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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

07 Apr 2014 10:29 AM
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On March 21, the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) brought together a panel of leading-edge technology providers to discuss the challenges, opportunities and trends - chiefly on the subject of how best to monetize digital content. The Digital Leaders Network will be convened periodically to confer on the best way forward for the publishing industry.

 

After helping Procurement Leaders win 3 PPA awards last year, including ’PPA Independent Publisher Digital Product of the Year’- Markus had plenty to share with the panel on how we at Affino help publishing companies achieve their online potential.

 

Which digital platform you choose to run your online business on, and how flexible and capable that platform is, is obviously a key concern for future success.

 

Publishing is still in the throes of a major step-change in the move to digital technologies, and most publishing companies’ futures are at stake - the right choice of approach and platform to the forthcoming challenges will decide which companies thrive, and which wither and fade away...

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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

25 Feb 2014 12:21 AM
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A recent Econsultancy feature discussed the challenges Integration poses for business growth. No matter what type of website / online business you run, there’s likely some need for Integration to provide you with the full solution you require. Ecommerce websites typically have a large number of Integration requirements - I have listed the key areas below. Integration is often a costly and time-consuming activity, and one which needs to be maintained in perpetuity. There are of course a number of different Integration strategies, and consumers should be well aware that not all systems are created equal. Here below, I outline the 4 key considerations for businesses to think about before starting down the long road of Integration.

 


Key Integration Areas:

  • Analytics and SEO
  • Mailing Lists and Sales & Marketing Automation
  • Social Media
  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Digital Asset Management (DAM)
  • Enterprise Resource Management / Planning (ERM / ERP)
  • Payment Gateways
  • Warehouse Management System
  • Product Information Management
  • Search and Merchandising
  • Fraud Management
  • Carrier Management / Order Management


Need for Integration

 

It pays dividend to have full oversight of your business requirements at the start of your project process. There are some very different systems in the marketplace, and some will be far better tailored to your needs than others. It almost goes without saying that some degree of Integration will be required, but the more holistic a core solution is, the lesser the up-front cost. With a solution like the Affino Social Commerce Platform, most of the key Integration Areas are already catered for. For instance, you may not choose to use the Affino CRM Component in the longer-term, but you can make use of it in the first phases of your roll-out while you build up your business. Having more elements of your overall solution included in the core system greatly reduces costs and overheads - and makes for a simpler owneship experience.

 


Speed of Deployment

 

Many companies we deal with are tempted to do too much, too soon - that is to say, to fit too much into phase one of their project - this can be both a costly and risky strategy - as well as being time-consuming. With a solution like Affino though - where there’s a large

... Meeting the Challenges of Integration
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

03 Feb 2014 12:00 PM
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Our Affino Social Commerce Solution - soon to be version 7.5, has been around for a lot longer than many realise, and has quite an illustrious history. This article is intended to illuminate some of the highlights from Affino’s past evolution - especially for those who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing Affino.

 

The roots of Affino go back to Markus’s (Affino CEO) consultancy years of 1997/8 where Affino evolved out of the somewhat more rigid ’Sunrise’ Platform, which Markus developed to run websites for Audi, Casio and Carrera Technology. The original Carrera Technology implementation has continued to influence the development of Affino, as it really was a state-of-the-art Ecommerce experience of that time, with a series of advanced specifier steps in the checkout process, and real-time inventory integration and delivery management - pretty state-of-the-art for 1998.

 

The company Emojo (a precursor to Comrz, with several of the same staff) was founded in 1998 with a view to developing ’Sunrise’ into a more modular platform that would be easier to implement, and most importantly - be easy to manage by customers. Right from the offset, the intention was to build the best system for selling online. There was always a long term goal of creating a full-featured modular hub, with essential plug-and-play functionality at its core, and simultaneously empowering site owners to take full control of their entire online business and to maximise their revenues through the Internet.

 

A key cornerstone to doing business online is the ability to sustain complex, long-term dialogues and interactions with customers. This is why, right from the start, Affino came fully loaded with social-interaction capabilities. In the early years, Ecommerce took a bit of a back seat, while the social engagement core of the system was being finessed.

