But Shimano's regional offices will still be able to bring their own identities to the fore, thanks to a site design deal with Blue Martini Software, Inc. of California. A multi-lingual product catalogue will be available online, and - buzzwords alert - Shimano expects to get a better ROI thanks to improved CRM.

Shimano’s global websites to be designed as one

Robert Morris, director of Shimano’s www operations, said:

"Blue Martini Software understood our consumer goods business better and offered more comprehensive out-of-the box capabilities than other vendors we evaluated.

"We looked at solutions from both platform and niche vendors to solve our most pressing issues: improving consumer relationship management and service, reducing marketing costs and building a consistent world-wide product catalogue. But we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel – we wanted to deploy a solution that has matured over time and that can solve our critical issues."

Shimano required a site that could scale to support millions of customers and thousands of "channel partners".

According to Blue Martini, Shimano plans to "consolidate redundant paper-based catalogs into a single electronic repository, enforce its brand across regions and better target products to specific partners and customers. Consumers and customers will access a single, comprehensive online catalog and product documentation. Regional offices will be able to customize sites to include accessories, cross-sells and up-sells."

Shimano expects to gain substantial return-on-investment from basing its global websites on a shared infrastructure, said Blue Martini.

The software company has produced website solutions for Carrefour, Debenhams, DuPont, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Saks Fifth Avenue and Harley Davidson.

Blue Martini Software provides of "intelligent selling systems" with "decide and act" capabilities to "monitor customer behaviour, suggest optimal messages across all channels, guide transactions, and measure the effectiveness of each customer interaction."


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