SUNNYVALE, CALIF, May 29, 2002 — eGain Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EGAN) , a leading provider of eService software for the Global 2000, today announced that Crate and Barrel has chosen eGain Mail and eGain Commerce Bridge to help manage the growing number of email inquiries the company must handle as more and more of its customers choose to shop online. The two eGain solutions work in tandem to help the extremely successful home furnishings retailer provide the quality of service that has become essential for customer retention in the highly competitive online catalog business.
“Responding to e-mail promptly and accurately is critical,” said Crate and Barrel CIO Ed Rennemann. “In the Internet world, the expectation is that you provide same-day response. eGain solutions enable us to do that.”
“Crate and Barrel is synonymous with well-designed, high-quality and stylish homeware, and their service is as exceptional as their merchandise. We are delighted to have Crate and Barrel as a customer,” said eGain president Gunjan Sinha. “Historically we have been very strong in the retail segment. By working with prominent retailers such as Crate and Barrel, we are continuing to develop and evolve solutions that meet the needs of this market.”
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A phenomenally successful home furnishings retailer, Crate and Barrel’s business has grown from a single storefront in a renovated elevator factory in 1962, to an operation that now spans over 100 stores in 22 markets. Crate and Barrel posted $600 million in revenue for the year 2000. In addition to very healthy financial performance, Crate and Barrel has a brand franchise that inspires fierce loyalty in the powerful upper-middle to upper-income demographic. Having rapidly become the bridal registry and home furnishings brand of choice for baby-boomers, the company continues to serve that populous and affluent generation at its peak earnings and spending capacity, supplying their first and second homes with high-quality furnishings.
In 2000, Crate and Barrel opened the first CB2 store, dedicated to a younger and more urban demographic. Much as they built brand loyalty with the baby-boomers, Crate and Barrel is poised to become the leading home furnishings brand for a new generation. With the bridal registry market alone estimated at $8 billion, household goods and home furnishings are clearly a healthy market. According to Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte Research, home furnishings and furniture sales will grow at 6% in 2002 — edging out general retail, which he projects will grow at 4.5%.
A Demographic that Clicks
Augmenting their retail operations, Crate and Barrel ships 15 million catalogs a year, and in 1999, initiated their Internet site. In less than 3 years, Crate and Barrel’s online sales have grown rapidly, and with this growth came a sharp increase in e-mail inquires.
Crate and Barrel turned to eGain Mail to route, track and manage this traffic. eGain Commerce Bridge provides a direct links to the internal database that contains order status information, which is often required to generate the required response.
Among the numerous features provided by these two solutions, prioritization of inquiries is particularly important to Crate and Barrel. “When we set up our site, we essentially had all the e-mail coming to a single mail box, and we responded on a first-come, first-serve basis,” said Rennemann. “There was no way for us to tell whether someone was worried about a gift for a wedding that was happening tomorrow or just curious about a product. Also, what we had was essentially a manual system – and manual systems don’t scale well.”
Now, the majority of inquiries are automatically classified into categories such as order status inquiries, product information requests, web site complaints and so on, based on keywords that appear in the subject line or message text. The system not only prioritizes inquiries; it also generates responses that representatives can accept, reject or modify as appropriate. There is no need, for example, for a representative to log onto a separate database to determine order status.
The system also handles load balancing, which will become increasingly important as the volume of inquiries continues to grow, which is likely.
The online catalog business has burgeoned in the last few years, led by successful catalog companies who have taken their established brand names to the web, and supported their online offerings with strong existing physical infrastructure. As Jupiter Media Metrix senior analyst Ken Casser puts it, “Catalogers have hit the cover off the ball” in their move to online marketing. J. Crew, for example, now sells more through its online channel than through its traditional catalog channel.
Catalog sales in general are growing at twice the rate of overall retail growth, according to the Direct Marketing Association, with online activity accounting for roughly 13% of those sales.
Crate and Barrel (www.crateandbarrel.com) was founded in 1962, and is now a leader in America’s home furnishings industry. In 1973 the company entered the catalog business and in 1999 its Internet site was launched. The company mails 15 million catalogs per year, with one-third of the merchandise offered exclusive to Crate and Barrel.
eGain (Nasdaq: EGAN) is a leading provider of eService software. Selected by 24 of the 50 largest global companies to improve phone and Web-based customer service, eGain solutions increase service efficiency and customer retention – thus delivering a significant return on investment (ROI). eGain eService Enterprise – the company’s integrated software suite – includes applications for email management, Web collaboration and self-service, and enterprise-wide knowledge management. eGain has an operating presence in 18 countries and serves more than 800 enterprise customers worldwide – including Vodafone, DaimlerChrysler, and ABN AMRO Bank. To learn more about eGain, please visit www.eGain.com or call the company’s offices – United States: (888) 603-4246; London: +44 (0) 1753 464646; or Sydney: +612 9492 5400.
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: All statements in this release that involve eGain’s plans, forecasts, beliefs, projections, expectations, strategies and intentions are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements, which are based on information available to eGain at the time of this release, are not guarantees of future results; rather, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in this release. These risks include, but are not limited to, the challenging economic environment; the uncertainty of demand for eGain products; the anticipated customer benefits from eGain products; increased competition and technological changes in the markets in which eGain competes; eGain’s ability to manage its expenditures; and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s annual report on Form 10-K filed on September 28, 2001, and the company’s quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. eGain assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.Media contact:
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Crate and Barrel