 

Flash has largely come and gone, as has Affino IPTV and numerous other innovations of their time, which have since been replaced with ever-evolving contemporary technologies like Responsive Design and the Automated Customer Ladder. The future direction for Affino is always guided by finding the best balance between empowerment, total technical ability, seamlessness, learnability and simplicity. Affino has always been developed with the intention of delivering the

... The provenance and pedigree of the Affino Social Commerce Solution
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Markus
Posted by Markus

28 Jan 2014 2:59 PM
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Affino 7.4 is very much a usability focused release which includes six months’ worth of usability improvements and bug fixes. There are key usability improvements throughout Affino and the CRM in particular has been transformed in its day-to-day usability with this release.

 

Affino 7.4 also introduces two new significant behind the scenes changes. The first is that everything now points to affino.com, the second is the shift for the Design Centre to be the Classic Design Centre. You should not notice any changes with these two introductions except they’re pointing at different locations.

 

This release also prepares much of the groundwork for Affino 7.5 which sees the introduction of the responsive design centre later this quarter.

 

Upgrade Guidance

 

The Affino 7.4 is very much a stability release and is an essential update for all Affino sites. It is an easy update, simply go through the standard update process. You will need a new licence key to access the updated Social CRM elements so please contact your account manager.

 

It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the System Update, Re-Initialise Site, Design Element Update, Skin Update and finally Clear Guest Cache; all of which are available on the Settings > Update screen.

 

Key Enhancements

 

Social CRM

 

Affino’s Social CRM has seen major improvements in this release with the focus on improving the sales workflows and productivity. It means it is now easier to work with prospects as they are created as non-members and then seamlessly transitioned to full members when they register, bringing along all the pre-registration contact history. A major focus has been on minimising the steps required to manage prospects, e.g. entering the details on the contact for a new Account will instantly create the account.

 

Finding contacts is now much easier as you can tag them to your ‘My’ list anywhere with simply a click. When searching and you select a user from the predictive drop-down you will be taken to them immediately.

 

We also introduced Contact Notes which let you easily track any correspondence with the contact. These are then instantly trackable to Accounts and to a centralised Contact Notes screen. Future upgrades will see

... Affino 7.4 Usability and CRM
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Markus
Posted by Markus

21 Jan 2014 9:30 AM
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Increasingly Affino training involves conversations on how to get started with SEO, here’s the Quick Start guide on SEO with Affino. SEO is one of the three key ways to promote your site.

 

This is Not an in-depth guide on how to use each of the Affino elements or on specific SEO strategies, rather it is to help you get started with the basics, i.e. a ’What to do’ rather than a ’How to’. Some of which happens in Affino, and some of which happens externally.

 

Before You Start

 

Refresh your Brand Profile

 

The first thing you need to do is to create your brand profile, or update it to include the essentials outlined by Stefan in his great ’Creating the Perfect Brand Profile’ article.

 

Keyword Strategy

 

Based on your Brand Strategy identify the initial keywords you want to promote. These are based around your products, services and more importantly on what you would search for to find your products and services. Essentially these are your target customers’ interests.

 

Build up a hierarchy of keywords (Topics) in a simple indented list, just starting off in a Word document, e.g.

  • Affino
    • eCommerce
      • Store
      • Shopping Basket
      • Checkout
      • Coupons
      • Discounts
    • eCommunity
    • eMedia

 

You’ll use this to help identify the key word and terms you’ll be promoting your site on.

 

Cover the Essentials

 

The Essentials are: Personality, Unique Content and Currentsy, see my post here. If you don’t get these right, forget about any of what I’ve outlined below. You’ll just be wasting your time and money.

 

If you have them covered, and are committed to them, then they will be the cornerstone of a great site.

 

The Essential Affino SEO Elements

 

Zones

 

Update your Zone so you have the right site information and SEO settings. You can always change these, but get the basics set up straight away. Make certain your site Keywords are in place.

 

Log Settings

 

Turn on logging so that you have the essential data available to you in your Affino Analysis Centre. This will allow you to evaluate your future campaigns.

 

Zones

 

Update the Zone (your site information) to be as relevant as possible. Make sure you’re using the best domain as your Zone Domain and

... Getting Started with SEO on Affino (Updated)
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Markus
Posted by Markus

15 Jan 2014 6:13 AM
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2014 is going to be an exciting year for Affino. Q1 will see the Affino 7.5 release, which introduces the new Responsive Page Designs. These have been a long time coming, but the wait will be worth it. To provide the best experience we went right back to the drawing board for how we serve live pages in Affino so that we could produce the very best responsive interfaces.

