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Industry News - March 13th, 2009



Wine Enthusiast Increases Conversion Rate By 200 Percent

Wine Enthusiast.com announces that its Web recommendations and e-mail alerts have boosted conversion rates over 200 percent by using MyBuys. Web recommendations are converting at 9.8 percent and e-mail alerts are converting at 7.4 percent for Wine Enthusiast, which sells everything to go with the wine lifestyle.

"With MyBuys, we got great results right out of the chute," says Glenn Edelman, vice president, online marketing and merchandising, Wine Enthusiast. "MyBuys' recommendations are so compelling that when WineEnthusiast.com shoppers are engaged by them, conversion rate goes up dramatically."

Wine Enthusiast uses customer reviews from MyBuys' partner PowerReviews to drive revenue by including product ratings on its site. The company also includes ratings in the MyBuys-generated e-mail alerts it sends to customers on its mailing list, and in the e-mails it sends to customers to ask them to rate products. The e-mails with review requests are clicked on twice as often as emails without them, and are opened at three times the rate. The overall performance of messages with review requests is seven times better than messages without.


ALDI Adds Transportation Management for Distribution Management

ALDI selects RedPrairie's Transportation Management (TMS) to coordinate shipments across ALDI's network of North American distribution centers.

ALDI's team evaluated multiple product offerings, and after an extensive review process, selected RedPrairie for its functionality and unique store-oriented approach to supply chain management.

RedPrairie's TMS streamlines the transportation life-cycle and provides a collaborative planning and scheduling environment helping stores, distribution centers, suppliers and carriers to control the complexities of global distribution.


Customer Customization on the Rise

Companies are increasingly allowing consumers to customize the precise configuration of products. For example, Dell and Nike offer consumers the opportunity to customize computers and sneakers to fit their individual preferences. The methods these companies use to guide consumers through the customization process influence the product features they choose and their willingness to buy the finished product according to a new study.

The study 'Contingent Consumer Response to Self-Customization Procedures' by Ravi Dhar of the Yale School of Management, Ana Valenzuela of the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College and Florian Zettelmeyer of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, compares how consumers respond to the two most common methods companies use to aid them in customizing products: by-attribute and by-alternative.
The by-attribute method allows consumers to create a product by selecting their preference level for each product feature. For example, on the Dell Web site, customers can build a computer by selecting, one-by-one, their preferred monitor size, memory, and other features. In the by-alternative method consumers choose their preferred option from a set of fully configured products. For example, Gateway allows customers to select from a number of computer packages with features that range from low to high in price and quality.

Through a series of experiments in which participants customized products and services including laptops and insurance, the authors found that consumers tend to choose middle-of-the-road product features when they customize a product one attribute at a time. In contrast, they are more likely to select high and low end features when they customize a product from a display of fully configured options.

"Customizing one attribute at a time makes consumers resolve the uncertainty of the right attribute level by making a compromise or choosing an intermediate level," says Dhar, director of the Yale Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management.

Customers also find it easier to make choices by-attribute than by-alternative, and as a result, they are more satisfied with the customized product they create and are more likely to purchase it instead of abandoning it in their online shopping cart.

"The method used to customize changes not only what consumers end up buying but also whether or not they buy at all," says Dhar.

The research findings can help marketing managers predict the choices consumers will make when customizing a product, which will allow them to keep adequate stock levels on hand based on how consumers are most likely to configure a product. It can also inform pricing decisions. For example, if consumers are more likely to choose products at the high or low end, companies should include profitable product configurations at these extremes.


Island Pacific Sets the Record Straight with Clarification Statement

On December 21, 2007, 3Q Holdings acquired from Retail Pro (known at the time as Island Pacific) its IPMS division, including the "Island Pacific" name and related trademarks. Additionally, the company known as Island Pacific changed its name to Retail Pro.

Additionally, the company known as Island Pacific changed its name to Retail Pro. Retail Pro (formerly Island Pacific) and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Page Digital, IP Retail Technologies International and Sabica Ventures, entered into Chapter 11 proceedings on January 10, 2009.

Island Pacific and 3Q Holdings Limited clarifies that Island Pacific is not part of the Chapter 11 proceedings of Retail Pro. Island Pacific's products include Island Pacific Merchandising System, Island Pacific Planning and Island Pacific Store.


Slumberland Upgrades to Latest Version of Enterprise1

Slumberland Furniture implements version 12 of Escalate's Enterprise1 for Big Ticket solution in all 117 of its corporate and franchisee store locations. Slumberland Furniture has been an Escalate Retail customer for more than 20 years and has utilized Enterprise1 since 1998. After recent substantial growth, Slumberland decided it would benefit from a more streamlined and customizable solution with additional functionality.

Slumberland uses Enterprise1 v12 to:

Reduced training time. With a browser-based graphical user interface (GUI), Slumberland employees can focus more on customer service and spend less time on training and navigating the system.

Enhanced store image. The user interface of Enterprise1 v12 gives Slumberland a sleeker, more contemporary look. Customers can feel comfortable that their purchases are being handled by the most up-to-date, innovative technology.

Improved check and report scheduling process. Enterprise1 v12 provides a more streamlined and reliable check and report scheduling process that simplifies items such as presenting, finding and deleting reports. The Checkwriter application now allows Slumberland to print checks on laser printers and also offers a new abort and recovery process for misprinted or unusable checks.

Additional functionality benefits of Enterprise1 v12 include an expanded store code (up to four alpha-numeric characters); mouse-enabled report submission; the ability to rerun check printing without starting over; and Web-based help available anywhere within the application. Slumberland has also utilized the customization features of Enterprise1 v12 such as selecting its own color theme, splash screen and tool bar images, as well as directly connecting its intranet to Enterprise1-all reinforcing Slumberland's branding.

"Escalate Retail has been a true partner to Slumberland throughout our relationship and through the upgrade process, and we have been pleased with the results since going live with Enterprise1 v12," says Kenny Larson, President, Slumberland. "The latest version of Enterprise1 provides us with improved architecture, stability, and security, and allows our employees to focus on keeping customers happy so they continue coming back."


TekservePOS Announces POS Software Development Outsourcing Relationship with C-Co Technologies

TekservePOS announces an exclusive software outsourcing relationship with C-Co Technologies formerly a tekservePOS holding. C-Co Technologies will provide software development services for the tekRETAIL suite of products owned by tekservePOS.

Additionally, tekservePOS will provide project management resources to manage customer specific software development projects. tekservePOS will be releasing later in 2009 a product roadmap containing additional enhancements that are planned for the tekRETAIL Suite.

The change is expected to bring benefits to all tekRETAIL customers, including timely responses to software development requests, improved support infrastructure and a formal product enhancement process.

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