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May 1999

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Multichannel E-Business Front-Office Application
Octane Software, Inc. has announced the release of Octane 99, a front office solution designed to allow companies to easily incorporate the new media channels that today's customers have come to expect - such as the Web and e-mail - into their call center. Octane iChannels provide universal queuing, enabling agents to orchestrate multiple customer communications channels through a single interface. The Octane agent/customer interface is entirely dynamic - screens are created on demand, presenting personalized information to both the customer and the agent, based on the information being collected during each interaction. All Octane users (agents, customers, employees) access Octane 99 functionality using industry-standard Web browsers. Octane has also developed iCubes, which collect and analyze information from multiple sources throughout the enterprise. This information can then be used to adapt screens and processes dynamically to reflect a users' personal preferences, present upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and tailor services to strengthen the customer relationship. For more information, visit www.octanesoftware.com.
No. 400, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Consumer Demand For Internet Access Booming
According to a new research report issued by the Yankee Group (a subsidiary of Primark Corporation), U.S. consumers will spend $56 billion on Internet access services over the next five years, and the market will grow at a compound annual rate of 21 percent during the same period. Internet penetration of U.S. households, also growing rapidly, is approximately 25 percent. By the end of 1999, the Yankee Group projects that approximately one-third of U.S. households will be online, and by the end of 2003, nearly two-thirds of households will be online. The primary drivers for increased household adoption and usage of the Internet are device affordability and Web ubiquity. Plummeting PC prices are enabling more households to purchase the devices they need to get on-line. And they are buying PCs with just that in mind: the Internet is now the number one use for home computers, according to the Yankee Group. A recent survey by the firm finds that 46 percent of U.S. households with PCs cite the Internet as the primary use for their computers, followed by home office use (23 percent), games and entertainment (18 percent), and other (13 percent). While America Online (AOL) is clearly the leader in consumer Internet access, with a 57 percent share of the U.S. market, the expected growth of the market leaves plenty of opportunity for ISPs to carve out the number two spot. The best strategy for achieving this, the Yankee Group believes, is to target new users. For more information, visit www.yankeegroup.com.

ATIO Corp. Integrates CyberCall With IBM Net.Commerce
ATIO Corporation has announced an initiative with IBM which will result in the integration of ATIO's CyberCall with IBM's Net.Commerce merchant server software. The integrated solution, called CyberCall for Net.Commerce, has created a packaged product that enables the rapid implementation of a fully functional e-commerce site closely tied into the call center. While browsing an e-commerce site, for example, a customer can at any time click on a button to get in contact with an agent. The customer is presented with a choice between being called back on the telephone, a Web-chat session, a live voice connection over the Web, sending an e-mail or engaging in a Web-collaboration session. At the same time, CyberCall for Net.Commerce also enables a company to handle traditional telephone access into the call center and/or automated transactions via IVR or e-mail. ATIO has also announced that it will integrate its CyberCall solution with Microsoft Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition for the Windows NT platform. For more information, visit www.atio.com.
No. 401, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

eFrontOffice From Clarify
Clarify Inc. has announced eFrontOffice, which is designed to enable companies to: consolidate all customer touch points through an integrated queuing and routing system; incorporate e-mail response management (auto-response, auto-suggest to agent and ACD-like routing); personalized self-service and self-sales in dynamically created, customer-specific "portals"; and, via a relationship with MarketFirst Software, initiate, maintain and develop relationships with prospects through Internet marketing. Users can also now run any Clarify application from within industry-standard browsers, including Microsoft Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Clarify's e-business functionality is based on Clarify Business Objects, the company's component architecture for distributed applications in n-tier environments. Clarify Business Objects support industry-leading object architectures such as COM+/ActiveX for users on Microsoft Windows NT and CORBA/JavaBeans for UNIX users. Clarify will also support XML, the emerging standard for advanced portal development. For more information, visit www.clarify.com.
No. 402, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Building E-Mail Addresses From Existing Customer Information
E-Dialog has announced that a patent is pending on their proprietary E-Append solution, a software tool that can generate a list of e-mail addresses from a postal database. By deriving and verifying e-mail addresses from existing customer-contact information, marketers have the option of contacting customers through, generally speaking, a lower-cost, higher-return channel -- as opposed to traditional marketing channels like fax, postal mail or telemarketing/telesales. This kind of solution can help companies capitalize on the two-way power of e-mail to engage hard-to-reach customers, such as CEOs, who rarely open their own mail, yet read e-mail religiously. For more information, visit www.e-dialog.com.
No. 403, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Integrated Data Analysis & Reporting
Andromedia, a supplier of e-marketing software for e-commerce, and BroadVision, Inc., a provider of one-to-one relationship management applications for the extended enterprise, have announced the integration of Andromedia's newly introduced ARIA eCommerce 3.0 with BroadVision's One-To-One Internet Applications. The combined solution is designed to enable online merchants to monitor customer behavior on the site and then provide tools to analyze how customers are actually interacting with an e-commerce application, not just the Web server. With ARIA eCommerce, marketers have access to a host of new reports, including: Campaign Conversion Reports that automatically calculate the conversion of user sessions to checkouts; Up-sell Conversion Reports that help determine which product up-sells are most effective and provide real-time up-sell view-to-click conversion rates by product; Product Conversion Reports that determine which products are selling successfully by calculating and displaying conversion rates of individual product views-to-checkouts; Shopping Activity Reports that determine which shopping activities are most frequently performed, including shopping cart inserts, deletes and checkout details by product; Next-Click Shopping Behavior reports that display path analysis of online shopping behavior; Visitor Reports that help determine whether the site is attracting new or repeat visitors; and Traffic Reports that display the overall level of site activity, enabling the immediate evaluation of promotion effectiveness in driving overall business. For more information, visit: www.andromedia.com and www.broadvision.com.
No. 404, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

