Greater visibility in the forecast

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One of the biggest challenges in multichannel retail is accessing data across channels. From the consumer's perspective, this could mean talking to a customer service agent who is not aware of an order placed online. For the merchant, accurately matching sales to the channel of origin can be an exercise in futility.

Borders Group Inc. has contracted with several leading technology vendors for the new multichannel platform it is launching next year and greater visibility is exactly what these companies are forecasting.

Sterling Commerce, Columbus, OH, will provide order management and fulfillment for Borders' Web site. Some of the ways in which Sterling's software can be configured include allowing customers to buy online and pick up or return in the store or to go to a store, find what they are looking for in the inventory at another store and order that item to be delivered to their home.

The analytics side of the equation will be provided by Omniture Inc., Orem, UT, which gives merchants the ability to tie together specific offline events.

Armonk, NY-based IBM's Sales Center for WebSphere Commerce supports with its customer service application. Sales Center is a customizable cross-channel solution that enables contact center agents to work with multiple stores, orders and customers simultaneously, view cross-sell and promotional information, find and compare products, and view product availability as well as view or take control of the customer cart.

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