SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

January 12, 2007 09:00 ET

Three Pillars of Multi Sales Channel Success

Customer Management, Merchandising & Inventory Management and Data Management Complete the 21st Century Retailer

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 12, 2007 --Early findings from the benchmark study 21st Century Retailer: Managing Customers, Merchandise & Data show that the three biggest areas of planned use of technology tools in the next 12 to 24 months include: advanced real-time in-store and web analytics (70%), cross-channel product information and content management (53%), and single operational and merchandizing data across all channels (49%). This news is announced today by Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), along with additional data derived from end users regarding their multi-channel retail strategies.

Customer Management, Merchandizing & Inventory Management, and Data Management emerged as three value-chain areas where retailers plan to improve their multi-channel retailing capabilities and solutions within the next 12 months. Respondents indicated that at least 70% of all planned multi-channel solution deployments will take place in the SMB (Small-Medium Businesses) and MME (Mid-Market Enterprise) retail segment. According to Sahir Anand, retail research analyst, and co-author of the study, "Retailers want a better approach towards integrated customer relationships and revenue management as 47% of those surveyed do not use CRM data in any system." Anand goes on to state, "What's even more concerning is that nearly 46% surveyed either don't measure any form of multi-channel information or do so on an ad-hoc basis at best." The report points out that this information can directly help retailers in improving their strategic decisions around building efficiencies in multi-channel sales and operations.

Customer expectations of seamless purchase and delivery options across channels are driving 67% of retailers to improve their sales strategies. In response, 69% of retailers are working to create a single brand identity across all channels thereby minimizing the distinction between shopping preferences. Study co-author, John Lovett, B2C eCommerce analyst, goes on to state, "Sixty-six percent of Best-in-Class retailers go beyond establishing a single brand identity across their delivery channels by prioritizing customers' ability to purchase, take delivery, or return a product through the channel of their choice." Data from the report illustrates that centralized databases and distributed information and order management systems facilitate these capabilities and contribute to a seamless customer experience. Currently, 63% of Best-in-Class retailers use centralized databases and 57% leverage distributed order management systems.

This research defines challenges and opportunities for retailers competing in today's multiple sales channel environment. A complimentary copy of the benchmark report will be available for a limited time beginning on January 31, 2007.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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