ATG Adds Affinity Selling to E-Commerce Suite

ATG has updated its e-commerce platform to include automated affinity selling for retailers and other e-commerce providers. It is the biggest update the vendor has made since it rolled out its v. 6.4 platform last summer, spokesperson Tucker Walsh told CRM Buyer.

This release enhances the company’s adaptive scenario engine by automating personalization capabilities, he explained. The features allow retailers to define groups and subgroups of customers, as well as the rules that apply to them.

For instance, on Amazon, when customers make a purchase, they are automatically offered a list of other books or goods chosen by people who bought the same item.

This, too, is an automated personalization feature, Walsh noted — but only addresses the first layer of the customer’s interaction.

“Our model adds segmentation to that. It allows retailers to make recommendations not just on past purchases but also past purchases made by others in the same market segment.”

The Fashionista Category

For instance, a shopper atLouis Vuitton’s Web site could be segmented by the retailer as a “fashionista” — someone who routinely buys the latest and most expensive merchandise, as opposed to the majority of shoppers who might regularly buy only mid- or lower-priced goods. Fashionistas would be given a different set of up-sell or cross-sell offers.

“The user interface allows you to create market segments and market personas, and to then track and rank product affinities using these customer segments,” Walsh said.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra will add advanced personalization features to its ATG-powered Web site, which attracts more than 5.5 million visitors annually, the company reported. The enhancements will provide suggestions on upcoming concerts that ticket-browsers may enjoy, based on their previous purchases.

“Our new affinity selling capabilities will further empower online sellers to match consumers with the products they are seeking, quickly and easily,” said Cliff Conneighton, senior vice president of marketing. “By introducing automated personalization into the product recommendation process, merchants now have the power to offer customers a uniquely relevant and tailored shopping experience in a way they can easily afford and manage.”

eStara and v 6.4

These personalization features complement ATG’s efforts last year to build out its live Chat and search functionality. In 6.4, for instance, it incorporated new navigation features for users that it dubbed “searchandising.” It also offered a new Live Chat feature that identifies when a shopping cart is about to be abandoned and responds with query to help.

The Live Chat functionality was buttressed a few months later, in September 2006, when ATG acquired eStara, a best-of-breed vendor specializing in click-to-call technology, for US$48.3 million. ATG has not yet folded eStara into an official release, Walsh said, although some customers have incorporated the technology.

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