XML-Based Business-To-Business E-Commerce
webMethods, Inc., a provider of cross-platform XML solutions for business-to-business e-commerce and integration, has announced the availability of webMethods B2B 2.1. This enhanced version of the company's XML-based solution facilitates inter-enterprise integration between enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, Web sites and legacy data sources. webMethods B2B 2.1 features a guaranteed delivery mechanism to ensure the integrity of every transaction initiated via webMethods B2B. Additionally, with recoverable queue and audit trail capabilities, webMethods B2B provides for bulletproof delivery of XML documents and messages transmitted over the Internet. And since the underlying protocol is based on standard HTTP, the solution can be readily implemented without modification to corporate firewalls. webMethods B2B also provides advanced security features such as built-in Access Control Lists, embedded Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and RSA cryptosystem support for data encryption, together with support for X.509 digital certificates. For more information, visit www.webmethods.com.
No. 405, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Vantive Debuts Web Solutions
The Vantive Corporation has announced new Web-based solutions that include Vantive's applications for customer self-service and partner collaboration. The new applications complete the "e-CRM" suite by enabling sales reps and field service agents to access Vantive across the Web using a standard Web browser. Integrated workflow and routing capabilities help ensure that customers receive the same service priority and escalation via the Web, call center or field rep. Existing business rules developed for Vantive's CRM solutions flow seamlessly to the Web applications. Vantive also offers built-in Web security to provide additional access control beyond that offered by Web server software. Vantive Web solutions are built on top of the Vantive Object Architecture, which supports DCOM/COM and CORBA/Java. The Web solutions suite is comprised of Web Self-Service, Web Sales, Web Field Service, Web Partner Desktop and a Web Development Engine. For more information, visit www.vantive.com.
No. 406, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Tips For Online Retailers

Converting first-time visitors into repeat customers requires making the shopping experience simple and convenient. Marco Argenti, CEO of Internet Frontier, has compiled the following tips online retailers might find helpful in designing e-commerce sites -- but don't forget the service aspect of Internet commerce (point seven). Just like a good IVR system, your Web site should always provide customers an opportunity to speak with a live agent immediately.

1) Create a simple, relaxed Web site with neutral color schemes that adapt to any color. The first thing you want a shopper to focus on is not your bravado GIFs, but your product. The infrastructure of the site must be as light as possible in size and in bandwidth point-of-view.

2) Your site must load fast. Avoid using animations or anything that could slow down the customer from loading your site. Remember, not everyone is using a high-speed cable modem, a T-1 or T-3 line. Most shoppers are not.

3) Deal with your online shopper's concerns over credit card security. Laxity over credit card security can diminish sales. Get a third-party certification of your site and display the security logo on your site.

4) Don't let your online visitor get disoriented, overwhelmed or lost. Online shoppers can easily be frightened away by confusing instructions, enormous selection choices, and dead-end searches on your site. Filter your choices up-front through brief customer profiles and direct your shopper to areas of your Web site that actually match his or her needs.

5) Make your shopper feel welcome, not just another number. Personalize the shopping experience for your shopper with short customer surveys that help guide him or her into the areas they want to visit. Offer "Members Only" services to reward the shopper for answering the questions. Remember to split up the questions and not overwhelm the customer, up-front, with a long questionnaire.

6) Create a sense of community. Try to make your shopper not feel lonely when shopping online. Shoppers like busy stores, not empty ones. Tell your shopper about other customers who have used the product, with user ratings and shopper reviews from previous customers.

7) Create an "instant" customer service connection for the shopper. Prominently display the capability of talking to another human, either with a toll-free phone call or a direct "chat line" to customer service. Let your shopper know there is someone available to talk to him or her. The longer this service is available, the more confidence you give the shopper. Aim for 24 hours a day, every day.

8) Explain your currency. While the Internet has no boundaries, currencies do. If you are going global, you have to accommodate your global shopper on the most important detail -- money. Offer your customer the capability of paying in different currencies or offer billing in local currencies. If this is not feasible, let your customer know the currency exchange translation for their local currency.

9) Provide helpful shipping terms to make your shopper's purchase convenient. Who wants to pay as much for shipping as for the cost of the goods purchased? Offer a flat shipping rate, whenever possible, instead of a complex shipping formula. If possible, also offer a very low shipping rate to first-time users, because market research has shown that first-time users are not big spenders on their first online purchase.

10) Advertise effectively to reach customers. Research shows that Internet-only advertising can be dangerous unless it is also combined with existing marketing and advertising efforts - nothing has yet replaced traditional advertising channels. Create alliances with other sites to get customer referrals. Offer incentives to other similar Web sites that will also help match your shopper's needs. Avoid the shotgun approach -- it can drain your budget and make shoppers resent your omnipresence.

For more information, contact bprice@stockhouse.com.

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