March 2018

How Augmented Reality Could Reshape Customer Experience In eCommerce?

Needless to say, it is reshaping the customer experience in eCommerce where mobile, tablet and desktop was ruling the roost until now.

Follow the money and we see that businesses are already betting big on Augmented Reality. PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey has found that 24% of executives will make significant investments in AR in next three years. The survey also found that 25% of executives believe digital technology investments like Augmented Reality will help create better customer experiences.

This is the era of experience-driven commerce. Customers are drawn heavily towards experiences more than cheap prices and alternative options.

Augmented Reality which forms part of the bigger technology called Mixed Reality is bridging the Physical And Virtual Worlds of customers. It is conjuring digital experiences in physical environments that captivates, educates and engages customers more than traditional mediums.

What benefits can Augmented Reality bring to eCommerce?

Augmented Reality development can bring to eCommerce a host of benefits that will dispel erstwhile challenges.

Some such benefits are discussed briefly below:

Reduced Return Rate

Invesp’s eCommerce product return statistics report that at least 30% of all products ordered online are returned. Product received looks different, wrong size mismatch are the most common reasons why most of the products are returned. Augmented Reality can help reduce product return rates to a large extent by offering customers a real-time view of how the product will look like without having to try them physically.

Engaging Customer Experiences

Augmented reality enables customers to visualize the product right in their immediate surroundings. It gives an enriched feeling that creates an emotional connection, unlike other digital mediums. It provides information in an easy-to-access manner which leads to multi-sensory learning.

User-level Personalization

Augmented reality connects with users on an individual level. Each user is able to interact with the rich media on a real-time basis without any barriers in between. This heightens the user experience that is hard to come by in a desktop website or a mobile app. Further, unlike a virtual environment where users are planted in artificial scenarios created by computers, in AR, the user gets the digital experience in the same physical surroundings where they are.

Content + Commerce

Augmented Reality helps drive content-driven commerce. Content commerce refers to the process of generating revenue using the content. Augmented reality is built upon digital content that includes digital snippets of places, instructions, star ratings or even videos. Disney ads even used AR posters to promote its movie Prince of Persia.

Some ways eCommerce retailers can use Augmented Reality

eCommerce brands around the world have already harnessed Augmented Reality to their benefit. Here are some ways how AR can be used to increase customer engagement, augment selling prowess, reduce product returns and dispel several other eCommerce challenges.

Virtual Trial Rooms

Augmented reality trial rooms enable customers to try on their goods virtually without having to put them on physically. Features like facial recognition and 3-D imaging are at work. They help customers get a real-time view of how the dress/accessory would look on them if worn on. The direct reflection helps in picking the right size and choice of product which ultimately reduces the number of products that are returned.

AR Product Demos

AR can help offer realistic product demos in actual settings but through virtual means. Customers can point at physical spaces to see how their choice of furniture, wall painting, artifact, etc. fits in. It helps in picking the right sized and textured product. This saves time for eCommerce store owners who otherwise would have to engage a sales rep to answer all customer queries on a regular basis.

Beauty Products

Cosmetics happen to be one among the top product categories that are purchased online. Unfortunately, a lot of them also are returned by customers. In cases where returns is not entertained, there is a sudden spike in customer churn. The need for product return arises when the customer realizes that the product delivered do not actually suit their beauty needs. Augmented Reality can weed away this problem for both customers and retailers with the help of facial recognition.


Loyalty Points

Loyalty is a critical success factor in eCommerce. Discounts, personalized offers, coupons, promo codes, etc. make the eCommerce world a happy place for customers. Augmented reality app for eCommerce discount offers, coupons, loyalty points, etc. can go a long way in winning and sustaining the loyalty of customers.

The promise of mixed reality is too big for eCommerce players to ignore. Augmented Reality helps visualize the reality in a virtual way thus augmenting how we interact with the real and physical world. In eCommerce selling, this could turn out to be a massive advantage.

Want to know how Augmented Reality can work in your eCommerce store favor?

