Learning Commerce at #SitecoreSym 2018

Only a couple of weeks to go, until #SitecoreSym kicks off in Orlando. As you make your final travel arrangements, and think through the best approach to getting the most out of your time in Orlando. I wanted to provide one more handpicked session guide. This final guide is focused Sitecore Experience Commerce users or soon to be users.

I looked at the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…) using this information I’ve picked out these session.

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

I’ll support you leading your team’s standup from the beach followed by a deep discussion on why Sitecore 9.1 will be a game changer.

Day 2 – Tuesday, October 9th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast (is not just for champions)

Nice time to make new friends or meet up with old over pastry and hopefully bacon (lots of bacon.)

08:00 AM to 9:45 AM

General Audience Keynotes. Sit back, relax and prepare to see your Sitecore world Elevated.

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

The best advice I can provide is the Development Keynote has always been one of the most successful session in my opinion.

If you’re a later riser, your day must start for this session. The developer keynote is not to be missed. It will set the tone for the rest of the week for you in regard to the new and upcoming that your team can be excited for.

You’ll end up seeing just enough awesome to really feel the wow of the platform.

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

Seven common commerce customizations

Rob Earlam
Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

Sitecore Experience Commerce, including the Experience Accelerator Storefront, provides a whole heap of functionality out of the box, but you will still need to implement your own customizations as part of your implementation. In this session, Rob will go over seven common customizations you’ll see on most of your commerce projects, and how to implement them easily using Sitecore Experience Commerce.

WHY: Anytime you are journeying into a new frontier every little advantage can help. I see this session as the key to helping understand the best approach to tackling some of the challenges of eComm roll-out.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Sitecore Managed Cloud for Commerce: Cloud expertise that delivers real business value

Adrianna Bustamante
Director, Digital Channel Sales
Rackspace
Peter Petley
Senior Solutions Architect
Rackspace

Running a global ecommerce business can be complex as online merchants face challenges such as delivering an optimized and scalable customer experience while also having to meet critical security and compliance requirements in a diverse and growing marketplace. In this session, we will take a closer look at how to best architect and manage a Sitecore Experience Commerce solution for global B2C and B2B online merchants and how to overcome key obstacles many online merchants face including architecture and scaling, security and compliance, and migrations and upgrades.

WHY: Deploying to the cloud sounds nice, but all ways seem to contain some unexpected twist. With this session coming from Rackspace, I expect to get some nice insight into how the deployment of Sitecore and specifically the eCommerce services can best deploy for you.

OR

“Leading the way: Supercharged Sitecore lead generation

Will Duderstadt
Marketing and Development Manager of Web Platforms
M/I Homes
Russell Cummings
Competency Lead
Fusion Alliance

We all know that Sitecore has powerful tools to drive your sales and marketing to higher thresholds. However, the jump from switching your website to Sitecore to generating instant results and proven ROI can be difficult to map. This session features perspectives from a Sitecore client and a Sitecore partner engaging in a website transformation to Sitecore. The vision of M/I Homes marketing has always been a h4 focus on generating leads. Join us as we discuss the project and the end result, which is a set of highly configurable conversion forms, built specific to the client’s needs which has led to a nearly 20% increase in lead generation.

WHY: Even though this might not be directly commerce server related, it should provide some interesting real-world examples to building successful lead generation campaigns, which we can agree are critical for driving new business.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

Your commerce business on one dashboard: Using Sitecore Experience Commerce with Power BI and xConnect to create self-service business intelligence

Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade
Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade

In order to optimize your commerce business, marketers and executives need to have a holistic view of transactions, conversions, and interactions both online and off-line. With Sitecore Experience Analytics data available via xConnect coupled with the Sitecore Experience Commerce data the possibilities for visualization are endless. With Power BI you can quickly merge multiple data sources to provide this view in an easy to use dashboard which can be utilized by all enterprise functions. This all-encompassing view of the enterprise enables every stakeholder to drive the digital destiny forward with data-based decision making through visualization.

WHY: Self-service BI has always been a fascinating topic, and as the data sets grow and become more important to the decisions being made it becomes ever critical to understand and roll-out. I foresee learning some key facts in this session to the type of data that Sitecore makes easy as well as tricky to access and some excellent ideas to get at both data sets.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

A digital transformation story inspired by customers and powered by Sitecore and Salesforce

Christopher Nash
Director DX Strategy
Implicit
Ólafur Ómarsson
Director of Global Web Development
Össur

As a leading global provider of non-invasive mobility solutions, Össur literally empowers its customers to live better lives. In 2018, Össur embarked on a digital transformation journey and deployed a technology stack using Sitecore Experience Platform 9, Sitecore Experience Commerce 9, and Salesforce. In this session, we’ll tell you how we built the solution and share context marketing best practices. We’ll also provide examples of how XP9 and SXP are used to generate leads and engagement among B2C and B2B segments.

