February 28, 2001, 12:00 AM

The new eCRM systems keep tabs on customer’s purchases, wherever they occur

(Page 3 of 3)

“You just can’t assume you know what customers want and what they are thinking,” argues Hunt, CornerHardware’s president.

Because doubts exist about the ability to integrate customer data across all sales channels, some Internet retailers such as Hunt prefer not to be pioneers out of concern that potential implementation and operating problems could harm their business.

To mitigate such qualms, QuickDog is including a champion-challenger module that demonstrates the effectiveness of its application across the enterprise. Others, such as San Mateo, Calif.-based E.piphany, are promoting the ability of the application to check the warehouse to determine if a product is in stock before it is recommended. “To maximize the value of the application, online retailers need to see that it can unify data for all customer interactions across all aspects of their business,” says Mark Kanok, senior product marketing manager for E.piphany.

Until personalization vendors can unequivocally demonstrate their ability to consistently deliver on that promise, most Internet retailers are content to sit tight and wait. l

Peter Lucas is a Chicago-based freelance business writer.

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