There’s no time like the present to build a new e-commerce technology strategy, economic downturn or not, says Craig Johnson, CEO of Musician’s Friend Inc.
In recent months, the direct marketer of musical instruments and related merchandise has consolidated the operation of its six e-commerce sites–MusiciansFriend.com, GuitarCenter.com, Music123.com, WoodwindandBrasswind.com, Musician.com and MusicArts.com–from three internally designed and maintained e-commerce platforms into two.
Musician’s Friend, an arm of Guitar Center Inc., also recently redesigned and commerce-enabled MusicArts.com, an e-commerce site that caters to professionals and music hobbyists. “We’re continuing to make the investment in infrastructure which at the end of the day needs to pay off in better customer satisfaction,” Johnson says.
In the last two years, Musician’s Friend has also replaced its original 250,000-square-foot distribution facility in suburban Kansas City, Kan., with another facility of about 700,000 square feet. “We’re doing a lot to plan ahead and keep a watchful eye on our cost structure,” Johnson says.
The effort to improve web site performance and customer service is paying dividends, he adds. Web sales for Musician’s Friend in 2008 increased by 12.8% to $530.6 million from $470.5 million in 2007.