As it strives to grow beyond $200 million in sales through more than 200 online storefronts, home furnishings retailer CSN Stores is focusing technology investments on ensuring a reliable online shopping experience, chairman and chief technology officer Steven Conine says.
“One of our biggest beliefs is that our sites have to be fast and consistent, regardless of whether we’re attracting new customers or bringing back old ones,” says Conine, who co-founded CSN Stores with CEO Niraj Shah.
“When our marketing group plans a promotion to increase customer loyalty, it can cause traffic to hit our server farms in different ways, and it can all be for naught if any of our sites don’t perform,” Conine says. “So we’re making sure we have sufficient infrastructure and a solid enough system in place.”
CSN is also looking into technology from providers like Liquid Pixels and Adobe Scene7 for more rich media displays, which have proven effective at converting furniture shoppers into buyers. But to ensure new rich media works properly, the retailer is first concentrating on site performance.
Among CSN’s recent investments is in a backup data center to cover power outages; new network switching technology from Cisco Systems Inc. to increase security; and TrueSight Edge site-monitoring technology from Coradiant that identifies problems in online shopping sessions.
In addition, CSN is continuing to upgrade the software code underlying its ASP.net e-commerce platform and migrating toward the Microsoft SQL Enterprise Edition database platform. Now, instead of occasionally running into traffic bottlenecks that can slow site performance, CSN’s database system can more consistently handle simultaneous requests by shoppers for product content, Conine says.
CSN is No. 69 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.