IBM WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 4 Highlights
Have you noticed that WebSphere Commerce feature packs seem to come out much more frequently than they used to? Our friends in the IBM development labs seem to have changed their approach slightly in bringing these out much more quickly, even if this means partial releases.Management Centre is a good example where this much-improved business tooling was brought to market relatively quickly without replacing Accelerator 100% i.e. there was still functionality within Accelerator that wasn’t available in Management Centre. Cleverly though, they developed the marketing focussed elements early so most business users only need to see Management Centre. Meanwhile, Accelerator is still used for the more technically oriented facilities. Wins all round and it’s a philosophy that we greatly support.
So Feature Pack 4 is the latest one, what’s in it?... In summary, it includes these new, main features:
- Mobile commerce extensions
- Facebook integration (like button and activity feed)
- Precision marketing enhancements
- REST services
Mobile commerce extensions. The Mobile commerce extensions enhance the current mobile starter store and bring to market device-specific applications for Android. There are also new location-based services, including an ability for the shopper to check-in to a local store so that marketers can provide store-specific marketing materials and an “eFlyer” feature that can promote location-specific advertising in the store. More information on the mobile starter store can be found here and on location based services here.
Facebook integration. New Facebook integration features extend this general direction into “social bridging”, a posh way of saying integration to social networking sites. The new “like button” provides a simple, but effective link into your social network on Facebook updating your “likes” and sharing. Similarly, the activity feed will show other liked items that have been shared by your network. More information can be found here.
Precision marketing enhancements. Precision marketing is the huge leap forward that has been made in marketing and merchandising in WebSphere Commerce version 7. In a nutshell this is the ability to modify content driven by behaviour, for instance, if a shopper is tending to browse a particular category heavily during their session then the system can promote merchandising that is associated with that category. It’s a lot more complex than this obviously, comprising a number of triggers, events and actions across a wide area of customer journey. We’ll be doing some posts around this soon as it represents a hugely powerful area. Enhancements in Feature Pack 4 include tying precision marketing into some of the features above (location-based services for example) and enhanced triggers and targets. More information can be found here.
REST services. Lastly, Feature Pack 4 releases a new suite of REST services. REST is the trendy way to integrate through web services. REST services have taken off because they are simple - and this of course means more widely understood easier to implement, and therefore quicker! More information can be found here.