December 7, 2010, 3:26 PM

Bon-Ton rolls into holidays on new e-commerce wheels

Bon-Ton Stores reports a double-digit year-over-year increase in online sales.

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With a new e-commerce platform launched this fall for its family of retail department store chains, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is experiencing a double-digit year-over-year increase in online sales heading into the holiday season, the retailer says.

“E-commerce is a big strategic initiative for us, so we wanted a platform that we could use to really drive our business in a multichannel environment,” says Jimmy Mansker, vice president of Internet marketing. In September, Bon-Ton relaunched the e-commerce presence for its family of retail brands—Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Bergner’s, Herberger’s and Younker’s—on IBM Corp.’s WebSphere Commerce platform.

Bon-Ton’s online channel has already become the retailer’s top sales generator for several merchandise categories, helped by its ability to automatically cross-sell items in the shopping cart, such as shoes and accessories when a customer purchases a sweater, Mansker says.

Bon-Ton developed its new e-commerce presence in multiple phases, initially launching an online bridal registry in mid-2009 to support the bridal registry in its stores. It then built fully functional e-commerce sites for its seven store brands, and integrated its order management and warehouse management systems to enable it to fulfill online orders from any of three distribution centers, from its stores and through drop-shipping by product suppliers, Mansker says.

“We wanted to make it easy for our online customers to shop,” he says.

In addition to facilitating order fulfillment from multiple locations, Bon-Ton’s new e-commerce platform lets shoppers register to receive text-message coupons to their mobile phones and share product images via social networking sites.

Each of Bon-Ton’s store brands is featured on a site identified by its own name in the URL, though the same web content is shared across each site.

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