eCommerce/Retail

Web Payments Interest Group Takes Flight

w3cdomainThe World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched an initiative to integrate payments seamlessly into the Open Web Platform, the collection of open technologies such as HTML, HTTP, and various APIs that enable the Web. It’s asking for industry stakeholders, such as banks, credit card companies, governments and others, to join the new Web Payments Interest Group, chaired by Erik Anderson (Bloomberg) and David Ezell (Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing), to help deepen understanding of challenges and how to meet them with the appropriate solutions to move e-commerce forward, including on mobile devices.

The Interest Group’s goals include improving usability across devices and reducing the risk of fraud, as well as creating new opportunities for businesses and consumers in areas such as coupons and loyalty programs and crypto-currencies. On its agenda is creating a Web Payments Roadmap, determining Web Payments terminology, dealing with payment transaction messaging and identity, authentication and security. As part of its work, the new group is charged with creating a framework to ensure that Web applications can interface in standard ways with all current and future payment methods, and will encompass the full range of devices people use for online payments.

First up, the W3C says, is a focus on digital wallets, “which many in industry consider an effective way to reduce fraud and improve privacy by having users share sensitive information only with payment providers, rather than merchants,” according to the release. “In addition, wallets can simplify transactions from mobile devices and make it easier to integrate new payment innovations.”

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Edgecase Wants To Help Online Retailers Build A Shoppers’ Discovery Paradise

shoppingLate this summer, adaptive experience company Compare Metrics (see our earlier coverage here) rebranded itself as Edgecase, carrying forward its original vision of creating inspiring online shopping experiences. Edgecase is working on white-label implementations with retail clients such as Crate & Barrel, Wasserstrom, Urban Decay, Golfsmith, Kate Somerville Cosmetics, and Rebecca Minkoff to build a better discovery experience for their customers, generating user-friendly taxonomies from the data they already have but haven’t been able to leverage to maximum shopper advantage.

“No one had thought about reinvigorating navigation or the search experience for 15 years,” says Garrett Eastham, cofounder and CEO. “The interactions driving these conversation today were driven by database engineers a decade ago, but now we are at the point in the evolution of ecommerce to make the web experience evolve to what it is like in the physical world.”

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With Web 3.0, the Bots Can Do the Shopping for You

5237986683_f8e38a251e_nSramana Mitra of Wired recently wrote, “Back in 2007, even before the iPhone was launched, giving us a powerful computer in our pockets or handbags, I started outlining a vision for Web 3.0. Tim Berners-Lee, a father of the World Wide Web, talks about the ‘Semantic Web,’ a way that computers employ the meaning of words — not just pattern matching — along with logical rules to connect independent nuggets of data and so create more context for information. The formula that makes the most sense to me is this: Web 3.0 results from combining content, commerce, community and context, with personalization and vertical search. Or, to put it in a handy phrase: Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).” Read more

NSTIC Embraces ID Management Solution

Photo of the band KISS concert in Montreal - Kiss Alive 35 TourKat Megas of NSTIC recently wrote, “Among the questions we’re asked most frequently about NSTIC is: why are trusted identities good for business? The NSTIC pilots have collectively started to answer that question, highlighting how better privacy, security and convenience are enabling new online business models, and driving higher sales and profits. One of the better examples of this has been the work done by NSTIC pilot awardee ID.me. In 2013, ID.me received a $2.8M cooperative agreement from NIST to pilot its trusted identity solution, which enables members of the military community and their families, First Responders, and students to access exclusive benefits and services online both securely and efficiently without having to share sensitive information with the brands directly. While this easy-to-use and interoperable solution aligns with the NSTIC guidelines, it also benefits partner companies’ bottom line.”

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New Schema.org Extension Proposal for the Automotive Industry

Photo: Interior of automobileThere is no doubt about it: Schema.org is a big success. It has motivated hundreds of thousands of Web site owners to add structured data markup to their HTML templates and brought the idea of exchanging structured data over the WWW from the labs and prototypes to real business.

