January Ecommerce Digest

January 2016 is entering the history books. We talked about monetizing customer relationships and tips for marketing success in the era of hyperadoption. We looked at essential subscription metrics and we defined subscription billing models. And we examined the state of software monetization and asked the question: Is your business ready for the Internet of Things?

Enjoy these other items from across the Web you might have missed this month in our January Ecommerce Digest.

Marketing Metrics

Five Key Marketing Metrics CEOs Want to See | PerformanceIN

PerformanceIN brings us five different key marketing metrics CEOs want to see. These KPIs are more than vanity metrics — they have to make a difference to the business’ bottom line. As author Deren Baker says, “Efficient marketing requires data, but CEOs aren’t concerned with every scrap of it. They want a clear view of how customers behave and how marketing projects impact revenue.”


“Subscription is a form of partnership, a new dimension that moves beyond the transaction.” — Harvard Business Review

How Subscriptions Are Creating Winners and Losers in Retail | Harvard Business Review

Subscription commerce is an old idea with new life. Purveyors of digital goods have been adopting subscriptions for years now. The technologies they’ve developed are creating new recurring revenue streams for companies and new ways for customers to be satisfied. Harvard Business Review takes a brief look at how subscriptions are recasting the relationship between companies and their customers.

Internet of Things

Five Best Practice Tips for Investigating the IoT | ZDNet

So your company is looking to ford the waters of the Internet of Things. ZDNet spoke with leading industry experts who shared these gems for anyone investigating IoT. For instance, they note that a key potential for IoT is to harness data provided by connected devices to improve customer experience. As your team develops your IoT strategy, have an eye toward providing clear customer benefits.

Chris Hewertson, CTO at hotel group glh, talked about a trial program they have with network-connected door locks. “We’ll get alerts if a door is left ajar or if someone tries to open a series of doors,” he says. “By having live door locks we can be more proactive, so we also know when a room is empty and we can send a cleaner.” The hotel can ensure better customer security with real-time monitoring, but also increase customer satisfaction with cleaner rooms and fewer interruptions from housekeeping. Their goal is to support a system that could dramatically improve the check-in/check-out process. “That’s what guests really want,” he says.

Hewertson’s and other experts’ experiences inform ZDNet’s concrete best practices — ignore them at your peril.

Ars Talks Connected Cars and Tech Incubators with Jaguar Land Rover [Video] | Ars Technica

Of course, if you’re talking IoT in January, you can’t ignore the Consumer Electronics Show. This year, CES was festooned with IoT capabilities at every turn. Ars Technica connected with Jaguar Land Rover to see what’s new and exciting in connected cars.

Jaguar Land Rover dedicates their development staff to craft connected solutions that are more than simple gimmicks. According to Matt Jones, director of future technology for Jaguar Land Rover, “We don’t take technology and leverage it into a car, we work out frustrations that users really have, and then try to understand ‘what is the user trying to accomplish?’ ‘How can we enable that?’”

Data Errors

Massive Online Retail Data Error Uncovered | PYMNTS.com

If you have ever felt skeptical about anemic ecommerce figures cited in industry reporting, it turns out you’re right. For years, data tracking online sales versus brick-and-mortar retail downplayed the importance of online commerce, putting it as low as 6 percent of total retail.

In their in-depth investigation of Census Department numbers, PYMNTS.com discovered that the government has been drastically miscounting online retail sales. While a government agency getting data wrong may not sound like a profound revelation, the scale of the underreporting is staggering. Karen Webster writes, “When [researchers] finished their digging and added in other missing physical retailers they found that the Census had missed about $62 billion in online sales in the U.S. in 2013.”

The article highlights that good business decisions can only come from good data. And remember to check your sources; even relying on trusted ones can lead you astray.

Download our complimentary guide, The Top 3 Subscription Billing Challenges, today.