January 28, 2014, 2:10 PM

Wholesaler and retailer Parts-Express relaunches its e-commerce site

The provider of electronics parts and accessories to the audio-visual industry recently relaunched its e-commerce site on the Multifront e-commerce platform from Znode. Among the new features: more personalized content and improved site search.

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With more than 1 million visitors a month and more than 1,000 online transactions per day, audio-visual products wholesaler and retailer Parts-Express needed a new e-commerce platform that would make it easier for both business and consumer customers to find the items they wanted online.

"We had very critical requirements when deciding to finally upgrade our aging e-commerce platform," Jason Allerding, information systems manager, says. "We knew that our next platform would not only need to provide us with much improved personalization and e-merchandising capabilities, but also allow for vastly improved enterprise-level search functionality, which is quickly becoming more critical to our business and customer requirements."

With a product catalog of more than 16,000 SKUs, Parts-Express also needed to integrate its new e-commerce platform with its Endeca site search and navigation system and its back-end business operations software, including accounting and inventory management applications from Sage Software Inc. and Oracle Corp. Endeca is part of Oracle.

Sign Up for B@Becnews for FREEParts-Express, which operates a wholesale site at wholesale.Parts-Express.com and a consumer site at Parts-Express.com, chose the Multifront e-commerce platform from Columbus, OH-based Znode. The Multifront platform is built on the open-source ASP.net e-commerce technology in Microsoft Corp.’s .Net technology framework. Because it’s open-source technology, Parts-Express can access the source code for customizing its platform, such as for modifying an online checkout process.

Following a six-month implementation period, the new platform went live last fall in time for the holiday shopping season, Parts-Express says. “Znode was able to deliver a comprehensive platform that not only could meet our six-month implementation timeline and aggressive launch schedule before the busy holiday season, but also provided world-class flexibility that would help future-proof our business,” says Jeff Stahl, president of Parts-Express. After reviewing other e-commerce platforms, he adds, Parts-Express found that Multifront “provided us the scalability, integrations and features needed to address our strategy and requirements of our current and future customers.” Parts-Express chose Zeon Solutions, a Milwaukee-based firm certified by Znode, to manage the web site development project.

Among the most crucial new capabilities of the new e-commerce platform is a direct integration with the Bazaarvoice customer review system, Parts-Express says.

Parts-Express is No. 410 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, a ranking of retailers by their annual web sales. Znode is a unit of hibu, a United Kingdom-based provider of digital commerce technology and services.

The cost to license Znode's e-commerce platform ranges from $30,000 to $100,000 or more, plus development costs that vary based on a site's level of customization, according to Doug Myers, Znode's vice president of sales and marketing. The company also offers a hosted subscription model that ranges from $595 to $3,000 per month. Znode is a unit of United Kingdom-based hibu plc.

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