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eWEEK News
Keeping e-carts moving
Startup eBSure prepares to roll out site usage measurement suite
By Dennis Callaghan, eWEEK
May 15, 2000 11:19 AM ET

As e-commerce sites continue to spend millions of dollars to attract visitors to their Web storefronts, it's becoming increasingly important to find ways to get them to buy something once they're there.

"All dot-coms are looking for ways to improve a statistic called shopping cart abandonment," said Laurie Windham, CEO of Cognitiative, a San Francisco-based e-commerce researcher. That's when, Windham explained, a would-be customer puts items into an online shopping cart but exits a site before completing the transaction with a credit card.

At least one company, Dallas-based startup eBSure Inc., said it has a solution in its eBSure suite, a beta version of which the company unveiled at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas last week.

The suite comprises three applications: eBWatch, the flagship product; eBTracker, which quantifies transaction think time and wait time; and eBRobot, which conducts regular dummy transactions at a site to monitor transaction time and site availability.

When installed on a Web server, eBWatch captures and consolidates user information by sessions, transactions and pages visited. It measures how much time a transaction takes and the reason for any excessive delay, and it reports a user's experiences leading up to transaction abandonment.

"It doesn't just take a synthetic sample of the site's performance; it reports what the actual end user is experiencing," said Kurt Ziegler, CEO of eBSure.

Michael Drapkin, principal of Drapkin Technology Corp., in Monsey, N.Y., and chairman of the Advanced Information Technology Management Program at Columbia University, said eBWatch goes beyond current site traffic analysis applications on the market, including Accrue Software Inc.'s Accrue Insight and Personify Inc.'s Personify Essentials.

"Most products deliver information on traffic analysis—they create a specialized data warehouse, really—and an analyst goes and trolls through that information," Drapkin said. "eBSure provides a little more context and analysis to help you figure out what's going on on your site."

The Sky's the Limit's, a small site catering to hot-air ballooning enthusiasts, is an alpha user of the eBSure suite. The site sells hot-air ballooning equipment, such as weather stations, altimeter watches and compasses, from its Pilot Shop, filling about 100 orders a month. Jim Whitesell, owner and Web master, said eBWatch has been particularly helpful in monitoring how visitors navigate the site.

"We changed our front page to make it load faster because we noticed a lot of people were leaving without going beyond it," said Whitesell, in Shady Shores, Texas. "From what I've seen so far, I'm excited about it. Even the interface is clean and easy to use for a product in such an early stage. We're looking forward to getting into the beta program next week."

eBWatch is available as a stand-alone product, priced according to platform: $3,000 for the Linux version; $10,000 for the Windows NT server version, which is using; and $30,000 for the Unix version. The Java-based application supports all relational databases, including Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server.

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