January 20, 2006, 12:00 AM

Redcats spans the globe with an updated e-commerce platform

With an improved technology platform, all of Redcats’ U.S. and European e-commerce operations will be on a centralized system which will allow the company to make other technology improvements.

Direct marketer Redcats USA expects to have all of its major e-commerce sites operating on a single global technology platform by September, says CEO Eric Faintreny.

Redcats, No. 25 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, began building and migrating to a new internally designed e-commerce platform in 2005. The project for Redcats, which operates more than 10 e-commerce sites, is a major information technology initiative, Faintreny says.

So far about six sites are running on the new platform and Redcats expects its single largest site, Chadwicks.com, to be online by late February. “By the end of the year, all of the American e-commerce sites will be running on the new platform,” Faintreny says.

Redcats needs a bigger and better-performing e-commerce platform to keep pace with growing web traffic and e-commerce sales. “Across all of the European and U.S. e-commerce sites we operate, we get about 40 million page views per day,” he says. The new platform runs on Microsoft .Net, which is Microsoft’s web services architecture. The .Net technology replaces an older proprietary infrastructure that was developed by a consulting company. The previous applications ran on older Microsoft technology and Microsoft’s Commerce Server platform.

Redcats is a business unit of PPR Group, a Paris-based retailing and direct marketing company. With an improved technology platform, all of Redcats’ U.S. and European e-commerce operations will be hosted on a centralized system. The new e-commerce platform also allows Redcats to make other technology improvements such as adding online catalogs, streamlining order processing and refining database marketing.

A major IT upgrade is part of several initiatives underway at Redcats to grow both catalog and e-commerce sales. In recent months, the company also has doubled the number of personnel working on various web marketing programs from 10 to about 20. “Most forms of e-commerce marketing are very specialized and require more dedicated employees to keep up,” Faintreny says.

Better technology and more personnel will help Redcats sustain e-commerce growth. In 2005, Redcats increased its U.S. web sales 18.4% to $475 million from $401 million in 2004. Redcats’ chief marketing officer Mark Friedman will speak at the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference & Exhibition in an educational session entitled E-Mail Marketing: The Best Way to Target Your Marketing Message.

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