E-Commerce Gets Personal

Net.Genesis Corp., a producer of Web site and e-commerce analysis software, announced that it will team up with the Net Perceptions Inc. to offer new e-commerce products and services. The e-commerce software solutions produced through this new partnership will allow large e-commerce sites to interact with customers on a one-to-one basis, to learn their preferences, and then to make specific individualized purchase recommendations to each customer in real-time. The behavior patterns of shoppers can then be analyzed, so that online merchants will be able to further tailor their operations to their customers’ preferences.

According to Net Perceptions, this shift to one-on-one online selling is a trend that is already adopted by e-commerce mega-sites like Amazon.com, CDnow, Music Boulevard and Ticketmaster Online. When the system is utilized to its full potential, the benefits to online merchants include turning a higher ratio of browsers into buyers, increasing the amount of the sale per transaction, and building customer loyalty.

Tom Burke, director of marketing communications for net.Genesis told the E-Commerce Times, “The typical online merchant who’s interested in personalization will now be able to close the loop on their effectiveness, and really dig into the behavioral aspects of how well their [marketing] recommendations are translating into sales This raises the bar in the industry.”

Who Gives What

Net Perceptions produces the software that analyzes online shopper behavior in real-time, and then makes personalized purchase recommendations. In addition to its online shopping software, the company is also well-known for its online advertising solutions. Its technology automatically targets each Web ad to the interests and tastes of each site visitor, a feature which, according to Net Perceptions, “increases the value of each click to advertisers.”

Net.Genesis will supply the Web site and shopping analysis software that crunches raw data into information used by Web merchants to determine their online selling strategies. Once shopper behavior is understood, Web merchants can redesign their online stores to increase the percentage of sales on their site and boost the value of each purchase.

The bundling of these services is a powerful combination and makes for a very tempting package for online merchants, particularly the larger ones, who have the resources to deploy and take advantage of the new offering. According to Tom Burke at net.Genesis, the industries most suitable are online publishing, entertainment and financial services.

A major consideration is the amount of high-level personnel resources needed to effectively manage and harness the sheer volume of information produced. But, once a system is established, sales success may well be limited only by the imagination of site operators.

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