from the March 2012 issue

Retail software solutions company opens U.S. headquarters in Teaneck

An Israeli technology company that creates virtual sales clerks to help guide shoppers around e-commerce web sites has established its North American headquarters in Teaneck.

Celebros Inc. was founded in Israel in 2000 and used search technology originally created for the Israeli army to develop what it calls "intelligent, concept-based search for on-line shops." The company, according to Chief Executive Officer Ofer Alt, actually has a broader mission, which is combining a group of "conversion technologies" that convert on-line browsers into buyers.

For e-commerce sites, the typical conversion rate is 1 percent, meaning that out of 100 people who go to the site, only one person actually buys something, said Alt, during a visit to the Teaneck office last week. "What customers find when they go to web sites are empty shops, without a salesperson," he said. Alt said the Celebros technology tries to give the web sites the equivalent of a knowledgeable sales clerk who can find specific items and recommend similar products.

Celebros has created search-related software for more than 400 retail web sites worldwide, including jewelry retailer, cosmetics giant and, which sells products geared to airplane passengers. The company only works with web sites that do $2 million or more in annual sales.

The Celebros search technology, Alt said, allows Web shoppers to pose questions in "human terminology" - just the way someone would ask a question face to face with a sales clerk. To demonstrate, he went to the web site and typed in "I want a pink diamond ring under $500." The web site, in response, displayed a pink diamond ring for $495. Alter pointed out that the site was able to pull up the correct page even though the words "under $500" did not appear anywhere on the page, or the words "I want a pink diamond ring."

"Our technology is a bridge between human terminology and the data that is on the web site's database," said Jeffrey Tower, manager of the Teaneck office.

Alt and Tower said that while other software companies provide search engine tools for retailers, Celebros tries to set itself apart by providing a package of tools that help improve conversion rates, including intelligent search, auto completion technology (the site guesses the words as they are being typed in and offers a drop down menu), product recommendations and analytics that tell the e-retailer how many people visit the site, what percentage of them made a purchase, and at what points people left the site without buying.

Tower said the company has helped clients increase their conversion rates to 8 percent or more with Celebros technology.

The privately held company does not reveal financial information. Alt said the company has revenue of less than $50 million annually. Most clients pay a flat monthly fee for software services. Alt said that fee varies based on the project, but typically is a couple of thousand dollars per month.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report March 2012

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