Avexxis Revamps Multichannel Retail Suite

The multichannel software company is focusing on e-commerce and infrastructure flexibility with new products and services.

Avexxis, which offers technology and services aimed at multichannel retailers, is releasing a new suite of offerings designed to broaden the capabilities it offers.

Announced Feb. 11, the new suite consists of a Web store, off-the-shelf base solution, and two infrastructure options.

"The industry has evolved from direct mail to e-commerce," said Avexxis Corporation Principal John Fink. "A lot of clients are becoming Web-centric and are looking for a turnkey e-commerce package."

In response, Fink said the new Avexxis Web store solution is tightly integrated with the Avexxis Commerce Server application, which operates the company's order management and retail functions, thus extending the Commerce Server environment as a data repository and business rules processor.

The vendor has also released Avexxis Professional as a base solution for its Avexxis Enterprise package. Professional can perform functions including order entry, customer service, POS, product and inventory management; catalog, customer and list management; forecasting; purchase management; warehouse management; letters and queues; general ledger; accounts payable and accounts receivable, and report creation.

"Within each module there are quite a few tools," Fink said. "It's a revised offering as a complete suite. Avexxis Professional is a base offering that can be extended out."

In the infrastructure area, he said Avexxis is now providing the options of hosted SAAS (software as a service) and a remotely managed application called Avexxis Managed Server (AMS).

"We sensed a need for infrastructure flexibility in different clients," said Fink. "We wanted to encompass as many connectivity options as possible."

Ernie Schell, director of consulting firm Marketing Systems Analysis, said today's multichannel retailers are looking for fully integrated suites of applications that can support all sales channels.

"They want a call center application, a fully interactive e-commerce site, and a retail application," Schell said.

However, he said many direct retailers are reluctant to fully embrace SAAS or hosted solutions. "This is partly because they don't like to get involved in situations where there will be escalating fees," he said. "Despite that, they acknowledge that it is the wave of the future. Many systems that support all sales channels are set up on an SAAS infrastructure."

In addition, Schell said that only about 20 percent of the roughly 40 multichannel retail solutions on the market fully support all three sales channels.

"The e-commerce piece is often missing," he said. "Three to five years ago, many users invested money in building their own e-commerce systems or having specialty developers put together their own e-commerce applications. The sweet spot [for multichannel systems vendors] then was to develop systems that could integrate to anyone's e-commerce platform."

Schell said that today, many multichannel retailers often see buying a suite of applications that support all three channels as a way to upgrade aging e-commerce platforms.

"Vendors have not caught up," he said. "Only a minority support all three channels."

Dan Berthiaume covers retail technology for eWEEK. More retail news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.