January 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Sharpen those pencils

ROI is much on the minds of retailers as they make buying decisions these days, vendors at the NRF Annual Convention tell Internet Retailer.

ROI is much on the minds of retailers as they make technology buying decisions, vendors at NRF’s Annual Convention & Expo in New York said. “RFPs have been elaborate this past year, really getting into the details of your ROI assumptions,” says Peter Bell, product marketing manager of Endeca Technologies Inc., which produces site search and navigation technology.

At the convention, Endeca announced that ChristianBook.com had installed its search-and-browse technology and realized a tripling of conversion rates during the holiday shopping period. At the same time, Endeca reports, ChristianBook.com’s IT costs went down by 20%.

Similarly, says Greg Munster, director of marketing for IBM Corp.’s retail store solutions, which was promoting the e-business on demand solutions for retail store operations, “These days you can sum up retailers’ concern in three letters: ROI. Gone are the days when they would spend money on something that they weren’t sure what it does but it sure is cool.”

If a vendor can demonstrate ROI, retailers will buy, Munster says. “Retailers will spend money to drive revenue or reduce costs,” he says.

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