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Law School Debt: Another Blow to Lawyers' Mental Health

A recent survey by the ABA of 1,300 attorneys under the age of 36 revealed the impact student loans have on young attorneys' mental health.

Marvel Comics Enters Litigation Over Rights to Popular Characters

Lawsuits filed by the heirs of prominent Marvel comic writers and illustrators could seriously impact the company's use of popular characters.

Law Clerk Purporting to Represent U.S. Capitol Rioters Faces Felony Charges

Law clerk who works for attorney representing U.S. Capitol attack defendants is under felony investigation for allegedly defrauding a widow.

Law Schools Get Bigger (and Better?) Incoming Class

Law school applications and enrollment took a nosedive with the 2008 crash and fell for a decade after. That trend has officially reversed.

Remembering Superstar Defense Lawyer F. Lee Bailey

The famed criminal defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey died on June 3, 2021.

New Study: One in Four Female Attorneys Has Considered Leaving Profession Over Mental Health Concerns

Women practicing law are experiencing more stress, depression, and drinking more than male colleagues, a new study has found.

Posting Nude Photos of Member of Congress Was Protected Speech, California Court Rules

The First Amendment protects the Daily Mail when publishing nude photos of former California Rep. Katie Hill.

Federal Judiciary Requests More Money, Judgeships to Handle Increasing Workload

The federal judiciary is requesting more judges. But in our hyper-polarized Congress, is that possible anymore?

Could Scott Peterson Get a New Trial?

More than 15 years after being convicted of murder, Scott Peterson may be granted a new trial due to errors in jury selection. Find out why on FindLaw's Greedy Associates.

Judge Rules Beauty Pageant Can Limit Participants to aNatural Born Femalesa

A federal judge recently ruled that the Miss USA pageant has the First Amendment right to limit participants to "natural born females."

Studies Dig Into How Lawyers Are Doing as Pandemic Wears On

According to two new studies, lawyers have been worried about employer support, reduced access to clients, and trying to "do it all."

Dept. of Education Investigating Whether Mask Mandate Bans Violate Students' Civil Rights

The department's Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether banning mask mandates discriminates against students with disabilities.

Federal Judge Sanctions Sidney Powell and Others Who Sued to Overturn Michigan Election Results

Sidney Powell is starting to face serious consequences for her crusade to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Greedy Associates has the details.

Who Are You to Call Us a Soulless Enterprise of Death?

A Florida attorney's inflammatory comments led to a Florida appeals court overturning a $37 million verdict against tobacco companies.

Georgia Lawyers Under Threat of Sanction for Helping Pot Businesses

The Georgia Supreme Court harshed the buzz of lawyers across the state who were looking to advise now-legal medical marijuana businesses. Learn more on FindLaw's Strategist blog.

Texas Bar Investigating Ken Paxton for His Role in Contesting 2020 Election

A number of GOP attorneys are under investigation for filing frivolous lawsuits regarding the 2020 election.

Chauvin's Third-Degree Murder Conviction Could Be Overturned

Uncertainty still surrounds Minnesota's third-degree murder law, which may impact Chauvin's conviction.

Could Remarks from Public Officials on Chauvin Trial Be Grounds for Appeal?

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all charges. But some are worried that public remarks made during the trial gave the defense grounds for appeal. Find out more on FindLaw's Strategist.

Big Law Poised to Win Again in 2021. What About Small Law Firms?

As big law firms see huge profits despite the pandemic, how are smaller law firms faring?

Litigation Funding Grew Less Than Expected in 2020, New Report Says

While buzz about the growth of litigation funding remains, 2020 was not a banner year, according to a new report from brokerage firm Westfleet.

What is a PIM solution? How they work and why you need one.

As a business grows, their product information becomes siloed and dispersed, becoming harder to organize, access, and use. Product attributes, imagery, detailed descriptions, and supplier information eventually become extremely difficult to manage, slowing workflows and impacting customer experiences.

To alleviate this pain point, many brands evaluate Product Information Management (PIM) solutions. Akeneo, a global leader in Product Experience Management solutions, defines PIM as providing aa single place for businesses to collect, manage, and enrich their product informationa.

PIM solutions can help businesses overcome some of the major challenges with managing and utilizing product information as they continue to grow. This article delves into how PIM solutions work, some key considerations for businesses looking to implement PIM systems, and the various advantages offered by PIM.

What is a PIM Solution and Why Is It Useful?

Over the past few years, commerce has shifted towards a digital-first approach, with customers demanding more streamlined digital experiences and new options for digital self-service. To adapt to these new trends and prove ROI, Marketing, IT, and Commerce teams are responsible for delivering digitized product information, quickly and clearly. A PIM solution helps brands to manage product information, improving their ability to quickly retrieve and use key data to power digital buying experiences.

Implementing a PIM solution helps a brand ensure that quality data is organized for internal use and multichannel distribution, consolidating relevant product information onto a single platform. With the rapid digitization of sales and continued expansion into new channels, opting for a PIM solution can help connect different channels to preserve product data quality. Some of the key capabilities offered by PIM solutions include:

Marketers, eCommerce Managers, and Data Analytics teams can all utilize PIM to collect, enrich, streamline, and improve product information and data across multiple channels. This can significantly improve customer experiences, while helping businesses gain an edge over their competitors by getting to market quicker while reducing overheads and wasted resources.

How does PIM work?

A PIM Solution collects, manages, and enriches data in a single place. The figure below visualizes how PIM works at a high level.

  • Product information and data is collected from various internal and external data sources, ranging from ERP systems to suppliers.
  • The information is loaded into the PIM solution, which allows users to enrich, maintain, and translate the data
  • User management tools, business rules, and validation workflows support the enrichment and maintenance of data
  • Product information can then be distributed to various commerce channels, including eCommerce platforms, marketplace listings, and mobile applications
  • A PIM uses various data types, such as:

    Businesses typically have a large amount of different types of data that support a single product throughout its lifecycle. Using a PIM system helps streamline product information management and speeds up the process between retrieving, improving, and displaying the data. For example, a PIM system can load descriptive product information that uses a combination of emotional data and media files as content into a catalog management solution.

    Here, products may be grouped into target markets, based on usage and technical data. Some of the key information that businesses can use a PIM to manage include:

    Who needs a PIM Solution?

    PIM Solutions can be useful to all types of brands, B2C, B2B2C, or B2B, who aim to deliver frictionless, consistent, and engaging digital experiences that drive growth and improve their relationships with customers.

    Implementing a PIM solution can help streamline data across different channels. This is particularly useful for marketing, merchandising, and product management teams, as siloed and fragmented data can make it difficult to obtain and present a clear view of product information.

    Companies that anticipate or are currently entering a growth phase should particularly consider PIM solutions. With new customers and expansion into different channels, information will become increasingly scattered and siloed. As a result of this, teams may waste time and resources on managing and maintaining product data, both internally and with external groups.

    Additionally, firms that are currently struggling with managing product information or are spending excessive time and resources on managing data should also look to PIM as an effective method to collecting and cleaning their data. This will help to avoid missed opportunities, lost revenue, and falling market share to competitors.

    Some of the specific individuals that should consider a PIM software are:

     

    Product Content Management with Elastic Path

    At Elastic Path our Product Content Management capability offers many of the core features of a PIM solution including data consolidation, enrichment, organization, and syndication.  While it does not include robust workflow functionality, the core set of features are sufficient to meet the needs of many brands evaluating a PIM solution.  Plus, since it is part of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product it seamlessly works with our Catalog Composer capability, enabling brands to create the unique and complex product- centric experiences their business needs.  

    Key Statistics and Additional Benefits of using a PIM

    PIM has grown rapidly over the past few years, and more companies are expected to adopt PIM in the future. Customersa expectations for high quality, thorough, and accurate product information is expected to rise, and companies are investing in PIM to meet these demands.

    Furthermore, compared to IT-led Master Data Management (MDM) initiatives, implementing a PIM system is faster and more cost effective, simultaneously offering a myriad of measurable business benefits. Below are some statistics that highlight the growth of and key trends in PIM:

    With its anticipate growth and the efficiencies it offers, PIM provides teams with the ability to enrich their product information, keep it clean and consistent, and improve customer experiences. Some additional benefits of utilizing PIM are:

    PIM is changing the game

    For many brands, a PIM solution can be a game changer. By solving common data and information management issues, providing a variety of tools for expansion and customization, and supporting productivity across different teams, PIM can help firms improve current processes and create high-quality product data.

    Deploying a PIM can improve the level of control, organization, and speed within your marketing team, whether your firm is a B2B or B2C. The PIM market is expected to continue its rapid growth, and more and more firms are adopting a PIM solution that fits the needs of their organization.

    Implementing a PIM solution early on can support your firms growth and support future expansion, simultaneously improving customer experiences, retention, and brand image.


    How Will Online Buying Evolve in 2022 and Beyond?

    By now we are all familiar with what the global pandemic did to buying behavior and how that affected some of the worldas biggest brands. We had winners and losers, and the common denominator between winning and losing came down to agility to transform customer engagement or the fact that the business was deemed aessentiala by the government.

    You can see below some very recognizable brands could not survive the impacts of the pandemic.

    However, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall to know how many of these brands were discussing or maybe even in the process of budget planning to transform using digital experiences leading up to February 2020.

    The buyer trend for more online and digital experience was already present in the market pre-pandemic, which is why some were ahead of the game as early adopters, but why companies did not prioritize would be interesting 2020 hindsight to learn from.

    (Source)

    Now that that the dust is settling, we are moving from reactive to a more proactive planning for eCommerce and while there was a rush to pivot online back in 2020, our buyers are now discussing how to improve and or replace what was in place and looking to afuture proofa their eCommerce approach going into 2022.

    Future proofing the eCommerce experience is all about how you invest in technology and ensuring the foundational components are flexible and adaptable to the unknown future of buying experience and back-office workflows.

    What was once a bleeding edge experience that differentiated brands is quickly become part of the standard expectation of the buyer.

    Just consider a basic use case we all live with every day. We are not far from a time when most restaurants big or small had very little in the form of online presence and only the big brands like Dominos or Applebeeas had a way to order and pay online for delivery and take out.

    Then came the adelivery marketplacesa like Uber Eats and Grub Hub which expanded the opportunity to digitally order your dinner and providing more local restaurants a channel to sell online.

    Building a marketplace of you own?

    Discover how Elastic Path Commerce Cloud can power and support your marketplace.

    Learn More

    Living up in Southern NH (which is only 32 miles from Boston a so not the back woods by any means), there were not many options for either just before the pandemic. We were lucky to find a menu online and we had to pick up the phone to place an order for delivery or pick-up.

    Within a matter of months every restaurant trying to survive, big or small, had dedicated parking for online ordering, they all had menus online and ways to purchase using credit card or PayPal. Some of the bigger chains spun up mobile apps to try and create a brand presence and accommodate multiple locations within a buying area.

    I can tell you firsthand that some did it well, but most took an MVP approach that had buyers like me going back to the phone only because the food is good. The few that did it well have earned new business from me, but they are the exception vs. the rule and sad to say they are the bigger chains with deeper pockets.

    Now that life is getting back to some normalcy just having a shopping cart online or mobile app is not going to be enough. Buying behavior has shifted and we the buyer are expecting better, multi-channel experiences. We donat want to go to the store because we half to, we are going back because we want a day out of the house, and we might not even buy anything. If I need something I just go online and order it.

    So, this shift is not only changing the experience online it is also changing how we interact in person.

    While I am not a fortune teller that can predict what new buying trends will emerge in 2022, I did want to share some customer experience examples every brand and retailer needs to be doing to just meet buyer expectations.

    When reading this, If you consider these things are hard to do because of the eCommerce technology you have today, then that is a major signal that you might need to start looking for a different, afuture proofa eCommerce solution.

    Also keep in mind, the biggest question you need to ask the technology vendors is not can you do this or show me where you have done this a but rather how fast did your customers do this, how much did they have to customize the solution to make it work? If you can transform quickly, you will never be able to keep up with the ever-changing and increasing buyer expectations.

    Blending Online and Offline is already the expectation

    Retailers that quickly merged online and offline experience with options like Curbside pick-up were on the winning side of the buyer shift that happened in the pandemic.

    I briefly mentioned this in another article I recently wrote as being one the keys to Best Buyas winning without being aessentiala. Digital Commerce 360 did a study earlier this year on the topic and below shows just how much this experience has been adopted from December 2019 (pre-pandemic) to August 2020.

    What is interesting is now we are starting to see the effect this having on how the physical experience is shifting.

    Companies are looking to invest in smaller retail space that is optimized for pick-up and delivery. In fact, I would not be surprised to see dedicated drive thru lanes for services like Uber Eats and Grub Hub and maybe even loyal online buyer pick up window at McDonalds coming soon.

    And I can even envision adistributiona sites where there is only a kitchen so that companies can operate in lower cost industrial districts vs. paying higher rent on Main Street.

    These points illustrate why afuture proofa decisions for technology need to be more cloud-based and composable, per Gartner Groups "By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation."

