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Ecommerce: Mashups And Future Site Function

What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘Mashups”? It is likely whatever comes to mind will not come close to the actual thought process behind the term unless, of course, you are already familiar with the concept. The term ‘mashups’ has been used in both music and software applications. The term generally means mixing two separate media applications into something entirely new. In the world of music that means a new song that might feature Aretha Franklin and Metallica. In the world of software, however, this can often mean a greater degree of function in which two successful software applications work together to create a greater output of information and usability than either could on their own. In the fall of 2006 both IBM and Google have expressed interest in mashups for online applications.

Google is finding users performing mashups of their map program that makes customized locations for websites possible. The addition of IBM’s interest may allow mashups to go mainstream. What this ultimately means for ecommerce may be unclear, but the possibilities are impressive. Mashups may allow for greater interaction with your site software applications and allow you to perform tasks on your website much more quickly. It also has the potential to allow your visitors to speed through checkout procedures.

This may sound like espionage or possibly the work of a reforming hacker, but what may have started with those ideas in mind is now finding a listening ear with some of the Internet’s most significant players. Marc Bennioff of Salesforce.com refers to mashups when he said, “"Soon everything will just be a service, business e-mail or your PBX, all your business apps. It's already affected us in our homes and now these multi-tenanted services are going to pervade your business. It's not just one idea; it's not just one provider." Long-term, the idea of ecommerce mashups has the potential of streamlining the various applications found on your site. They will have the potential of allowing your visitors to do more within your website than they may have ever thought possible. The co-mingling of successful software applications is a taboo that is being broken in the business world. The end result may provide a universally enjoyable online shopping experience. The three keys to a successful mashup include presentation, functionality and data.

Some mashups are only compatible in one area. For instance the use of a second software application may enhance presentation, but do little to improve the function or data connections of the ‘new’ combined software. Chances are pretty good you will hear more about mashups in business applications in the coming month. While there is still much to learn, the ramifications for ecommerce are promising.


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