NEW YORK Online Retail Partners, Inc. reports that it has changed its name to Accordia. The change reflects a strategic shift in the companys business model from equity-based e-commerce partnerships with brick and mortar retailers to fee-based applied commerce consulting and technology services for companies across
multiple industries and points along the supply chain.
Accordia will continue to focus on accelerating successful commerce solutions for retailers, while serving new customers in manufacturing, cataloging and distribution segments the company believes are primed for growth as multi-channel players. In addition to technology and e-business services, Accordia is focused on providing cost-effective ASP solutions.
According to Charles Philippin, CEO of Accordia, the companys products and services satisfies the demand for commerce solutions across all channels. For a time, many companies considered an Internet site something to spin off into a separate stand-alone business. With the shifting focus from e-commerce to total commerce, our clients have recognized the Internets value in building brand presence and increasing profitability. Our clients arent startups looking for IPOs, but businesses that see the Internet as a must-have sales channel and critical customer service tool.
Our mission is straightforward, continued Philippin. We help clients quickly develop a compelling online presence in translating their brand on the Web, while lowering the cost of their commerce operations and increasing their online revenue. Accordia aligns customers needs with solutions technology, e-business services, and operational know-how that enables them to profitably integrate the Internet with traditional business operations.
Accordia has launched an ambitious sales and marketing effort to drive business in its target industries. The company recently opened sales offices in Atlanta and Chicago. Spearheading the sales efforts is Linwood Register, who joined late last Fall. Mr. Register had previously directed sales and technical support for General Electrics $1 billion Information Services unit, and played an integral role in branding GE Information Services as a leader in procurement and supply-chain logistics.
Accordia delivers high value commerce technology at a low cost of entry for companies. Accordias multi-tiered commerce strategy includes full-service strategy and technology consulting, ASP solutions and comprehensive e-business services to support and enhance commerce operations.
Accordia has scaled its portfolio of solutions to encompass application hosting and management; strategic services (brand strategy, brand integration, technology assessment, and Web site design and development); technology development and implementation (Java/J2EE programming, systems integration, software support, Web site production); and e-business services (customer service, logistics, fulfillment, management analytics and direct marketing).
Accordias ASP Rapid is a complete commerce solution including a fully featured Web site, scalable hosting and 24x7 maintenance. Offered in conjunction with Accordias technology partners, the ASP Rapid solution brings significant cost savings and predictability to Web site development and maintenance costs.
Accordias affordable ASP Rapid is fully-integrated, allowing fast time to market and easy interface with backend applications, said Justin Ryan, VP and General Manager of ASP Solutions. Our ASP service includes site creation, a full set of features and functionality, front-end software, pre-integrated middleware, fully scalable and redundant infrastructure, 24x7 hosting, and guaranteed uptime. Accordias unique solution is the result of our collective experience and operational know-how to provide a user-friendly, high-return technology platform, currently used by hundreds of retail Web sites.
Accordia has just brought its brand-building and technology expertise to the launch of ULTA.com, the e-commerce platform the company built and now manages for ULTA Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance, Inc., a Chicago-based salon and cosmetics chain with 89 stores in 12 markets. As the Web sites ASP, Accordia hosts and manages the ULTA.com platform, from Web site design to editorial content and back-end operations, including customer service and distribution.
Accordia also coordinated the ULTA.com branding strategy, which included developing ULTA.coms online magazine, U, and helped shape ULTA.coms marketing campaign, including broad outreach to the 2.5 million members of the ULTA Beauty Club. The site, launching this month, is the most comprehensive online beauty salon, offering 10,000 products and more than 420 brands, twice that of its closest competitors.
Accordia enabled us to give our online store the same level of quality, selection and personalized care that customers enjoy when they walk into an ULTA store, said Terry Hanson, CEO of ULTA.com, who founded the ULTA chain in 1991. They translated what makes the ULTA brand stand out for our customers, from the personalized feel of the site to the efficiency of the purchasing process. We are confident that the integration of ULTA.com into our business model is a tremendous opportunity to build name recognition and customer base through this multi-channel strategy.
Accordia specializes in strengthening brand integrity across channels. According to Jim Overend, VP of Accordias brand strategy group, businesses must understand how to deliver on customers brand expectations to successfully create a multi-channel strategy. Companies sell products, but consumers buy brands, explains Overend. The brand is a companys strongest asset. If they can harness brand power and deliver it consistently across the channel, they will send the right message to customers. It has real value in terms of raising their perceptions and loyalty.
Overend says that many companies are still learning to deliver the brand experience consistently regardless of the channel. At this point, many companies still operate their Website as if it were a completely separate operation, often offering inconsistent levels of products or services. Overend stresses that channels are interdependent, and send a strong message to customers. The customer has expectations that must be met. Even though you are working in multi-channels you only have one brand.
To develop site architecture and content that is based on a consumer perspective, Accordia goes directly to the consumer collecting valuable data about the way they shop. Our strategy is to duplicate the way that people look for items in an actual store, Overend explains.
Channel integration is also gaining ground in the catalog industry, with more catalogers integrating an Internet strategy. The Direct Marketing Association, in its State of the Catalog Industry Report, forecasts a convergence of the catalog and the Internet, the first encompassing the value of direct marketing and the second representing the assets gained through technology.