Until recently, selecting the optimum e-commerce platform for a multichannel business was a race to keep up with evolving technologies. The applications morphed at such blinding speed that the needs and requirements you defined when selecting your system easily could be obsolete by the time that system was up and running. Today's technology isn't evolving any slower — if anything, the pace of e-commerce change continues to accelerate. But the main differentiators among systems these days are less in the features and functions they support than the services they offer, flexibility, scalability, technical support, and the vendors' approach to charging for licenses or services. In short, your biggest challenge in selecting a platform may be determining which provider will be your best business partner going forward.
The advent of e-mail as a marketing medium has provided catalogers and online marketers with the ability to reach their customers with personalized, highly relevant messages that drive them to purchase again and again. In fact, 39.6 percent of respondents to The Direct Marketing Association’s “2005 Postal and E-mail Marketing Report” used e-mail personalization to increase response rates last year; 93.2 percent of those marketers said the tactic was successful. But before you can start slapping your customers’ names and other personal details on all of your outbound e-mails, there are five things you’ll need, according to a recent white paper from catalog management
Ten days before Sept. 11, Jason Beck, a former hand-to-hand combat instructor for the Marine Corps, invested $100,000 and launched Diamondback Tactical, a direct marketing company selling special operations and tactical law enforcement equipment. In just four years the company has grown into a $34 million a year business selling tactical gear and supplies to the U.S. military and homeland security forces at the state and federal level. But even before Sept. 11, Beck was noticing a shift in military procurement. World events were leading many officers to specify more gear and accessories for Special Operations stationed in the United States and abroad.