Service Merchandise Orders Bandwidth Improvements - InformationWeek

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Service Merchandise Orders Bandwidth Improvements

As it prepares to exit Chapter 11 reorganization, retailer ServiceMerchandise Co. is deploying new bandwidth-management software to fuel a project designed to boost sales and improve customer service by bringing fast Web access to its nationwide chain of 221 stores.

The company had decided to put multiple NCR Corp. kiosks in each of its stores to let shoppers access its Web site for additional product information, order and buy products that aren't sold in the stores, and find other outlets with the desired items.

But a trial run revealed that it took roughly 30 seconds for a Web page to appear on a kiosk. So Service Merchandise turned to Flash Networks for software unveiled last week that uses data acceleration, traffic-flow-control, and compression features to drive that time down to less than five seconds.

"We needed to implement technology that would enable innovation in our business so that no shopper wasted a store visit and left unhappy," says Danny Schunk, VP of IT for Service Merchandise, based in Brentwood, Tenn. "Thirty seconds was clearly unacceptable."

Flash Networks' NettGain Web and site-server software fit the bill because it reduces the amount of bandwidth for existing traffic, while other vendors' wares focus on traffic prioritization, says Laurent Guengant, a senior analyst with consulting firm TeleChoice. "Reducing required bandwidth means you get faster response times and can handle more transactions."

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