Blue Martini offers toast to in-store app

Blue Martini Software on Monday will announce Blue Martini Retail, an in-store customer intelligence product that gives retailers the ability to offer personalized promotions to patrons on the checkout line.

The software lets retailers have personalized interaction with their customers by enabling, for example, targeted promotions based on customer buying habits. Swiping a customer's credit card or a customer signature on an electronic payment device would set the system in motion.

"(Blue Martini Retail) gives the retailers a better perspective on how to offer (customers) promotions and product information to drive increased revenues," said Chip Overstreet, vice president of corporate marketing at Blue Martini, in San Mateo, Calif.

"We're enabling personalized customer interaction through the point-of-sale through signature capture devices," Overstreet said.

Customer buying habit data would be noted in an accompanying piece of software, the Blue Martini Customer Engine.

How consumers respond to technologies that gauge their buying behavior remains to be seen, said Jeff Roster, senior analyst for retail at Gartner Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif.

"Will they see that as a plus or minus, I don't know the answer," Roster said. "I suspect how retailers will use that will be in a way that consumers are going to embrace. I think most customers want to feel special and want to be rewarded for selecting and working with the retailer."

Other new Blue Martini applications being unveiled Monday as part of the Retail announcement include Realtime Offer Delivery, for delivering offers; Market Research, for surveying customer buyer patterns; Clienteling, enabling sales associates to query a customer base or communicate information about upcoming sales; and Inventory Locator, for surveying inventory of other affiliated stores or warehouses.

Previously available Blue Martini applications, such as Gift Registry and E-commerce, are being enhanced to boost information integration.

Each Blue Martini application starts in price at about $200,000. New applications are available as of Monday.

Blue Martini this quarter also plans to extend support of its technologies to IBM technologies such as the WebSphere Web application server, AIX operating system and DB2 database. Blue Martini currently supports BEA's WebLogic Web server.

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