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Marketing & Commerce | March 5, 2021
Overview of HCL Commerce Content Manager
Every major release of HCL Commerce must have 3 WOWs designed to deliver value to our customers. We group these WOWs into categories - World-Class Experiences, Optimized Merchandising and Cloud Native. Today’s example is part of World-Class Experiences and our new HCL Commerce Content Manager capabilities. In our recent ( and releases, we enhanced our headless React based Reference Storefronts, EmeraldPlus (B2C) and SapphirePlus (B2B) with an embedded Content Management System (CMS). All the sample data necessary to support these storefronts has been loaded into the Content and Digital Asset Management system so that business users can take control of the store experience. EmeraldPlus (B2C)                                                     SapphirePlus (B2B) Let’s clarify a few terms before we dive in. Digital Assets – these would be your product images, attribute swatches, marketing content images, documents and videos. Web Content – this would be an assembled home hero image. The content would include the background from your digital assets, plus some overlay text as well as a call-to-action button perhaps. E-Marketing Spots – these are spots on a page where you can display content, products, etc. using the HCL Commerce Management Center. The EmeraldPlus and SapphirePlus reference storefronts display elements in E-Marketing Spots. Integrated Marketing Content Tools: From within HCL Commerce Management Center, we have added a menu item for “Content”. This is where you will launch in to either the Digital Asset or Web Content modules, depending on the task you are working on. We’ve also simplified logins by providing Single Sign-on capabilities to preserve user authentication when working with both tools. Within the Marketing tool of Management Center, we have created a new content type called...
Marketing & Commerce | March 5, 2021
How Search Powers the Future of Commerce
Recently I have been working with Ray Wang, Principle Analyst and Founder of Constellation Research on a thought leadership report on Search called How Search Powers the Future of Commerce. The report highlighted the key strategies leaders should take to enhance their search to drive real business benefits like: 35% more page views 41% more customer time spent on site 49% higher add-to-cart rate Ray’s perspective is always insightful and the more we talk, the more I learn. Add to the mix one of the resident HCL Commerce experts, Brian Gillespie, Director of Product Marketing, I feel I am taking a fast track to understanding both the business and the technical side of search. However, you too can benefit from their knowledge. HCL is hosting a fireside style chat with Ray and Brian on March 9 at 10am ET and you are welcome to join in the fun. Will it be the Battle of the Titans or will they align on their thinking? Whichever it is, I promise it will be fun, with not a single PowerPoint slide in sight. We will have deep discussions on the key topics like personalization and search in the customer journey; Is the hype about AI real? And where should you focus your efforts on search to beat your competitors? Not only that, we will go rapid fire with questions at the end to keep Ray and Brian on their toes. If your business partners are asking for help: Understanding the customer. Looking for ways to make better business decisions in merchandising products. Engaging the customer in new ways like voice and image search. Learning from every interaction instead of relying on rules! Register Now or Watch On-Demand after March 9, 2021. It promises to be one of the hottest sessions in 2021.  
Marketing & Commerce | March 5, 2021
Five Timeless Principles to Content Marketing Mastery
“Content is King, but Context is the Kingdom” - Gary Vaynerchuk  Content marketing has always been a mixed bag of art and science. We see the evidence of artistry across the breadth of our digital and analog landscape in masterful storytelling, catchy jingles and unbelievable visual creatives. One can almost hear the collective thumb scroll of memes, videos and other digital objects d'art on social media channels. Overconsumption issues aside, we glean daily inspiration for new products, services, hobbies, professional pursuits, and travel destinations from the content we consume. We also absorb a healthy amount of brand awareness along our journey through a seemingly mystical form of psychological osmosis. So where is the science in all of this? Well, behind the scenes companies are amassing armies of data-driven marketers with limited paid-media budgets and aggressive goals to monetize their content. Everything is being measured, monitored and analyzed to optimize media spend across strategic communication channels. Whether you are trying to milk the hundreds of influencer blog posts your brand ambassadors wrote, or get the most out of your expert product review videos, it’s critical that you get your content science right so that you get everything you can out of it. The first thing we have to let go of is the notion that customers move in a strictly linear fashion along the customer engagement cycle. It’s just not realistic. We aren’t robots and we don’t simply move from brand awareness, to consideration to purchase, to loyalty like in the days of yore. We buy things while walking down the street without barely a second’s thought. Retailers lure us into showrooms with sophisticated geotargeting techniques as we drive by without any premeditation in mind. We have simply become more opportunistic and impulsive. Our purchases aren’t always as thoughtful as they...