    Other use cases that blend of online and offline:

    • Contactless checkout. Provides a unique buying experience where there is never a que to pay. Even the self-service lines are getting longer as less clerks run registers. This allows the buyer to skip the line all together and your staff can spend more time helping customer 1x1 on the floor and stuck behind a bar code scanner.
    • Having a data driven catalog solution means you can ensure the in-store experience is the same as online. Buyers can see product in the store and even if it is not available in that store, they can find it online with the same price and option to purchase and ship to their home. The data and availability is in full sync with your warehouses.

    Sell your brand direct to great trust and loyalty

    Marketplaces and retail sites are great ways to get your product exposed, but then you are just a commodity stuck presenting your product the same way as your competition.

    However, you need to have a place where you can control the online experience and have that work seamlessly with the marketplaces and retails you also may use a online and offline. If you currently are managing the information about your products and services in silos across these channels, you may not be operating on a afuture proofa platform.

    Many eCommerce vendors claim multi-channel as a strength, but really, they are just enabling loosely couple separate instances that require a ton of user and technical support to operate effectively across channels.

    Adding to this complexity and something that is at the heart of Elastic Pathas customer base is multi-brand and multi-geo. In order to have a seamless experience across this ecosystem you need to consider how well your current platform enables this integration on both the customer experience and back-office operations. The bigger and more diversified your company gets, the harder this will get.

    While the quick to deploy cloud monolith might look attractive to get started. You will soon outgrow it if you are successful, and you will likely fail to scale with an experience buyers will expect as a standard in the near future, as more and more buying happens across digital channels.

    Want curbside pick up or contactless checkout?

    Elastic Path enables you to quickly and easily spin up new digital purchasing pathways so you can keep up with modern customer demands and scale your business.

    Learn more

    Channel variety will continue to diversify

    Think about why major brands had to be on main street or in the mall? Foot traffic.

    They knew that just by being visible to buyers when they went out shopping would help drive revenue, even if they if what they were selling was not the main reason a buyer went out.

    Now that the buyer is spending more time online and the internet can reach everyone no matter if they are at home, work or on vacation the new main street is social media. But it is not enough to just promote you brand with ads and sponsored posts.

    You need to have a personal presence and you need to make it easy to transact within the social experience. Using social will continue to rise according to most experts and the statistics are amazing for how things look today, considering MySpace came on the scene less than 20 years ago. Below are some stats compiled by Hootsuite earlier this year.

    (Source)

    It will be in the best interest if the social platform and seller to utilize open, standard ways to connect a aka APIs. But not just any API, these connections need to flexible and capable of connecting without custom code.

    This again underscores the importance of having a modern, composable eCommerce platform designed to connect in a modern cloud world.

    Buying Online will become the experience

    Back to the mall one more time. Remember when going to mall meant hanging with friends, going to music store to check out the latest album or heading to Footlocker to check out Nikeas latest new kicks.

    All that is gone, but we are still visual and social beings. The experience online needs get better in this area to win. If the experience online is not a good one and your product does not create an emotional bond with buyer, you will lose. But it will go beyond cool websites and mobile apps as technology like VR/AR being to take hold.

    According to Goldman Sachs, the market for AR and VR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025.

    The fact is most current eCommerce platforms are not ready to meet the unknown future, which is why we are seeing growing interest in the market for headless commerce solutions.

    However, companies that want to future proof eCommerce need to think beyond the CMS and Mobile as the head a they need to image a world where everything we interact with can become an interface to transact. That is why you need to consider platforms that have been built from the ground up using open API architectures.

    To those platforms, the aheada can be just about anything you can imagine it to be.


    Inside Elastic Path: Joining the Team

    Emily Kathi recently joined Elastic Path as our Senior Content Marketing Writer. She has a Journalism background with past experience as a lead copywriter on creative and marketing teams; telling good stories through blogs, social media campaigns, branding, and advertising. Sheas also freelanced as a feature writer and revitalized web site copy for relaunch. Keep reading to learn about Emilyas position and what is has been like joining Elastic Path.

    Q: How has your first 30 days been since joining Elastic Path?

    Emily: When I first heard about the role at Elastic Path, I was attracted to the role because I'd be creating new content on a daily basis. While I do have experience in the industrial technology space, writing about eCommerce is new to me. The learning curve has been an interesting and exciting journey so far. My Journalism training has definitely prepared me for embracing change with a curious mind. The people at Elastic Path have made my onboarding both open and welcoming, especially the marketing team. Their accessibility has been impressive, and everyone is willing to help me learn and give me the tools to succeed.

    Q: What are your key learnings at Elastic Path so far?

    Q: What made you join Elastic Path?

    Emily: When I first was reading about the job description, the industry seemed so fascinating to me. There is so much opportunity to grow as a writer and so much to learn, I can set my path as an employee at Elastic Path. Though I have only been here for 30 days, I can see the groundwork to grow as individual within my role and my own personal development.

    Q: What would you say to someone who decided to apply for Elastic Path?

    Emily: If you are looking to apply, I would highly encourage it. If you want to grow, stretch, be a better creative thinker, innovator, or look for ways to expand your skill sets, this is the company to work for.

    Q: What is the highlight of your workday/week?

    Emily: So far, itas the weekly marketing team retro every Friday. I appreciate the recap from the work week and hear about what others have accomplished and how weare achieving our sprint goals. The retroas are a time to share wins and reflect on opportunities to learn.

    Q: What do you love about Elastic Path so far?

    Emily: I love the opportunity to work remotely but also be a part of a collaborative, open team. I appreciate having a voice and an open invitation to share input and contribute to a team who values me.

    Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path?

    Emily: The culture at Elastic Path is open and transparent. I feel trusted as a professional to share ideas and have a seat at the table. Ideas and information are shared across departments toward common goals.

    Q: What do you like to do during your free time?

    Emily: During my free time I like to cook for my family and friends. I love getting large groups together to share food and have great conversations. . I also like camping, hiking, and skiing. Lately Iave been biking more in the city. Itas been great to get out especially when the weather is warm, to stay active and not use my car so much to get where I need to be. Iam fortunate to live in a walkable neighborhood where I have food and entertainment close by.

    Stay tuned for our next aInside Elastic Patha series. If you are interested joining our team, check out our open listings and apply today.


    Jamstack Conference 2021: How it started, where itas going

    This yearas Jamstack conference featured a 90s theme, complete with an opening reminiscent of Full House and shows of the era: big hair, big cast, and all the cheese you can handle in two minutes. A big win for Netlify as it kept the conference moving along with humor and nostalgia. They even unearthed graphics and video from shows of the day and created new clips throughout as they introduced new sessions. Well done!

    The web is winning  

    Netlifyas CEO Matt Biilman kicked us off on a journey from when the web was considered dead some 20 years ago to where itas winning today. As the shift continues from monolith to API-first, Biilman walked us through what drives innovation in development ops to create more robust and resilient user experiences. He highlighted the continuing saga between multi-page and single page apps, and how content is rendered through various hydration models.

    Biilman was joined in the keynote by a handful of leaders in the community who provided thoughtful insight about the future of Jamstack, including creators from Svelte and Vite.

    A shout out here to Phil Hawksworth at Netlify for his tea time footage; it kept us engaged and entertained. A+ content!

    Breakout star: Laurie Voss

    One of the more insightful sessions came from Netlifyas own data evangelist, Laurie Voss. He presented survey findings from approximately 7,500 Jamstack users, entitled aJamstack is Eating the World.a

    A couple of interesting points within the findings: while full-time developers and engineers lead the charge in the community, 2021 saw a significant rise in student employment. Voss indicated this may be in part to the pandemic, as typically an education shift occurs in uncertain times, and a shift to Jamstack architecture taught as the foundational default.

    Another key point: over 30% of responders reported a shift to remote work in 2021 even after pandemic conditions were lifted. How we work and collaborate has a new face, and how it affects the product (and the emotional state of its workers) is a case study in and of itself.

    I highly suggest checking out Vossa full presentation on YouTube when you have a chance. He goes into more detail on what developers are building, the tools they prefer, and what their priorities are for new projects. His presentation provides further evidence of where Jamstack is going and what the community looks like.

    Additional Jamstack Conference 2021 highlights:

    • The Jamsnacks! Whatas an event without snacks? Peppered throughout the conference were whatas new in apps in just two minutes, or the Jamsnack. Quick-hitting and informative, these were welcome breaks between longer form content and sessions.

    • The Lounge a an opportunity to chat amongst ourselves and get to know more about event sponsors (like Elastic Path!). Bonus:  casual conversation about beloved 90s shows. It was gold.  
    • Lightning Launches a these ran about 10 minutes or so in the Innovation and Tools track and highlighted new products/features on the scene including a demo. Great job to Supabase, Astro, and Sanity for exceptional content and creativity on a time crunch!  
    • Awards a kudos are key in all spaces, and the Jamstack community is no exception. The aJammiesa recognized excellence for company, project, and individual contributor levels in these categories:  
      • Social Impact: A11Y project
      • Ecosystem Innovation: Astro
      • Community Creator: Salma Alam-Naylor
      • Project of the Year: Twilio Console

    Itas a wrap on Jamstack 2021:

    Again, I would highly recommend perusing the content on YouTube, especially since you can pick and choose where to spend time. You wonat have the perk of chatting in real time with fellow Jamstack community members and innovators, but youall get a feel for what the buzz is all about.

     

    Jamstack & Elastic Path:

    Jamstack architecture and the Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product play exceptionally well in the sand box. Together they provide control, speed, and trust in the digital commerce experience. You have the power to deliver a reliable, and truly differentiated solution based on your business needs today, and where you are going tomorrow.  Want to see it in action?

    Jamstack is certainly key to us as we pursue the best in headless commerce solutions. We were thrilled to be a Jamstack Conference sponsor this year, and I personally enjoyed the deep dive into whatas new! Check out our resource library for more hot topicsa|


    APIs vs Microservices: What's The Difference

    If youare in the eCommerce space, youave likely heard of aAPIsa and aMicroservicesa at least once. Conversations surrounding these terms often circulate when trying to compare eCommerce solutions for practitioners, and when trying to execute tasks for developers.

    aOh well I heard that eCommerce solution has 300 Microservicesa

    aI want my solution to be API-Firsta

    aItas easy to do this with a few API calls, it should only take a few minutesa

    Because APIs and Microservices work so closely together and often overlap in their uses, experts tend to speak about them freely without much context. However, this often leaves non-experts confused about what they really are, how they are used and how they can benefit their eCommerce solution. Thatas why I took the liberty to talk to one of our experts here at Elastic Path, Chris Wraith, Director of Engineering, to provide some context on the basics of APIs and Microservices. Take a peek at our conversation below a

     

    Shaneil:

    Chris, I think itas best to start at the beginning with aWhat is an API?a

     

    Chris:

    The root of APIs comes from Application Programming Interface which really just describes a contract between different parts of a program and a system. In the context of web and eCommerce, when people talk about APIs, what they mean is HTTP APIs, so for example, REST APIs or JSON APIs. But when you boil it down to its roots, itas a contract between a service provider and a client where the service provider agrees to provide something given a certain input.

     

    Shaneil:

    To break it down even simpler, what is an example of a service provider receiving an input?

     

    Chris:

    If we look at an eCommerce example, an example would be if you had an inventory service. An inventory service might have an API called aget inventorya, it takes input of a product, and maybe you will get back something that tells you how many of that product you have. So effectively it's a contract that says, aif you give me this input, I will give you this output and here's how you get that information and here's what I need to provide you that service.a

     

    Shaneil:

    So, APIs are a lot simpler than I thought because they can be used a lot in everyday life.

     

    Chris:

    Exactly! The thing with APIs -- They always have an objective and they always accomplish something. Sometimes it's a simple matter of, if you give me this input and you get this output or sometimes it's you request me to do something, then I'll go off and do that.

    It could even be as simple as a request to calculate the sum of a list of numbers, or it could be more complicated as providing a text transcription when an audio file is inputted. But as you said, they can be used anywhere -- Anything you can encapsulate in a contract or any service you can describe can be an API.

     

    Shaneil:

    So, it seems like APIs have been around for quite some time, so why is there now a huge debate about choosing between API-driven eCommerce solutions and out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions? Because Iam assuming APIs are still working in the backend of the out-of-the-box solution, but probably with just less availability to be customized. Can you help to clarify that?

     

    Chris:

    Well, it depends. When people say that they want APIs in a commerce solution, what they really mean is that they want APIs to be first class citizens. They want the APIs to be the things that they're paying the money for when they buy that particular solution.

    However, when you buy an out-of-the-box solution, what youare most likely to get is a set of templates where the APIs are underneath it all. So, you don't necessarily get access to the APIs, but they are probably still there. In an out-of-the-box solution, providers might not want to share the details of these APIS because they might think of the APIs as only being for them and not for the customer.

    Whereas when API is the thing that the customer is buying, they get to consume those APIs in whatever way they want, across all of the customer journey. This grants the ability to construct that really custom and perfect user journey that you want for your customers and that's the, you know, the uniqueness that you get with Headless Commerce.

     

    Shaneil

    That makes so much sense. The flexibility granted here is key. Is there anything that clients really care about when evaluating APIs with an eCommerce vendor?

