ecommerce bus.png

On Friday I will be attending the Read Write Web Real Time Summit in New York City. My focus for the day will be Twitter Annotations, specifically the application to ecommerce.

Ecommerce is booming. And Ecommerce is about matching buyers and sellers around a price. Markets are intrinsically real time, so the real time web and Twitter will have a major role. But the matching process requires structure/semantics. That is where Annotations can be a game-changer.

So, tell me what you think about Twitter Annotations for Ecommerce before the event.

For more background, read on…

Photo courtesy Flickr and Wonderlane.
ecommerce bus.png

On Friday I will be attending the Read Write Web Real Time Summit in New York City. My focus for the day will be Twitter Annotations, specifically the application to ecommerce.

Ecommerce is booming. And Ecommerce is about matching buyers and sellers around a price. Markets are intrinsically real time, so the real time web and Twitter will have a major role. But the matching process requires structure/semantics. That is where Annotations can be a game-changer.

So, tell me what you think about Twitter Annotations for Ecommerce before the event.

For more background, read on…

Photo courtesy Flickr and Wonderlane.

Freshness Premium & Staleness Discount

Time matters in e-commerce. Just ask anybody stuck with excess inventory. “May you have much inventory!” is a terrible curse for a business person.

When something is stale, there are discounts, via inventory sales. Timing has always been important to discount sales. The web brought a much bigger market for discount sales.

The real time semantic e-commerce bus can enlarge this further. The cost conscious shopper can use online agents that filter the steam of offers that are relevant to their needs, jumping in to bid when the time is right.

So we can see 3 phases to the business of selling off excess inventory as seen from the sellers point of view:

1. Pre-web. Limited to people within physical distance of my store.

2. Current web. Limited to people who come and visit my web site.

3. Limited to people who will buy at this price. Distance may still impact this because of shipping costs, but it is a minor factor. The destination sites are no longer critical in this phase.

But enough about boring, low margin “staleness discount”. What about “freshness premium”.

Freshness: Keep Your High Margins

Stale inventory has to be turned into cash or you go our of business. But you cannot run a business just on the low margins from discount sales. You also need the freshness premium. This is where the shopper is less price conscious and has a great desire to have it right now! All kinds of products can have freshness premiums:

• Food. The hen has just laid fresh eggs, the halibut has just landed, the peaches have just been plucked.

• Fashion. You just saw this on the runway, these are the shoes that Carrie wore in last night’s episode of Sex and the City

• Entertainment. YourFavoriteBand just released a new song and the special BluRay package is now available, “be the first on your block to….”

But getting a freshness premium also needs a semantic filter. I am not thinking about Halibut right now, but if my agent has an alert open for fresh fish at specific times and I see an alert I might take action.

Everything Is Negotiable

In the “markets-formerly-known-as-emerging”, people are used to negotiating everything. A hundred years ago our ancestors did the same in America and Europe. We then went through a period where The Retail Price had some meaning. We will soon see this as an odd period in history. The Internet again makes everything negotiable.

This is already true in the travel business – you may have gotten a bargain on that flight/hotel but somebody probably did better. The sophisticated models that drive travel industry pricing will come to all markets.

At all stages in a product’s history the price changes. eBay was the first to capitalize on this. They went from selling pre-owned to inventory sales. But prices are negotiable at other stages of the lifecycle. For example, will you pre-pay, buying before it has been made, taking away the seller’s risk entirely? That is worth a discount.

Semantic eCommerce PubSub

Technically this means something like semantic e-commerce PubSub:

• Pub = the offer = the seller

• Sub = the bid = the buyer

Here are the other base infrastructure pieces of this real time semantic e-commerce bus:

• Ontology. Good Relations has that (our coverage here).

• Payment mechanism. Plenty of those around.

• Auction model. Not complex and has been implemented many times.

The user experience magic needs to make it easy to to do things like:

• Register an interest. Tell me when xyz is available (fresh) or hits this price (stale).

• Offer. Has to be a mobile interface so a small business owner can jump into the action whenever the opportunity arises and has to have an API so that larger merchants can integrate with their workflow processes.

• Bid. Has to be mobile but also has to have lots of ways to turn off and fine tune alerts before they get annoying.

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CONVERT BREAKS: __default__

Freshness Premium & Staleness Discount

Time matters in e-commerce. Just ask anybody stuck with excess inventory. “May you have much inventory!” is a terrible curse for a business person.

When something is stale, there are discounts, via inventory sales. Timing has always been important to discount sales. The web brought a much bigger market for discount sales.

The real time semantic e-commerce bus can enlarge this further. The cost conscious shopper can use online agents that filter the steam of offers that are relevant to their needs, jumping in to bid when the time is right.

So we can see 3 phases to the business of selling off excess inventory as seen from the sellers point of view:

1. Pre-web. Limited to people within physical distance of my store.

2. Current web. Limited to people who come and visit my web site.

3. Limited to people who will buy at this price. Distance may still impact this because of shipping costs, but it is a minor factor. The destination sites are no longer critical in this phase.

But enough about boring, low margin “staleness discount”. What about “freshness premium”.

Freshness: Keep Your High Margins

Stale inventory has to be turned into cash or you go our of business. But you cannot run a business just on the low margins from discount sales. You also need the freshness premium. This is where the shopper is less price conscious and has a great desire to have it right now! All kinds of products can have freshness premiums:

• Food. The hen has just laid fresh eggs, the halibut has just landed, the peaches have just been plucked.

• Fashion. You just saw this on the runway, these are the shoes that Carrie wore in last night’s episode of Sex and the City

• Entertainment. YourFavoriteBand just released a new song and the special BluRay package is now available, “be the first on your block to….”

But getting a freshness premium also needs a semantic filter. I am not thinking about Halibut right now, but if my agent has an alert open for fresh fish at specific times and I see an alert I might take action.

Everything Is Negotiable

In the “markets-formerly-known-as-emerging”, people are used to negotiating everything. A hundred years ago our ancestors did the same in America and Europe. We then went through a period where The Retail Price had some meaning. We will soon see this as an odd period in history. The Internet again makes everything negotiable.

This is already true in the travel business – you may have gotten a bargain on that flight/hotel but somebody probably did better. The sophisticated models that drive travel industry pricing will come to all markets.

At all stages in a product’s history the price changes. eBay was the first to capitalize on this. They went from selling pre-owned to inventory sales. But prices are negotiable at other stages of the lifecycle. For example, will you pre-pay, buying before it has been made, taking away the seller’s risk entirely? That is worth a discount.

Semantic eCommerce PubSub

Technically this means something like semantic e-commerce PubSub:

• Pub = the offer = the seller

• Sub = the bid = the buyer

Here are the other base infrastructure pieces of this real time semantic e-commerce bus:

• Ontology. Good Relations has that (our coverage here).

• Payment mechanism. Plenty of those around.

• Auction model. Not complex and has been implemented many times.

The user experience magic needs to make it easy to to do things like:

• Register an interest. Tell me when xyz is available (fresh) or hits this price (stale).

• Offer. Has to be a mobile interface so a small business owner can jump into the action whenever the opportunity arises and has to have an API so that larger merchants can integrate with their workflow processes.

• Bid. Has to be mobile but also has to have lots of ways to turn off and fine tune alerts before they get annoying.

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• Don’t forget to propose your startup for our Semantic Web Impact Awards. The deadline is Sept. 15.

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