September 1, 2005, 12:00 AM

Vermont Teddy Bear gets its own platform

VermonTeddyBear.com is launching a mirror site on a new e-commerce platform hosted by Demandware Inc. and offering features designed to boost orders and revenues with new shopping and operating features. It will continue to operate a site on its Yahoo store platform.

Like many online retailers, Vermont Teddy Bear Co. started its e-commerce life as a Yahoo Store, taking advantage of Yahoo’s out-of-the-box functionality. And as it’s grown to be among the 200 largest online retailers in the U.S., it has stayed faithful to Yahoo.

But now Vermont Teddy Bear is seeking further growth and that means branching out. Last month, it re-launched ermonTeddyBear.com on a new e-commerce platform hosted by Demandware Inc. that offers new shopping and operating features designed to boost orders and revenues.

“The Yahoo Store has been good for us,” says web manager Tom Funk. “But because of certain pieces of software code, there are flows of the shopping cart process that can’t be modified on a Yahoo Store.”

Funk notes that although the Yahoo platform has kept up with capacity needs- VermonTeddyBear.com handles about 1,000 orders per hour on peak shopping days like Valentine’s Day-the retailer has found it incapable of also handling additional shopping features, such as an improved shopping cart, Funk says.

The Demandware platform will also support targeted marketing promotions based on customers’ shopping behavior, a tactic Funk expects to be more effective than up to now because of the platform’s built-in analytics. Vermont Teddy Bear will also use Demandware to validate customers’ addresses and to create a bilingual English-Spanish version of VermonTeddyBear.com that will maintain a single content management and ordering system for both languages. “Demandware has great bilingual features that would be harder to develop on the Yahoo Store, where we would have to operate two separate web sites for each language,” he adds.

Vermont Teddy Bear is not abandoning Yahoo, though. It will operate two versions of VermonTeddyBear.com for an indefinite time-one on Demandware, the other on Yahoo Stores-though each will probably receive traffic from different sources. One site could receive all Internet search traffic, while the other receives visitors from affiliate sites and visitors who directly type in the retailer’s domain name. “We’ll see which version handles traffic better,” Funk says. l

 

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