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Oracle Endeca Commerce – An Overview

Oracle Endeca Commerce is designed to empower retailers to deliver a superior selling experience that will drive more clicks and conversions.

Oracle Endeca Commerce is an eCommerce search engine that is renowned to provide personalized search experience and is a pioneer of the faceted search feature that helps users to find the exact product they are looking for. On-Site Search for any eCommerce application is very vital as it is found that 60% of the users leave the site after a poor search experience.

Oracle Endeca Commerce brings to the table the following endeca search features which make it a leader among all other search engine providers.

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The CIO’s Quick Guide To Taking The Machine Learning Dive

CIO’s all over the globe are advancing their Machine Learning plans. The debate over Machine Learning as a boon or bane has long ended. Machine Learning has emerged as a victor with tangible benefits that CIOs want to embrace with all their might.

The ServiceNow Global CIO Point of View has found that 53% of CIOs surveyed have specified Machine Learning as their focal point. The survey also revealed that C-suite is leaning on ML as a catalyst for Digital Transformation.

But, for the CIO who is used to steering a mammoth organization with legacy systems, ML might appear to be quite a slippery ground.

An uncertainty about where to start, how to start and how to integrate the short-term with the long-term strategy is bound to kick in.

That uncertainty is what exactly what we are trying to dispel with this blog.

This is a CIO’s quick guide to getting started with Machine Learning. Here you go.

1.Identify Areas Of Application

Machine Learning implementation is possible only if you have enough data to build data models for predictions. Data from diverse sources like structured databases and unstructured databases must be consolidated and also cleansed for uniformity. It helps identify the exact operations or areas where the data lake can be used. For instance, integrating ML into accounting, marketing, HR, sales, customer service, etc.

2.Start Small, Scale Fast

Machine Learning is not a magic wand that can transform an entire function overnight through automation. Like building a skyscraper, an ML model is built brick by brick through continuous learning. A logical way to start ML would be to run smaller projects as ML experiments to test feasibility. Once the feasibility is proved, the RoI can be measured for scaling the data model across a function.

For instance, what kind of questions is repeated by customers when they ring up your company? If a pattern can be detected, a virtual assistant like a chatbot can be trained to automate the interactions which will reduce the efforts and time spent by personnel on addressing recurring questions with standard replies.

3.Ensure Data Integrity

The predictions you would get out of your ML system is directly proportional to the integrity of your data. You present the system with dirty data, you are bound to get wrong predictions that will make the whole ML system ineffective.

It is no surprises that data-driven enterprises have already invested resources to create new data strategies by harmonizing ERP systems, standardizing data definitions and cleansing data. The unified data strategy would help them look at their business from a 30,000 feet height with the ability to zoom down to 3-inch detailing.

So cleansing your data and making it ready for the ML system to weave through and arrive at accurate decisions is a prerequisite to taste success in machine learning.

4.Set Up A Data Team

Machine learning requires the expertise of a team with diverse skills. A single software engineer with graduation in mathematics and science is not going to help you scale your ML implementation. You will need to assemble a team comprising of data scientists, Big Data Architect, Systems Analyst and maybe a Business Analyst too.

Each team member will handle specific tasks ranging from setting up the data pipeline to teach the ML system to provide accurate predictions. That said, you cannot plan on hiring a single person who can do everything to set up the ML system as well have domain expertise to train the data model.

5.Build Domain Expertise

Although we are building a system that can automate tasks and make accurate predictions, the system first needs to be taught with basic data called test data. A domain expert who knows the in-out of the industry and its way of working must train the system with data models.

For instance, if you are automating the task of taking customer support calls for a software, you have to teach the ML system how the software functions under various scenarios and also the various scenarios when things go wrong. Without domain expertise, the system is bound to run into several wrong predictions.

6.Craft Accurate Data Models

Accurate data models are what enables Artificial Intelligence to reach its maximum potential. The machine learning system has to be fed with testing data from which it can learn to infer information as well make predictions. Such test data must a population of data that represents all possible scenarios that the ML system would have to confront.

