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REPEAT/DrugEmporium.com Selects Ask Jeeves to Enhance Customer Experience, Increase e-Commerce Conversion and Reduce Support Costs.

Business Editors, Retail Writers

REPEATING... with ticker symbol

EMERYVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 20, 2000

First Online Drugstore to Deploy Jeeves Answers and Jeeves Advisor

to Provide Customers With Relevant Answers and Personalized Advice

Ask Jeeves, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASKJ), a leading provider of real-time, personal service infrastructure on the Web, today announced that DrugEmporium.com, a subsidiary of Drug Emporium, Inc. (Nasdaq:DEMP) and a leading online drugstore, will deploy Ask Jeeves'(R) personal service suite to improve online customer interaction for e-commerce and e-support. DrugEmporium.com will use Jeeves Answers and Jeeves Advisor to offer its customers an enriched shopping experience, designed to heighten customer satisfaction and increase the conversion rate of Web browsers into buyers.

Using Ask Jeeves' services, DrugEmporium.com will make it easier for its customers to get the information they need and to find the right item among the store's more than 20,000 products. The company plans to use the combination of Jeeves Answers and Jeeves Advisor, Ask Jeeves' intuitive question answering and personalized shopping advisor services, to provide customers with a friendly and intelligent way to easily shop the online store. DrugEmporium.com and Ask Jeeves anticipate that Jeeves Answers will debut at DrugEmporium.com in April, and that Jeeves Advisor will roll out across 20 of the company's 60 product categories in May.

"At DrugEmporium.com we want to deliver the highest degree of personal online service by offering an even more helpful, interactive environment than customers would experience at their hometown drugstore," said Brad Mitchell, chief marketing officer for DrugEmporium.com. "In Ask Jeeves, we saw a real opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction and retention through a more informed, personalized shopping experience. The combination of Jeeves Answers and Jeeves Advisor gives us the opportunity to offer both relevant answers and tailored product recommendations to our customers. These services were an ideal choice in our quest to provide a superior level of customer service and satisfaction."

In addition, DrugEmporium.com intends to use Jeeves Insight, Ask Jeeves' analysis and tracking tool, to better serve its customers by analyzing frequently asked questions. DrugEmporium.com will be able to use the information garnered from these analyses to better understand its customers' needs and to enhance Web content, direct product development, and improve distribution and marketing efforts.

"The powerful combination of Jeeves Answers and Jeeves Advisor allows companies in the e-tailing and healthcare markets to provide the level of personal service necessary for a strong return on investment," said Ask Jeeves' President and CEO Rob Wrubel. "Designed to convert and retain customers, Ask Jeeves will enable DrugEmporium.com to maximize returns on its Web-based strategies through increased conversion rates, lower support costs, and greater customer loyalty. "

Jeeves Answers Offers Instant Answers For Easier Shopping

Presented with a Web site offering as many choices and services as DrugEmporium.com, customers may want a quick way to find answers to their questions. Jeeves Answers enhances the online shopping experience by enabling customers to pose a question in plain English and directing them to the relevant services and information within DrugEmporium.com's site. With Jeeves Answers, DrugEmporium.com customers will quickly find relevant information in response to questions such as "How do I get my prescription filled online?" or "When will my order be shipped?" Jeeves Answers will significantly expand DrugEmporium.com's customer service capabilities.

Jeeves Advisor Provides Customers With Tailored Product Recommendations

Jeeves Advisor is designed to serve as a virtual sales assistant by recommending products based on customers' preferences and product features. Using decision-support technology, Jeeves Advisor will give DrugEmporium.com customers immediate online product advice that responds directly to their needs. Through a question-and-answer dialogue, Jeeves Advisor will lead customers to relevant products or services by asking them questions such as "What are your cold symptoms?" or "Do you need a non-drowsy formula?" Jeeves Advisor weighs these customer preferences against product feature-sets that best meet each preference and returns relevant product recommendations, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and higher look-to-book conversion rates.

In addition, Jeeves Advisor promotes cross-sell and up-sell opportunities by offering information about additional products of interest. For example: if a customer is in search of shampoo, Jeeves Advisor will provide answers to questions about that product and additional relevant products such as hair conditioners.

About Ask Jeeves Corporate Services Group

Companies use Jeeves Search, Jeeves Answers, Jeeves Advisor, Jeeves Live and Jeeves Insight to increase sales, reduce offline support costs and improve customer loyalty. The Ask Jeeves Corporate Services Group provides customers with real-time personal services including natural-language question answering, intelligent advisor, live help technologies, popularity-based automated search, and reporting analytics.

About Ask Jeeves, Inc.

Ask Jeeves has developed and deployed an online personal service infrastructure to provide real-time access to information, products and services. Ask Jeeves provides its online personal service infrastructure through its Corporate Service Group, which develops customized services for corporate Web sites to help companies convert shoppers to buyers, reduce support costs, understand customer preferences and improve customer retention, and through its Web Properties and Syndication Group, which delivers potential customers to corporate Web sites through Ask.com, DirectHit.com and its syndication services. For more information visit http://www.ask.com or call 510/985-7400.

About DrugEmporium.com

DrugEmporium.com is a subsidiary of Drug Emporium, Inc. (NASD:DEMP). The full-service online drugstore sells prescription drugs and non-prescription medications, along with nutrition, wellness, cosmetics, and health and beauty aids. DrugEmporium.com is a licensed pharmacy in all 50 states and offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week e-mail access to pharmacists. DrugEmporium.com (www.DrugEmporium.com) is headquartered in historic German Village in Columbus, Ohio. Drug Emporium, Inc. owns and operates 137 brick-and-mortar stores under the names Drug Emporium, F&M Super Drug Stores and Vix Drug Stores. All brick-and-mortar stores operate full-service pharmacies and specialize in discount-priced merchandise including health and beauty aids, cosmetics and greeting cards. The company also franchises an additional 42 stores under the Drug Emporium name.

Note to Editors: Ask Jeeves is a registered trademark of Ask Jeeves, Inc. Ask Jeeves for Kids and Ask.com are trademarks and service marks of Ask Jeeves, Inc. Other trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 29, 2000
Words:1036
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