October 5, 2004, 12:00 AM

How outsourcing helps Wilsons cut costs with more effective web site

When Wilsons Leather realized its old web site lacked the pizazz to attract and keep customers, it decided to outsource its e-commerce platform. Now it serves customers with the latest online features at a fraction of the former operating cost, it says.

When Wilsons Leather realized after the holidays last year that its old web site lacked the pizazz to attract and keep customers, it decided to outsource its e-commerce platform. Now it serves customers with the latest online features at a fraction of the former operating cost and with an internal e-commerce staff of one instead of 8, Linda Angelacci, vice president of marketing, tells Internet Retailer.

"Our old platform was limited and didn’t allow us to stay current with what most online retailers have, like coupons and special offers, and being able to award customers when they reach a certain threshold of purchases," Angelacci says. "It was a very basic offering."

Like many multi-channel retailers, Wilsons also had an IT staff that was mostly dedicated to its stores. So earlier this year it retained GSI Commerce to operate its e-commerce platform and went live with its new site in August. GSI provides the e-commerce platform and fulfillment and works with other partners on features such as site search. "So we have one point of contact, as opposed to dealing with several companies as we did before," Angelacci says.

She adds that Wilsons was initially concerned about losing control over its brand through an outsourcing arrangement, but that GSI has maintained brand integrity while leaving Wilsons with control over merchandising.

 

 

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