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Blue Martini Ships Retail-focused App
Posted Mar 4, 2002
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Blue Martini Software Inc. today released Blue Martini Retail, the company's first CRM solution for retailers to improve customer retention in amidst falling retail sales.

"Last year was not a good year for retailers due to the weak economy. Retailers started to realize the power of consumers was growing and that consumers are not loyal. Therefore, retailers needed to focus more on customer retention," says Melanie Hapai, product manager for retail at Blue Martini.

Blue Martini Retail is designed to do just that by developing personalized marketing and service efforts across all channels that customers buy, such as physical stores, Web sites, e-mail, and call centers. By creating a holistic profile of each shopper, Blue Martini Retail offers insights about individual shopping patterns, preferences, and enables retailers to take action on the customer analysis they have gleaned - all in an effort to increase customer retention.

To do this, the San Mateo, Calif.-based software company developed Blue Martini Retail to marry e-commerce capabilities with brick and mortar stores through point of sale (POS) devices, such as signature capture devices (found at the check out counter for credit card signature verification), self-service kiosks, and wireless devices. The brain behind the operation is the Customer Engine, which collects data from all channels and farms out appropriate deals to customers based on their buying patterns. The Customer Engine serves as a common platform for the nine modular retail applications, four of which were also released today.

• Through POS devices, kiosks, and signature capture devices, the Real-time Offer Delivery application communicates customer rating status to sales associates, such as a Gold, Silver, or Lead customer. This might help a sales associate determine which customers have a higher average of returns or which customers should be rewarded for good buying behavior.

• The clienteling application enables up-scale retail stores to keep important personal information on their high-volume customers, such as personal sizes, stylistic interests, birth dates, and other events to foster cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

• The Market Research application enables retailers to survey their customers and attach an identification to each survey entry - a fete that could not be done with anonymous polls. Prior to the Market Research application, Hapai says, retailers could not tell if bargain hunters or busy professionals were using POS devices, or going to the retailer's Web sites. Knowing this information tells retailers "where they should spend their investments."

• The Loyalty Programs application tracks customer transaction history and can offer incentives or personalized service that increases customer purchasing activity, loyalty and customer retention while facilitating permission-based direct marketing to registered members.

Blue Martini Retail, which starts at $85,000 per CPU, can integrate with Siebel, SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft CRM applications. Hapai expects the deployment time of the product to run between 12 to 14 weeks.

While Hapai could not comment on the scope of CRM in the retail market, she says,"I'm definitely hearing retailers are increasing their budget for CRM initiatives."

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