Ecommerce Trends - No. 1

Here are some recent articles and blog posts on all things ecommerce and retail. You’ll notice I named it “one”. I’m hoping to follow that up with a “two” and “three” and so on. Enjoy.

The Science of Smell: How Retailers Can Use Scent Marketing to Influence Shoppers (Shopify)

We’ve all walked into a mall and known instantly if there was an Abercrombie located somewhere inside. Many retailers use scent to help market their brand and improve conversion rates. Even smaller retailers can take advantage of Scent Marketing to improve in store experiences and keep customers there longer.

Report: Social commerce on the rise despite sluggish business readiness (CMO)

Apart from a small percentage of standout ecommerce purchasing experiences, most are not what I would consider worthy given the number of technology platforms that make this possible. This report identifies some interesting figures: “..71 per cent use their mobile devices to make payments, yet only 49 per cent of businesses are mobile optimised. Almost one-third (31 per cent) of businesses stated they have no plans to optimise for mobile sales..

Using Behavioural Economics and Dynamic Pricing With Your Products (Mind the Product)

I often find myself falling for at least a couple of these pricing strategies; scarcity and value relativity come to mind. Watch the video and learn more about behavioural economics and how it can be used to influence customer buying behaviours.

The 22 Most Innovative Web Platforms Of 2016 (Fast Company Design)

Who doesn’t love a list of top anything. This list takes us through some really great web platforms and applications, some I recognize but a few were new to me. My favourites: Avametric, SAP Build and Watson News Explorer. Check out the others.

Research: Why 68% of Users Abandon Their Cart (Baymard Institute)

Retailers are always looking for ways to lower cart abandonment. Most would assume (incorrectly) that to do this requires a lot of development and redesign. According to the research, we can increase conversions by doing smaller page layout changes to make the process of buying simpler for the customer.

Bonus link: Checkout Step Types - navigate 50 ecommerce sites checkout processes to see what they get right and what they get wrong.

Sitecore Commerce 8.2 - What's New

The release of Sitecore Commerce 8.2 marked another milestone in the continued development and improvement of our Commerce product. While there are great things planned for 8.3 and beyond, there are some significant improvements and new features that we can take advantage of now.

The full release notes are here, but let me walk you through some of what I think are the most exciting.

Support for Azure Web Apps

In 8.1, we were given new tools, in the form of PowerShell CmdLets, that make installing and configuring Commerce Server much easier. With that, came further support for Azure and the Sitecore Azure Module.

So long, farewell PuP, it’s been nice knowing you!

With the 8.2 release, we see added support for Azure Web Apps using registry-free COM and Commerce Server specific NuGet packages. Now you can deploy to the cloud without needing to install Commerce Server. There are some caveats though, like not being able to use Catalog Import/Export because of the COM+ requirement, so be sure to look at the release notes for more details.

More information on Azure Web Apps deployments for Sitecore Commerce can be found in the documentation here.

Custom Catalog Fields

When creating the initial catalog schema, a decision needs to be made about where a particular field should be stored. Product data needed for the completed transaction is best stored in the Catalog. If the attribute is simply to enrich the way the product looks on the site, like images, videos or content, simply create the field in Sitecore.

Any of these product enrichment fields are attached to a product in the catalog using a field called External Settings. The problem is if an external system provides updates to the catalog (like through the Catalog Web Service from an ERP or PIM) the external settings field could be lost, and with it, any fields you added to the data template.

With the launch of 8.2, you can now specify if you want to store these External Settings with the original product or in a separate product catalog. Now if a catalog is updated from a legacy system or through some kind of import, the External Settings field won’t be overwritten.

Note: Documentation is still being updated. I’ll provide details on how to do this soon.

Commerce Reports

In 8.1, Commerce reporting was added to the Experience Profile with a focus on individual contacts. With the launch of 8.2, we see a number of new reports and charts added to Experience Analytics, providing a view of commerce data as it applies to all contacts and interactions. A full list of these reports are available in the release notes, but here are the highlights:

Best Selling Products and Most Viewed Categories

Shopping Cart Activity


I should also point out that we’ve begun to restructure our Commerce documentation. All docs related to Commerce can now be found in one convenient place, at

There are many more enhancements and bug fixes. We’ll be talking more about them in the weeks to come, as we dive deeper into some of the new features.

Originally posted at

Sitecore Commerce Demo Source ⇒

On my Sitecore blog, The Commerce Experience, I wrote about the release of the source code for our Sitecore Commerce Demo. Check it out for more details.


Custom Product Relationships in Sitecore Commerce ⇒

On my Sitecore blog, The Commerce Experience, I wrote about creating custom product relationships to improve merchandiser experience.


Custom Product Attributes in the External Setttings Field ⇒

On my Sitecore blog, The Commerce Experience, I wrote about customizing product schemas with Sitecore Commerce pb Commerce Server.


Last Minute Trip to SFO

I took a recent trip to San Francisco, following my wife as she was attending a conference. I’ve been there before, but took the time to get out and take some pictures of landmarks I hadn’t had time to photograph last time. Photographs of the Golden Gate bridge are not new, but I wanted one of my own.

I spent a good part of one day at Baker Beach trying to get the shot you see here. And as you can also see, the weather wasn’t exactly the greatest, but still turned out to be a half-way decent shot.

You can see the whole album on Flickr, here.