     

    Chris:

    Like I mentioned before, the important thing about an API is that it's a contract. So, from the client's point of view, they know that if they provide the particular input to the API they'll get a particular output. And thatas all they really care about. They don't really care how that operation is accomplished; they just want to get back the right output.

    However, one more thing they might think about is how long it takes to fulfill their request. Part of that contract in a lot of cases is what we loosely call the anon-functional requirements,a i.e. how long it would take to process or the performance expectations around it. But generally speaking, clients might care about the inputs, outputs, how long it's going to take and how it performs.

     

    Shaneil:

    Is there a way that a client would be able to know right off the bat if eCommerce vendoras APIs are slow or not?

     

    Chris:

    Well, most service providers will give an idea of how long the requests in their systems are expected to take. At Elastic Path we try to ensure that all of our requests return within a certain time (100 milliseconds). But generally speaking, it's not always something that people publish with their APIs. However, an important consideration when you're buying a solution is whether the API requests will be fast enough for your needs.

     

    Shaneil:

    Thanks Chris. So, letas shift over to microservices. In your eyes, what are microservices?

     

    Chris:

    Well, for me, it's the way of architecting an application. But as you know, there will be a lot of disagreements about what the exact definition is. So, what I like to do with these things is to take them back to first principles and understand why they were designed that way. And for me, microservices is really just about implementing an age-old idea in computing, which dates back to the 60s and 70s, which is just always making sure that things that you build are loosely coupled and highly cohesive.

    What that means is that where you have different parts of the system working together, when they talk to each other via APIs, which weave just spoken about -- those APIs are well defined contracts which creates this sort of loose coupling effect, where changing a something internally in the system in aAa doesnat affect the system in aBa

    And so microservices are really just a design principle that helps with loose coupling and high cohesion. This means that you can have all the related functionality together in a single micro service and still interact with functionality from another part of the system without being tightly woven together to break the function, but still cohesive enough to work in symbiosis.

     

    Shaneil:

    So, how do microservices solutions differ from traditional monolithic solutions?

     

    Chris:

    You know, people bash monoliths all the time, but Monoliths can be well designed as well. It just all comes back to that old software engineering principle of loose coupling and high cohesion. So, this can definitely be achieved in a monolith as well. However, the reason we use microservices is because we think it's easier to achieve that loose coupling and high cohesion. Working with microservices kind of forces you down the right route and makes it much harder for you to make bad design decisions if you're in a well-designed microservices environment.

    When you compare that to doing it in a monolithic set up, it's really easy if you're a developer in a monolithic application to make a decision and add certain functionality in a section it wasnat designed to be in because it also holds similar functionality that you recognize. So, when a developer adds their code in the wrong section, you end up losing that cohesion and introduce tight coupling between components that really shouldnat be coupled together. And that is when you get that scenario where somebody makes a change in aAa and breaks something else in aBa

     

    Shaneil:

    Oh yes, we have heard so much about companies struggling with these issues in the backend of their system and therefore have had to implement continuous regression and quality assurance testing to avoid any breaking. So now that we have a basic understanding of both terms, what would you say is the main difference between APIs and Microservices?

     

    Chris:

    So, an API is like your contract, and it says this is what this particular thing does and the microservices, how you would implement that contract. I will say however that it's not necessarily a 1 to 1 mapping between them. So, you might have an API that has a number of different capabilities in it, and you might have one micro service that implements all of them. Equally you might have another API that sits across two or three different microservices that all come together to implement that particular piece of functionality. So, in all, the difference is that an API is a contract that says agiven this input, you'll get this output,a while microservices is a way of delivering some or all of that functionality.

     

    Shaneil:

    So essentially microservices work in conjunction with APIs to fulfill clientsa requests. So, do you have any final advice for customers regarding microservices and APIs?

     

    Chris:

    Well, if someone is thinking about the way that they should design an eCommerce platform, they will probably want to be thinking about microservices for themselves, but when it comes to choosing an eCommerce provider, they want to be thinking about APIs So my point is, for the bit of the solution that they want to build, it makes sense to build them as microservices because then you get your nice loose coupling high cohesion, that we all aspire. But what you really care about when you're getting services from other people is APIs, because you want to know what youare getting, what you need to give that service to get what you need from it. Thinking about that means that, you know, the bits that you design are well-designed, and you know exactly what you're going to get from all of the providers that are going to come together to form your eCommerce solution.

    Well, I hope this was helpful in understanding the difference between APIs and Microservices. You can explore more about microservices and understand if they may be right for you here. But as always if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us over chat.


    21 Data-Backed Reasons That Point to Why you Should Consider an Omnichannel Strategy in 2022

    Connecting with shoppers has never been as easy, or as difficult, as it is today. There are any number of channels businesses can use to market and sell their products, ranging from their own website or third-party marketplaces, to brick-and-mortar stores or even the traditional sales team.

    While you could probably find a buyer through any of these channels, connecting and converting the right buyers will depend on you reaching your customers when and where they are. That could be on Instagram, in their email inbox, on Amazon, or over the phone.

    While it can be daunting to try and strategize across a variety of different platforms, apps, mediums, and devices, recent buyer data has never been clearer a the single-channel shopper is dying.

    Taking an omnichannel approach to your commerce strategy will become core for your business to meet modern consumer demands, improve your customer experience and ultimately, your bottom line. Businesses like Stance, Bank of America, and Starbucks, are all great examples of businesses with omnichannel experiences.

    But, there is a catch. And it isnat just budget.

    The key to an omnichannel commerce strategy (and how it differs from a multichannel strategy) lies not only in the mix of channels your business is leveraging, but in how those channels integrate and connect the customeras journey.

    Buyers today expect their shopping experience to be as convenient and personalized as possible. If theyare researching online, they might want to know the nearest in-store location they can pick up their desired products up at. If they order online, they might want to return in store. While customer preferences will vary based on your business (the products you sell, your ecommerce business model, industry, and location), the same underlying behaviors impact everyone a and the answer is omnichannel.

    Hereas a few compelling statistics to help convince you that you should pivot to an omnichannel strategy if youare not thinking about it already:

    Customer buying habits are already multichannel...

    • 15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. (Marketing Week)
    • 59% of shoppersa-surveyed say they research online before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice. (Google)
    • 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day. (Google Research)
    • 56% of consumers have used their mobile device to research products at home with 38% having used their mobile device to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% who have used their mobile device to research products while in a store. (Forrester)

    ...And rapidly moving towards omnichannel

    • 50% of shoppers expect that they will be able to make a purchase online and pick up in-store. (Forrester)
    • The number of orders placed online and picked up at bricks-and-mortar stores by customers grew 208% during the pandemic. (Adobe Analytics, 2020)
    • 71% of shoppers agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products. (Forrester)
    • 45% of shoppers in-store expect sales associates to be knowledgeable about online-only products. (Forrester)
    • Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel. (Zendesk)

    Ready to Bring Your Own Omnichannel Strategy to Life?

    Make any touchpoint transactional and build unique commerce experiences catered to your brand with an Omnichannel approach. Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more.

    Read the Guide

    Omnichannel ecommerce will increase revenue...

    • Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies. Similarly, strong omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies.a-(Aberdeen Group)
    • Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. (Google)
    • Omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money. (Harvard Business Review)
    • Customers that also used 4 or more channels, spent 9% more in-store when compared to just one channel (Harvard Business Review)
    • Marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 250% higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign. (Omnisend)

    ...And improve customer retention

    • Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Invesp)
    • 74% of consumers are willing to abandon a brand if the purchasing process isn't easy to navigate. (Source)

    An omnichannel strategy will make it easier to deliver consistent, personalized, and seamless the shopping experiences:

    • 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.(Accenture)
    • 67% of consumers think itas important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don't adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will "get annoyed" that content isnat personalized. (Adobe)
    • 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. (Segment)
    • About 73% of consumers will ghost a brand after three or fewer negative customer service experiences (Coveo)
    • 74% of consumers would find aliving profilesa valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive. (Accenture)

    Building a unified customer experience that can be delivered seamlessly across any touchpoint is the path to a future-proofed business. Buyers can either be fickle or have a deep affiliation for your brand and how you engage with them will make or break that bond. Positive experiences will mean less abandoned shopping carts, better reviews and in the end, expanded sales and less churn for your business.

    If youare looking to get started with omnichannel ecommerce, or have already implemented the approach, Elastic Path can help you bring your vision to life and simplify the process with a flexible omnichannel commerce solutions. Chat with an expert today to get started.


    Inside Elastic Path with our Marketing Interns

    Our latest Inside Elastic Path series features the marketing interns and as a marketing intern myself, I could not be any more excited to share my story with you. My name is Michaela and Iam currently pursuing a masteras degree in Integrated Marketing and Communication at Stonehill College. My focus is on content marketing, so writing blog posts like this is right up my ally. We have two additional interns on the marketing team. Cody Tu and Rudra Bharat. Cody is a Graphic Design Intern, who is studying at Massachusetts College of Arts and Design and getting a degree in Communication Design. Rudra Bharat was born and raised in Malaysia and came to the states to study Economics at Boston University. Keep reading to learn more about what itas like to be an intern on the marketing team!

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Digital Marketing Co-Op Intern?

    Rudra: A typical workday starts with meeting with my manager to go over my day-to-day tasks and show any deliverables I have been working on. Once we go over my week, I will work on sprint tasks to work on the deliverables I have for that upcoming week. I also will attend marketing team meetings to go over sprint tasks, and to go over our weekly wins during our Friday retro meetings.

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Content Marketing Co-Op Intern?

    Michaela: As a Content Marketing Co-Op intern, I manage the social media channels for Elastic Path. I create content to highlight on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I pull metrics where we find engagement and followers to increase and find new solutions to attract our audience online. I also assist in the abehind the scenesa working with webinars for Elastic Path and assist in sending emails to register for our aall demo, no pitcha webinars. I have also been writing blogs for our company website!

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Graphic Design Co-Op Intern?

    Cody: I start my day off with meeting with my supervisor to go over my day-to-day responsibilities. Next, I will go into Jira, to check in on tasks for that week. I also double check with other coworkers who have assigned me tasks to make sure we are on the same page before I get started on creating graphics for upcoming assignments.

    Q: What is typically the highlight of your day or week?

     

    Q: In your current role, is there something you are most proud of?

    Cody: Working on the state of composable commerce report graphics, I am also working through a video portion right now, which is something I am most proud of. I enjoy seeing the data and the graphics come along.

    Michaela: In my current role, something I am most proud of is writing blog posts and seeing them published on our company website. This is new for me, so being able to see your work go live online is awesome.

    Rudra: Being able to see my blog posts being published is something I am most proud of. I havenat written a blog post since this internship experience, and it is something that is new to me as well. I am learning how to focus on specific content to write about, which I find myself learning day to day.

    Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path?

    The culture at Elastic Path is very friendly, supportive and community focused. Everyone is willing to help on your own team or other teams if you have any questions. Cody states, that he likes the fact that the marketing team is small, since it is very easy to communicate with peers, coworkers and being able to get tasks done in a short period of time. Rudra also describes the culture as: welcoming, warm, and the company at Elastic Path is like one big family.

    Q: What do you love about Elastic Path?

    Cody: Being able to have a lot of creative freedom, especially working with ads. I am doing AB Testing with the ads. We are trying new videos, new formats, new graphic styles, new animations and trying new designs to the which results are doing better. Michaela: I love the people and the culture at Elastic Path. Everyone is based in different time zones, but we are willing to work later for unanswered questions or late-night chats if needed. Rudra: One thing I love about Elastic Path is that I can meet the more employees at Elastic Path through our acoffee-chatsa we have. This is where we can meet other employees in the company and spend 30 minutes to get to know another individual through zoom and have coffee, lunch or even just a snack. Since I only interact with the marketing team, it has been nice to meet other faces virtually in the company.

    Q: What would you say to someone that is considering on applying as a Co-Op Intern?

    Cody: Expand your horizons, I have been doing a lot of editing and trying new AB tests. I have been able to learn a lot through the past 3 months I have been here, which has been insightful.

    Michaela: If you are looking to work with such an amazing team, and a company that really cares about the people at Elastic Path, I highly recommend on applying. I also would add, that if you are looking for a challenge to apply.

    Rudra: Working at Elastic Path is a great learning experience will open you to work with a committed and passionate team. Everyone on the team uses their knowledge to come together and help one another. I can develop my skillsets from what I am learning in the classroom and apply that to what I am doing in my internship. In my internship, I do a lot of research through my work, whether that is coming up with new marketing revenue aspects or working on marketing campaigns. Being able to challenge myself through my internship is something I enjoy.

    Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

    Cody: I love to play basketball; I play with my best friend every weekend. I have been doing this for a long time, I played back in high school. I also love to play video games; after work I will play with some of my coworkers, which is fun. I also really enjoy cooking.

    Michaela: I love to find time to work out before or after work. Staying fit and healthy is something that motivates me to get my day going. I also enjoy reading and hanging with friends, since I recently moved to Boston!

