What’s new in MUSE?

I thought I’d share some news of the exciting developments that the product team here at Snow Valley has been making to the MUSE e-commerce platform.

Our vision for MUSE is that it must provide retailers with support for the future evolution of their entire web-mobile-social and in-store business. A very interesting Forrester report recently talked about customers using ‘touchpoints’ when engaging with retailers, rather than ‘channels’, and we wholeheartedly agree with their thinking. We no longer have online customers, in-store customers, and multi-channel customers. One customer these days might use the website, visit a store, use a kiosk, call your contact centre, visit your website with their mobile phone, or visit your Facebook page. How are you linking this together? More importantly for us, how are we providing the technology and services you need to help you to link it all together?

The MUSE product team is continuing to bring this vision to life through a number of feature extensions and enhancements. I thought I’d quickly summarise five of the key improvements that we’ve made over the past two quarters:

Mobile

Our first mobile store went live in February for Liverpool FC and it has been a huge success for the club’s retail team from Day One.

The MUSE service has been extended so that mobile is very much an integral part of the platform. Instead of using third parties, we have created a mobile solution that allows MUSE retailers to use the same familiar set of manager tools to control the mobile site, thus keeping administrational effort to a minimum.

At the same time, we recognise that mobile has its own strategic position within a retail business and it must not be constrained by the web. Retailers need to be able to show tailored content, products, and promotions to their mobile users and deliver a user experience that takes full advantage of what mobile technology has to offer.

Our User Experience team is involved in pushing MUSE ahead in three areas over the next quarter, firstly through adding new mobile-specific technologies such as PayPal Mobile. Secondly, existing MUSE services are being adapted to suit mobile – adding geo-location to the MUSE store locator, for example.  Finally, we’ll be looking at how consumer browsing habits are different on a mobile phone and what that means for your user experience and the content that you need to be serving up. Mobile promises to be a game-changer for retail and e-commerce and we’re making sure that MUSE retailers can take full advantage.

As a natural extension to this, in our next update I will have some very exciting news about MUSE developments for in-store kiosks and for concierge services.

Facebook

Facebook is another important customer ‘touchpoint’ that we’ve been focusing on this past quarter. The launch of Facebook Store is an important step, giving retailers the opportunity to run a ‘concession’ within the social network. Shoppers will have the ability to browse products and place orders there and then within Facebook, before sharing the details of their purchases with their friends.

What excites us about Facebook is its potential as a loyalty tool. Engaging one on one with your customers, identifying key influencers, and rewarding those that are acting as ambassadors for your brands are all possible through Facebook and other social networks and we’re working on ways to give MUSE retailers full support for this.

CRM

One of the many benefits of being acquired by MICROS Systems Inc back in April is that Snow Valley now offers a suite of backend products to support the integrated web-mobile-social-store operation. MICROS Relate is a very powerful CRM system, developed specifically for the retail sector, with support for loyalty schemes, giftcards, customer management, and marketing. By integrating MUSE with MICROS Relate we give retailers the ability to engage customers at every touchpoint from one set of manager tools, with the power of an enterprise CRM system providing single view of the customer and marketing segmentation and reporting. We’re incredibly excited about this and the benefits that it brings to MUSE retailers.

Product Review Extension

Extending MUSE across new channels and touchpoints is just one of the areas that we’ve been focusing on. As usual, a whole raft of enhancements has been made to existing MUSE features and functionality. One example of this is the MUSE Product Review service. We’ve seen for the past couple of years that positive product reviews are demonstrably increasing conversion rates for most of our clients and so we’ve been looking at ways of encouraging more customers to post reviews or ratings. Our Product Review service now allows shoppers to log into their accounts and see a list of past purchases, which they can then rate directly there and then without visiting the product pages.  Visitors can also now comment on other people’s reviews and rate them, as well as share them on Facebook.

Datacash Fraud Services

We’ve also been continuing to work with our strategic partners to add additional services to MUSE that will greatly benefit our clients.  One example that we’re particularly proud of from the past quarter is Datacash Fraud Services. Having been one of their payment service partners for several years, we were delighted to be able to work with them to bring their fraud service (formerly known as The 3rd Man) to our MUSE retailers.

MUSE Order Manager already offers fraud identification tools to flag suspect orders. What Datacash Fraud Services brings to those retailers that want it is extra functionality to help manage fraud and chargebacks so that every bona fide order is accepted and not turned away, thus maximising our clients’ potential sales revenues. Each transaction is screened and given a risk rating so that the retailer can decide whether to accept, decline, or refer the order for additional verification. Any referred transactions are then accessed using Datacash’s Gatekeeper interface, where an analyst at the retailer or at Datacash reviews the details. Gatekeeper also gives the retailer full management reporting of attempted fraud and how much is being saved every month, so the ROI is completely transparent.

These are just a few examples of how we’re moving the MUSE e-commerce platform forwards to meet evolving retailer needs. If you’d like to know more, visit www.snowvalley.com, or give us a call on 020 7813 4434, or e-mail angela@snowvalley.com

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