Marketing & Commerce | February 22, 2021
Get the Most Out of the New B2B Buyer and Seller Administration Enhancements
When it comes to B2B Commerce, self-service is key to an optimal buying experience. With our recent releases, including Sapphire, our new Headless React based / API driven B2B Reference Storefront, registering and managing your organization, buyers and approval has never been easier. To register your Organization, simply click Sign In and then select Organization Registration. You will then complete a brief registration form within which you will register your organization as well as an organization administrator account. Upon completion of the registration form, your registration request will be sent for Approval to the Seller. As the Seller, you will then login to the HCL Commerce Management Center and launch our newly designed business tools. Yes! No more need for legacy browser support to run these important tools!!!! We have overhauled these capabilities and developed modern Angular based tooling, which leverage our robust APIs and embedded them directly in Management Center. In this case, as the Seller we want to approve these organization and organization administrator registration requests. These approvals are located under Approvals. You will benefit from lots of great search and filtering capabilities to find exactly what you need quickly. For example, using filters you are able to view only those requests that are pending. Approving/rejecting these requests are as simple as clicking on the proper option under Actions. Here you can also enter in any comments we may want to be stored with each request. You’ll then see that your two approvals have been processed and they are in Approved status. Now that the Seller has approved the Organization and Organization Administrator registration requests, the Buyer can login to the Sapphire storefront. With the new Sapphire storefront, we’ve also included a variety of useful Dashboard views. One very useful view is the Administrative Tools. This provides the...
Marketing & Commerce | February 9, 2021
Finding Friction in the Shopping Funnel with HCL Unica Discover
We’ve all been there. You’re shopping online for something you need – that perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or even something as mundane as your groceries, and something goes wrong. Search is taking forever, the pick-up calendar isn’t working right on your phone, or maybe it’s just a big fat error message. So irritating, right? And what do you do when you get fed up with all the problems? You abandon and probably don’t go back! Now flip it around. You’re running an eCommerce site and now you’re the one causing problems! At least, that’s how your customers see it. So, what do you do to help them? What do you do to make sure that everyone is getting the best possible experience? Simple, you go back to your kindergarten lessons and follow the Golden Rule. Remember your own bad experiences as a shopper and make sure your customers don’t run into the same ones. “Think of shopping cart abandonment as the flip side of the customer engagement coin” Once you’ve committed to “what” you need to do, now you just need to learn “how” to do it. This is the challenging part but think of it like a game and you can have fun turning all of those frowns upside down! First, think of shopping cart abandonment as the flip side of the customer engagement coin. Everything you do to optimize engagement reduces abandonment and everything you do that contributes to abandonment will ultimately reduce your customer engagement (and loyalty). One solid tactic is to implement tooling that provides both quantitative and qualitative insights across the customer journey on each of your digital shopping touchpoints. It’s like x-ray glasses for your apps. Similar to the visibility that a business analytics platform provides, a customer experience analytics solution can give...
Marketing & Commerce | February 8, 2021
Commerce 9.1 Monitoring and Metrics
One of the most important things for any site is reliability and performance, to ensure the users are getting the best experience when accessing the site. The goal of monitoring is real-time visibility into the health and performance of the application in order to minimize the time it takes to discover and resolve a problem. HCL Commerce enables real-time monitoring and metrics through a framework that also includes Grafana dashboards to display the Commerce metrics. Monitoring Framework: There are three parts to the monitoring framework. The first is a fully customizable presentation layer that enables you to use your preferred tools to report and analyze your systems' performance. The second, the Prometheus toolkit, provides flexibility for the presentation layer to be vendor neutral. It is considered an industry-standard data-representation language. Finally, Prometheus gets its data from the fully customizable Micrometer library, which "scrapes" the data from your containers. Presentation Layer: Since HCL uses the Grafana for reporting in our internal testing, we have provided these dashboards out of the box. They are available for download here and can be used when setting up your reporting dashboards for 9.1 Commerce Site. They are easily imported into Grafana to use “as is” or can be customized as needed. Grafana is deployed with Prometheus Operator and extends Prometheus’ basic charting capabilities. Most applications that support Prometheus also make Dashboards available like Redis, Nginx, Kubernetes and Kafka to name a few which can be found here. Images of 3rd party dashboards The Commerce Grafana dashboards include, Java, Rest Performance, Cache, Ingest and Store among others. To demonstrate the dashboards, we did a small 50 user test to show how they can be used. We can monitor the state of the JVMs on any pod, by monitoring the CPU, Threads and Memory. It is easy...

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