 

In fact Responsive Design is the main priority for the first 6 months of 2014 and everyone should look to be rolling out fully responsive sites on Affino by the end of 2014. We will continue to support the Classic Designs, and you will be able to run the Classic Design Centre alongside the new one until Affino 8.

 

As usual note that the priorities are subject to change, however we do anticipate a significant pick up in the rollout of new updates once the new Responsive Design Centre is complete. It will be the culmination of a four year plan we’ve been working through to delivering ultimate cross-platform social commerce experience.

 

Responsive Design

 

The new responsive page rendering engine is being written entirely scratch using an object oriented approach which is seeing page generation times up to 10 times faster. The pages themselves also render dramatically faster on the browsers, and we are optimising every part of the process to ensure the fastest mobile experience possible.

 

The new Object Designer allows you to design and preview designs across multiple form factors with unlimited undo and redo whilst designing. Updated Design Styles now incorporate Form Styles and have been greatly extended to allow for very tightly styled sites including auto-scaling of fonts.

 

Every single Design Element, Template and application interface is optimised around responsive resizing and cross device usability.

 

To get the new Responsive Design Centre to you as soon as possible we will be staging the introduction of responsive elements. Phase One sees the roll out of the promotional elements so that you can design and roll out promotional sites (including most social elements), this will be followed by the ecommerce elements and then the remainder.

 

Usability and Learnability

 

2013 saw the Control Centre consolidated around the new Affino 7 interface, which is both very usable and presentable. 2014 will see a major focus

... Affino 2014 Priorities
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Markus
Posted by Markus

12 Jan 2014 5:01 PM
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2013 was a year of two halves for Affino development. The first half was primarily focused on the Affino user experience and the second half has been focused on creating a new Responsive Design front-end for Affino which is due for launch in Q1 this year. Along the way Affino saw some great improvements.

 

1) Performance

 

We built Affino to scale this year, and to scale at speed without needing any human intervention. This meant major architectural changes where we changed virtually every platform that Affino was running on, or where we kept the same platform we moved to the latest generation.

 

We also focused on optimising many key aspects of Affino so that it is faster across the board. We have carried on in the second half of the year, and Affino’s upcoming responsive design pages are stunningly fast. We know you appreciate the speed improvements you already see, so be prepared to be delighted when you move to responsive.

 

2) Uptime

 

Prior to 2013 our focus on uptime had been to make Affino run as effectively as possible on fixed hardware. The reality is that approach is not the best way to develop for the Internet. There are simply too many opportunities for systems to be ’shocked’. Moving to the new generation auto-failover and auto-scaling architecture, and focusing on up-time for the user versus up-time for individual systems has made all the difference.

 

For high performance Affino sites there has been precisely 0% downtime since the launch of the new architecture. For entry-level Affino sites the uptime has been as high as 99.98%. In fact from the human interaction standpoint in almost all down-time events since the transition a new system has been in place by the time the user hits the re-load button on the browser.

 

When taken together, the great performance improvements and incredible uptime, it means that Affino is now always there to deliver a fast and effective experience to all users.

 

3) Messaging

 

Messaging saw a complete overhaul with new Message Campaigns for mass, personal and SMS campaigns. We split up the old newsletter system to separate out the mailing lists and the message campaigns, and it has transformed how you can communicate with your community through Affino.

 

Message Campaigns can now be used not only to send occasional manual

... Top 10 Affino Developments in 2013
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

05 Jan 2014 11:59 PM
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Over the last 12 months, we have heard a lot about the need for replatforming, owing to game changers and paradigm shifts in the online retail industry. The chiefest of these is the increasing consumer shift to mobile devices and the need to provide a seamless high-level customer experience across all channels of involvement. Responsive Design will of course be essential, but there are several other key criteria which will need to be seriously considered too.

 

Here follows a quick checklist vs your current platform as to whether you need to change-up to a more powerful engine to grow your business effectively in 2014:


Current Platform is not Responsive

According to IMRG, in 2013 it was mobile devices that were responsible for the net growth in eCommerce - you need Responsive Design to be able to provide your customers with a seamless experience across all their chosen touchpoints.

