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2005-05-19 - San Mateo, CA, USA: Two significant developments have taken place in recent days at sales optimization software supplier Blue Martini. The company has launched Release 6.5 of its suite of multi-channel commerce products, and has also been merged with Ecometry Corporation, a multi-channel retail software vendor with a client base of over 400 customers.
Blue Martini Release 6.5 is said to significantly enhance and integrate support of very complex product offerings and deep assortments within its e-commerce suite, out-of-the-box. With this release, Blue Martini also meets its customer commitment to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by enabling full deployment on the LINUX platform.
With the new release, retailers and consumer-facing companies who sell complex products or deep assortments, such as bundles, cross-brand outfits, and promotional packages through their websites will be able to more easily configure product content and apply multi-level, complex pricing. Using Release 6.5, product managers can more easily relate products, price the resulting assortments for different scenarios or segments, and manage them directly from within the familiar e-commerce product suite, rather than from a separate module. In addition, online retailers who want to guide consumers through an interactive product selection process on the website can use the tightly integrated guided selling capability in Blue Martini Release 6.5, with built-in trade-off advisor and 'start-anywhere-go-anywhere' features.
Blue Martini say that as a result, these organizations can quickly deploy best-in-class configuration, pricing and consumer guided selling capabilities to further increase conversion rates. Also, with Release 6.5, they can choose to achieve these benefits within a lower cost infrastructure model now that Blue Martini Commerce Suite fully supports the Enterprise Red Hat Linux 3 platform.
"Last fall at our user conference, Blue Martini customers made clear their vision for interconnecting our modules to further increase their revenues and reduce their costs to do so. Blue Martini Commerce 6.5 enables our customers to begin to achieve that multi-channel platform vision. They can deploy our best-in-class multi-channel solution with enhanced features and at a lower cost of ownership than ever before" said Gene Davis, Vice President of Product Development at Blue Martini Software. "With over 500 man months of product development effort behind these capabilities, the release sets a very high bar for competitors who wish to support retailers with complex products and deep assortment while lowering their cost of implementation."
The merger with Ecometry has been brought about due to the aquisition of Blue Martini by Multi-Channel Holdings, which is also the parent entity of Ecometry. Multi-Channel Holdings is itself part of the privately held Golden Gate Capital portfolio company.
The purpose of the transaction is to combine Blue Martini Software and Ecometry Corporation to create a market leading software company that will power multi-channel retailers. Monte Zweben, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blue Martini is the Chairman of the Board of the combined entity. John Marrah, the President and CEO of Ecometry is the President and CEO of the combined entity.
"The combination of Blue Martini and Ecometry delivers an unsurpassed end- to-end solution for multi channel retailers," said John Marrah. "We can now optimize and integrate multiple customer interaction channels including eCommerce, in-store sales associates, catalog, gift registry, messages at point-of-sale, loyalty programs, call center and marketing campaigns to deliver personalized interactions that increase loyalty and maximize revenue. We can then ensure cost-effective, on-time delivery of sales orders from such customer interactions through our fully integrated back-office solutions including order management, shipping, continuity management, inventory forecasting, warehousing and standing order management. The combined entity is currently building key integrations for one joint customer and has already seen close to a dozen cross-sell opportunities for the Blue Martini product line into the Ecometry customer base. The combined product portfolio will dramatically enhance the value we provide to our respective customer bases and the retailing vertical in general. The combination of these entities and the backing of Golden Gate Capital greatly augment the financial strength of both companies. The greatest value created from this transaction will be through the combination of world class people in both Ecometry and Blue Martini and the long term value that they will create for the combined customers," commented Marrah.
David Dominik of Golden Gate Capital adds, "This is the first step in realizing the goal that we created with John Marrah and Ecometry Corporation of together building the leading software provider for multi-channel retailers. We look forward to adding the visionary skill sets of Monte Zweben and the Blue Martini management to the team."
"We are very excited that existing Blue Martini customers will benefit from a more financially sound partner that is focused on customer satisfaction and who does not need to contend with the pressures and costs of the public markets," said Monte Zweben. "Additionally, we look forward to delivering Blue Martini products to a much larger installed base of customers. We will continue to invest in advancing the existing Blue Martini platform and maintain its leadership position as one of the most innovative multi-channel retail solutions in the industry today. In addition, we will continue to deliver our products through resellers and OEM channels establishing broader distribution."
The first OEM channel opportunity is with Infor, the largest enterprise solutions provider focused exclusively on solving the essential changes customers face in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Infor is also a Golden Gate portfolio company, with revenues approaching $600 million.
The merger reflects a trend towards consolidation between specialist interactive selling software vendors, and back-office solution suppliers. In recent weeks Selectica, a competitor of Blue Martini, bought the rights to Determine Software's contract management products. This trend raises the question as to whether there is a viable place in the market for 'pure play' product configuration software suppliers. It will be interesting to observe if this trend towards consolidation, which was predicted by research company Gartner in 2002, continues at a similar pace.