April 18, 2002, 12:00 AM

How more content bumps up the need for smarter usage

As retailers load up the amount of material they present online, with targeted content and zoom technology, there is an even greater need to manage the content to ensure that customers get first-rate shopping experiences.

As retailers load up the amount of material they present online, with targeted content and zoom technology, there is an even greater need to manage the content to ensure that customers get first-rate shopping experiences. Among the techniques that retailers have adopted is pinpointing presentations based on geographic location. A handful of companies today are providing such location-specific content delivery.

Cambridge, MA-based Akamai Technologies Inc.’s Edgescape product, for instance, allows retailers to dynamically create and deliver a web site for users based on specific criteria, such as zip code or browser capability, says Kieran Taylor, direct of product management at Akamai. "Edgescape allows retailers to show online shoppers in Maine sleds during winter while showing shoppers in Miami bikinis," he says.

Quova Inc. is a provider of similar services that counts Amazon.com among its clients. It also has a number of ad-serving customers who use Quova’s GeoPoint product.

Akamai also is supporting retailers’ drive for more detailed content by providing a service that enhances visual images while at the same time accelerating the delivery of those images through the Akamai network. To do this, Akamai struck a deal late last year with San Mateo, CA-based image software company TrueSpectra Inc. to add its image enhancing technology to Akamai’s EdgeSuite package of services. "We’re finding that more customers use zoom and other rich graphics so the deal with TrueSpectra allows users to optimize the color and detail of their images as we accelerate the content delivery," says Taylor. "The web site is the showroom for a retailer’s goods today. And if the goods are not represented correctly online it can hurt sales." About 150 customers, including several retailers, currently use EdgeSuite. While Akamai did not disclose names, it says a handful of major online retailers are using the combined solution.

Akamai says its clients typically improve sales 6% by using its network of 13,000 servers worldwide to quickly distribute content to web users. Retail clients who use Akamai include VictoriaSecret.com, 1-800-Flowers.com, TheSharperImage.com and BestBuy.com.

 

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