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EasyAsk: Steve Arnold’s Exclusive Interview with Craig Bassin

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Simplified Online Search Experience Drives Sales, Says Aberdeen Group

Study Touts Specialized Search Software As Key Factor To Attract Repeat Business

Software programs such as those offered by EasyAsk, a leading e-commerce search and merchandising software company with offices in Massachusetts, Northern California and New Jersey, not only simplify shopping and internal analysis, they drive sales and encourage loyalty according to Aberdeen Group in a report released today.

The report emphasizes that the impetus for a more personalized search experience comes from the desire to rapidly respond to customer affinities, and the enhanced customer experience that results.

“The report essentially captures our value proposition,” said EasyAsk CEO Craig Bassin. “We’re in the business of creating the best online search experience for end users and helping our clients drive revenue. According to Aberdeen, that is a win-win for the industry and their customers.”

Aberdeen cited three characteristics as key factors towards determining what makes online retailers “Best-in-Class” companies:

  • Increased year-over-year order value of 20 per cent, compared to eight per cent for average companies
  • Net profit margin of 15 per cent, about three times industry average
  • Average online conversion rate of six percent, compared to a four per cent industry average

“Best-in-Class e-commerce retailers are turning to advanced online search for increased marketing and merchandising accuracy so that customers are able to locate the right product, at the right place and time,” said Greg Belkin, a senior research fellow at Aberdeen. “In the highly competitive online retail market space, organizations know that consumers have high expectations when it comes to the time they invest in online product research.”

Research is nice, but real-life results matter most, and that is where EasyAsk has delivered for its customers. Its natural language site search and merchandising software connects customer requests with online inventory to generate sales.

Coldwater Creek, which offers women’s apparel, jewelry, gifts and home merchandise online, leverages EasyAsk’s ability to improve their customers’ shopping experience. This reinforces their philosophy of providing superior customer service in every selling channel. Their long-standing relationship with EasyAsk is part of why the company has been so successful.

“Online retailers are under constant pressure to build customer loyalty while at the same time reducing support costs,” Bassin said. “Our job is to simplify that process for our clients and make sure their customers have easy and immediate access to what they want when they want it.”

TruValue Hardware is another company that has entrusted its customers’ online shopping experience to EasyAsk. Because of EasyAsk’s superior linguistic processing and filtering capabilities, TruValue has eliminated null searches due to misspellings in queries or source databases. With EasyAsk, TruValue members offer real-time insight into product delivery, product backgrounds and, as needed, appropriate alternatives that meet customer needs.

“We are committed to providing the highest level of service to our members and their customers,” said TruValue Director of E-Business Eric Lane. “Our order processing is a key point of contact with our customers and, as such, an important component of our service commitment.”

According to Aberdeen, successful online retailers must address customer ease-of-use challenges and coordinate search and merchandising strategies to encourage cross-selling and increase up-selling opportunities. “With EasyAsk, those are fundamental steps that are easy to achieve. We take the merchandising out of the hands of IT and place it where it belongs – with the merchandisers. It’s intuitive, interactive and immediate. We don’t call it EasyAsk for nothing!” Bassin noted. This has dramatic impact in the SMB and SaaS market, as smaller online retail companies can very quickly launch EasyAsk without the need for an in-house IT organization.

EasyAsk was a sponsor of the research report, but Aberdeen says it had no substantive input into the report’s content or findings.

A complimentary online copy of the Aberdeen report is available at http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?spid=30411938&cid=6368

About EasyAsk
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search and query software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results on demand. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising. EasyAsk Business Edition revolutionizes enterprise decision-making, moving beyond traditional business intelligence solutions with easy, low-cost deployment and a unique natural language interface that extends access to information anywhere in the organization.

Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as Gap, Coldwater Creek, Hewlett Packard, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, BASF, Talbots, Nedbank, BNP Paribas, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and e-commerce operations daily. For more information, please visit EasyAsk

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Immediately Download Preparing For the Holiday Shopping Season: Five Ways to Increase E-Commerce Conversions & Grow Revenue


Learn Five Ways to Increase Conversions & Grow Revenue
Learn Five Ways to Increase Conversions & Grow Revenue

With online retail spending up 10% this year, and the holiday shopping season just around the corner, it’s time to make sure your website is ready to increase conversions and grow revenue.

Fill out the form to the right to download our white paper: Learn Five Ways to Icnrease Conversions and Grow Revenue. In this white paper you’ll learn:

  • How to develop an e-commerce experience that keeps shoppers coming back for more
  • How natural language search speeds conversions
  • How to sell your merchandise, even if it’s not exactly what your customer is looking for
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Natural Language Search Tools Make EasyAsk An Easy Sell

Simplified Customer Experience Leads To Soaring Profits For Online Retailers

Anyone who has ever put the word “pumps” into a retail search engine expecting to find a tool to help them put air in a tire or a basketball but instead was forced to deal with an array of women’s shoes will understand the value proposition put forth by EasyAsk, a software company based in Burlington MA.