 

Current Platform is not Enabling

Can you update content. structure. layout, design and campaigns without agency assistance? Speed of reaction is critical of course to maintaining a healthy competitive advantage, and if you can do more yourself you save on overheads...

 

Current Platform is not Engaging

Are your customers actively engaged on your sites - by means of social and participative functionalities? Customers need a platform for communication and participation, they want a voice, and are no longer content to just pass silently through checkout.

 

Current Platform does not support Multi-Domain Delivery

It is essential for marketing effectiveness to be able to target each customer demographic with their perfect experience on a dedicated and relevant domain. Failure to provide a high-level dedicated experience will mean customers look elsewhere for satisfaction.

 

Current Platform does not support easy Back-End-Integration

It is inevitable that the website front-end will need to be integrated with key back-office technologies, for many platforms this can be a very high-level overhead experience. Indeed, for many platforms this can be the chief bugbear and often means the web team spends more time managing the system than developing and evolving the customer experience.

 

Current Platform does not offer Customer Incentives

A successful retail platform requires ongoing customer incentivisation and activity triggers, relatively

... 10 Reasons why you may need to switch Platform to grow your business in 2014
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Markus
Posted by Markus

03 Jan 2014 7:50 AM
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Tags: Affino, Brand

You will have noticed that we’re fully embracing the Affino brand. Up until now we have had Comrz front and centre and Affino has very much been the product brand.

 

To make everything simpler and more effective we will now be focusing on just the Affino brand, and all of our engagement will be through Affino and affino.com. The company will remain as Comrz Ltd, but will be trading as Affino.

 

It will take most of January for the switch to be completed, but it is already well under way. Let us know what you think.

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Markus
Posted by Markus

20 Dec 2013 9:54 AM
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We would like to thank everyone for a great 2013. We welcome on board splendid new Affino users, and celebrate the amazing success that so many of you are seeing with your online engagement and revenue growth.

 

It has been a year when we’ve seen some great site evolutions and have started to see Affino sites win major awards. In particular Procurement Leaders with three PPA awards (the UK publishing Oscars). We continue to see Affino sites evolve towards their potential and we’ll work with you to help you get the maximum benefit from your online presence over the coming year.

 

A Year in Transition

 

This year has been a great transitional year for Affino with the first half of the year focused on the Big Bang move to the new super scaling high availability version of Affino. From your feedback we know that you’re appreciating the solid improvements in uptime and performance.

 

Online business has been evolving more gradually over the year and the improved stability in the ecosystem means that for the first time we’ve been able to slow down the release cycle somewhat, something that we know many of you appreciate. Looking ahead we’re aiming to bring out just three to four major release each year, compared to the 6+ we have been historically.

 

There have been a number of key enhancements to Affino this year including the greatly enhanced Analysis Centre with the updated Customer Ladder, Ecommerce Dashboards and greatly increased timeframes for all analytics. Messaging had the biggest evolution to-date with greatly improved messaging campaigns, SMS integration and improved auto-responders.

 

Invites and relationship management have both been transformed this year, in fact it is now easier to look up, select and connect throughout Affino. Affino’s look and feel also improved considerably with more refined styling options, Design Panels and greater ability to use custom CSS.

 

The second half of this year has been all about developing Affino into being a cutting edge responsive design platform that works seamlessly across all devices. Like many good things it’s taking longer than we had hoped to bring you the first responsive release, but the long baking period will be worth the wait.

 

The Internet in 2013

 

This year has been very much a transitional

... Happy Holidays 2013
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

10 Dec 2013 10:34 AM
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Hearty Congratulations to Procurement Leaders on winning their third PPA award in a year - ’PPA Independent Publisher Digital Product of the Year’.

 

The Affino-run site has now garnered 3 major awards since September:

 

2013 - PPA Digital Brand of the Year - Business Media - Winner
2013 - PPA Business Media Brand of the Year - Winner
2013 - PPA Independent Publisher Digital Product of the Year - Winner

 

The core web team, including Web Manager Quang Luong and Web Developer Sebastian Salcedo deserve high praise for all the hard work and diligence that’s gone into making Procurement Leaders the Digital Product of the Year. Quang Luong kindly acknowledges Affino’s part in their success:

 

"Affino provides us with a set of tools and platform enabling us to deliver our award-winning website - recently winning the PPA Independent Publisher Digital Product of the Year 2013"

 

Get further insights on the road to success by reading the ’Procurement Leaders Case Study’.