Unfortunately, the support for information about the sales and rental of vehicles, namely cars, motorbikes, trucks, boats, and bikes has been insufficient for quite a while. Besides two simple classes for http://schema.org/Vehicle and http://schema.org/Car with no additional properties, there was nothing in the vocabulary that would help marking up granular vehicle information in new or used car listing sites or car rental offers.

Recently, Mirek Sopek, Karol Szczepański and I have released a fully-fledged extension proposal for schema.org that fixes this shortcoming and paves the ground for much better automotive Web sites in the light of marketing with structured data.

This proposal builds on the following vehicle-related extensions for GoodRelations, the e-commerce model of schema.org:

It adds the core classes, properties and enumerated values for describing cars, trucks, busses, bikes, and boats and their features. For describing commercial aspects of related offers, http://schema.org/Offer already provides the necessary level of detail. Thus, our proposal does not add new elements for commercial features.

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How GS1 is Shaping eCommerce in the Semantic Web

gs1Andrew Osborne, CTO of GS1 UK recently shared an overview of how the non-profit is leveraging the Semantic Web to improve customer experiences. He writes, “For those of you unfamiliar with what GS1 actually does, we are a not-for-profit standards development organisation. Put simply, our role is to define data structures and how these are used to identify things, a role we have been performing since the 1970s. We provide a series of ‘keys’ for industry which identify various types of entity (products, locations, assets and so on) and which have highly developed allocation rules. We have also defined product attributes for bar coding (the application identifier standards), have over 1,000 product attributes defined for synchronisation in the Global Data Synchronisation Network and an extensive Global Product Classification that is used to categorise products. For visibility systems we have a standard ‘Core Business Vocabulary.’ “ Read more

Inaugural Search and Social Commerce Index from Kenshoo and DataPop Finds Only 1.7% of Retail Products Posted on Social Commerce Properties

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Kenshoo, the global leader in predictive media optimization technology, and DataPop, the leading semantic advertising company focused on helping retailers better merchandise their products, today unveiled their inaugural Search and Social Commerce Index. Based on analysis of more than 40 retailers and their accompanying 3 million published products, the inaugural release of this quarterly index identifies significant opportunities for retailers to better capitalize on consumers’ growing propensity for social product discovery and align their search and social commerce initiatives for greater cross-channel success. Read more

Improving the Performance of Google Shopping Ads in AdWords

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Frederick Vallaeys of Search Engine Land recently wrote, “By late August, Product Listing campaigns for AdWords will be retired in favor of Shopping campaigns, so if you haven’t started migrating, don’t delay much longer. You can run both campaign types simultaneously, so start tweaking Shopping campaigns now so that they’ll be performing great by the time PLAs go away later this summer… Unlike with Search ads which are entirely managed in AdWords, a lot of the settings for Shopping ads are handled outside of the AdWords interface. They get their titles, images, descriptions and promotions from feeds in the Google Merchant Center. While you can use the AdWords interface to set bids, structure campaigns and set up product groups, you will need to work with your product feed if you want to have ads appear for different keywords. How to manipulate the feed depends on its size and how it is generated.” Read more

HTTPA Will Let You Track How Your Private Data is Used

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Larry Hardesty of the MIT News Office reports, “By now, most people feel comfortable conducting financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. As more of our data moves online, a more pressing concern may be its inadvertent misuse by people authorized to access it. Every month seems to bring another story of private information accidentally leaked by governmental agencies or vendors of digital products or services. At the same time, tighter restrictions on access could undermine the whole point of sharing data. Coordination across agencies and providers could be the key to quality medical care; you may want your family to be able to share the pictures you post on a social-networking site.” Read more

LG Releases NLP-Powered Smart Appliances with Chat Features in South Korea

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IndianExpress.com reports, “LG Electronics (LG) announced the launch of its premium smart appliances with  HomeChat messaging service in South Korea. HomeChat employs Natural Language Processing (NLP) and LINE, the popular mobile messenger app with over 300 million users, to let homeowners communicate, control, monitor and share content with LG’s latest smart appliances. LG HomeChat incorporates the popular LINE application to allow users to receive recommendations and control settings of smart appliances like refrigerator, washing machine or oven when away from home.” Read more

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