April 30, 2002, 12:00 AM

The Buzz about Bluefly’s technology investments

Bluefly has invested in technology that it believes will raise the level of the shopping experience at the fashion discount site.

>Bluefly Inc.’s mission in life is no less than to change the way consumers buy name brand merchandise at discount. It took several steps last month that bring it closer to achieving that goal.

Significant technology buys from Blue Martini Software Inc. and Equilibrium Technologies Inc. as well as a commitment for up to $4 million in additional funding represent the next phase in the development of its strategy, says Ken Seiff, Bluefly CEO. “We are focused on becoming the first retailer in the world to offer designer products at discount prices with world-class service and convenience,” he says. “Customarily, when you buy designer brands at discount, you have to go digging through bins or go through thousands of items on racks. We have spent three years building a web site that eliminates that need. We are raising the shopping experience for off-price apparel to a new level.”

Bluefly bought Blue Martini Software Inc.’s Customer Engine to power its web site. The Blue Martini product will allow Bluefly to analyze customer data better so as to improve site features and make more relevant offerings to shoppers, Seiff says. Bluefly plans a complete re-make of its site based on Customer Engine. It will go live in the third quarter.

Equilibrium’s MediaRich Image Server will manage product presentation, allowing customers to zoom in on products for closer inspection. “Our apparel presentation has been relatively static,” Seiff says. “We decide which elements are more important to the customer. This will put the control in the customers’ hands.” The MediaRich Image Server also will assist in the dynamic generation of visual content to improve the customer experience and reduce the time it takes to produce images for its web site.

Bluefly says the MediaRich Image Server will allow it to set up templates to automate image processing tasks normally done manually by artists and technical teams.

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