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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

27 Nov 2013 12:46 AM
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Many people don’t realise quite how many ways you can have to derive revenues through your online presence. In this article we focus on generating revenues from and through a website and its associated online activities. There are other ancillary monetizing streams like App creation and merchandising, but these typically require additional resources and expertise so they are omitted on this occasion.

 

We always encourage our solution customers to consider their own consumers’ onsite journeys. Obviously you have several different types of consumer: Suspect > Prospect > Customer > Regular > Advocate - and each will use the website in their own different variety of ways. Early stage consumers are more interested in prospecting, research and validation, whilst latter stage consumers require their own voice and a dialogue / input with the site owners and other site members.

 

It’s fascinating to see how Amazon, Apple and Google have evolved their offerings and ramped up their customer bases. If we take Amazon as an example - with its gradual evolution from hard copy to digital formats (eBooks, Music & Video) and the creation of devices (Kindle) to consume those services. Apple and Google have always been digital players so their evolution was much more straight-lined. Although each has come from the opposite side of the spectrum - Apple moving from digital devices (computers initially) into digital services, whilst Google evolved the other way round - from services into devices. All three companies though are highly proficient at monetizing different touchpoints and activity centres.

 

All website owners should be tuned into a similar mindset - if you are a solid products player, you need to evolve digital offerings as the marketplace is becoming more and more ’mobile-oriented’. As a digital services provider - which category all websites fall into now, you cannot get away from focusing on the mobile devices with which consumers will increasingly consume your products and services.

 

Most people think of monetizing in terms of either straightforward ecommerce or advertising sponsorship. There are however many more ways to accrue revenues if you have the correct type of website platform. Here are some of the key examples:

  • Charge for site / area access / membership - e.g. access to
... Maximising Revenue #5 - Total Monetization by deriving revenues from every online activity
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

26 Nov 2013 3:09 PM
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How quickly you can react to market forces is usually the dividing line between success and failure. Every opportunity is fleeting, and rarely are you the only one competing for said opportunity. In marketing, first mover advantage is often the key to seizing the deal. How much you can do in-house at but a moment’s notice is therefore crucial for your success rate.

 

If you have read ’Maxmising Revenue #1’ - you will know that Gill & Macmillan attribute the ability to create new targeted sites on new domains at will, as a significant cornerstone of their recent success. For BIBA Medical, the ability to take charge and make swift changes has been key to their online growth, as Web Manager David Reekie notes: "The best thing about running BIBA Medical on Affino is that I have total hands-on control over every aspect of our business on the Internet".

 

When you read the two recently published Case Studies (BIBA Medical and Irish Books Direct), you will see the importance the Web Managers place on being able to do everything themselves. In a forthcoming case study from Human Kinetics, they talk about the significant challenges their web development team faced when running their sites prior to Affino. Every single change, new promotion or campaign had to go through the development team - the support burden was getting to a point of unsustainability. Post Affino transition, Human Kinetics now have category editors empowered through workflows, and marketing personnel who can trigger their own campaigns without needing to bother development. Development can now focus on innovating and delivering a better service with Affino.

 

’Empowerment’ has always been one of Affino’s core values - the ability of small teams of individuals to take control over vast Affino portals. Affino’s Empowerment is best explained by the 10 following benefits:

  • Use Affino’s ’Design Centre’ to build, change and evolve page / site look-and-feel at will
  • Deploy radical changes to site structure using ’Structure Copy’ and ’Restructure’
  • Use Application Bar and Live Edit to edit Structure, Content and Design on the screen and instantaneously
  • Use Topic Lists and Granular Keyword assignment for smart Site Taxonomies and Organic SEO
  • Use Affino’s Social CRM to get indepth, instant
... Maximising Revenue #4 - Why Empowerment and Speed of Response are essential for growing your business online
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

18 Nov 2013 8:51 PM
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Christmas is a scary time of year for many shoppers as they have to buy gifts for the extended family - some members of which they don’t know particularly well. Even though it’s customary to ask recipients what they would like to receive, there is still usually a plethora of vague messages which leave a heavy burden on the shopper.