7.RoI doesn’t happen overnight

Be informed that while ML is a phenomenal technology, results don’t appear overnight. It takes some time before the system is wholly ready to make predictions with substantial accuracy. The accuracy of predictions improves with time as the system continuously learns from recurring input and responses given to it.

Final Words

Globally CIO’s are getting serious about Machine Learning and the positive impact it can bring to their businesses. PwC’s Digital IQ Survey 2017 found that 63% of executives are betting big on Artificial Intelligence as disruptive technologies. Machine Learning, being an arm of Artificial Intelligence is a surefire priority for CIOs. But, understanding the technology, its requirements and the immediate agenda is a tricky affair. We have tried to simplify that transition with this blog.

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Magento 2.2 Key features That Will Make Lives of B2B Commerce Merchants Easier

Magento rolled out the 2.2 version on October 2nd 2017. Here is a gist of the functional fixes and enhancement updates that came out with it.


Magento has sharpened its stance as a B2B friendly eCommerce platform. The 2.2.x update comes with a host of key upgrades that will take Magento users to the next level of their efficiency.

Upgraded technology stack

The whole tech stack of Magento 2.2 is made cutting-edge with support for PHP 7.1 and Varnish 5, along with Redis 3.2 and MySQL 5.7. All third-party libraries like Zend and Symfony that Magento relies on heavily for heavily have been upgraded to the latest stable version.

Also, support for PHP 5.6, Solr and Varnish 3 have been discontinued. Solr will continue to remain the Magento code base until further version releases/upgrades happen.

In the earlier versions a mapper_parsing_exception was displayed when Elasticsearch was enabled. Now that the latest 2.2.3 comes with support for Elasticsearch 5.x that error is a thing of the past.

Advanced Reporting

Magento 2.2 is geared up to tell you how your business is performing from multiple aspects, including: order fulfillment, products, customer data and much more. Magento collects data and passes it on to Magento Business Intelligence for analytics. Magento BI churns out at least 20 reports and 3 well-decked dashboards full of data for proactive decision-making.

To be eligible to harness all the goodness of Magento Business Intelligence you must be the valid owner of the website and the website should be HTTPS-enabled with a SSL certificate. Also, you must have subscribed to the Advanced Reporting module.

Security Upgrades

Unserialize() calls have been removed to prevent code execution attacks. The Hashing algorithm (SHA-256) has also been strengthened for better security of the platform. Protection against XSS attacks have also been upped.


Bug fixes, refinements & improvisations all of which makes Magento 2.2 a worthy upgrade for B2B commerce.

Receive and Manage Quote Requests

Out of the box quote management and customer negotiation capabilities. Merchants can monitor all open quotes through quote management panel where quote details, history logs, and communications data are recorded.

Payment on credit option

A credit payment has been added along with PayPal and credit card payment modes. Configurable credit options will allow merchants to set up Minimum and maximum order limits, region-based credit restrictions, monitor customer credit lines, etc.

Advanced Account Management Tools

B2B customers can manage their own company accounts, categorize and organize customer information, import and export customer lists and also designate sales executives to specific accounts.


A handful of features that will help B2B merchants place orders quickly and easily with minimal steps. Several areas where time lag was felt like, shipping, ordering, catalog management etc. have been improved for better productivity.

Improved Shipping Options

Temendo based multi-carrier shipping and out of the box fulfillment that will enable merchants to achieve cost efficiencies. The new update will provide rules-based shipping option along with the ability to manage loading & dispatching of SKUs from anywhere.

Requisition Lists

All frequently ordered products are populated into lists for quick ordering. Customers can select desired products from the requisition lists, edit the quantity and finalize the requisition easily & quickly. Multiple lists based for various purchase scenarios can also be created.

Customized Catalogs

Merchants can create customized catalogs and price lists based on products, product categories & customers. Each catalog pricing can be narrowed down to the each product level for better control.