WHY: It’s always fun to see how real organizations have successfully leveraged Sitecore, especially in the realm of commerce. Stop into this session to see how the competition are running.

OR

Expand the reach of your Sitecore content with a voice-activated assistants

Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade
Jeroen de Groot
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade

Why not extend the value of your Sitecore content via an Amazon Alexa? Using the Sitecore items already in your content tree you can help customers answer questions such as “What are the hours for the Chicago store today?” and many more. In the world of APIs and artificial intelligence, it is now possible to easily tie Sitecore APIs and Alexa skills together to answer these questions. This session will cover how to easily create RSS and JSON feeds of dynamic content so that your customers can “ask” for information using voice-activated assistants.

WHY: It feels like these guys stole my idea, it should be a fun session to see how you can expand the content you currently have in the site to make a unique experience for your customers.

05:15 PM to 06:00 PM – Closing Keynote

06:00 PM to 07:30 PM – Happy Hour!!!

Day 3 – Wednesdays, October 10th

07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast

Coffee first, then bacon. Coffee first, then bacon…

08:00 AM to 08:45 AM

Sitecore commerce in action: Improved customer experience for Jonastone, a German retailer

Simon Schramm
CMS Division Manager
OSF Global Services

This session exemplifies the possibilities of Sitecore commerce in terms of storefront capabilities and personalizing customer experiences. Deep insights will be provided into architectural details, personalization and marketing automation strategies. The session is using jonastone.de as use case (launch date: August 2018), a German retailer specialized in selling floor tiles and terrace plates.

WHY: A great way to kick-off the day is listening to a success story of making Sitecore Ecommerce run. After this session I would expect a certain level of excitement to begin turning as you plan for the future.

OR

Let the machines do it! Using semantic technology and AI to create “smart content” and deliver personalized experiences

Christina Deno
Web Developer
The Wyanoke Group
Linda Baker
CTO
The Wyanoke Group

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are high-tech buzzwords these days, but the Wyanoke Group started exploring these technologies for very utilitarian purposes. With 200K+ pieces of content in Sitecore, it was a daunting task to expect humans to properly, consistently, and uniformly associate accurate metadata. However, recognition that proper attribution of content metadata would allow for faster and more informed business decisions drove us to find a programmatic solution that would improve in-house content knowledge discovery and more ideas for personalization!

WHY: Taxonomy is big deal on sites of all sizes. This example should be helpful in understanding ways to turn massive product catalogs into a manageable collection of items.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

How to create customer loyalty programs using Sitecore Experience Commerce and Email Experience Manager

Kamruz Jaman
Senior Sitecore Architect
Konabos Consulting
Akshay Sura
Lead Platform Architect
FocusBrands

Using Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) and Sitecore Experience Manager (EXM), we’ve created a modern loyalty program for our restaurant brands that has helped to reduce churn, increase retention rates, and drive category sales online through marketing campaigns and marketing automation. In this session, we will show you how we implemented the solution and how our clients, including FocusBrands, (and their customers) have reaped the benefits of loyalty programs.

WHY: Loyalty is easy to say, but building a fluid experience to make it happen is trickery. Understanding how to use the tools within Sitecore to succeed should leave you even more loyal to Sitecore.

OR

Extending Sitecore Experience Commerce with plugins

Kelly Brennan
Solution Architect
EPAM

In this session, we’ll walk through creating plugins to extend Sitecore Experience Commerce. Whether it’s adding wish list functionality or integrating with an ERP you’ll walk away knowing how, where, and why.

WHY: Every implementation involves some level of third-party integration and within commerce this is no different. Hearing how someone else has fought through these struggles should be a great quiver for your next challenge.

10:45 AM to 11:45 AM – Break

Time to discuss new opportunities over coffee in the Partner Pavilion. (Or catch a quick swim…hmmm…decisions are hard.)

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

Omnichannel retail: personal and contextual experiences!

Ishraq Al Fataftah
CTO
Applez Tech

Technology trends have significantly disrupted the way commerce works. Customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across all channels of the retail process. Omnichannel retailing is providing a more powerful experience that is combining online services such as product pricing comparisons/reviews and in-store kiosks and NFC technology. In this session, we’ll explore Sitecore Experience Commerce as an enterprise solution that delivers an integrated, omnichannel personalized experience throughout the customer lifecycle. By leveraging online and offline channels across a single commerce platform, Sitecore is providing the right tools to achieve a personalized customer experience that is relevant to the individual customer and consistent across all points of interaction.

