EasyAsk Advances the Evolution of Search and Navigation Through Advanced Merchandising and Analytics

Kurt Peters

Akemi Tinder
RF Binder Partners

New Release Delivers `Merchandising Manager Dashboard` for Greater Analytical Insight and Improved Merchandising

LITTLETON, MASS. - February 18, 2003 - EasyAsk, a market leader in information access software solutions, and the first and only provider of Synchronized Search and Navigation™, today introduced a new, advanced platform featuring a powerful yet easy-to-use merchandising and analytic capability. This new release represents the next major step forward in the progression of advanced e-commerce search and navigation technology. With this new platform, EasyAsk goes well beyond any other commercially available search and navigation technology by allowing online retailers to quickly and easily gain meaningful insight into customer behavior, which can then be quickly translated into dynamically-generated, individually-targeted merchandising campaigns that are very relevant to each shopper`s individual interests.

EasyAsk "Merchandising Manager Dashboard"

With this latest release of EasyAsk, online retailers now have an intuitive, Web-based "Merchandising Manager Dashboard" to expand their online offerings, analyze customer interactions and optimize merchandise placement strategies by creating and accessing an assortment of analytical reports relating to search, navigation and merchandising. These readily available and easily customized reports provide retailers with an in-depth understanding of their customers` shopping patterns and behavior that affect conversion rates.

For example, a merchandiser using EasyAsk can, without the assistance of any IT resources, easily define product attributes that make it easier for shoppers making purchasing decisions.

As shoppers search and navigate through the product catalog, the merchandiser can also choose featured products or groups of products to be displayed at specific points in the shopping experience. Shopping behavior can then be analyzed using EasyAsk`s advanced analytics, which generate insightful views and answer important questions such as, "Which searches and navigational paths result in a purchase?" This information can then be used to display products and merchandising suggestions at just the right time for the greatest impact. The result is a powerful Synchronized Search and Navigation experience that provides insight into actual shopping behavior for the first time, resulting in precise, relevant, real-time merchandising to individual shoppers.

"By leveraging EasyAsk`s analytical functionality, we have a clearer picture of how our customers shop and what they`re looking for when they visit Blair.com," said Jeff Parnell, vice president and general manager for e-commerce at Blair Corporation, the country`s eighth-largest consumer cataloger. "The information we gather is extremely valuable in helping us fine-tune our site to better accommodate our customers` needs since we can easily see what items, sizes and styles are most popular and the variety of terms that are used to search for our numerous product offerings."

EasyAsk`s Merchandising Manager Dashboard also enables online retailers to dynamically control their online merchandising activities through several innovative features and capabilities. Leveraging its natural-language search engine, EasyAsk designed the Merchandising Manager Dashboard specifically for site administrators and merchandising managers who define product attributes, such as size and style, so that products and brands are promoted in the context of what individual consumers are searching for.

With EasyAsk, attribute display and ordering can now also be easily specified. In addition, this new release of EasyAsk enables online retailers to feature products based on specific business needs (e.g., preferred partners, seasonal specials, highest margins, overstocks, etc.). All of these capabilities can be performed ad-hoc through the Merchandising Manager Dashboard, without the need for IT programming assistance.

"Search solutions are beginning to offer a quantum leap in strategic value for e-commerce organizations," said Guy Creese, Research Director of Internet Analytics at Aberdeen Group. "Search`s core capability - quickly directing visitors to the product they`re looking to buy - will always be important. However, this operational benefit is now being significantly augmented by analytic insight. E-tailers are beginning to recognize the value that can be gathered from looking not only at what their customers bought, but also at what they tried to buy. This ability to analyze search, navigation, and merchandising results - which EasyAsk is now delivering - enables companies to iteratively improve the enterprise/customer dialog. This ability to continually adjust to changing customer interests and desires will not only increase customer satisfaction, but will also directly improve e-commerce companies` bottom lines."

EasyAsk MyStore™: Personalized Search Results

Yet another key benefit of this latest version of EasyAsk is that online retailers will now have the opportunity to personalize their customers` shopping experience through EasyAsk MyStore. MyStore is a customizable service that allows shoppers to create their own catalog preference page, based upon their search and navigation criteria, such as favorite brands, size and price range, as well as the preferences of friends and family members. This service makes future shopping sessions much faster since customers can simply go to their customized MyStore view to find items meeting their previously defined criteria. MyStore dynamically produces results, ensuring that shoppers have access to the latest selections that match their shopping criteria every time they visit. MyStore also offers the convenience of enabling customers to change their profiles as well as add and delete new ones when necessary.

"EasyAsk is very pleased about the enhancements this latest release offers," stated Bob Alperin, president and CEO of EasyAsk. "Each of these capabilities represents a dramatic leap forward in search and navigation functionality with the merchandising and analytics effectively creating a powerful weapon for leading online retail brands. In addition, our EasyAsk MyStore functionality significantly improves the shopping experience of every retailers` most valuable asset - the loyal, repeat buyer."

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is a leading provider of intuitive and precise information access solutions that empower enterprise users to quickly find and retrieve critical business information. Powered by a unique linguistic capability, EasyAsk`s Synchronized Search and Navigation™ platform accesses both structured and unstructured data, intelligently interpreting users` queries to find accurate and complete results with unprecedented efficiency. Leading retail, financial services and business-to-business companies such as Lands` End, Siemens Medical Systems (SMS) and Glaxo SmithKline use EasyAsk`s technology. In addition to dozens of direct customers, over 100 companies have acquired EasyAsk`s core technology. Strategic partners include IBM-where EasyAsk is a preferred provider of IBM`s WebSphere Commerce Group-and SAIC. Leading investors include Sigma Partners and Flagship Ventures. EasyAsk is headquartered outside of Boston with sales and support offices throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in London, Brussels and Spain. For more information, please visit our website at www.easyask.com or contact us at 1-800-425-8200.



Merchandising, Online shopping, Retailing, Shopping, Target Corporation