A handful of other features targeted at making

APIs for B2B

Web APIs for easier & simpler ERP or PIM integration available for new company, credit lines, shared catalogs, quotes, and requisition lists. A REST API to add video to a product description is also part of the new release.

Pipeline Deployment

An automated pipeline deployment process that avoids downtimes, quickens the overall configuration process.

Community Support

Magento’s thriving community of engineers, developers, users and business owners who share quick hacks and remedies for sticky situations.


Well, that’s not it. Magento 2.2 has still more in substance as a refined eCommerce platform. These are a gist of features that shine as the best among all.

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7 Questions To Ask Your Magento B2B Commerce Development Agency

Great businesses are built on the foundation of partnerships. Choosing the right partner for Magento B2B commerce development can be a tricky affair. There are tens of hundreds of development agencies that claim to be good.

But, how do you zero in on a Magento B2B commerce development agency that can deliver what it promises? After all, there is time, money and expensive resources at stake.

Here are 7 questions that will help you appraise your options better and pick at the right Magento B2B commerce development agency.

1.Are You A Full-service Firm?

A full-service firm is an agency that offers end-to-end design, development & deployment services. Compared to a one-man shop, they have a team of professionals who can handle diverse roles and responsibilities with ease. It brings down drastically the delays and inefficiencies that a single person development team would be prone to.

2.What Is The Size Of Your Magento B2B Commerce Team?

Taking sides with a full-service firm is a wise choice, but, do they have sufficient Magento expertise? Ask the Magento B2B Commerce development company the size and breadth of experience of their Magento team. Ideally, they must have a dedicated team made up of experienced and certified Magento developers.

There are four types of Magento certifications:

  1. Magento Certified Solution Specialist
  2. Front End Developer Certification
  3. Certified Developer
  4. Developer Plus

Depending on your project requirement, you can look for a Magento development company that has a team with adequate certifications.

Certified Magento developers will adhere to code standards that will run smoothly without the hindrance of bugs. And, the experience means that work gets done faster with results.

3.Can You List Some Magento B2B Commerce Achievements Of Your Firm?

This is just like asking a candidate about his/her past achievements in an interview. The motive is obvious. Has this company helped its clients overcome critical challenges with its Magento B2B commerce development services?

A company which does not have much to talk about is not an ideal candidate. If they can demonstrate the list problems they solved, the innovative solutions they devised and the final results they delivered, the company is an ideal option to go with. In fact, you can head straight to their website’s case studies section to find all the information to get a heads-up.

4.What is your project management process?

Agile. Agile. Agile.an Agile project management is the perfect partner you can ask for. The Project Management Institute reports that at least 71% of the organizations use an Agile approach for project management. Why Agile project management?

Because it is inherently beneficial in delivering benefits like:

  1. Better project control
  2. Reduced project risks
  3. Faster ROI
  4. Stable releases
  5. Continuous testing

Agile project management methodology ensures that your project turnaround is minimal, which brings us to the next question. So a Magento development company that follows Agile methodology should be your natural choice.

5.What is your average turnaround time?

There is no definite answer to this. Each company would have a different timeline. For a Magento development company with immense B2B expertise and experience, it shouldn’t take long. However, don’t be misled by the assumption that a company which delivers within a short phase of life is good to go it.

Your focus should be in finding out whether the company has a solid process of sticking to a timeline. It is here that a company following an Agile process would prove beneficial. They run sprints with established goals that push the project towards completion at a constant pace.

6.How would I stay in the loop about the project update?

As a stakeholder, you have the right to be updated on the project status, the plans set for the next sprint, bugs that need to be fixed and so on. This is because the project would be usually handled by a person other than the business development executive who attended to your inquiry.

In a well-established firm, there would be a dedicated project manager who would be the one-point contact for everything related to the product. The PM would be responsible for sending status reports, following up bug fixes, attending to client calls for a revision in project requirements, timelines and so on.

7.What if something goes wrong?

