March 21, 2005, 12:00 AM

It’s software; it’s an ASP: new e-commerce platform combines both models

Demandware’s on-demand e-commerce platform blends the benefits of an installed e-commerce suite with the efficiency of hosted on-demand service. Clawfootcollection.com estimates the pay-as-you-go pricing will save it “a small fortune.”

Allan Dick doesn’t want to have to be an IT whiz to operate Clawfootcollection.com – he just wants to be able to sell vintage-style clawfoot bathtubs online as profitably and with as little difficulty as possible. That’s why, in deciding late last year to re-tool the site, the general manager of the site’s parent company, Vintage Tub & Bath, went with a start-up that offered something different: an e-commerce platform that provides service capacity on-demand -- with pricing to match.

The Demandware e-Commerce platform from Demandware Inc. is a departure from other e-commerce solutions currently available to marketers as installed software or as ASPs. The company calls it “a complete on-demand e-commerce platform that combines the flexibility, functionality and interoperability of a full e-commerce suite with the operating efficiency of a hosted on-demand service. The platform`s “software as service” offers marketers the ability to choose the features of the e-commerce platform offering they want to use, customize and integrate them with other systems, and pay as they go with no initial capital investment, according to the company.

Woburn, Mass.-based Demandware says its on-demand services platform is a solution for marketers that need to build, relaunch, or adapt e-commerce sites quickly without an initial capital outlay. That was the situation at Clawfootcollection.com, a secondary site of Vintage Tub & Bath, which is the country’s largest privately owned provider of vintage-style tubs. The smaller, specialized site had been limping along on an e-commerce platform that pieced together applications from another provider with a home-grown effort; a combination that resulted in only 12 orders on the smaller site in its first year, says Dick.

“What I like about this is I pay for what I get. If I had to license all that technology, it would cost a small fortune, and I’m going to need updates and an IT department,” he says. “I want to sell tubs. I don’t want to become the IT wizard. One of the attractions here is Demandware sweats those details.”

Dick says that Clawfootcollection.com, which went live on the Demandware only recently, will spend an initial three months evaluating orders, functionality and customer behavior on the site as powered by the new on-demand service platform. “We’ll look at all those things and then start to set goals for them,” he says. “I can tell you it’s going to be a lot more than 12 orders.”

Demandware’s founders draw from collective previous experience at e-commerce infrastructure companies ATG, Macromedia, Intershop and NaviSite.

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