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Industry News - August 7th, 2008



Buy.com Enhances Social Commerce Capabilities with Bazaarvoice Ask & Answer 

Buy.com implements Bazaarvoice Ask & Answer. The tool allows shoppers to post product questions alongside standard product information to be answered by other consumers who have direct experience with the product. This feature helps customers make the best possible purchasing decisions. Questions and answers can be accessed by any Buy.com visitor, adding to the company's existing ratings and reviews capabilities with a fresh source of relevant and engaging user-generated content.

"We are committed to continuously improving our site to make it more user-friendly and ensure customers have the tools to make educated purchasing decisions," says Neel Grover, CEO and president of Buy.com. "The Ask & Answer feature will give our customers more information up front and ultimately drive higher conversion rates and return traffic."

In addition to Ask & Answer, Buy.com's features include BuyTV, an entertainment platform that includes a nationally televised shopping show plus online streaming video reviews on product pages, where manufacturers educate shoppers about their offerings. Other site features include a marketplace of more than 750 retailers and competitive price comparisons on more than a million product pages.


Brown Shoe Company Steps Up with SAP

Brown Shoe Company plans to replace some of its multiple home-grown and various third-party applications with SAP Business Suite applications. These applications will provide tightly integrated tools that collectively address business needs. The system also helps Brown Shoe meet its long-term growth and strategic expectations, while remaining customer-focused.

Brown Shoe will utilize the specific industry platform from SAP, the SAP Apparel and Footwear Solution for Consumer Products package, to help manage the entire supply chain. The system helps support apparel and footwear companies' growth and profitability by aligning its information technology (IT) operations on a single platform. The integrated platform will further support Brown Shoe's overall objective to strengthen its interconnected wholesale, sourcing, retail and e-commerce business platforms.

Brown Shoe also selects business intelligence solutions from Business Objects, an SAP company, to help close the loop between business strategy and execution.

"The implementation of the SAP ERP application is integral to our efforts to create an interconnected business model and leverage our inter-company synergies to better meet the needs of our customers," says Ron Fromm, chairman and CEO, Brown Shoe Company. "As a proven, scalable operating platform, SAP will be a key enabler toward reaching our strategic goals of becoming the leading fashion footwear marketer."


Wal-Mart Implements Oracle for Business Intelligence

Wal-Mart selects the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite to provide comprehensive data intelligence and analysis across Wal-Mart's operations. Wal-Mart plans to use the system to administer its logistics, transportation, category management, finance, as well as human resources, real estate, merchandising, store and club operations and other business resources, within Wal-Mart and Sam' Clubs.

The company recently implemented Oracle Retail applications including Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning, Oracle Retail Item Planning, and other elements of the Oracle Retail Suite as part of its merchandising transformation initiatives.

"Technology and analytics are essential to help us be more responsive and effective in serving Wal-Mart customers and Sam's Club members," said Rollin Ford, executive vice president and CIO, Wal-Mart. "The Oracle solution is very robust and it integrates well with our other applications, particularly as our business continues to grow in scale and complexity."


NextDayPets.com Adds E-Commerce to Support Growing Online Pet Supplies Business

Next Day Pets selects iCongo's e-commerce platform to power its online retail pet supplies business.

NextDayPets.com will re-launch their Internet storefront using the iCongo e-commerce suite which provides marketing, merchandising, order management and call center capabilities enabling retailers to operate a full featured online retail storefront. The suite also includes streamlined multi-vendor direct order procurement, content management capabilities, as well as personalization and marketing tools.

NextDayPets.com also uses the platform to enhance its merchandising capabilities, improve cross-selling of pet supplies within their online pet community, as well as enhance its customer's overall online shopping experience. NextDayPets.com will use the marketing systems to simplify content creation enabling quick site updates and notifications to their large base of pet loving visitors.

"In searching for a new e-commerce solution partner, we looked for a proven, mature system that would enable us to effectively support large transaction volumes, support our business and technical requirements, enhance both our customer's shopping experience and our overall customer service," said Brian Salta, partner at NextDayPets.com. "iCongo's proven comprehensive e-commerce solution will allow NextDayPets.com to achieve our e-commerce objectives. By implementing the iCongo e-commerce system, NextDayPets.com can overcome prior challenges and be able to efficiently push large volumes of visitor traffic from the community sections over to the online store."


Sam Ash Launches CrossView Retail Management Console

Music retailer Sam Ash Music uses the CrossView Retail Management Console (RMC) as its product information management system. The system allows the retailer's marketing team to centrally maintain product, content and promotion information for its multiple retail channels.

"As a multi-channel retailer, we were challenged to deliver consistent product information across our channels," says David Ash, CEO of Sam Ash Music. "CrossView helps us assemble, manage and publish thousands of products and the data associated with each product to our Web, call center and in-store signage system."

The CrossView Retail Management Console extends and complements Sam Ash's IBM WebSphere Commerce platform. Some of its features include: unlimited product attributes, an attribute dictionary, unlimited product images, the ability to assign multi-media files to products, and advanced promotion management tools.


Amazon.com to Acquire AbeBooks

Amazon.com announced that subject to closing conditions, it will acquire AbeBooks. AbeBooks is an online marketplace for books, with over 110 million primarily used, rare and out-of-print books listed for sale by thousands of independent booksellers from around the world.

"As a leader in rare and hard-to-find books, AbeBooks brings added breadth and expanded selection to our customers worldwide," said Russell Grandinetti, vice president of books for Amazon.com. "AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business. We're excited to present all of our customers with the widest selection of books available any place on Earth."

"This deal brings together book sellers and book lovers from around the world, and offers both types of customers a great experience," said Hannes Blum, chief executive officer of AbeBooks.
"We are very excited to be joining the Amazon family."

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close before the end of the fourth quarter of 2008.

AbeBooks will continue to function as a stand-alone operation based in Victoria, British Columbia. AbeBooks will maintain all of its Web sites, including its Canadian Web site with Canada-specific content, such as reviews of Canadian-authored books and interviews of Canadian writers.



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