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Commerce off 3000s: Off the page

Just about the same time that e-commerce supplier Ecometry rounded up its best customers, a study surfaced that shows their future efforts will be well off the page. Printed pages, that is, according to Transcontinental Publishing. The company commissioned a survey which shows the paper investment won't be increased for firms that drive their sales with 3000-based catalog operations — companies like Old Glory, Coldwater Creek or Levenger that mail tons of paper.

A hundred such companies participated in the spring survey, and almost four of every five said increasing catalog sales was their No. 1 goal. But the survey noted that "only 35% said they would invest in increasing the frequency of mailings and only 26% said they would invest to improve catalog quality."

This would indicate that Ecometry is driving in a direction its customers will follow when it purchases companies like Blue Martini, whose technology has nothing whatsover to do with catalog commerce. Whenever you're not investing in a technology, it's no longer your leading effort. Transactions from phone and paper catalogs are leading at many e-commerce sites, but future growth is in e-commerce, according to the survey.

"Almost as important among top priorities was growing Web site revenue," the survey said, "cited by 73% of those surveyed. Two-thirds (66%) of all respondents indicated they would make a significant investment in Internet and e-commerce applications this year."

At last week's Ecometry conference, keynote analyst Robert Garf of AMR Research spoke to luncheon attendees on one of the hot topics of the conference, Next Generation E-Commerce Platforms and the key to seamless multi-channel execution. It's a safe bet that Garf has been briefed on Ecometry's product lineup.

Our own survey of migrating HP 3000 sites didn't turn up a single one that's making the jump from Ecometry on the 3000 to the HP-UX version of the e-commerce software. (The biggest group was following Amisys onto HP-UX, while the Summit Technologies credit union software held the second position.) Blue Martini's offerings are Unix-based, something that Ecometry CEO John Marrah has said he hopes will generate more Unix business for his solutions.

An article in BtoB magazine mentioned another 3000 e-commerce site, CDW. The company acquired MicroWarehouse during 2003, and its current managers say they'll continue a mix of paper catalogs, Web commerce and keyword search marketing. But here at the NewsWire we've seen a lot less CDW paper in our mailbox than MicroWarehouse ever sent us.