BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blueport Commerce, the leading provider of e-commerce technology and services that deliver increased e-commerce and in-store sales for the retail furniture industry, today announced it has been granted U.S. Patent #8,983,864 for the cloud-based application of big data to link online and in-store shopping experiences for the first time.
Store-Sync, Blueport’s cloud-based shopping application, drives incremental e-commerce and in-store sales by providing a seamless experience for shoppers who use both digital and traditional channels when shopping for big-ticket items. Whether on their computer, tablet, smartphone or talking to a salesperson, shoppers’ behaviors, preferences and the items they are considering are captured and synchronized between all of their devices and the store’s point-of-sale system. Their shopping experience becomes increasingly personalized online and in stores, and shoppers, regardless of which channel they are shopping, easily make progress towards their purchase, never having to start over.
“For big-ticket retail categories that don’t fit in an Amazon box – such as furniture, mattresses, appliances, cars – physical stores and salespeople play a crucial role in the purchase decision,” said Carl Prindle, Blueport Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer. “In these categories, consumers like to ‘touch and feel’ merchandise and consult with an experienced sales professional. Technology like Store-Sync enhances – rather than trying to replace – the in-store experience. In big-ticket categories, that’s the real online win for shoppers and retailers.”
Today, the Internet influences more than half (52%) of U.S. retail sales. Actual online sales, however, account for only 7% of retail. This “digital divide” between online research and online purchases is wider for big-ticket items, for which Internet research plays an even larger role but the vast majority of sales occur in-store. In furniture, for example, 84% of shoppers research online while only 4% currently purchase via a website.
Store-Sync embraces this reality, making moving back and forth between online and in-store shopping seamless. In addition to giving retailers the power to personalize marketing and shopping experiences for shoppers, Store-Sync allows retailers to track marketing and sales touch points across channels. This tracking provides analytics and behavioral insights that enhance customer engagement and improve marketing effectiveness.
Critically, the system also assures that salespeople who contribute to a sale at any point in the shopping process are compensated accordingly, removing a key friction point in traditional big-ticket selling – channel conflict. Historically, big-ticket salespeople earn commissions only when they close a sale. This can lead salespeople to pay less attention to shoppers who are “just looking” early in their shopping process (when they need help most) and to fear of e-commerce “stealing” their sales. Shoppers, in turn, may regard salespeople as high pressure and technophobic – at odds with retailers’ desire to make big-ticket shopping easy.
By tracking – and compensating – salespeople for their participation at any point in a sale, Store-Sync incents sales staff to focus on being the helpful experts that retailers and shoppers rely on to complete big-ticket purchases.
“The business implications of Store-Sync are potentially transformative to retail far beyond furniture,” continued Prindle. “Further applications could revolutionize how car dealers and real estate agents engage with buyers.”
Blueport Commerce has already introduced the Store-Sync technology to leading furniture retailers using Blueport’s e-commerce platform.
“It’s extremely well-received among shoppers,” said Stephen Haffer, Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing, E-commerce and Information Technology for American Signature, Inc., which has branded Store-Sync as Easy Pass for its retail chain. “Shoppers find it easy to use, time-saving and love the feeling of walking into a store empowered by their online research and knowing that their store experience will be just as seamless and easy. And, if they aren’t ready to make a decision or want to talk it over at home, they can easily buy when they are ready, on any device, without having to return to a store.”
Over 90% of shoppers surveyed said they are likely or very likely to use Easy Pass next time they shop for furniture according to research conducted by American Signature, Inc. Better yet, shoppers reported they are nearly 50% more likely to shop American Signature stores knowing that Easy Pass is offered.
“Store-Sync, in many ways, is the long-awaited bridge for the digital divide between online research and in-store shopping. Making the in-store experience as personalized and efficient as e-commerce companies like Amazon levels the playing field for traditional retailers. And in big-ticket categories, where stores and salespeople play a really important role, it gives brick-and-mortar retailers an advantage that pure-play e-commerce players can’t touch,” said Prindle.
About Blueport Commerce
Blueport Commerce helps leading furniture retailers capture their online opportunity. We marry retailers' brick-and-mortar infrastructure and expertise with our decade of online furniture experience, innovative technology and unique marketing and sales solutions. $6.3 billion in retailers choose Blueport. For some retailers, Blueport's SaaS e-commerce platform powers their branded websites, driving sales online and in their stores. For other retailers, we drive online sales through Furniture.com, our e-commerce marketplace. For many retailers, we do both. Our technology is transforming furniture retail, for the 4% of sofas that sell online and the 96% that don't. Learn more at www.blueport.com.