    Rudra: During my free time I try to read books whenever I can. I also will go outside and find a basketball court, to play pick up or with my friends. I also like to play golf. Back home I would try to find a driving range and hit some golf balls. I also enjoy watching Movies and playing video games. Since I attend school in Boston, I like to explore the city with friends, whether we are just hanging out, or trying new restaurants. Living in a lively city there is never a dull moment.

    Stay tuned for our next aInside Elastic Patha series. If you are interested joining our team, check out our open listings and apply today.


    Casual Observations on Social e-Commerce

    While my purchases via social media are limited in scope, Iam fascinated and admittedly a bit hooked on whatas new on these apps for sale. Iave spent more than a few hours scrolling when my intent was to unwind and shut off screen time. Oh well. There are worse habits Iam surea| Iam not surprised to learn that in the last two years, social media traffic has increased 100% to online stores, or that about 70% of consumers search social media for potential buys. With so much time spent on sites like Instagram and Facebook documenting and sharing our lives, it makes sense to turn to those same platforms to inform our buying decisions. The existence of influencers on these apps further drives that purchase when Iam ready to live my best life in that handmade sterling silver earring and bracelet set, frolicking on the beach, with not a care in the world. As I peruse social media for the next thing I must have, Iave noticed a few appas best practices catch my eye, and keep my cart full.  

    Instagram Envy:

    The effects of a global pandemic forced people to shop and sell their wares in new ways. Instagram invested heavily in the new social marketplace and Iam here for it. The effortless, and downright gorgeous layout in-app makes it easy to search my favorite brands and what the latest makers have on deck. I scroll the top navigation bar for more shops, live feed, tutorials or collections, and one of my favorite tabs the aDropsa a where I find the latest and greatest in the brands I follow, complete with a Get Reminder date for when the drop is official. Do I really need whatas coming this fall from the casual cool of Adidas loungewear? The answer is no, but oh how I love to look.

    In my cart the now? A sample collection of original greeting card designs and handmade enamel pins from a small stationery company. I love to send hand-written cards for all occasions to the people in my life, and in a past life I was once a greeting card writer. (No, writing them is actually not that easy.) Checkout is pretty streamlined with a variety of credit card and a few secure mobile payment options a and just like that, within a matter of days Iave got a cheery addition to my greeting card library. Plus, Iam supporting a small business. All good things in my book. As I was scrolling the other night, I noticed an alternative use of the story stickers that typically drive sales to a featured product. Within this celebas story, it was used as an in-story link for a charity donation. Yes! I will donate to the charity ride. And thank you for asking!

     

    TikTok Shopping Madness:

    Iam relatively new to TikTok and its frantic pace, but I admit itas growing on me. I find I canat resist live video of a cat dressed in a chefas hat baking a pie, while Louie Primaas rendition of aPennies From Heavena coos in the background. Incredibly endearing, addictive, and worth a follow. The app opened the commerce floodgates recently, an endeavor 18 months in the making. Itas relatively new to market, but in a recent Yahoo article the company reports a descriptor of what the new capabilities offer: aWith product links, brands can feature one or more products directly from organic TikTok videos and direct users to product pages. Live shopping offers real-time demos or live streamed product showcases with concurrent links to buy products and services. Collection ads allow brands to add custom, swipe-able product cards to in-feed video ads, while dynamic showcase ads can serve personalized, targeted ads based on usersa interestsa.

    If the experience is anything like their 1 billion-strong mix of eclectic users and influencers, it will be worth the ride. Bring on the baking cats.

    Pinterest: The Matron or Social e-Commerce:

    Sheas got style, sheas got class. Pinterest is the place for people who love to curate, browse, and enjoy collaborating with other good taste makers.

    The setup is flawless. Iave chased down many a handbag or a duvet cover I spotted in-store to comparison shop on the app. While it can sometimes be frustrating to click on a new favorite only to find it out of stock, the app does a thorough job of filling your feed with alternate items.

    Because I follow several food/entertaining boards, related content is pushed to my shopping page, so I wonat miss a recipe or reason to celebrate around the table.

    Not to mention the pleasure I get creating fantasy boards of dreamy Italian vacations, and shiny new Airstreams just begging for a national park tour.

    Social e-Commerce is here to stay in sweeping ways:

    Social e-commerce sales rise year after year as a whopping 3 billion people flock to social media. As people seek out more personal shopping experiences, social e-commerce provides an open space where big brands and small proprietors alike can create and market to those exact experiences a much to the growth of their bottom line and influencer status.

     


    eCommerce Marketplaces 101: How Can I Leverage Them?

    Earlier this year Gartner boldly stated in their Predicts 2021 Report: COVID-19 Drives Accelerated Shift to Digital and Commerce Model Evolution that, aBy 2023, 30% of enterprise marketplaces will transition into a majority third-party seller model for better profitability.a For many businesses, adding a third-party seller model to their Go-to-Market strategy was already a serious consideration, but it has become more top of mind due to the driving changes of COVID-19 on consumer buying behaviors. According to a consumer survey by emarketer, about half of all searches start on marketplaces. So whether you participate in a marketplace as the owner or simply as a partnering contributor, your business will benefit from more consumer impressions across your products and services, thus leading to a higher chance of conversion.

    For those who are still researching the marketplace ecosystem, this article will highlight how marketplaces are used, the benefits you can expect to reap, challenges we see in the market and how Elastic Path supports a variety of marketplace deployments to support your business needs.

     

    What is an online marketplace?

    Most are already aware that an online marketplace is a digital platform that facilitates shopping of products and/or services from multiple sources. This evolved definition of marketplaces from the traditional singular seller architecture, has paved the way to now allow a marketplace owner to either function solely as an operator, or sell its own products and services with those of third party sellers. This has been great for offering new strategies for businesses looking to enter the marketplace ecosystem.

    As a marketplace owner, your business will be well positioned to increase profitability in a variety of ways which we will discuss later. However, you will have to consider which roles and responsibilities you will be willing to take on; for example: Seller onboarding and management, master catalog and taxonomy, order management, rules and processes, fund collection and distribution etc.

    As a marketplace seller on the other hand, you will have to think about your product and pricing within the marketplace, page designs, marketing, promotions and customer service to ensure your products are good competition for other sellers within the marketplace. We strongly suggest evaluating your roles in a marketplace with a technical consultant to get a better understanding of the considerations you should be taking into account to assess the feasibility of your business plan first.

     

    Benefits Of a Marketplace Model

    Once you have decided how you want to partake in a marketplace youall find that there will be many benefits regardless of whether you chose to be an owner or a third party seller.

    As an operator:

    • You get to choose the revenue stream that best fits the market niche you want to address:
      • Commission Model: Where you get to charge a percentage or fixed fee for every transaction to merchants.
      • Membership Fee Model: Where you can charge a monthly or yearly fee to both sellers and buyers.
      • Ads and Features Model: Where you charge providers to run Ads within the platform.
      • Listing Model: Where you can charge a business for each listing offer they upload on the platform.
    • You donat hold any product inventory and thus donat have to worry about product capital or investments.
    • Youall be able to generate trust from shoppers and thus increase the likelihood of customers choosing your site to make their purchase.
    • If you already have a product catalog, you can expand it and create more opportunities to up-sell and cross sell to a larger audience.

     

    As a Seller:

    • Youall be able to increase your earning potential by introducing your products or services to a larger audience.
    • Youall be able to save cost on an eCommerce infrastructure as your operator handles most of the operation.
    • Youall gain an instant level of trust because shoppers tend to have stronger confidence and trust in marketplaces.
    • Youall have a quick testing site for your products or services, thus de-risking an online launch.

     

    Challenges With a Marketplace Model

    However, online marketplaces still have a few challenges that you should consider.

     

    Vendor Integration

    With many third party sellers coming together, there will likely be many integrations that will need to work together with the operatoras eCommerce software. When these integrations donat work in symbiosis, sellers often experience slow inventory updates, difficult price management, and incorrect product matching. Choosing a Composable Commerce solution would be ideal for facilitating a marketplace, as they were built to handle multiple integrations under one solution.

     

    Product Presentation

    When many sellers come together with their unique branding, it is difficult to keep a uniformed product presentation. Sellers often have different color schemes, image formats, and image quality, leading to a less uniform user experience across the catalog. By choosing a strong Content Management System(CSM) or Digital Experience Platform (DXP), you can ensure that you can offer templates with strict guidelines to unify the experience.

     

    Customer Service

    With a large catalog of products, it is difficult managing customer service requests. The marketplace owner is expected to assist customers regarding their products, even though they may not have immediate ties or access to each product. Weave seen marketplace owners relieve this pressure by ensuring as much product information is provided on the site as possible, and minimizing overall customer-to-customer service agent interactions.

    This is obviously not an exhaustive list of challenges, and once again, we would definitely recommend working with an agency to assess the cost-benefit ratio of your strategy. So how does Elastic Path support your future marketplace business?

     

    How Does Elastic Path Support Your Marketplace Needs?

    Elastic Path supports customers with marketplace needs whether they want to sell their products and services on an existing marketplace like Alibaba and Amazon, or establish their own marketplace within their industry. To support these needs, Elastic Path offers Product Content Management and Catalog Composer to support all of your complex catalog needs, as well as our marketplace technology partner integration in the Composable Commerce Hub, to create seamless and engaging experiences across multiple touchpoints.

    Many customers have expressed their fear around venturing into a marketplace model because of the perceived complexity and risk. However, due to the open and flexible architecture that Composable Commerce provides, customers are able to deploy a marketplace by either leveraging their existing eCommerce solution or by building a Composable Commerce solution from scratch with Elastic Path. In addition, for those businesses who want more help with launching quickly, youall also be able to leverage one of our Pre-Composed Marketplace Solutions, which is a complete business-ready solution, that eliminates the need to take on the complexity of stitching together everything on their own. We have had customer launches in weeks rather than months with Pre-Composed Solutions.

    So which marketplace model is right for you?

    With Elastic Path Commerce Cloud there are three main marketplace operating models that you can choose from. You can choose to:

    • Sell Into An Existing Marketplace: In this model you will be able to sell into an existing marketplace like Amazon and Alibaba by setting up an automated function to push your products to their marketplace and market your products and services in a way to ensure your goods can be sold.
    • Establish a services-only marketplace: In this model you will be to facilitate the sale of services as the operator of the marketplace. As services based marketplaces are less concerned with ashipping and fulfillment,a you can choose to accept payments through the platform or send buyers to the individual sellers and instead put in measures to manage and collect surcharges for facilitating the interactions. Elastic Path works closely with larger marketplace vendors such as Jetti and Mirakl to create seamless integrations to make this process quick and simple.
    • Sell and facilitate transactions on your personal marketplace: In this model you can either choose to sell your branded products alongside other third party sellers or operate solely as the owner. In this model, you will be able to deploy your marketplace on multiple channels, as well as provide a reliable and engaging user experience to ensure customer retention. Elastic Path works closely with our marketplace partners in the Composable Commerce Hub to ensure real time syncing and seamless cohesion of complex integrations.

    Of course if you have a simpler or more complex need we can always jump on a call to discuss your options. We hope this was helpful, but if you want to know more you can visit our eCommerce Marketplaces page or shoot us a chat on our website. Wead be happy to help!


    How Much Does It Cost to Implement Elastic Path?

    When I, like many others, make an important purchase, especially one that involves a long-term commitment and represents a high percentage of my budget, I am thorough. Whether investing in a car, house, phone, or expensive new winter coat aI do my research. Usually that includes reading reviews, talking to friends and experts, and understanding the financial commitment athe price!

    The experience of technology buyers mirrors my approach.  At Elastic Path 100% of our prospective customers ask about price. In fact, when I poll our business development team it is the top question they receive on their introductory calls with brands. It comes up constantly, and for good reason!

    Investing in new eCommerce technology is a big deal for buyers both in terms of their companiesa ability to hit revenue targets in coming years and their own professional growth. Nobody wants to be the VP of eCommerce or CTO who advocated for a costly eCommerce platform only to have it fail.

    Unfortunately, most enterprise commerce vendors donat share their pricing until you take several meetings with them. This process can feel dated and be extremely frustrating for brands who just want to understand if they can afford the investment or not.

    But, to play devilas advocate, itas often very hard for vendors to provide pricing without knowing a brands unique goals and requirements. That is exactly why I am writing this blog post. Although I canat give you an exact number, this post will help you better understand how much it costs to implement Elastic Path and what you need to consider when thinking about the total investment and why traditional means of evaluation might need a rethink for modern approaches.

    I will cover: aC/ An introduction to commerce technology pricing aC/ The different components that will make up your total cost when working with Elastic Path aC/ How each component is priced  

    Commerce Software Pricing 101: It Depends!

    aIt dependsa. That is the simplest (and most frustrating) way to answer the question aHow much does it cost?a.

