Buckle Beefs Up e-Commerce with Escalate


Buckle Beefs Up e-Commerce with Escalate
Escalate Demonstrates New Aps, Promotes Executives
Specialty apparel retailer Buckle has implemented Escalate Retail's Blue Martini e-commerce platform.

The installation included Escalate's Call Center and Relationship Marketing applications, which are intended to help Buckle grow its etail business and enhance the online experience for its guests.

"Service to our guests is paramount, and we are pleased that our Escalate-based web site allows us to provide a richer experience for our online guests," said Kelly N. Barnes, web development manager for Buckle. "The Escalate platform enables us to provide a more robust, secure and feature-rich environment for our multi-channel activities."

In other news, Escalate Retail recently demonstrated the use of Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to search and display information from Escalate's commerce and order management applications. The integration of Escalate's solution built on the Microsoft platform was greeted with enthusiasm by more than 550 attendees at Escalate's annual user conference, the firm reported.

Incorporating new meta-data information exposed through Microsoft's business data catalog (BDC), the Escalate prototype illustrated how retail business users could intuitively navigate from common desktop applications directly into relevant views of product information, customer history and order status.

Also, Escalate Retail has promoted two key executives. Tim Kilbane has been named vice president of the Technology Services Group, and Laura Weinhofer as vice president of marketing. Both are veterans of GERS Retail Systems, which merged with Ecometry to form Escalate Retail last year.
>>for more information: www.EscalateRetail.com

Convergys Offers Outsourcing for e-Tail Customer Service
Convergys, a firm that traditionally has specialized in outsourcing of backoffice work, has begun offering "relationship management" services to help retailers manage their e-tail businesses.

Convergys can handle customer interaction via phone and e-mail for online ordering, and help retailers reengineer their processes to bridge the gap between their online and brick-and-mortar businesses, says Sheila Curr, director of business development for the retail market at Convergys.

The firm has operations in the Philippines that are well suited to outsourced retail telephone customer service because the Filipino work force is in touch with the Western retail culture, Curr says.

The target apparel retail client for Convergys, which counts Ann Taylor as a customer, is a firm with $1 billion to $2 billion in annual sales, and approximately 10,000 employees, or a retail business that wants to start outsourcing some component of its operations from the start.

Convergys has a track record of helping retailers with outsourcing of activities that involve document handling, notes Natalie Galbato, the firm's senior director for back-office solutions. Its services in this area include: document digitizing; document data entry (for warranty paperwork, etc.); automation of document handling processes (such as for gift card programs); and reengineering of document processing for paperwork-heavy back-office activities such as accounts payable and human resources management.

Convergys also has helped retailers manage supply chain paperwork, such as digitizing and reconciling invoices from suppliers who may not be on EDI, Galbato says.
>> for more information: www.convergys.com

Hot Topic Chooses Lawson for BI
Specialty retailer Hot Topic Inc. has licensed Lawson Business Intelligence, part of the Lawson S3 Enterprise Performance Management Suite.

Lawson Business Intelligence will help enhance organization-wide reporting and analysis by giving decisionmakers at Hot Topic access to information and decision support to help them quickly capitalize on business opportunities, the companies reported.

Hot Topic is a mall-based retailer with 693 Hot Topic stores and 130 Torrid stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. It offers both apparel and accessories.

The retailer's investment in BI technology from Lawson adds to an IT portfolio that already includes Lawson's S3 Enterprise Financial Management and Human Capital Management solutions.

The Lawson Business Intelligence application will provide Hot Topic with a multi-dimensional view of financial, customer, internal process and human resource data. Hot Topic also plans to use the Lawson Smart Notification and ProcessFlow Professional tools within the BI application to provide automated exception alerts and controls that will foster greater employee compliance with company procedures.
>> for more information: www.lawson.com

YM Deploys Fujitsu for POS

Canadian fashion retailer YM Inc. has installed more than 400 TeamPoS 3000 point-of-sale (POS) terminals from Fujitsu across its 117-store Bluenotes chain and 17-store Siblings chain.

The rollout includes a three-year service agreement under Fujitsu's Retainer Plus program.

Mignon Young-Bonner, director of POS systems and support at Toronto-based YM, said the firm's old POS hardware had become unreliable, and replacement parts were hard to find. "We needed a new system with improved availability and dependability that would increase the efficiency of our point-of-sale process," Young-Bonner said.

"Based on our evaluation and strong customer references, Fujitsu's TeamPoS 3000 matched and/or exceeded our requirements, and the system will play an instrumental role as we transition to Microsoft's Windows Embedded for Point of Service platform. We selected WEPOS as the operating system of choice for its ease of deployment and maintenance, optimization for retail scenarios, and its overall lower total cost of ownership."
>> for more information: us.fujitsu.com/retailing

Harley-Davidson Uses Planalytics
Harley-Davidson has implemented Planalytics software to better project weather's impact on future demand for Harley-Davidson products.

Harley-Davidson, which has an extensive apparel and accessories business in addition to its core motorcycle offerings, will use the Planalytics PlannerSM tool to apply weather-related business intelligence to its current business processes.

In other news, Planalytics has promoted Scott Bernhardt to the role of COO and Derron Simon to that of chief technology officer. Bernhardt previously was senior vice president of business development for the company's retail and manufacturing divisions, and before that held senior positions with Retek (now part of Oracle Retail). Simon previously was vice president of product development.
>> for more information: www.planalytics.com

ASi Earns Microsoft Learning Solutions Competency
Advanced Systems Integration, Inc. (ASi), a Microsoft Dynamics AX Gold Certified Partner, has earned an additional competency, Learning Solutions.

The competency is designed for Microsoft partners focused on providing highquality training and learning solutions for Microsoft software to individuals and organizations worldwide.
>> for more information: www.advancedsystemsintegration.com, www.microsoft.com/dynamics/ax/default.mspx

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