 

There are two ways to help out such shoppers, and usually two quite different types of shoppers actually. The first way is to set up manual recommendations - in terms of simple Bestsellers Lists or Recommended Gifts within fixed themes. I know some of my family members who shop this way - i.e. what’s the most popular within a category. It’s also the lazy way out for both retailers and shoppers alike, and often a surefire way to give someone something they may have already. For Retailers though it is a quick and easy fix, as you can usually create recommended product selections by simply assigning existing products and multi-displaying them into new seasonal categories.

 

The second route is one in which John Lewis in particular has always excelled at - which is in making recommendations to shoppers based on specified input criteria. If you view the Toys sections of their site for instance, you get to filter by Age, Brand, Character, Type, Boys’ Toys and Girls’ Toys. This is never more important than at Christmas when so many shoppers are venturing out into unknown territory. Most shoppers do care also about what they are giving and would like to be in a position to make the best choices.

 

The way John Lewis and our own Affino Social Commerce Solution achieve these kinds of recommendations is via careful Topics Assignment, such that every product available on site is assigned defining Topics - gender, age, occasion, theme etc. This allows shoppers to filter products / gifts on precise criteria. Moreover the topics can be used to create ’Topic Landing Pages’ where all products in the same category can be grouped and displayed together for increased impact.

 

Smaller retailers can compete with the likes of John Lewis by applying their Topics criteria more finely, and more creatively - by using personal knowledge to highlight specific categories of products which are not specified in such a way on other retail sites. If there is a big Christmas movie for

... Maximising Revenue #3 - How Taxonomy and Recommendations are key to a successful Christmas Retail Season
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

07 Nov 2013 1:30 PM
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This post was prompted by an email we received last week stating - "How much do you lose to cart abandonment?" - from a certain something company offering a very specific solution for spotting, analysing and dealing with abandoned shopping carts. This highlights two very different approaches to eCommerce sites in general - most of the sites out there are what we would determine fragmented ’bolt-ons’ - i.e. a core eCommerce / checkout system with lots of 3rd party integrations - difficult to set-up, manage or evolve. The Affino Social Commerce Solution is a much more holistic approach, as all the essential tools and utilities are included and built into the very core of the system.

 

Most people don’t realise quite how much is available on-tap in Affino, so here follow some of the less obvious included elements - which very much sit within the areas of Sales and Marketing Automation and Social Utilities, all of these of course help with maximising revenues, improving customer retention and generating repeat sales:

 

Abandoned Cart Notifications

This is simply one of the many triggers within Affino’s Messaging solution - others include: Purchase, Login, Birthday and Conversion Event - all despatched fully automatically to incentivise customers

 

Conversion Events

Part of Affino’s Customer Ladder solution, there are currently 42 trigger types with subsets, including: Cancelled Purchase, Friend Bought from Invite, Item added to Basket, Item added to Wishlist and of course Purchase - these can auto-despatch a variety of messages, or trigger coupons, discounts, store credits or other rewards

 

Lead Generation

You can assign any Conversion Event to a Lead Generation Profile, which logs resultant leads and sends notifications to the appointed Leads Manager/s

 

Product Subscriptions

Another essential Conversion Event utility, where any conversion even can trigger a content subscription - such that customers get notification whenever a new product is added to a specified category

 

Recommendations

Based on topics assignment and registered user preferences / likes, Affino recommends content, media, products, contacts and events - so customers get more of what they like - and so do you

 

Active Shopping Basket Management

Track and manage active Shopping Baskets - help customers through

... Maximising Revenue #2 - Affino's Holistic Approach vs Fragmented Social Commerce
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

07 Nov 2013 1:13 PM
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An interesting piece on Econsultancy indicates the key reasons for Shopping Basket abandonment, which Experian estimates is costing UK retailers £1bn+ each year. In an online survey conducted by Econsultancy and TolunaQuick, 44% of customers indicated that they had abandoned a purchase, and cited high delivery charges as the key reason.

 

Results and key questions as follows:

 

After adding items to your basket, what would make you abandon your purchase?

