This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Occasionally, novel products are introduced into the marketplace with their demand far exceeding their supply. Take, for example, Apple's iPad and iPad2. These items were launched to crowds of consumers waiting outside stores for hours to purchase a limited supply of products. While the seller (i.e. manufacturer, retailer, etc.) may be overjoyed at the demand, such a situation does not create a good customer experience. Purchasers may stand in line for hours only to be told when they reach the counter that there are no products left for them. Anger flares when some consumers purchase multiple quantities for resale on internet auction sites or in foreign countries where the items are not available via legitimate markets, and leave those waiting in line behind them with nothing.
"An ecommerce solution solves some of these problems. Rather than wait in line for hours with uncertain results, consumers may access an online store to purchase the item. The purchaser could even preorder the item in order to receive it when it hits the market. However, business, technical and functional challenges still exist, especially if the ecommerce system is not prepared to handle unusually high demand.
"Consider the problems encountered by online retailer eToys in 1999. eToys experienced an unanticipated high volume of demand for their products during the Christmas season. Items that were out of stock were listed as available and orders were late or not delivered at all. Information systems and their use by customer service representatives were inadequate for providing customers with information about their orders, including product tracking and delivery. All of these issues made order fulfillment extremely expensive for eToys, their stock value plunged and they went bankrupt. While eToys was eventually able to recover, the hard lesson was that information systems and have to be up to the task at hand.
"Further, limited supply means that even items offered for purchase online must be allocated to purchasers in some manner. Catalogs and inventories must be maintained. Although purchasers are not physically standing in line, they are in a real, electronic queue. An electronic queue may be even more congested because of the centralized nature of ecommerce purchasing. This may result in connectivity or communication problems if the system is not sufficiently robust. Limits may be placed on the quantity purchased, so the purchaser must not lose his place in queue or risks losing the item. The purchaser may be left not knowing whether or not he has been allocated a product from the limited supply. Finally, once stock is depleted, the seller may lose any information on the potential purchaser, who may or may not be willing to come back when more stock is available.
"A typical ecommerce system uses web servers to capture customer purchase information from web forms using web services. Upon receiving the order information, the web server constructs and transmits a message containing this information to an application server where the order is processed. When high volumes of orders are expected, the messages must be processed asynchronously, therefore, the transmittal process involves sending an asynchronous message to the application server. The application server contains the logic used to process the order, and services that write the order records to a database either on the application server or on a separate database server. When the order has been processed the application can then initiate communication with the purchaser via email notification of the order number, price, shipping information, and more.
"While this process takes care of the normal course of placing an order, it still leaves the purchaser without an immediate expectation of whether he has been allocated some of the limited available inventory, and the ecommerce provider with information about a potential purchaser."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present disclosure relates to the e-commerce capture of a high volume of orders in a short period of time. This may include orders that have limited or sufficient inventory. The system and method disclosed offers the ability to include the full commerce suite of products, combined with an excellent user experience, product definition and merchandising, and backend processing functions. In some cases, a storefront may be throttled for shoppers based on the number of existing connections. During a sale customers will receive an automatically refreshing static page that is displayed when no more connections are determined to be available. This experience is generally unacceptable to the merchant due to many factors such as the limited nature of the products for sale and the customer's desire to swiftly complete an order. A company may want to improve the user experience for sale transactions by increasing order throughput and decreasing the need to rely on a throttling service. The techniques described herein may be used to improve the user experience for sale transactions.
"According to one example of the disclosure, a method for processing orders for a product of limited supply comprises providing a respective order capture page to each of the plurality of customers; receiving, at respective local servers, order information from each of the plurality of customers; compiling received order information from each of the respective local servers to generate an order list; and processing the generated order list.
"According to another example of the disclosure, a device for processing orders for a product of limited supply comprising one or more processors configured to provide a respective order capture page to each of the plurality of customers, receive order information from each of the plurality of customers, compile received order information from each of the respective local servers to generate an order list, and process the generated order list.
"According to another example of the disclosure a non-transitory computer readable storage medium has instructions stored thereon that upon execution cause one or more processors of a device to provide a respective order capture page to each of the plurality of customers, receive order information from each of the plurality of customers, compile received order information from each of the respective local servers to generate an order list, and process the generated order list.
"According to another example of the disclosure an apparatus for processing orders for a product of limited supply comprises means for providing a respective order capture page to each of the plurality of customers, means for receiving, at respective local servers, order information from each of the plurality of customers, means for compiling received order information from each of the respective local servers to generate an order list, and means for processing the generated order list.
"The details of one or more examples are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary high volume order capture system for purchasing products online in accordance with the techniques described herein
"FIG. 2 further illustrates exemplary components and process flow of a high volume order management system that may implement one or more techniques of this disclosure
"FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary pod, or order capture server system that may implement one or more techniques of this disclosure
"FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary screen for displaying an 'age gate' which requires the user to enter their date of birth before proceeding that may be implemented in accordance with the techniques described herein
"FIG. 5 illustrates the order capture and order processing processes that may be implemented in accordance with the techniques described herein
"FIG. 6 illustrates a chain of command for business rules applied to order processing in accordance with techniques described herein.
"FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary set of order processing states in accordance with the techniques described herein."
URL and more information on this patent application, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and
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