    A useful analogy that helps to explain this is making dinner.  How much will it cost to make dinner? The investment to put a meal on the table depends on the outcome you seek If you want something simple and donat care about nutrition or flavor profileaa cup of ramen or a bologna sandwich are low-cost ways to make a meal. Did you make dinner? Yes. Was it less than $5? Yes. Was it ready in 3 minutes?  Yes. However, letas say you want something a bit more nutritious and delicious made with all local ingredients ayouall need grass-fed beef, farmeras market vegetables, handmade pasta and cheese from your local Italian market, and bread from the neighbourhood bakery. Did you make dinner? Yes. Was it less than $5? No, it cost you $50 or more but it was delicious and supported your local community. It also look more time to shop and prepare than the bologna.  In these two scenarios both chefs put a meal on the table, but their goals were completely different meaning their cost was as well.

    Commerce is the same. The cost of your commerce solution will depend on your goals and requirements. If you want to commerce-enable a simple, existing site your cost will be much lower that if you want to re-platform multiple brands, across numerous geographies.

    So, when a representative from a commerce vendor tells you that pricing will depend. They are being honest and just need to understand your business and goals a bit more before they provide a detailed answer that's not higher than it needs to be, and more importantly isn't lower than it should be.  There is nothing worse than thinking you're getting a great deal only to find out later in the process that something will really be 5x what you were originally told. If a sales rep is able to give you a cost without understanding anything about your enterprise business-proceed with caution. These solutions are often geared more towards small businesses and canat meet the needs of enterprises. The remainder of this blog will serve as a guide for anticipating the cost to implement your commerce solution with Elastic Path.

    What Are the Various Parts That Make Up My Commerce Investment?

    At Elastic Path we follow a Composable Commerce approach and so do our customers. Composable Commerce is an approach that enables business and tech teams to bring their brands' unique digital visions to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences from multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business ready solution. This means that when you implement Elastic Path, you will be connecting it with other technologies. Some brands may already have licenses for these third-party technologies while others may have to invest in them. For this reason your cost to implement is made up of 3 components:  

    1. Elastic Path Subscription including core commerce capabilities and APIs, business & developer tooling, education, & quick starts, and reference experiences.

    2. Third party technology licenses for applications such as search, OMS, CMS, personalization, etc.

    3. Implementation for those who plan to pay Elastic Path or a third-party SI to perform migrations, discovery, integrations, and design work.  

    Keep reading to better understand what each component will cost.  

    Elastic Path Subscription Pricing

    Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is a composable, API-first Headless Commerce microservices-based product for digitally driven branded manufacturers. It includes:

    aC/ Core commerce capabilities & APIs aC/ Business user tooling via our Commerce Manager dashboard aC/ Developer tooling including a Postman collection, data model extensions, and more aC/ Education and quick starts to accelerate user learning

    aC/ Reference experiences for frontend best practices

    It is priced based on transaction volume, either GMV or orders processed. Typically, pricing starts around $50,000 USD/year and increases based on your transaction volume. As your transaction volume increases so will your total cost, but economies of scale mean your unit cost/ per transaction fees are much lower at $10 billion than they are at $10 million.

    Third Party Technology Pricing

    As described above, Elastic Path follows a Composable Commerce approach. This approach enables brands to choose their preferred third-party technology providers and seamlessly integrate them with Elastic Path. Instead of being locked in with a monolithic platform that does aall thingsa in an average capacity, Composable Commerce enables brands to choose the specific providers that will best fulfill their unique needs. This is one reason why brands prefer a Composable Commerce approach.

    Common applications that brands connect to Elastic Path include content management systems (CMS), storefront, enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, order management systems (OMS), search, personalization, tax & payments, and PIM. Often, we find that brands simultaneously evaluate commerce and other third-party technology providers as the same time. Each of these applications will have their own price that is provided by your chosen vendor during the evaluation process.

    What you choose to invest in will depend on your backend requirements and the customer experiences you want to power. But, most often we talk to prospects who are also evaluating headless CMS and search technology. If you arenat sure what you need an experienced solutions engineer or architect at your commerce platform can help you walk through this. If youare not sure who that person is-reach out to the Elastic Path team. We have experienced commerce professionals who can walk you through this exercise.

     

    Reduce your TCO

    See how Elastic Path reduces your eCommerce platform's Total Cost of Ownership with our guide.

    Check out the Guide

    On the other hand, some brands have already invested in these technologies so third-party license costs will not be added to implementation costs since they are already in place. If this is you, remember to consider the cost to connect your existing technology investments with a new commerce solution. See the implementation section below to learn more about integration cost.

    I may sound like a broken record at this point but, in summary, the cost of third-party technology just depends! Your cost will be impacted by what you choose to invest in now (versus in a year or never) and what you already have as part of your existing technology stack (and therefore donat need to pay for).  With Composable Commerce you are given the complete control to define how quickly (or slowly) you want to scale your commerce strategy.  This is completely unique to every brand and every implementation. Depending on what you choose to invest in your cost will differ.

    Implementation Pricing

    The final element of pricing to consider is your implementation cost. The first step here is to determine what implementation work needs to be done. This completely depends on your unique project requirements but we commonly see implementation work fall into the following buckets:

    Migrate Your Data:

    This isnat common for commerce implementations as data often lives in your third-party applications, but it is still something to consider. To determine if you need to complete this work, ask yourself:

    aC/ Is there any data migration that needs to occur as part of implementation?

    If yes, youall need to think about data migration as part of implementation. Even if you don't plan to migrate product or customer data- it's often easier to simply re-build from your product system-of-record- you will need to plan for any in-flight or unfulfilled orders or orders within their return windows to ensure proper processing and handling of refunds or exchanges. 

    Align On Priorities & Scope:

    A discovery workshop is a key step in a successful implementation. This type of work ensures that your entire team is aligned on what you plan to build now and how your backlog is prioritized so that you reduce overall cost and time spent on getting live. Ask yourself:

    aC/ Is my entire team aligned on what we need to do now versus in 1 year? aC/ Does everyone have the same expectations about go-live? aC/ Are we aligned on the timeline? (3 months, 6 months, 1 year) aC/ Do all stakeholders agree with an iterative approach? If not, how can I change that?

    If you answered no to any of these questions, I would suggest investing in a discovery workshop where you nail down top priorities for go live and align on backlog prioritization so that you can start generating revenue sooner rather than later.

    Design Your Experiences:

    Design work can often be the most time-consuming and unpredictable part of any implementation as there are usually many prototypes and versions of a user experience to review. You can save time and money by leveraging templates provided by your SI or eCommerce solution but, we find that most brands want to customize a solution to make it their own. Design work includes alignment on the user experience, graphics, fonts, colors, themes, etc. and then subsequent A/B testing. Ask yourself:

    aC/ Does the team plan to use templates or custom build the user experiences? aC/ Who are the key players that need to be involved in providing input and review prototypes? aC/ Does everyone have the same expectations about go-live? aC/ Do all stakeholders agree with an iterative approach? If not, how can I change that?

    aC/ Do you have an existing user experience you plan to use?

    aC/ How will we measure and continuously improve our experience once live?

    If the answers to these questions are no or unknown, you will need to invest in design work.

    Decide on Implementation Strategy:

    Depending on cost, scope, and time parameters, every implementation is different.  It's important to align on your approach for implementation.  Ask yourself:

    aC/ Will you built it all new (greenfield) and launch at once?

    aC/ Will you increment capabilities, delivering the next highest priority first, then the next, then the next - building, learning, and iterating as you go?

    aC/ Will you modernize your existing technology with an incremental (strangler) approach?

    Your implementation strategy will directly impact your short term and long term cost so it is crucial to ensure your business and tech teams are aligned on expectations. 

    Bring It To Life:

    When launching with a new eCommerce solution for an enterprise business there will always be some build work needed to get live. This includes integrating with third party technologies and building the customizations to meet your unique needs. Since Elastic Path is microservices-based, the build process can be completely modular. Separate team members can work on integrations with OMS, ERP, search, personalization, etc. all at the same time without disturbing each other. While you will still need to devote time to the build process, you will have less idle resources and a lower opportunity cost (the cost of doing nothing) when using Elastic Path.

    Once you understand the different aspects of implementations, the second step is to determine who will complete that work. You have a few options:

    aC/ An SI partner or digital agency 

    aC/ Elastic Path Success Assurance team

    aC/ Your internal team

    aC/ A mix of all three

    In general, you may save money when you use only your internal team. However, this approach is uncommon outside organizations with highly experienced technical team or a small project. We find that most brands use an SI or mix SI team members with their internal team to complete an implementation. If working with an SI or the Elastic Path Success Assurance team the more time (hours) you need, the higher the cost.

    Once you understand the work you need to complete and how you will do it, you can work with an SI or Elastic Path to understand total implementation cost. Based on what we see with customers, implementations can be anywhere from 1-4x your technology license cost depending on the scale of your project.

    Summary:

    If youave made it to the end of this post, you will understand that the cost of software is like the cost of making a meal ait just depends what you want!

    Our sales team at Elastic Path is well versed in providing pricing for brands with all different types of requirements and goals. Reach out today to receive a personalized estimate for your commerce implementation.


    Keyword Selected: The

    Keyword Selected: Associates

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    What is a PIM solution? How they work and why you need one.

    As a business grows, their product information becomes siloed and dispersed, becoming harder to organize, access, and use. Product attributes, imagery, detailed descriptions, and supplier information eventually become extremely difficult to manage, slowing workflows and impacting customer experiences.

    To alleviate this pain point, many brands evaluate Product Information Management (PIM) solutions. Akeneo, a global leader in Product Experience Management solutions, defines PIM as providing aa single place for businesses to collect, manage, and enrich their product informationa.

    PIM solutions can help businesses overcome some of the major challenges with managing and utilizing product information as they continue to grow. This article delves into how PIM solutions work, some key considerations for businesses looking to implement PIM systems, and the various advantages offered by PIM.

    What is a PIM Solution and Why Is It Useful?

    Over the past few years, commerce has shifted towards a digital-first approach, with customers demanding more streamlined digital experiences and new options for digital self-service. To adapt to these new trends and prove ROI, Marketing, IT, and Commerce teams are responsible for delivering digitized product information, quickly and clearly. A PIM solution helps brands to manage product information, improving their ability to quickly retrieve and use key data to power digital buying experiences.

    Implementing a PIM solution helps a brand ensure that quality data is organized for internal use and multichannel distribution, consolidating relevant product information onto a single platform. With the rapid digitization of sales and continued expansion into new channels, opting for a PIM solution can help connect different channels to preserve product data quality. Some of the key capabilities offered by PIM solutions include:

    • Improving product data quality across all channels
    • Tracking product progress and completion
    • Managing and modifying relationships between products
    • Collecting data from existing sources
    • Cleaning and centralizing scattered data
    • Specifying priorities across different data sources
    • Enriching product information
    • Translating product information into different languages
    • Linking images, media, and documents to different products
    • Building customized product feeds
    • Curating and creating product sheets
    • Analyzing and tracking product performance

    Marketers, eCommerce Managers, and Data Analytics teams can all utilize PIM to collect, enrich, streamline, and improve product information and data across multiple channels. This can significantly improve customer experiences, while helping businesses gain an edge over their competitors by getting to market quicker while reducing overheads and wasted resources.

    How does PIM work?

    A PIM Solution collects, manages, and enriches data in a single place. The figure below visualizes how PIM works at a high level.

  • Product information and data is collected from various internal and external data sources, ranging from ERP systems to suppliers.
  • The information is loaded into the PIM solution, which allows users to enrich, maintain, and translate the data
  • User management tools, business rules, and validation workflows support the enrichment and maintenance of data
  • Product information can then be distributed to various commerce channels, including eCommerce platforms, marketplace listings, and mobile applications
  • A PIM uses various data types, such as:

    • Technical Data a Specifications and measures (e.g. - material, colors, ingredients
    • Usage Data a Descriptions (e.g. a how-to, where-used)
    • Emotional Data a Product stories and rich descriptions (e.g. a imagery that builds strong, emotional connections with buyers)
    • Media Files a Images, PDFs, Videos

    Businesses typically have a large amount of different types of data that support a single product throughout its lifecycle. Using a PIM system helps streamline product information management and speeds up the process between retrieving, improving, and displaying the data. For example, a PIM system can load descriptive product information that uses a combination of emotional data and media files as content into a catalog management solution.

    Here, products may be grouped into target markets, based on usage and technical data. Some of the key information that businesses can use a PIM to manage include:

    • Essential Product Data a SKUs, product names, product descriptions, UPCs
    • Marketing Data a Keywords, target personas, SEO elements
    • Design Specifications a Style sheets, assembly instructions
    • Channel Information a Google categories, mobile descriptions
    • Supplier Manufacturer Data a Spreadsheets, certifications, bills

    Who needs a PIM Solution?

    PIM Solutions can be useful to all types of brands, B2C, B2B2C, or B2B, who aim to deliver frictionless, consistent, and engaging digital experiences that drive growth and improve their relationships with customers.

    Implementing a PIM solution can help streamline data across different channels. This is particularly useful for marketing, merchandising, and product management teams, as siloed and fragmented data can make it difficult to obtain and present a clear view of product information.

    Companies that anticipate or are currently entering a growth phase should particularly consider PIM solutions. With new customers and expansion into different channels, information will become increasingly scattered and siloed. As a result of this, teams may waste time and resources on managing and maintaining product data, both internally and with external groups.