Things rarely go wrong with professional firms. But, when they do, there is always a backup plan in place that ensures that things are reset to resume progress. Before engaging the Magento B2B commerce development company, ask for their Escalation Matrix.

An Escalation matrix it the list of people and their contacts who should be alerted when something doesn’t work the way it was supposed to work. The matrix would include everyone from project manager to the director depending on the level of escalation. Without an escalation matrix, holding the firm accountable for its shortcomings would be a problem.

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What makes Magento 2.0 a winner for B2B commerce?

Magento is one among the top 3 most used eCommerce platforms in the world. Magento is such a sturdy platform that even global brands like Nike, Ford Motor Co., Procter & Gamble Co., 3M, Cisco and the likes are using it for their B2B commerce operations.

Here is a look at how much volume of commerce these brands are transacting using Magento:

Companies and their annual B2B Commerce sales for 2015:

  • Ford Motor Co. – $16.71 billion
  • Nike – $13.2 billion
  • Procter & Gamble Co. – $8.97 billion
  • 3M – $8.5billion

Apart from these giant brands, there are also 650,000+ Magento stores functioning in the B2B space.

So, what makes Magento so lucrative an option for these brands?

B2B Commerce-friendly features of Magento B2B

Magento Commerce is engineered to empower B2B enterprises to deliver a modern, intuitive and smooth purchasing process. For B2B enterprises that are already used to the offline route, Magento also paves the way for the digital transformation of legacy commerce systems.

Here are some highlight features of Magento that makes it a winner for B2B commerce.

Customized Pricing made easy

In B2B merchandising, each customer is unique and so are their wants. They want the products to be showcased differently and also priced to suit their budget limits.

Spreadsheets and word processors cannot help achieve a level of efficiency that B2B marketers would expect. Magento B2B Commerce helps assign custom catalogs and price rates for each individual customer that takes care of the entire purchase journey – from proforma invoice to final invoice.

Comprehensive Company Account Management

Magento Commerce enables traversing the many levels of procurement layers found in enterprises. Customers can also track order statuses, punch new orders, monitor credit lines, assign buyer roles and permissions and much more using built-in self-service tools.

One-touch Bulk ordering

Unlike B2C commerce where the orders are transactional in nature, B2B buying usually happens in bulk quantities. Magento makes it easy to process bulk orders. Additionally, there is also an option to set up bulk discounts. The eCommerce platform has flexible rules for a shopping cart, catalog management and product management which makes it easy to process bulk orders seamlessly.

Quick Ordering

B2B businesses need to address customer requisitions on the fly. The luxury of time to create fresh orders for similar orders or replenishments is not there. Magento’s quick ordering facility ensures that orders can be quickly created from saved shopping lists or pre-built templates.

Simple, functional & Interactive CMS

Magento is one of the best eCommerce platforms that gives maximum flexibility and visual-friendliness in merchandising. The Visual Merchandiser feature enables B2B merchants to showcase their products with proper categorization, visual elegance and simple navigation. All this and much more can be done with minimal steps like drag-and-drop.

Mobile-readiness for the mobile generation

Mobile commerce has become a mandate than an option for B2B players. According to Hybris report, 54% of B2B customers are using mobile devices to research and buy products online. Magento Commerce users are primarily business owners who want to make purchase requisitions on the go, from the place where they are, with the device they have. Magento’s mobile-readiness also helps deliver an advantage SEO that is native to mobile-responsive websites.

Built-in reports for quick decision making

With 75 built-in reports and many other customizable report templates for, Magento Commerce is a B2B retailer’s best friend. The interactive report presentation in the form of charts and graphs helps make quick decisions out of an otherwise mathematical mayhem of numbers.

Final Thoughts

All these features and the recent updates rolled out with Magento 2.2 release makes Magento an unbeatable winner for B2B commerce selling. It makes the lives of merchants as well as customer simpler and easier.

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How Chatbot Development Can Rethink Customer Service in eCommerce?

“Should you make your own chatbot for eCommerce?”

Yes, we say!

