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Industry News - July 18th, 2008



WH Smith Retail Limited Adds Advanced Promotion Software  

WHSmith Retail Limited implements Promotion Manager software from the Connect3 Advanced Promotion Solutions suite. WHSmith also adds Professional Services from Connect3 that configures the software and assists with integrating to existing WHSmith merchandising, pricing, ePOS and supply chain systems.

"Following the execution of a comprehensive RFP, Connect3 appeared to meet a very high percentage of our detailed requirements for both of our retail divisions," says Simon Baker, head of development for WHSmith. "We then worked closely with them to verify that they could, indeed, provide a solution in our tight timelines without bespoke coding and also provide a platform which we can extend in the future as our requirements expand.

Connect3 Advanced Promotion Solutions is a configurable AMP foundation and application framework that helps support promotion planning, collaboration, analysis and execution. The system also supports promotional pricing and executes to ePOS systems and on-line channels.


Longs Drug Stores Partners With Microsoft HealthVault

Longs Drug Stores connects with Microsoft HealthVault, a consumer health platform for sharing information with patients and providers. With a planned launch this fall, Longs will offer consumers the ability to access their medication information and, if they choose, share it with others in a security-enhanced environment.

The HealthVault platform creates connectivity between patients and physicians, as well as promotes improved health, wellness and fitness, while allowing the consumer to better manage their health information.

"Longs has long been a supporter of innovative technologies to better serve our patients. Providing access to electronic records and teaming with organizations such as Microsoft serves to empower our patients and we hope, improve their overall health," said Mike Laddon, SVP and CIO, Longs Drug Stores.


Amazon.com Offers Customers Bill Me Later Payment Option

Amazon.com offers its millions of customers Bill Me Later's next-generation payment service to pay for their purchases instantly online without using a credit card. Bill Me Later helps consumers shop online without using a credit card and helps retailers simplify the payment experience for customers who don't want to use a credit card.

"We are committed to providing our customers with the greatest possible selection, whether that's in our 40 + stores, or in the selection of payment methods we offer on the site," said Matt Swann, vice president of payments at Amazon.com. "We believe our customers will appreciate having another convenient payment option when shopping on Amazon.com."

Adding alternative payments is of widespread merchant interest as they work to offer consumers additional payment options," said Avivah Litan, vice president at Gartner. "Our research shows high consumer interest in these types of alternative online payment instruments and evidence that they find them secure and convenient."

In December 2007, Amazon.com first announced its intent to offer the Bill Me Later service.


Toys R Us Expands Marketing Services Agreement with GSI Commerce

Toys "R"Us extends a multi-year contract for marketing services with GSI Commerce. The toy retailer uses digital marketing services through gsi interactive, its full-service interactive marketing and design agency. Toys "R" Us will use gsi interactive's services for e-mail marketing, paid search and online advertising, affiliate marketing, content creation, and interactive design.

Since 2006, GSI has been providing Toys "R" Us with e-commerce technology, customer service support, and interactive marketing services for all of its branded online stores including www.Toysrus.com and www.Babiesrus.com. 


National Business Furniture Enhances Search, Navigation and Merchandising Tools

National Business Furniture enhances its office furniture Web sites with integrated search, navigation and merchandising capabilities from Endeca Technologies. The new capabilities debuted on OfficeChairs.com and will be introduced on OfficeFurniture.com and NBF.com over the next few months.

The new capabilities bring together keyword search and traditional navigation. With Endeca's Guided Navigation, National Business Furniture shoppers can browse products and refine search results using criteria, including fabric or finish, style, color, price range, room of use, and delivery time. As a result, shoppers can quickly find products of interest, while discovering options they may not have known existed.

"Endeca's search, navigation and merchandising capabilities are well known in consumer e-commerce," said Eric Nebbia, director of e-commerce of National Business Furniture. "Our goal with our site redesign was to bring together the best user experience elements on today's e-commerce sites with our expertise in office furniture and capabilities unique to the office furniture buying experience."

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