  • 77% - High delivery charges
  • 55% - Technical problems
  • 49% - Prices too high
  • 26% - Needing to register before buying

Once you are in the checkout process, what would deter you from completing the purchase?

  • 71% - Hidden charges
  • 58% - Concerns about payment security
  • 44% - Technical problems or slow loading pages
  • 37% - The process takes too long
  • 33% - Lack of contact details
  • 26% - Difficulty filling in forms
  • 23% - Security features such as Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode

 

How to combat the key causes of Shopping Basket Abandonment

  1. No surprises! Be upfront and transparent about all charges
  2. Always try to give at least 2 delivery options, e.g. cheaper normal post and more expensive express courier
  3. Always try to give at least 2 payment options, e.g. PayPal and Credit Cards
  4. Have an SSL Certificate on Checkout, Registration and Login - most shoppers will be reassured by HTTPS designation in browser
  5. Belong to a relevant retail association - e.g.ABTA or Internet Shopping is Safe
  6. Sign up to Trustpilot for unbiased customer reviews
  7. Use a Single Page Checkout - everything simply laid out on a single screen means faster and easier checkout
  8. Allow shoppers to buy with PayPal - without needing to register or logon
  9. Ensure business address is clearly visible - shoppers are far happier doing business with someone they can place geographically
  10. Have a named customer service representative with picture and contact details on site - shoppers are even happier doing business with someone they can put a face to

 

Our Social Commerce Solution Affino has been engineered to tackle all the key points indicated above - Contact our Business Development Director Marcus Svensson on maxrevenue@affino.com for further insights on Affino’s revenue generating abilities.

... The Main Reasons for Online Shopping Basket Abandonment and what to do about it
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

01 Nov 2013 1:47 PM
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We were somewhat surprised to find that the majority of eCommerce platforms cannot easily be set up or extended for Multi-domain Delivery. By this I mean the ability to target different market segments - whether geographic or other specialisation, by adjusting settings on the same site licence.

The Affino Social Commerce Solution offers just such an ability out-of-the-box; we call it a ’Zone’. You can set up numerous Zones on your Affino site licence - all with different URLs or domain subsets and all with unique design and content. Affino further has built-in tools like ’Structure Copy’, ’Restructure’ and ’Design Smart Copy’ to make it easier for you to adapt existing content, structure and look-and-feel - to create new targeted derivations.

In this way you can create the absolute optimal experience for each of your key target audiences, without any need for compromise. All retailers agree that you get the best results when you are able to provide each customer segment with their own optimised, dedicated retail environment.

When Gill & Macmillan first deployed Affino, they used their site licence for a single site - their eLearning platfrom eTest.ie. The various Gill and Macmillan sites were spread across several different systems, which meant no resource / content sharing and a much larger management overhead for the admin team. The last few years have seen Gill & Macmillan implement a program whereby all the key sites now run on the same Affino licence; these include:

"At Gill & Macmillan, we have many different parts to our business, so it is essential for us to be able to run multiple stores effectively. Affino allows us to easily set up new stores which we can segregate and tailor exactly to our customers’ needs"

Stuart Bannon, Webmaster, Gill & Macmillan


Affino Multi-domain delivery can best be defined by the 5 following benefits:

  • Higher Conversion Rates
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction
  • Easier Discoverability
  • More Relevant SEO
  • More Effective Targeting

Contact our Business Development

... Maximising Revenue #1 - More effective customer targeting through Multi-domain Delivery
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Stefan
Posted by Stefan

27 Oct 2013 6:35 PM
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When Affino was first launched back in 2000, the central focus was always for the site owners to have full hands-on control over their online retail environments. Affino has always been developed with a view to being a holistic Social Commerce Platform - combining Online Retail with core CMS, Community and Deep Analysis.

