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MicroFormats – Now on 10Commerce

Here is an update on our most recent product feature: 10Commerce now uses Microformats.

WHATWG came up with Microformats, a specification that helps search engines access and process data semantically from web pages. Microformats helps technologies such as search engines and web crawlers better understand what information is contained in a web page. And because it helps the search engines understand the content better, the search engines pass on the benefit to its users. So the users can better understand what the pages contain before they even click on them.Makes for a better web, doesn’t it?

For those who are more technically minded, please read on.

Here is the news release from Google talking about its’ support of Microformats –

Microformats can be used to include data on multiple data types. A few relevant ones are included below:

  • Microformats for e-commerce: for products, offers, reviews, etc.
  • Microformats for  people
  • Microformats for events
  • Microformats for local businesses, addresses, etc

Terms used for Microformats in Code part

      • itemscope – Creates the Item and indicates that descendants of this element contain information about it.
      • itemtype – A valid URL of a vocabulary that describes the item and its properties context.
      • itemid – Indicates a unique identifier of the item.
      • itemprop – Indicates that its containing tag holds the value of the specified item property. The properties name and value context are described by the items vocabulary. Properties values usually consist of string values, but can also use using the a element and itshref attribute, the img element and its src attribute, or other elements that link to or embed external resources
      • itemref – Properties that are not descendants of the element with the itemscope attribute can be associated with the item using this attribute. Provides a list of element itemids with additional properties elsewhere in the document.


MicroFormats in Ecommerce

Here is an example of Microformats being used in

Reviews , Product Price and Product stock are the microdata. Google analyzes the product detail page that it crawled through using the microformats / microdatas as its guide and shows the result on its search engine as shown above.

Example code:

<div itemscope itemtype=””>
<span itemprop=”name”>Sony 24inch TV</span>
<span itemprop=”price”>$2356</span>
<span itemprop=”availability”>In Stock</span>
<span itemprop=”brand”>Sony</span>
<span itemprop=”identifier”>ISBN </span>
<span itemprop=”identifier”>sku</span>

The above is the code you would need to include in your product detail page.

If you would like to test out how your page / site works using microformats you can test it out using the following tool:

Some reference sites for further reading:

Rajasekar, is the Web Technologies Developer at Tenovia Solutions, an Ecommerce product and services company. Besides implementing complex customer requirements he loves to constantly be on the lookout for cool web features being introduced across the web.

Distribution Systems Evolving in Ecommerce

The landscape of Supply Chain in E-tailing is drastically changing for the better. Here is a look at some of the improvements taking place at the leading online retailers in India.

Large distribution centers: Improves order fulfilment with higher inventory levels that are directly under your control compared to a 3rd party.

Improved technologies: Deeper integrations with supplier inventory reduces the chances of received orders not getting fulfilled because of stock unavailability.

Better tools and systems: Better scanners, conveyer belts, automated packaging systems, automated labelling systems have decreased the time taken at multiple points of procuring and packaging.

Smarter Analytics: Predictive analysis is being used increasingly to anticipate customer order patterns and stock accordingly.

Production Panning: Increasingly, Ecommerce companies, who are more aggregators than manufacturers, are planning their sales and promotions and going directly to the manufacturers with a set of orders and an delivery schedule based on demand. This backward integration has not only cut out the middlemen, but also given better controls to the Ecommerce companies.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service: The TATAs own a company called Drive India, which basically provides large scale infrastructure to any company that requires it. I believe this IaaS model will grow in the Ecommerce industry.

Better talent: As the Indian Ecommerce market matures and customer orders increase and the investments pour in, better talent is getting attracted to the sector. And with the influx of better talent, the supply chain built around the Ecommerce trade is constantly improving in quality.

Cloud Computing and Ecommerce in India

Its time that Indian Ecommerce companies started getting up and about on cloud computing. And when I say its time, I mean yes there are a few companies that dabble in it, but I’m talking about something like 25 – 40% of the Ecommerce companies in India using cloud computing in some capacity.

Who is it ideal for?

1. Smaller companies, hungry for growth.  And which is serious about spiking their traffic.

2. Large Ecommerce companies who have built up comprehensive platforms need to start pushing some of their applications on the cloud. Predominantly to get comfortable with it.

Why aren’t more people using it?

A couple of reasons mainly

1. Inexperience amongst the developer community with implementing cloud solutions. They’re still comfortable hosting applications on shared / dedicated servers and are afraid to experiment.

2. Online businesses are confused about the total cost of ownership of a complete cloud based solution. (CPU cycles / data download and upload pricing / pricing with and without CDNs, etc)

Way Forward

Okay, despite last week’s outage of services at Amazon’s Cloud, I believe that Cloud computing is where all of Ecommerce is headed. I believe that there is a huge Mobile commerce play that will consume the Indian market. And all those mobiles would need to interact with a lot of data sitting in servers. And that traffic’s unpredictability will be huge.

Cloud computing for Ecommerce makes too much sense and saves too much money to be ignored. And with Ecommerce at infliction point in India, its more important now than ever that our developer community / Online business heads wake up to this reality.

Gratitude for customers: Getting the ‘thank-you’ right

Can you believe it: A customer who gets a good personalized ‘thank-you’ is a lot more likely to return to your online store, than one who gets ‘only’ the service / product delivered perfectly and as promised? Customers are demanding a lot more value for their money, and some fries along with it too. And businesses in the post-recession era are taking note and delivering what they want. There are increasing cases of personalized post-sale communications going out to customers with some of the following: personalized thank-you notes, discounts on next purchase and other techniques.

So its a good time to be a customer! :) The net / mobile / social commerce revolution is just starting. Watch this space for more updates.