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E-commerce targets individuals

Demographic data and buying patterns are two ways new marketing software will target online consumers. Individual pricing is one feature.

A small startup software maker will tomorrow unveil software that lets merchants target online promotions to specific individuals based on their demographic data, buying patterns, and other criteria.

"We are focusing on the merchants' view of e-commerce," said Paul Cimino, CEO of Snickelways Interactive. "The software does the work and helps merchants easily determine how the Web can help increase profits with each sale."

MerchantView 1.0, now in beta testing and due for release by July, will be previewed at the Internet & Electronic Commerce Conference in New York this week.

Initially MerchantView will be part of Snickelways' ComForce e-commerce platform and online ordering software, but the company plans to turn its marketing system into a plug-in for IBM and Microsoft merchant server software.

"Right now the people controlling electronic commerce tend to come from technology or the MIS realm," said Cimino. "Now the computer is coming out of the back office and becoming a marketing weapon."

MerchantView takes into account four elements in a merchant's decision of how to target a Web storefront: company goals, customer preferences, customer buying and shopping history, and day-to-day market trends. MerchantView lets a Web storefront price products for specific customers, based on those factors. The system also includes an override feature so merchants can add promotions outside those parameters.

Pricing has not been set for MerchantView, but the ComForce software sells for around $30,000. The company also markets SalesCast, a push technology built into client software for use as a marketing tool in targeting businesses in manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution.