity and The Smarter Commerce Summit
Thu, Aug 30th 2012 7:00a Bob Balfe According to The Business Dictionary, customer-centric is defined as:
Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.
A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.
Read more here.
I have been in the software industry for well over 20 years and have attended many conferences that are catered to customers. I had the pleasure of attending the summit last [read] Keywords: ibm
Presentation Tip: Locating the pointer for the viewer
Thu, Aug 9th 2012 8:13a Bob Balfe When you create tutorial videos or live presentations of software you may want to have the viewer see where the mouse is at certain times throughout the video. Windows 7 has a pretty slick feature that you can enable in the Mouse dialog box. Enabling that option will then allow you to simply hit the CTRL key to get a visual indicator of where the pointer is. This is great for highlighting the pointer and also highlighting a button or a click option you will click.
Many video production software [read] Keywords:
Aurora: Product Price Display uncovered
Fri, Jul 20th 2012 10:34a Bob Balfe I recently enhanced the new Aurora starter store to show the percent savings the customer gets between the list price and the offer price. The price may be configured to give a discount to the customer directly based on segmentation or contract, or the price may just be different across the entire site. Either way, this modification works in both cases. Today I am going to walk you through how I made those changes and show how easy it is to enhance the store. Here is the original screen shot of [read] Keywords: css
WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 5 is available!
Wed, Jul 11th 2012 9:43a Bob Balfe This isn’t “fresh” news, the feature pack has been available for a week or two, I have just been swamped with vacation and work to write about it. There are a lot of great enhancements to WebSphere Commerce in this feature pack, most of which came directly from customer demand so kudos to the lab for executing on these! I highlight some of my favorite ones here.
Aurora Starter Store
Completely redesigned starter store to be more up to date with today’s look and feel. T [read] Keywords: admin
Christine A Trinkaus Memorial Golf Tournament
Fri, Jun 29th 2012 8:34a Bob Balfe It is that time of year again and my cousins are hosting the 10th Annual golf tournament for their mother Chrstine. This is a great tournament and all proceeds and donations go directly to fighting cancer. You don’t have to play to donate you can simply click on the donation button on the site and give whatever you can afford. I know if every person reading this simply gave a dollar it would help out the cause a lot.
DONATE TODAY! [read] Keywords: facebook
Social bots can keep you alive forever
Thu, Jun 28th 2012 9:54a Bob Balfe Immortality is impossible to achieve. In the past we built pyramids, art, or did something to be remembered. In the virtual age there is now a new option to keep you alive and with very little effort.
Imagine this, you will always be alive on Twitter, Facebook, Google+,etc. A program that “manages” your accounts forever. It accepts new followers and automatically follows new followers. It re-tweets posts based on key words or your defined interests. It scours the internet for the sa [read] Keywords: facebook
Getting Social must read for all brands!
Tue, Jun 26th 2012 7:16a Bob Balfe According to this article and a report from Buddy Media, marketing managers are not effectively using Twitter.
Some key guidelines are also in the article:
Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without, yet only 24% of tweets during the time of the study used them.
Using one or even two hashtags in a tweet is fine, but if you add a third, you’ll begin to see an average 17% dropoff in engagement.
Posts with images have double the engagement of those without even though users [read] Keywords: twitter
Work life balance and my current side project
Fri, Jun 22nd 2012 1:13p Bob Balfe After reading this blog post I realized I am very similar in mindset as the author. I pretty much always have a side project, whether it is for my real job or one of my hobby projects I have written about on this blog. I do think the “best” employees in a technical role are the ones who are always playing. Playing with technology, concepts, API’s etc. The idea is the breadth of the individual grows and has ancillary benefit to their primary job. This has certainly been true for [read] Keywords: database
Is Buy Online and Pickup In Store interesting to you?
Wed, Jun 20th 2012 4:04a Bob Balfe I do a lot of shopping online and many times I use my mobile phone or my laptop to see if a product is available at a store. Best-Buy for instance has Buy Online and Pick-Up in store. To me this plays right into the instant gratification we humans are adopting more and more – yeah that is probably a bad thing but oh well.
I actually used this during Christmas because a present was back-ordered and I got notified about a week before Christmas the item was no longer for sale. I then used the [read] Keywords: laptop
Why you should add a calendar to your eCommerce site
Tue, Jun 19th 2012 9:54a Bob Balfe I was playing around on Fab.com and I found it interesting it had a “Calendar” link at the top of the page. I clicked it and I was put to a calendar like page showing the Daily Sales specials coming up in the next week. I think this is an excellent concept for eCommerce sites. It is sort of like their own news paper of coupons right on the site. Knowing when a sale for an item you are interested in is key in the commerce space. Many companies hold promotions or sales on future dates [read] Keywords: java
Facebook, teenagers, and pre-teens
Tue, Jun 5th 2012 8:03a Bob Balfe There is word on the internet that Facebook might allow pre-teens to have accounts on Facebook. The reality is many accounts on Facebook are already under the age of 13 and there isn’t much anyone can do about it. As parents you can friend your child and actively monitor their accounts but the child can easily de-friend you and then you have to apply other means of discipline. You also see many other articles about this topic, like “The 5 Facebook Dangers“. The article explains [read] Keywords: facebook
Content Management in WebSphere Commerce – Part 1
Fri, Jun 1st 2012 3:13p Bob Balfe I took the advice of my readers and went ahead and attempted to put myself in the introduction of the video. It is amazing how many takes it took to get it right. Trying to keep looking into the camera and moving around was the most difficult part. Not too mention I don’t have a teleprompter so speaking off the cough and getting it right was also a challenge.
In this video I show how a marketing person can use the WebSphere Commerce Business tooling (Management Center) to create a basic p [read] Keywords: websphere
Putting yourself in a YouTube video, is it worth the fuss?
Thu, May 24th 2012 10:01a Bob Balfe I have done close to 40 videos on YouTube and I have heard on several occasions that I should put a video of myself down in the lower right corner of my demonstrations. I have mixed feelings about this. One, I think having my face in the video and seeing me speak may be good to ‘connect’ with my viewers but I can’t get passed the space it takes on the screen. The real-estate is hard to deal with already and I kind of feel having me on the screen would just be a kind of narciss [read] Keywords: laptop
Killer App for iPhone: Group Text!
Thu, May 24th 2012 5:01a Bob Balfe I am finding more and more I have to use group texting from my iPhone. I have a group of friends, a softball team to coach and a pretty big family. All of these “lists” have to be created manually and since many of my recipients phones don’t support group messaging the “list” gets lost and I have to recreate it. The iPhone also does not let you add people to the message once the original message is sent. I really think this should just be a feature on the iPhone, ma [read] Keywords: application