WHY: Get ready to see online mixed with offline commerce to succeed in generating a personalized experience for your customers. I find examples taking us from digital to real world and back again the best at exemplifying the possibilities Sitecore can provide.

OR

An inside look at American Bath Group’s multi-brand e-commerce redesign

Julie Caron
Director of Marketing & Brand Management
Maax Bath, American Bath Group
Yanick Bedard
VP Digital Strategy
Sid Lee

One e-commerce platform to rule them all! Learn how product design principles guided American Bath Group (ABG) toward an integrated e-commerce platform that powers its nine distinct B2B brands, including Maax Bath, and has contributed to a 50% increase in operational efficiencies.

WHY: Can your ecommerce launch succeed? This session should provide you an example to beef up your confidence and move towards success.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Churn prediction with the Sitecore xDB and Azure Machine Learning

Klaus Petersen
Global CTO
Alpha Solutions

One business area in which machine learning has proven its value is churn prediction – detecting the loss of a high-value customer. Especially in the Telco sector, churn prediction has long been an important element. This session will show you how to predict churn using xDB data and Azure machine learning.

WHY: No one likes the sound of lost sales headed for the next website. Through this session I anticipate understanding ways to head off some of these goodbyes.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Cooking up smart product recommendations: A first step in utilizing machine learning for your Sitecore Commerce shop

John Montes
Senior Sitecore Developer
XCentium
Kautilya Prasad
Sitecore Architect
XCentium

In 2012, Amazon’s fiscal quarter sales increased by $2.93 billion due to their use of smart product recommendations. It’s now 2018, and time for us to catch up. In this session, we’ll show you how to easily add smart features like product recommendations that are driven by machine learning to Sitecore Commerce shops. Using readily available tools, we will demonstrate an implementation path that is easy, cost effective, and pragmatic. Your clients will think you’re a genius!

WHY: This session should explain why I continue to add just one extra item every time I visit Amazon, and how the same can happen on yours.

OR

Driving an immersive customer experience with Sitecore Experience Commerce + IoT

Richard Seal
Principal Engineer
RBA
Jason Wilkerson
Technology Evangelist
RBA

How can you leverage Sitecore to drive a better customer experience? In this session, we’ll demonstrate how you can combine IoT, xConnect, xDB, Marketing Automation, EXM, and SXA, all tied together with Sitecore Experience Commerce, to deliver a more personalized, meaningful experience for customers at a fictional theme park called SitecoreLand! Using IoT devices to track entry and exit to and from the park as well as engagement with rides and concessions, we can provide incentives and special offers to park guests to optimize line wait times and concession traffic. With marketing automation and EXM we can upsell ‘Fast Passes’ to skip long lines or cross sell ride or park merchandise. All of this can be done with a relatively small amount of effort!

WHY: I expect this to be a fun and insightful fly-through of how the omnichannel dream can be centralized from within Sitecore providing data for decision making like never before.

03:45 PM to 04:45 PM – Break

Seems like a good time to see what free stuff can be found in the Partner Pavilion.

04:45 PM to 05:30 PM

Will Smith

06:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Party like a Potter

Leave your Muggle worries behind, and join Sitecore for the most magical bash of the year!

Day 4 – Thursday, October 11th

07:30 AM to 08:30 AM – Breakfast

Can the lights be turned down a little? Just coffee this morning, please.

08:30 AM to 09:15 AM

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Conversational user interface with Sitecore Experience Commerce

Sumith Damodaran
Director of Engineering
TH_NK
Pramila Soni
Solution Architect
Sitecore

Commerce is changing. We will look at how voice assistants and conversational UI can be applied to Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 using its plugin-based architecture. We will demonstrate the use of Microsoft chatbots (CUI) for servicing and enhancing shopping experience as well as using Alexa voice assistant to facilitate product selec¬tion and delivery.

WHY: You’ll struggle to determine if you are still dreaming or if this is real. Watching how AI can make the commerce experience a little better will be wild.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Creating a commerce feature: A technical walkthrough

Dan Solovay
Sitecore Practice Lead
Velir

Congratulations, you’re building a Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 solution. But the customer needs features that XC9 doesn’t provide. Fear not, XC9 is designed for extensibility. In this talk, Sitecore Technology MVP Dan Solovay will walk attendees through the process of building a new XC feature, including plugin creation, modifying commerce pipelines, extending the BizFx merchandiser interface, and exposing the new functionality to shoppers via new SXA components. Users attending this talk will have a clear understanding of the microservice architecture of Sitecore Commerce, and how it can be extended to drive business value and delight customers.

WHY: What better way to end the week than with a nice walk-through of how to implement all the great ideas you’ve heard all week on commerce.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

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