    Additionally, firms that are currently struggling with managing product information or are spending excessive time and resources on managing data should also look to PIM as an effective method to collecting and cleaning their data. This will help to avoid missed opportunities, lost revenue, and falling market share to competitors.

    Some of the specific individuals that should consider a PIM software are:

    • Marketers looking to deliver a consistent omni-channel product experience
    • eCommerce Managers that want to prioritize product data quality to drive online sales
    • Retailers hoping to strengthen or create relationships with suppliers
    • Brands attempting to build or boost customer loyalty and satisfaction
    • Managers seeking methods to reduce overheads and wasted resources
    • Data Governance teams who want to track and meet compliance needs
    • Strategy experts considering new approaches to get to market faster than competitors
    • Sales teams that aim to sell more through better content and data accessibility
     

    Product Content Management with Elastic Path

    At Elastic Path our Product Content Management capability offers many of the core features of a PIM solution including data consolidation, enrichment, organization, and syndication.  While it does not include robust workflow functionality, the core set of features are sufficient to meet the needs of many brands evaluating a PIM solution.  Plus, since it is part of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product it seamlessly works with our Catalog Composer capability, enabling brands to create the unique and complex product- centric experiences their business needs.  

    Key Statistics and Additional Benefits of using a PIM

    PIM has grown rapidly over the past few years, and more companies are expected to adopt PIM in the future. Customersa expectations for high quality, thorough, and accurate product information is expected to rise, and companies are investing in PIM to meet these demands.

    Furthermore, compared to IT-led Master Data Management (MDM) initiatives, implementing a PIM system is faster and more cost effective, simultaneously offering a myriad of measurable business benefits. Below are some statistics that highlight the growth of and key trends in PIM:

    • The PIM category has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 25.3%, reaching over $15 Billion dollars in 2021
    • The global PIM market is projected to reach $59.25 billion by 2027
    • Asia-Pacific is expected to exhibit the highest CAGR of 28.3%
    • PIM Software has been projected to be one of the most lucrative segments in the 2020-forecast period
    • The emergence of COVID-19 is expected to increase the demand for and growth of PIM
    • Cloud-based PIM solutions are expected to grow at the highest rate during the 2020-forecast period
    • PIM automates up to 80% of typical manual tasks

    With its anticipate growth and the efficiencies it offers, PIM provides teams with the ability to enrich their product information, keep it clean and consistent, and improve customer experiences. Some additional benefits of utilizing PIM are:

    • Increasing sales conversion rates: Higher quality data that incorporates different data types can boost customer conversion rates. Using a PIM solution can further help marketing teams make media and product descriptions specific to different channels.
    • Improved customization: Firms can use PIM solutions to scale more effectively, as product experiences can be tailored and customized to match the specific needs and profiles of different customers.
    • Boosted speed: PIM tools provide companies with a competitive edge, enabling them to streamline data collection and product information enrichment processes to get to market more quickly.
    • Support for growth: As companies scale and grow, data becomes increasingly scattered and siloed. Implementing a PIM system early on can help brands avoid missing out on opportunities and wasting resources as data management becomes harder with anticipated growth.
    • Decreased product returns: Research shows that incomplete or inaccurate product information are the key drivers of product returns. Product returns can increase costs and can cause a firm to lose customers; PIM reduces return rates by eliminating data errors and using validation processes to help deliver complete and correct information.
    • Higher team productivity: PIM solutions automate many manual tasks, helping product marketing teams focus on building strong and compelling product descriptions. PIM systems also support the enrichment of data through built-in workflows, improving collaboration and productivity across different departments.
    • Catalyzing expansion: By reducing the amount of time spent on managing current products and existing data, teams have more opportunities to research and innovate. PIM solutions provide the tools needed for omnichannel marketing, while also offering translation, review, and publishing tools to support entry into new regions or markets.

    PIM is changing the game

    For many brands, a PIM solution can be a game changer. By solving common data and information management issues, providing a variety of tools for expansion and customization, and supporting productivity across different teams, PIM can help firms improve current processes and create high-quality product data.

    Deploying a PIM can improve the level of control, organization, and speed within your marketing team, whether your firm is a B2B or B2C. The PIM market is expected to continue its rapid growth, and more and more firms are adopting a PIM solution that fits the needs of their organization.

    Implementing a PIM solution early on can support your firms growth and support future expansion, simultaneously improving customer experiences, retention, and brand image.


    How Will Online Buying Evolve in 2022 and Beyond?

    By now we are all familiar with what the global pandemic did to buying behavior and how that affected some of the worldas biggest brands. We had winners and losers, and the common denominator between winning and losing came down to agility to transform customer engagement or the fact that the business was deemed aessentiala by the government.

    You can see below some very recognizable brands could not survive the impacts of the pandemic.

    However, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall to know how many of these brands were discussing or maybe even in the process of budget planning to transform using digital experiences leading up to February 2020.

    The buyer trend for more online and digital experience was already present in the market pre-pandemic, which is why some were ahead of the game as early adopters, but why companies did not prioritize would be interesting 2020 hindsight to learn from.

    (Source)

    Now that that the dust is settling, we are moving from reactive to a more proactive planning for eCommerce and while there was a rush to pivot online back in 2020, our buyers are now discussing how to improve and or replace what was in place and looking to afuture proofa their eCommerce approach going into 2022.

    Future proofing the eCommerce experience is all about how you invest in technology and ensuring the foundational components are flexible and adaptable to the unknown future of buying experience and back-office workflows.

    What was once a bleeding edge experience that differentiated brands is quickly become part of the standard expectation of the buyer.

    Just consider a basic use case we all live with every day. We are not far from a time when most restaurants big or small had very little in the form of online presence and only the big brands like Dominos or Applebeeas had a way to order and pay online for delivery and take out.

    Then came the adelivery marketplacesa like Uber Eats and Grub Hub which expanded the opportunity to digitally order your dinner and providing more local restaurants a channel to sell online.

    Building a marketplace of you own?

    Discover how Elastic Path Commerce Cloud can power and support your marketplace.

    Learn More

    Living up in Southern NH (which is only 32 miles from Boston a so not the back woods by any means), there were not many options for either just before the pandemic. We were lucky to find a menu online and we had to pick up the phone to place an order for delivery or pick-up.

    Within a matter of months every restaurant trying to survive, big or small, had dedicated parking for online ordering, they all had menus online and ways to purchase using credit card or PayPal. Some of the bigger chains spun up mobile apps to try and create a brand presence and accommodate multiple locations within a buying area.

    I can tell you firsthand that some did it well, but most took an MVP approach that had buyers like me going back to the phone only because the food is good. The few that did it well have earned new business from me, but they are the exception vs. the rule and sad to say they are the bigger chains with deeper pockets.

    Now that life is getting back to some normalcy just having a shopping cart online or mobile app is not going to be enough. Buying behavior has shifted and we the buyer are expecting better, multi-channel experiences. We donat want to go to the store because we half to, we are going back because we want a day out of the house, and we might not even buy anything. If I need something I just go online and order it.

    So, this shift is not only changing the experience online it is also changing how we interact in person.

    While I am not a fortune teller that can predict what new buying trends will emerge in 2022, I did want to share some customer experience examples every brand and retailer needs to be doing to just meet buyer expectations.

    When reading this, If you consider these things are hard to do because of the eCommerce technology you have today, then that is a major signal that you might need to start looking for a different, afuture proofa eCommerce solution.

    Also keep in mind, the biggest question you need to ask the technology vendors is not can you do this or show me where you have done this a but rather how fast did your customers do this, how much did they have to customize the solution to make it work? If you can transform quickly, you will never be able to keep up with the ever-changing and increasing buyer expectations.

    Blending Online and Offline is already the expectation

    Retailers that quickly merged online and offline experience with options like Curbside pick-up were on the winning side of the buyer shift that happened in the pandemic.

    I briefly mentioned this in another article I recently wrote as being one the keys to Best Buyas winning without being aessentiala. Digital Commerce 360 did a study earlier this year on the topic and below shows just how much this experience has been adopted from December 2019 (pre-pandemic) to August 2020.

    What is interesting is now we are starting to see the effect this having on how the physical experience is shifting.

    Companies are looking to invest in smaller retail space that is optimized for pick-up and delivery. In fact, I would not be surprised to see dedicated drive thru lanes for services like Uber Eats and Grub Hub and maybe even loyal online buyer pick up window at McDonalds coming soon.

    And I can even envision adistributiona sites where there is only a kitchen so that companies can operate in lower cost industrial districts vs. paying higher rent on Main Street.

    These points illustrate why afuture proofa decisions for technology need to be more cloud-based and composable, per Gartner Groups "By 2023, organizations that have adopted a Composable Commerce approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation."

    Other use cases that blend of online and offline:

    • Contactless checkout. Provides a unique buying experience where there is never a que to pay. Even the self-service lines are getting longer as less clerks run registers. This allows the buyer to skip the line all together and your staff can spend more time helping customer 1x1 on the floor and stuck behind a bar code scanner.
    • Having a data driven catalog solution means you can ensure the in-store experience is the same as online. Buyers can see product in the store and even if it is not available in that store, they can find it online with the same price and option to purchase and ship to their home. The data and availability is in full sync with your warehouses.

    Sell your brand direct to great trust and loyalty

    Marketplaces and retail sites are great ways to get your product exposed, but then you are just a commodity stuck presenting your product the same way as your competition.

    However, you need to have a place where you can control the online experience and have that work seamlessly with the marketplaces and retails you also may use a online and offline. If you currently are managing the information about your products and services in silos across these channels, you may not be operating on a afuture proofa platform.

    Many eCommerce vendors claim multi-channel as a strength, but really, they are just enabling loosely couple separate instances that require a ton of user and technical support to operate effectively across channels.

    Adding to this complexity and something that is at the heart of Elastic Pathas customer base is multi-brand and multi-geo. In order to have a seamless experience across this ecosystem you need to consider how well your current platform enables this integration on both the customer experience and back-office operations. The bigger and more diversified your company gets, the harder this will get.

    While the quick to deploy cloud monolith might look attractive to get started. You will soon outgrow it if you are successful, and you will likely fail to scale with an experience buyers will expect as a standard in the near future, as more and more buying happens across digital channels.

    Want curbside pick up or contactless checkout?

    Elastic Path enables you to quickly and easily spin up new digital purchasing pathways so you can keep up with modern customer demands and scale your business.

    Learn more

    Channel variety will continue to diversify

    Think about why major brands had to be on main street or in the mall? Foot traffic.

    They knew that just by being visible to buyers when they went out shopping would help drive revenue, even if they if what they were selling was not the main reason a buyer went out.

    Now that the buyer is spending more time online and the internet can reach everyone no matter if they are at home, work or on vacation the new main street is social media. But it is not enough to just promote you brand with ads and sponsored posts.

    You need to have a personal presence and you need to make it easy to transact within the social experience. Using social will continue to rise according to most experts and the statistics are amazing for how things look today, considering MySpace came on the scene less than 20 years ago. Below are some stats compiled by Hootsuite earlier this year.

    (Source)

    It will be in the best interest if the social platform and seller to utilize open, standard ways to connect a aka APIs. But not just any API, these connections need to flexible and capable of connecting without custom code.

    This again underscores the importance of having a modern, composable eCommerce platform designed to connect in a modern cloud world.

    Buying Online will become the experience

    Back to the mall one more time. Remember when going to mall meant hanging with friends, going to music store to check out the latest album or heading to Footlocker to check out Nikeas latest new kicks.

    All that is gone, but we are still visual and social beings. The experience online needs get better in this area to win. If the experience online is not a good one and your product does not create an emotional bond with buyer, you will lose. But it will go beyond cool websites and mobile apps as technology like VR/AR being to take hold.

    According to Goldman Sachs, the market for AR and VR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025.

    The fact is most current eCommerce platforms are not ready to meet the unknown future, which is why we are seeing growing interest in the market for headless commerce solutions.

    However, companies that want to future proof eCommerce need to think beyond the CMS and Mobile as the head a they need to image a world where everything we interact with can become an interface to transact. That is why you need to consider platforms that have been built from the ground up using open API architectures.

    To those platforms, the aheada can be just about anything you can imagine it to be.


    Inside Elastic Path: Joining the Team

    Emily Kathi recently joined Elastic Path as our Senior Content Marketing Writer. She has a Journalism background with past experience as a lead copywriter on creative and marketing teams; telling good stories through blogs, social media campaigns, branding, and advertising. Sheas also freelanced as a feature writer and revitalized web site copy for relaunch. Keep reading to learn about Emilyas position and what is has been like joining Elastic Path.

    Q: How has your first 30 days been since joining Elastic Path?

    Emily: When I first heard about the role at Elastic Path, I was attracted to the role because I'd be creating new content on a daily basis. While I do have experience in the industrial technology space, writing about eCommerce is new to me. The learning curve has been an interesting and exciting journey so far. My Journalism training has definitely prepared me for embracing change with a curious mind. The people at Elastic Path have made my onboarding both open and welcoming, especially the marketing team. Their accessibility has been impressive, and everyone is willing to help me learn and give me the tools to succeed.

    Q: What are your key learnings at Elastic Path so far?

