Shop At Home tunes in BroadVision to bolster CRM

Multi-media sales giant Shop At Home turned to CRM vendor BroadVision when it wanted to add functionality of its Web site and achieve greater call center efficiency.

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Media-based sales giant Shop At Home Inc. moves a wide array of consumer products through a variety of different channels, literally. When the ubiquitous TV and online merchandise broker wanted to add real-time functionality to its Web offerings while beefing up its CRM, the firm did a bit of shopping of its own for vendors.

Shop At Home, Nashville, Tenn., reaches an estimated 61 million households through its network of five television stations and its shopathomeTV.com Web site. The company specializes in offering viewers short term deals on collectibles, sports memorabilia, beauty products and electronics.

With a majority of Shop At Home's business coming through either its call centers or Web sites, CRM has long been a natural for the firm. The company has a three-year-old proprietary system built using software from Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, Calif. But when it came time to expand the functionality of its Web site and achieve greater efficiency handling phone calls, Shop At Home called on one-to-one software specialists BroadVision, Redwood City, Calif.

"As a TV shopping network dealing with diverse products, finding a vendor that offered a solid personalization engine and that could be one-stop shop was key," said Bob Miller, vice president of information technology with Shop At Home. "BroadVision was the only player we looked at that offered the level of tools for developers, merchandisers, content developers and marketing that we required." Shop at Home did evaluate other software providers, but declined to say which ones.

Shop At Home uses BroadVision's software to offer limited-duration specials on its Web site and to give its call center employees a single view of each customer. Currently the firm uses BroadVision's Enterprise 6.0, Business Commerce 5.5, Retail Commerce 6.0, Command Center 4.1 and Publishing Center 4.1 products. While neither company would discuss how much Shop At Home has spent to build this portion of its CRM architecture, BroadVision said it begins pricing for the applications at roughly $100,000 for smaller, portal-based deployments and said its average product sales price is around $350,000.

Shop At Home does not have hard ROI numbers to share, but the firm said since it first implemented BroadVision tools in 1999 it has seen the volume of its orders grow at an average rate of 25% per year without being forced to hire additional staff.

Wayne Lambert, chief information officer and executive vice president for Shop At Home, called Broadvision's dynamic control center, the application that lets business managers control the hierarchy of content on the site, "the strongest thing" about the offering. "This gives us the ability to let merchandisers and content developers have a ton of control and make changes in real-time without stringing code. Also critical is the ability to integrate easily into our other systems. The integration with our existing Oracle products was painless."

Going forward, Lambert said that Shop At Home plans to utilize BroadVision technology to add greater personalization to its Web site and tie-in customer order history to all of its transactions.

According to BroadVision, Shop At Home's ability to understand the fundamentals of CRM from the outset helped it succeed with enterprise applications right away.

"They were the first BroadVision 6.0 customer and they have a unique ability to understand what software can do for a company," said Ken Sidney, managing principal of client services at BroadVision. "In our conversations the main theme has always been how to get to where the return on investment comes from, and how to maximize the total cost of ownership. They look at CRM in terms of real ROI. And they run it like a business."

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