Patent Issued for Techniques for Processing Customer Service Transactions at Customer Site Using Mobile Computing DeviceIpVenture, Inc.NewsRx.com
By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A patent by the inventors Kantarjiev, Christopher (Palo Alto, CA); Unni, Shankar (Campbell, CA); Borders, Louis H. (Palo Alto, CA), filed on September 6, 2010, was cleared and issued on December 4, 2012, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.
Patent number 8326708 is assigned to IpVenture, Inc. (Los Altos, CA).
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to the field of electronic commerce. In particular, the present invention relates to a technique for delivering and modifying customer orders for consumer products using a data network.
"Companies have been delivering goods to customer homes for years using many different kinds of delivery systems. Examples run from mail order catalog shopping to on-line ordering and delivery services such as those provided by Amazon.com and Peapod.com. Indeed, the demand for home shopping and home delivery is increasing. However, many of the conventional systems which provide home shopping and home delivery services have significant limitations that prevent their adoption on a large scale basis.
"Using conventional techniques, an on-line product purchasing transaction will typically include the following steps. First, the customer selects one or more products to be purchased. Once the customer has finished selecting the desired product(s), the customer may then proceed to a check-out or order confirmation page. During the check-out or order confirmation process, the customer provides the necessary information for completing the transaction purchase, such as, for example, the customer's name, credit card number, shipping address, etc. Before the order is confirmed by the on-line retailer, (e.g., Amazon.com), the billing and financial information is verified and processed. For example, if a credit card is used by the customer to purchase selected on-line products, a credit card transaction for the total amount of the purchase will be authorized before the purchase order is confirmed and fulfilled by the merchant. Once the payment transaction has been authorized, the on-line merchant typically fulfills the order by obtaining the purchased products, and shipping the purchased products the customer's shipping address using a common carrier (e.g. third-party courier) such as, for example, UPS, USPS, Federal Express, etc. The customer's credit card is typically billed at the time of shipment.
"Although conventional on-line product purchasing techniques provide the convenience of allowing a customer to purchase and receive a desired product without having to venture outside his or her home, these techniques suffer from a number of disadvantages. For example, many on-line merchants provide adequate customer service relating to on-line product purchases, but typically provide inadequate customer service for handling returns or customer complaints. Further, once the customer's order has been processed, a customer typically does not have the ability to change, alter, or cancel the order. Rather, the customer must typically wait until he or she receives the originally ordered goods, and then must make a subsequent request to the on-line merchant for returning or modifying at least a part of the order. This latter request is typically handled as a separate transaction on the merchant's side, and may involve lengthy delays. Additionally, if the customer wishes to return one or more products, the customer is typically required by the merchant to first obtain a return authorization number (after first submitting a return request), and typically is responsible for paying shipping costs for shipping the returned products back to the merchant.
"The following example may help to illustrate some of the potential problems which a customer may encounter when purchasing products via on-line retailers or merchants. First, let us assume that a customer has selected two books for purchase using an on-line merchant, such as, for example, Amazon.com. When the customer proceeds to the check-out page, the customer authorizes a total amount (i.e., for the books, tax, and shipping) to be billed to his or her credit card. Once the credit card authorization for the total amount has been received, the merchant fulfills the order and forwards the order to a common carrier for shipment. The customer's credit account will be billed at this time for the total amount specified above.
"After the order has been fulfilled by the merchant, the customer is typically unable to modify or cancel the order. Thus, for example, if the customer subsequently wishes to cancel one of the ordered books after the merchant has fulfilled the order, the customer must first wait to receive the book, and then submit a separate request to the on-line merchant for returning the book. It is worth noting that since the purchased items are typically shipped using an independent courier service or common carrier such as UPS, Federal Express, or the U.S. postal service, there is no mechanism in place whereby the customer is able to return the undesired product (e.g., book) back to the delivery courier for an immediate refund. Rather, as is typically the case, the customer must first obtain a return authorization number from the merchant, re-package the unwanted product, and ship the unwanted product back to the merchant. Typically, the customer is required to pay for shipping charges for returning a product, even if the product was received in a defective condition.
"Once the returned product is received by the merchant, it is typically processed within four to six weeks, meaning that a credit for the returned product may not be issued to the customer until four weeks after the product has been received by the merchant. In the example above, a credit, when issued, may appear as a refund or a credit on the customer's credit card account.
"An additional problem with conventional on-line purchasing transactions relates to merchandise availability. For example, when a merchant receives a request for a product return, the merchant is not able to include the returned product as part of the merchant's current inventory until the returned product is physically received at the merchant's site and the return processed, which may take up to 4 to 6 weeks. Moreover, until the returned order is processed, the returned merchandise will typically not be included as part of the inventory made available for customer purchase. This results in an inefficient allocation of resources.
"In light of the above, there exists a continual need to improve upon electronic commerce and on-line purchasing and delivery techniques."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to the several embodiments of the present invention, techniques are described for facilitating delivery and adjustment of customer orders at one or more customer delivery sites. According to one embodiment, a delivery courier is assigned a mobile field computing device for facilitating delivery and order adjustments of customer orders associated with that courier's delivery route. The mobile field computing device can include memory for storing customer order history data and delivery route data downloaded from a server system. The delivery route data stored in the mobile field computing device may be used by the delivery courier to facilitate delivery of the customer orders. Further, the delivery courier may use the mobile field computing device to process a variety of different order adjustment transactions at a customer delivery site.
"Additional objects, features and advantages of the various aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of its preferred embodiments, which description should be taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Kantarjiev, Christopher; Unni, Shankar; Borders, Louis H.. Techniques for Processing Customer Service Transactions at Customer Site Using Mobile Computing Device. U.S. Patent Number 8326708, filed September 6, 2010, and issued December 4, 2012. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=24&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1177&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20121204.PD.&OS=ISD/20121204&RS=ISD/20121204
Keywords for this news article include: IpVenture Inc.
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