August 27, 2004, 12:00 AM

Altrec.com boosts sales 8% through shopping portals

Boosting sales through shopping portals has become a common strategy for online retailers, but linking with portals can be a costly chore. Altrec.com has found a way to save 50% of the costs of building those links while boosting sales 8%, it says.

Boosting sales through shopping portals has become a common strategy for online retailers, but linking with portals to update product and pricing information can be a costly chore. Altrec.com has found a way to save 50% of the costs of building those links while boosting sales 8%, CEO Mike Morford tells InternetRetailer.com.

Altrec sells through a large number of portals that direct customers to Altrec.com, but in most cases it first builds links with each portal to be able to routinely update merchandise displays and pricing. About a year ago, it began using a third-party software service to connect with multiple portals at once. "This enables us to have a faster time-to-market," he says. "We’ve saved 50% on the cost of doing it in-house."

Instead of building its own links to portals, Altrec signed on with Mercent, a Seattle-based facilitator of portal connections, to link with 5 portals. Although Morford declines to name the portals to which Altrec links through the third-party Mercent Commerce System, Mercent says its system can connect retailers with more than 100 million monthly online shoppers through sites including Amazon.com, AOL Shopping, Shopping.com, YahooShopping.com, MSN Shopping and several shopping comparison sites.

Mercent also lets Altrec avoid having to directly change data formats requested by portal partners. "If a portal changes the way it wants to receive data, Mercent does that for us," Morford says.

Mercent says it can take less than 30 days to get a retailer client connected with multiple shopping portals, though Morford said Altrec was connected in about one week.

Mercent sells an enterprise license for its core Mercent Commerce System for $25,000, plus 18% annual maintenance. It also provides fee-based services including program management, data mapping, software development and integration, storefront design and optimization of search keywords and product categorization, a spokesman says.

 

 

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