    Q: What made you join Elastic Path?

    Emily: When I first was reading about the job description, the industry seemed so fascinating to me. There is so much opportunity to grow as a writer and so much to learn, I can set my path as an employee at Elastic Path. Though I have only been here for 30 days, I can see the groundwork to grow as individual within my role and my own personal development.

    Q: What would you say to someone who decided to apply for Elastic Path?

    Emily: If you are looking to apply, I would highly encourage it. If you want to grow, stretch, be a better creative thinker, innovator, or look for ways to expand your skill sets, this is the company to work for.

    Q: What is the highlight of your workday/week?

    Emily: So far, itas the weekly marketing team retro every Friday. I appreciate the recap from the work week and hear about what others have accomplished and how weare achieving our sprint goals. The retroas are a time to share wins and reflect on opportunities to learn.

    Q: What do you love about Elastic Path so far?

    Emily: I love the opportunity to work remotely but also be a part of a collaborative, open team. I appreciate having a voice and an open invitation to share input and contribute to a team who values me.

    Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path?

    Emily: The culture at Elastic Path is open and transparent. I feel trusted as a professional to share ideas and have a seat at the table. Ideas and information are shared across departments toward common goals.

    Q: What do you like to do during your free time?

    Emily: During my free time I like to cook for my family and friends. I love getting large groups together to share food and have great conversations. . I also like camping, hiking, and skiing. Lately Iave been biking more in the city. Itas been great to get out especially when the weather is warm, to stay active and not use my car so much to get where I need to be. Iam fortunate to live in a walkable neighborhood where I have food and entertainment close by.

    Stay tuned for our next aInside Elastic Patha series. If you are interested joining our team, check out our open listings and apply today.


    Jamstack Conference 2021: How it started, where itas going

    This yearas Jamstack conference featured a 90s theme, complete with an opening reminiscent of Full House and shows of the era: big hair, big cast, and all the cheese you can handle in two minutes. A big win for Netlify as it kept the conference moving along with humor and nostalgia. They even unearthed graphics and video from shows of the day and created new clips throughout as they introduced new sessions. Well done!

    The web is winning  

    Netlifyas CEO Matt Biilman kicked us off on a journey from when the web was considered dead some 20 years ago to where itas winning today. As the shift continues from monolith to API-first, Biilman walked us through what drives innovation in development ops to create more robust and resilient user experiences. He highlighted the continuing saga between multi-page and single page apps, and how content is rendered through various hydration models.

    Biilman was joined in the keynote by a handful of leaders in the community who provided thoughtful insight about the future of Jamstack, including creators from Svelte and Vite.

    A shout out here to Phil Hawksworth at Netlify for his tea time footage; it kept us engaged and entertained. A+ content!

    Breakout star: Laurie Voss

    One of the more insightful sessions came from Netlifyas own data evangelist, Laurie Voss. He presented survey findings from approximately 7,500 Jamstack users, entitled aJamstack is Eating the World.a

    A couple of interesting points within the findings: while full-time developers and engineers lead the charge in the community, 2021 saw a significant rise in student employment. Voss indicated this may be in part to the pandemic, as typically an education shift occurs in uncertain times, and a shift to Jamstack architecture taught as the foundational default.

    Another key point: over 30% of responders reported a shift to remote work in 2021 even after pandemic conditions were lifted. How we work and collaborate has a new face, and how it affects the product (and the emotional state of its workers) is a case study in and of itself.

    I highly suggest checking out Vossa full presentation on YouTube when you have a chance. He goes into more detail on what developers are building, the tools they prefer, and what their priorities are for new projects. His presentation provides further evidence of where Jamstack is going and what the community looks like.

    Additional Jamstack Conference 2021 highlights:

    • The Jamsnacks! Whatas an event without snacks? Peppered throughout the conference were whatas new in apps in just two minutes, or the Jamsnack. Quick-hitting and informative, these were welcome breaks between longer form content and sessions.

    • The Lounge a an opportunity to chat amongst ourselves and get to know more about event sponsors (like Elastic Path!). Bonus:  casual conversation about beloved 90s shows. It was gold.  
    • Lightning Launches a these ran about 10 minutes or so in the Innovation and Tools track and highlighted new products/features on the scene including a demo. Great job to Supabase, Astro, and Sanity for exceptional content and creativity on a time crunch!  
    • Awards a kudos are key in all spaces, and the Jamstack community is no exception. The aJammiesa recognized excellence for company, project, and individual contributor levels in these categories:  
      • Social Impact: A11Y project
      • Ecosystem Innovation: Astro
      • Community Creator: Salma Alam-Naylor
      • Project of the Year: Twilio Console

    Itas a wrap on Jamstack 2021:

    Again, I would highly recommend perusing the content on YouTube, especially since you can pick and choose where to spend time. You wonat have the perk of chatting in real time with fellow Jamstack community members and innovators, but youall get a feel for what the buzz is all about.

     

    Jamstack & Elastic Path:

    Jamstack architecture and the Elastic Path Commerce Cloud product play exceptionally well in the sand box. Together they provide control, speed, and trust in the digital commerce experience. You have the power to deliver a reliable, and truly differentiated solution based on your business needs today, and where you are going tomorrow.  Want to see it in action?

    Jamstack is certainly key to us as we pursue the best in headless commerce solutions. We were thrilled to be a Jamstack Conference sponsor this year, and I personally enjoyed the deep dive into whatas new! Check out our resource library for more hot topicsa|


    APIs vs Microservices: What's The Difference

    If youare in the eCommerce space, youave likely heard of aAPIsa and aMicroservicesa at least once. Conversations surrounding these terms often circulate when trying to compare eCommerce solutions for practitioners, and when trying to execute tasks for developers.

    aOh well I heard that eCommerce solution has 300 Microservicesa

    aI want my solution to be API-Firsta

    aItas easy to do this with a few API calls, it should only take a few minutesa

    Because APIs and Microservices work so closely together and often overlap in their uses, experts tend to speak about them freely without much context. However, this often leaves non-experts confused about what they really are, how they are used and how they can benefit their eCommerce solution. Thatas why I took the liberty to talk to one of our experts here at Elastic Path, Chris Wraith, Director of Engineering, to provide some context on the basics of APIs and Microservices. Take a peek at our conversation below a

     

    Shaneil:

    Chris, I think itas best to start at the beginning with aWhat is an API?a

     

    Chris:

    The root of APIs comes from Application Programming Interface which really just describes a contract between different parts of a program and a system. In the context of web and eCommerce, when people talk about APIs, what they mean is HTTP APIs, so for example, REST APIs or JSON APIs. But when you boil it down to its roots, itas a contract between a service provider and a client where the service provider agrees to provide something given a certain input.

     

    Shaneil:

    To break it down even simpler, what is an example of a service provider receiving an input?

     

    Chris:

    If we look at an eCommerce example, an example would be if you had an inventory service. An inventory service might have an API called aget inventorya, it takes input of a product, and maybe you will get back something that tells you how many of that product you have. So effectively it's a contract that says, aif you give me this input, I will give you this output and here's how you get that information and here's what I need to provide you that service.a

     

    Shaneil:

    So, APIs are a lot simpler than I thought because they can be used a lot in everyday life.

     

    Chris:

    Exactly! The thing with APIs -- They always have an objective and they always accomplish something. Sometimes it's a simple matter of, if you give me this input and you get this output or sometimes it's you request me to do something, then I'll go off and do that.

    It could even be as simple as a request to calculate the sum of a list of numbers, or it could be more complicated as providing a text transcription when an audio file is inputted. But as you said, they can be used anywhere -- Anything you can encapsulate in a contract or any service you can describe can be an API.

     

    Shaneil:

    So, it seems like APIs have been around for quite some time, so why is there now a huge debate about choosing between API-driven eCommerce solutions and out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions? Because Iam assuming APIs are still working in the backend of the out-of-the-box solution, but probably with just less availability to be customized. Can you help to clarify that?

     

    Chris:

    Well, it depends. When people say that they want APIs in a commerce solution, what they really mean is that they want APIs to be first class citizens. They want the APIs to be the things that they're paying the money for when they buy that particular solution.

    However, when you buy an out-of-the-box solution, what youare most likely to get is a set of templates where the APIs are underneath it all. So, you don't necessarily get access to the APIs, but they are probably still there. In an out-of-the-box solution, providers might not want to share the details of these APIS because they might think of the APIs as only being for them and not for the customer.

    Whereas when API is the thing that the customer is buying, they get to consume those APIs in whatever way they want, across all of the customer journey. This grants the ability to construct that really custom and perfect user journey that you want for your customers and that's the, you know, the uniqueness that you get with Headless Commerce.

     

    Shaneil

    That makes so much sense. The flexibility granted here is key. Is there anything that clients really care about when evaluating APIs with an eCommerce vendor?

     

    Chris:

    Like I mentioned before, the important thing about an API is that it's a contract. So, from the client's point of view, they know that if they provide the particular input to the API they'll get a particular output. And thatas all they really care about. They don't really care how that operation is accomplished; they just want to get back the right output.

    However, one more thing they might think about is how long it takes to fulfill their request. Part of that contract in a lot of cases is what we loosely call the anon-functional requirements,a i.e. how long it would take to process or the performance expectations around it. But generally speaking, clients might care about the inputs, outputs, how long it's going to take and how it performs.

     

    Shaneil:

    Is there a way that a client would be able to know right off the bat if eCommerce vendoras APIs are slow or not?

     

    Chris:

    Well, most service providers will give an idea of how long the requests in their systems are expected to take. At Elastic Path we try to ensure that all of our requests return within a certain time (100 milliseconds). But generally speaking, it's not always something that people publish with their APIs. However, an important consideration when you're buying a solution is whether the API requests will be fast enough for your needs.

     

    Shaneil:

    Thanks Chris. So, letas shift over to microservices. In your eyes, what are microservices?

     

    Chris:

    Well, for me, it's the way of architecting an application. But as you know, there will be a lot of disagreements about what the exact definition is. So, what I like to do with these things is to take them back to first principles and understand why they were designed that way. And for me, microservices is really just about implementing an age-old idea in computing, which dates back to the 60s and 70s, which is just always making sure that things that you build are loosely coupled and highly cohesive.

    What that means is that where you have different parts of the system working together, when they talk to each other via APIs, which weave just spoken about -- those APIs are well defined contracts which creates this sort of loose coupling effect, where changing a something internally in the system in aAa doesnat affect the system in aBa

    And so microservices are really just a design principle that helps with loose coupling and high cohesion. This means that you can have all the related functionality together in a single micro service and still interact with functionality from another part of the system without being tightly woven together to break the function, but still cohesive enough to work in symbiosis.

     

    Shaneil:

    So, how do microservices solutions differ from traditional monolithic solutions?

     

    Chris:

    You know, people bash monoliths all the time, but Monoliths can be well designed as well. It just all comes back to that old software engineering principle of loose coupling and high cohesion. So, this can definitely be achieved in a monolith as well. However, the reason we use microservices is because we think it's easier to achieve that loose coupling and high cohesion. Working with microservices kind of forces you down the right route and makes it much harder for you to make bad design decisions if you're in a well-designed microservices environment.

    When you compare that to doing it in a monolithic set up, it's really easy if you're a developer in a monolithic application to make a decision and add certain functionality in a section it wasnat designed to be in because it also holds similar functionality that you recognize. So, when a developer adds their code in the wrong section, you end up losing that cohesion and introduce tight coupling between components that really shouldnat be coupled together. And that is when you get that scenario where somebody makes a change in aAa and breaks something else in aBa

     

    Shaneil:

    Oh yes, we have heard so much about companies struggling with these issues in the backend of their system and therefore have had to implement continuous regression and quality assurance testing to avoid any breaking. So now that we have a basic understanding of both terms, what would you say is the main difference between APIs and Microservices?

     

    Chris:

    So, an API is like your contract, and it says this is what this particular thing does and the microservices, how you would implement that contract. I will say however that it's not necessarily a 1 to 1 mapping between them. So, you might have an API that has a number of different capabilities in it, and you might have one micro service that implements all of them. Equally you might have another API that sits across two or three different microservices that all come together to implement that particular piece of functionality. So, in all, the difference is that an API is a contract that says agiven this input, you'll get this output,a while microservices is a way of delivering some or all of that functionality.

     

    Shaneil:

    So essentially microservices work in conjunction with APIs to fulfill clientsa requests. So, do you have any final advice for customers regarding microservices and APIs?

     

    Chris:

    Well, if someone is thinking about the way that they should design an eCommerce platform, they will probably want to be thinking about microservices for themselves, but when it comes to choosing an eCommerce provider, they want to be thinking about APIs So my point is, for the bit of the solution that they want to build, it makes sense to build them as microservices because then you get your nice loose coupling high cohesion, that we all aspire. But what you really care about when you're getting services from other people is APIs, because you want to know what youare getting, what you need to give that service to get what you need from it. Thinking about that means that, you know, the bits that you design are well-designed, and you know exactly what you're going to get from all of the providers that are going to come together to form your eCommerce solution.

    Well, I hope this was helpful in understanding the difference between APIs and Microservices. You can explore more about microservices and understand if they may be right for you here. But as always if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us over chat.