“What we do, quite simply, is equip search engines to communicate like adults instead of like a literal-minded toddler,” said EasyAsk CEO Craig Bassin. “Our proprietary software is the link between the human intelligence typing in the query and the back-end computer intelligence providing the response. Our customers tell us that this has profound impact on their ability to deliver what their customers want the very first time.”

An example of EasyAsk’s new SMB strategy, Schuler Shoes of Minneapolis is one company that reaped immediate rewards after installing EasyAsk software. According to Director of Ecommerce Mike Schuler, his company experienced a 28 percent increase in online revenue after installing EasyAsk.

“There was a 60 percent increase in the number of products purchased and a 34 percent increase in the number of transactions,” he said. “You can’t argue with that.” EasyAsk enables Schuler Shoes’ online customers to search for shoes as if they were speaking to a salesman in their brick and mortar shop. If you were looking for “men’s running shoes in size 10,” that’s exactly what you’d tell the sales man and it’s also exactly what you’d type in the search box.

Schuler also said that back-to-school sales this year with EasyAsk eclipsed 2009 holiday season sales before EasyAsk. For retailers, that is like adding a second Christmas to the calendar. Lillian Vernon, Lands End, Gap, and TrueValue Hardware are some of the retailers that attribute part of their growth to EasyAsk software.

Bassin says that EasyAsk also helps businesses analyze their performance by simplifying the process between what an employee is attempting to research and the response from the data system. “We convert business questions into back-end queries, retrieve the data, and return the results to the user. No technical skills or training are required on the part of the end user,” he said.

Companies like Siemens and Hartford Hospital are among those that have simplified the work day for their internal business analysts. “The payback on a system such as EasyAsk is clear and present,” said Jack Alberti, Director if IT Special Projects at Hartford Hospital. “Our end users in clinical and non-clinical areas don’t have to wait for critical information. And in our industry, secure access to the right information at the right time can mean a world of difference.”

Siemens Product Manager Monica Sharp sees EasyAsk’s value proposition in a more technical light. “Natural language is full of complexities, nuances and exceptions, and EasyAsk is able to handle all of these challenges, producing intelligent results with ease, accuracy and speed.”

EasyAsk opened its doors in 1994, and has grown as ecommerce and the need for deeper business analysis has grown. The privately held company has offices in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California.

“Unlike typical search engines, EasyAsk does not depend on inefficient and inaccurate text matching. Consequently, we do not return a laundry list of every document or product that contains words that were used in the search,” Bassin explained. “Instead, EasyAsk intelligently interprets a user’s question, employing advanced linguistic technologies understanding and domain expertise derived from the data source being searched. EasyAsk then generates a more precise search query that extracts a far more accurate answer.

“As a result we help our customers make more money and save more time,” he added. “We find that makes us popular with them and makes them more popular with their customers, with all that love transferring to the bottom line. And as Mike Schuler says, you can’t argue with that.”

About EasyAsk
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search and query software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results on demand. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising.

Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as Gap, Coldwater Creek, Hewlett Packard, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, BASF, Talbots, Nedbank, BNP Paribas, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and e-commerce operations daily. For more information, please visit EasyAsk.

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EasyAsk Embraces the NetSuite Cloud Platform

http://arnoldit.com/wordpress/2010/10/07/easyask-embraces-the-netsuites-cloud-platform/

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EasyAsk Integrates in the Cloud with NetSuite

http://taxodiary.com/2010/09/easyask-integrates-in-the-clouds-with-netsuite/

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EasyAsk Mobile Commerce Datasheet

With mobile commerce on the rise, e-retailers are looking for unique ways to differentiate themselves in this new market. EasyAsk voice-enabled natural language mobile search provides that differentiation, allowing customers to find products by speaking with their mobile device and interact with visitors in the new responsive designs mobile sites require.

Learn more about EasyAsk for Mobile Commerce by downloading the product datasheet.

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Case Study – TrueValue Hardware

As a retailer, when you have shoppers in your brick‐and‐mortar store, it’s imperative that the best customer service is available to them. After all, the “hot” customers are on site and could at any moment reach out for a product and buy it. The same level of service should be available in your online store. However, many need extra information before making that purchase. And if their questions aren’t answered, you stand to lose a sale and potentially a long‐term customer.  This case study shows how True Value provides this level of service to employees and customers for a win-win experience.

By implementing EasyAsk’s advanced search, navigation and merchandising solution, True Value Hardware delivered rapid improvement to the customer experience on their standard e-commerce sites and their mobile commerce sites. Customer can now easily find any product from True Value’s 65,000 SKU catalog using natural language searches.

Click the button below to download this compelling customer case study.

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EasyAsk eCommerce Mobile

http://arnoldit.com/wordpress/2010/06/18/easyask-ecommerce-mobile/

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EasyAsk introduces customizable ecommerce platform for businesses

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/easyask-introduces-customizable-ecommerce-platform-for-businesses/

Ready to see how EasyAsk's eCommerce solution can help you? Request a demo!