Chatbots are touted as one of the trending eCommerce trends for 2018 and beyond. It is obvious why retailers are pouring time and money into building a chatbot that will reimagine the quality of their customer service.

The 3Cinteractive Chatbot Progress Report has found that about “77% of consumers surveyed said positive interactions with chatbots make them purchase more often.”

Whether it is for increasing revenue or to render a better customer service or even to automate internal operations, chatbots for eCommerce have plenty of applications.

Why Retailers Should build an ecommerce chatbot?

They personalize the customer experience

From first visit to checkout, an eCommerce chatbot can be a virtual personal assistant with a human logic and machine memory. To quantify the possibilities, an intelligent chatbot will be able to drive conversions as high as 30% through chatbot powered visitor engagement (Source: VentureHarbour).

Machine learning and NLP capabilities would help build the best chatbot for ecommerce that can enable to chatbot to analyze the customer’s past preferences and predict their next purchase intent and also offer tailor-made product recommendations. Advanced data crunching technologies like Big Data would further empower chatbots to deliver a targeted customer experience that can heighten brand engagement.

Chatbots will help overcome one of the biggest challenges of traditional marketing tactics like email marketing. These tactics often greeted the customer with out-of-context information or overly promotional content. A chatbot can supply the customer with content that is more relevant to the customer’s preferences. In fact, studies have proven that customers are ready to spend as much as $314 on products suggested by chatbots.

Multi-visitor Engagement

Unlike human personnel, chatbots can assist multiple visitors simultaneously. They can provide canned responses to recurring queries or even provide dynamic responses tailor-made to individual customers based on their transaction history.

Chatbot development services This delivers a two-fold advantage for eCommerce retailers. Consistent interaction with customers will help keep bounce rate to a bare minimum. Secondly, visitors who have their queries attended to in a personalized manner have a higher probability of converting into paying customers. Global Think Tank Gartner has predicted that by 2019, 20 Percent of User Interactions With Smartphones Will Take Place via VPAs (Virtual Personal Assistants).

Data mining for customer sentiment analysis

Is the customer’s query filled with angst or is it a common query that most users tend to ask? An intelligent chatbot would be able to do an accurate sentiment analysis by deducing the text pattern to rate the query as positive, negative or neutral.

Data mining customer interaction and the text inputs exchanged between the customer and the chatbot would help in predicting customer sentiment. It would aid in rendering a predictive customer service that will cement brand loyalty.

Quick resolutions for customer queries

Chatbots can be trained Entity Extraction from text. Entity extraction from text means identifying information like person’s name, location, store name, device name, unique identification number, etc. This would help the chatbot answer the customer queries proactively without asking more questions.

For instance, a customer who cites the unique identification number of his device can be served by the chatbot in his native language. More information like whether past service history of the product, warranty period, nearest authorized service centre can be provided by the chatbot without pestering the customer for too much of the information.

Anomaly Detection

Retailers are plagued with the risk of fraudulent transactions schemed by miscreants who leverage loopholes in the system. For example, a flawed return policy which allows the customer to return a purchased item even after its warranty period. Or a faulty delivery process that leads to more returns or failed delivery attempts.

Using anomaly detection, a chatbot would be able to single out such instances for further investigation. This would enable the retailer to perfect the selling process that is free of revenue leaks. The benefit that chatbots provide above manual analysis is that, unlike a human data scientist, they have the capability to predict such scenarios before they happen.

Closing In

With Machine Learning and Artificial Learning maturing as affordable technologies, the cost of building a chatbot has also reduced considerably. Retailers can bank on chatbots to take their business volumes to new heights. Chatbots are the most easily relatable manifestation in which retailers can use these technologies.

From cementing solid customer relationships to taking the heavy burden of customer service away from personnel, chabots can deliver high on several areas where constant challenges plague retailers. Partnering with a reliable chatbots development company who can provide the know-how and the technical assistance is a must-have.

From gaining insights to delivering instant value, a chabot can be an everlasting source of value for eCommerce retailers.

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