    21 Data-Backed Reasons That Point to Why you Should Consider an Omnichannel Strategy in 2022

    Connecting with shoppers has never been as easy, or as difficult, as it is today. There are any number of channels businesses can use to market and sell their products, ranging from their own website or third-party marketplaces, to brick-and-mortar stores or even the traditional sales team.

    While you could probably find a buyer through any of these channels, connecting and converting the right buyers will depend on you reaching your customers when and where they are. That could be on Instagram, in their email inbox, on Amazon, or over the phone.

    While it can be daunting to try and strategize across a variety of different platforms, apps, mediums, and devices, recent buyer data has never been clearer a the single-channel shopper is dying.

    Taking an omnichannel approach to your commerce strategy will become core for your business to meet modern consumer demands, improve your customer experience and ultimately, your bottom line. Businesses like Stance, Bank of America, and Starbucks, are all great examples of businesses with omnichannel experiences.

    But, there is a catch. And it isnat just budget.

    The key to an omnichannel commerce strategy (and how it differs from a multichannel strategy) lies not only in the mix of channels your business is leveraging, but in how those channels integrate and connect the customeras journey.

    Buyers today expect their shopping experience to be as convenient and personalized as possible. If theyare researching online, they might want to know the nearest in-store location they can pick up their desired products up at. If they order online, they might want to return in store. While customer preferences will vary based on your business (the products you sell, your ecommerce business model, industry, and location), the same underlying behaviors impact everyone a and the answer is omnichannel.

    Hereas a few compelling statistics to help convince you that you should pivot to an omnichannel strategy if youare not thinking about it already:

    Customer buying habits are already multichannel...

    • 15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. (Marketing Week)
    • 59% of shoppersa-surveyed say they research online before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice. (Google)
    • 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day. (Google Research)
    • 56% of consumers have used their mobile device to research products at home with 38% having used their mobile device to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% who have used their mobile device to research products while in a store. (Forrester)

    ...And rapidly moving towards omnichannel

    • 50% of shoppers expect that they will be able to make a purchase online and pick up in-store. (Forrester)
    • The number of orders placed online and picked up at bricks-and-mortar stores by customers grew 208% during the pandemic. (Adobe Analytics, 2020)
    • 71% of shoppers agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products. (Forrester)
    • 45% of shoppers in-store expect sales associates to be knowledgeable about online-only products. (Forrester)
    • Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel. (Zendesk)

    Ready to Bring Your Own Omnichannel Strategy to Life?

    Make any touchpoint transactional and build unique commerce experiences catered to your brand with an Omnichannel approach. Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more.

    Read the Guide

    Omnichannel ecommerce will increase revenue...

    • Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies. Similarly, strong omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies.a-(Aberdeen Group)
    • Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. (Google)
    • Omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money. (Harvard Business Review)
    • Customers that also used 4 or more channels, spent 9% more in-store when compared to just one channel (Harvard Business Review)
    • Marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 250% higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign. (Omnisend)

    ...And improve customer retention

    • Companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. (Invesp)
    • 74% of consumers are willing to abandon a brand if the purchasing process isn't easy to navigate. (Source)

    An omnichannel strategy will make it easier to deliver consistent, personalized, and seamless the shopping experiences:

    • 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.(Accenture)
    • 67% of consumers think itas important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don't adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will "get annoyed" that content isnat personalized. (Adobe)
    • 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. (Segment)
    • About 73% of consumers will ghost a brand after three or fewer negative customer service experiences (Coveo)
    • 74% of consumers would find aliving profilesa valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive. (Accenture)

    Building a unified customer experience that can be delivered seamlessly across any touchpoint is the path to a future-proofed business. Buyers can either be fickle or have a deep affiliation for your brand and how you engage with them will make or break that bond. Positive experiences will mean less abandoned shopping carts, better reviews and in the end, expanded sales and less churn for your business.

    If youare looking to get started with omnichannel ecommerce, or have already implemented the approach, Elastic Path can help you bring your vision to life and simplify the process with a flexible omnichannel commerce solutions. Chat with an expert today to get started.


    Inside Elastic Path with our Marketing Interns

    Our latest Inside Elastic Path series features the marketing interns and as a marketing intern myself, I could not be any more excited to share my story with you. My name is Michaela and Iam currently pursuing a masteras degree in Integrated Marketing and Communication at Stonehill College. My focus is on content marketing, so writing blog posts like this is right up my ally. We have two additional interns on the marketing team. Cody Tu and Rudra Bharat. Cody is a Graphic Design Intern, who is studying at Massachusetts College of Arts and Design and getting a degree in Communication Design. Rudra Bharat was born and raised in Malaysia and came to the states to study Economics at Boston University. Keep reading to learn more about what itas like to be an intern on the marketing team!

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Digital Marketing Co-Op Intern?

    Rudra: A typical workday starts with meeting with my manager to go over my day-to-day tasks and show any deliverables I have been working on. Once we go over my week, I will work on sprint tasks to work on the deliverables I have for that upcoming week. I also will attend marketing team meetings to go over sprint tasks, and to go over our weekly wins during our Friday retro meetings.

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Content Marketing Co-Op Intern?

    Michaela: As a Content Marketing Co-Op intern, I manage the social media channels for Elastic Path. I create content to highlight on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I pull metrics where we find engagement and followers to increase and find new solutions to attract our audience online. I also assist in the abehind the scenesa working with webinars for Elastic Path and assist in sending emails to register for our aall demo, no pitcha webinars. I have also been writing blogs for our company website!

    Q: Can you describe a usual workday as a Graphic Design Co-Op Intern?

    Cody: I start my day off with meeting with my supervisor to go over my day-to-day responsibilities. Next, I will go into Jira, to check in on tasks for that week. I also double check with other coworkers who have assigned me tasks to make sure we are on the same page before I get started on creating graphics for upcoming assignments.

    Q: What is typically the highlight of your day or week?

     

    Q: In your current role, is there something you are most proud of?

    Cody: Working on the state of composable commerce report graphics, I am also working through a video portion right now, which is something I am most proud of. I enjoy seeing the data and the graphics come along.

    Michaela: In my current role, something I am most proud of is writing blog posts and seeing them published on our company website. This is new for me, so being able to see your work go live online is awesome.

    Rudra: Being able to see my blog posts being published is something I am most proud of. I havenat written a blog post since this internship experience, and it is something that is new to me as well. I am learning how to focus on specific content to write about, which I find myself learning day to day.

    Q: How would you describe the culture at Elastic Path?

    The culture at Elastic Path is very friendly, supportive and community focused. Everyone is willing to help on your own team or other teams if you have any questions. Cody states, that he likes the fact that the marketing team is small, since it is very easy to communicate with peers, coworkers and being able to get tasks done in a short period of time. Rudra also describes the culture as: welcoming, warm, and the company at Elastic Path is like one big family.

    Q: What do you love about Elastic Path?

    Cody: Being able to have a lot of creative freedom, especially working with ads. I am doing AB Testing with the ads. We are trying new videos, new formats, new graphic styles, new animations and trying new designs to the which results are doing better. Michaela: I love the people and the culture at Elastic Path. Everyone is based in different time zones, but we are willing to work later for unanswered questions or late-night chats if needed. Rudra: One thing I love about Elastic Path is that I can meet the more employees at Elastic Path through our acoffee-chatsa we have. This is where we can meet other employees in the company and spend 30 minutes to get to know another individual through zoom and have coffee, lunch or even just a snack. Since I only interact with the marketing team, it has been nice to meet other faces virtually in the company.

    Q: What would you say to someone that is considering on applying as a Co-Op Intern?

    Cody: Expand your horizons, I have been doing a lot of editing and trying new AB tests. I have been able to learn a lot through the past 3 months I have been here, which has been insightful.

    Michaela: If you are looking to work with such an amazing team, and a company that really cares about the people at Elastic Path, I highly recommend on applying. I also would add, that if you are looking for a challenge to apply.

    Rudra: Working at Elastic Path is a great learning experience will open you to work with a committed and passionate team. Everyone on the team uses their knowledge to come together and help one another. I can develop my skillsets from what I am learning in the classroom and apply that to what I am doing in my internship. In my internship, I do a lot of research through my work, whether that is coming up with new marketing revenue aspects or working on marketing campaigns. Being able to challenge myself through my internship is something I enjoy.

    Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

    Cody: I love to play basketball; I play with my best friend every weekend. I have been doing this for a long time, I played back in high school. I also love to play video games; after work I will play with some of my coworkers, which is fun. I also really enjoy cooking.

    Michaela: I love to find time to work out before or after work. Staying fit and healthy is something that motivates me to get my day going. I also enjoy reading and hanging with friends, since I recently moved to Boston!

    Rudra: During my free time I try to read books whenever I can. I also will go outside and find a basketball court, to play pick up or with my friends. I also like to play golf. Back home I would try to find a driving range and hit some golf balls. I also enjoy watching Movies and playing video games. Since I attend school in Boston, I like to explore the city with friends, whether we are just hanging out, or trying new restaurants. Living in a lively city there is never a dull moment.

    Stay tuned for our next aInside Elastic Patha series. If you are interested joining our team, check out our open listings and apply today.


    Casual Observations on Social e-Commerce

    While my purchases via social media are limited in scope, Iam fascinated and admittedly a bit hooked on whatas new on these apps for sale. Iave spent more than a few hours scrolling when my intent was to unwind and shut off screen time. Oh well. There are worse habits Iam surea| Iam not surprised to learn that in the last two years, social media traffic has increased 100% to online stores, or that about 70% of consumers search social media for potential buys. With so much time spent on sites like Instagram and Facebook documenting and sharing our lives, it makes sense to turn to those same platforms to inform our buying decisions. The existence of influencers on these apps further drives that purchase when Iam ready to live my best life in that handmade sterling silver earring and bracelet set, frolicking on the beach, with not a care in the world. As I peruse social media for the next thing I must have, Iave noticed a few appas best practices catch my eye, and keep my cart full.  

    Instagram Envy:

    The effects of a global pandemic forced people to shop and sell their wares in new ways. Instagram invested heavily in the new social marketplace and Iam here for it. The effortless, and downright gorgeous layout in-app makes it easy to search my favorite brands and what the latest makers have on deck. I scroll the top navigation bar for more shops, live feed, tutorials or collections, and one of my favorite tabs the aDropsa a where I find the latest and greatest in the brands I follow, complete with a Get Reminder date for when the drop is official. Do I really need whatas coming this fall from the casual cool of Adidas loungewear? The answer is no, but oh how I love to look.

    In my cart the now? A sample collection of original greeting card designs and handmade enamel pins from a small stationery company. I love to send hand-written cards for all occasions to the people in my life, and in a past life I was once a greeting card writer. (No, writing them is actually not that easy.) Checkout is pretty streamlined with a variety of credit card and a few secure mobile payment options a and just like that, within a matter of days Iave got a cheery addition to my greeting card library. Plus, Iam supporting a small business. All good things in my book. As I was scrolling the other night, I noticed an alternative use of the story stickers that typically drive sales to a featured product. Within this celebas story, it was used as an in-story link for a charity donation. Yes! I will donate to the charity ride. And thank you for asking!

     

    TikTok Shopping Madness:

    Iam relatively new to TikTok and its frantic pace, but I admit itas growing on me. I find I canat resist live video of a cat dressed in a chefas hat baking a pie, while Louie Primaas rendition of aPennies From Heavena coos in the background. Incredibly endearing, addictive, and worth a follow. The app opened the commerce floodgates recently, an endeavor 18 months in the making. Itas relatively new to market, but in a recent Yahoo article the company reports a descriptor of what the new capabilities offer: aWith product links, brands can feature one or more products directly from organic TikTok videos and direct users to product pages. Live shopping offers real-time demos or live streamed product showcases with concurrent links to buy products and services. Collection ads allow brands to add custom, swipe-able product cards to in-feed video ads, while dynamic showcase ads can serve personalized, targeted ads based on usersa interestsa.

    If the experience is anything like their 1 billion-strong mix of eclectic users and influencers, it will be worth the ride. Bring on the baking cats.

    Pinterest: The Matron or Social e-Commerce:

    Sheas got style, sheas got class. Pinterest is the place for people who love to curate, browse, and enjoy collaborating with other good taste makers.

    The setup is flawless. Iave chased down many a handbag or a duvet cover I spotted in-store to comparison shop on the app. While it can sometimes be frustrating to click on a new favorite only to find it out of stock, the app does a thorough job of filling your feed with alternate items.

    Because I follow several food/entertaining boards, related content is pushed to my shopping page, so I wonat miss a recipe or reason to celebrate around the table.

    Not to mention the pleasure I get creating fantasy boards of dreamy Italian vacations, and shiny new Airstreams just begging for a national park tour.

    Social e-Commerce is here to stay in sweeping ways:

    Social e-commerce sales rise year after year as a whopping 3 billion people flock to social media. As people seek out more personal shopping experiences, social e-commerce provides an open space where big brands and small proprietors alike can create and market to those exact experiences a much to the growth of their bottom line and influencer status.