 

Here are some of the essential facets of the Affino Social Commerce Solution which give Affino users more control:

  • Structure - Set up, copy and adapt multiple nested or fully independent content / product hierarchies. By utilising separate ’Zones’ you can build a Multi-Channel and Multi-Brand Platform with ease
  • Design Centre - Affino’s Design Centre is still as revolutionary today as it was when first introduced in 2002 - DIY Design Implementation via currently 86 Design Element Widgets, Design Styles, Menus, Frames, Design Objects and Skins, with advanced CSS customisation options available for those who have the skills
  • Personalisation - Using a combination of Affino’s Granular Security and Assignable Topics with configurable Design Elements, you can set up highly targetted shop fronts with distinct customer journeys
  • Application Bar / Control Centre - Total control over everything you see onscreen - Affino has extensive settings profiles to give admin users enormous scope for making instant changes
  • Live Edit / Design Edit - Edit Content, Text Labels and Design Element Settings on the live Display Screen
  • Sell Almost Anything - Affino has extensive selling abilities, mixing up standard Product Catalogues with Digital Media, Events, Saleable Articles and Memberships - via Granular Security assignment you can pretty much put a price on any of your site activities
  • Social CRM + Customer Ladder - Have complete oversight over every activity your site users engage in, track them, incentivise and reward them
  • Instant Analysis - Affino has several bulit-in dedicated Social Commerce analytics tools as well as the wholly configurable Customer Ladder Conversion Events Analysis, and Configurable Analysis Dashboard with 19 dedicated Commerce widgets
  • Shopping Basket Management - Track and assist customers with their purchases
  • Core vs Integrated - Affino contains everything you need to run several high level, socially-enhanced stores in a single solution, but it also integrates with 3rd party solutions including
... How Affino is more Empowering than other eCommerce Platforms
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Markus
Posted by Markus

26 Oct 2013 1:39 AM
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We’re very pleased that Sigaria have won both the Digital Brand of The Year - Business Media and the Business Media Brand of the Year with Procurement Leaders at this years PPA Awards. These are the pre-eminent publishing awards in the UK and it’s great to see what they’ve achieved this year.

 

Their rivals for the business brand awards this year read like the who’s who of UK business publishing and include: Haymarket, Reed Business, Bauer, Centaur and Emap.


We’re especially thrilled as we know just how much Sigaria are pushing forward digital publishing with the Procurement Leaders site, which has evolved more over the past 24 months than most sites evolve over a decade.

 

It’s been a pleasure working with Sigaria from the outset, and it was great to hear from Quang Luong, Sigaria’s Web Manager:

 

"Huge thanks to Markus and the team at Affino for their ongoing innovation, support and great platform that distinguishes it above all others to support our business needs." - Quang Luong

 

We look forward to the great developments lined up for Procurement leaders over the coming months and hope to assist Sigaria’s phenomenal growth rate over the coming years.

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Markus
Posted by Markus

30 Sep 2013 1:29 PM
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Tags: design, Affino

You’ll notice on Affino.com some subtle changes to how it looks and works. This is the result of it running the Alpha version of the upcoming Responsive Design Affino release. All the key component updates are now all in place, and we have split the Classic Design components fully from the new responsive ones.

 

Responsive Skins are now possible in Affino, but it is early days and much remains to be done before the public release. As often happens when we work through a major project, we will be using the opportunity to completely restructure the way we work on display-side code. We’re moving to an object oriented approach which is far more robust, secure and faster.

 

It really does mean through that we will be reviewing and rewriting every single line of display-side code in Affino which is a vast project. It means all the underlying layout and styling attributes, Design Elements, applications and templates need reworking. As will core management tools including the Live Editor and the App Bar.

 

It means that the new Responsive Design capabilities will be released in phases, prioritised around the new sites and projects that are being rolled out. It also means that if you have many Affino customisations then there’s a 100% likelihood that they will need updating for your responsive designs.

 

Here’s a heads up on where we are, and the key milestones for Responsive Designs:

 

New Object Orientated Display Architecture

 

The core architecture of the new object oriented responsive Skins is now in place. There are still key elements being ironed out and dozens (possibly hundreds) of new functions which need to be created. We have working responsive designs working though, so mostly this is just a great deal of detail work.

 

Key to the new page design rendering is that we will be able to roll out much more intelligence on how we build up and cache page designs. In particular we will be loading much more of the core design styles into the application memory, or simply pre-render the CSS. In fact the whole page rendering process should be significantly speeded up and be more scalable as a result.

 

Optimised Code

Did we mention that the display code will be optimised, I’m pretty sure we have. The good news is that for the elements we have already worked on, it’s clear

... Affino Responsive Design Update 2
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