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Rebuilding your e-commerce infrastructure

March 18, 2005

When GolfWorks elected to redesign its eCommerce platform three years ago, it had a few important requirements. Founded thirty three years ago, the Ohio-based business supplies both retail golf outlets and individual golfers, offering its products through its catalog as well as its eCommerce website.

First among GolfWorks' requirements: it wanted a solution that seamlessly integrated its catalog business with its online business - cross channel integration was essential.

Additionally, the company wanted to keep its site's existing front end, so the new back end had to integrate with an already-built front end.

"Our feeling was that to rip the brain out of the enterprise at the same time we reengineered the front end was a little too much for a small company," says GolfWorks CEO Al Bessin.

After looking at a number of back end solutions, Golfworks chose an application called CWDirect, made by Massachusetts-based CommercialWare Of the numerous back end solutions that GolfWorks considered, CommercialWare was "the Cadillac of the crew," says GolfWorks CIO Patrick Flynn.

The CommercialWare platform now runs all of GolfWorks' back end.

"It handles the entire process of orders, our call center process, and inventory management," Bessin says.

This new back end did not require tearing down the existing front end, which was built by DMInsite, an Ohio-based solution provider that specializes in the online interface for catalog businesses.

The DMInsite front end sits outside the CommercialWare back end, Bessin says, "and we tap that system for orders a half dozen times a day, and feed them into CommercialWare."

Converting to the CommercialWare back end took about 90 days, "with basically no modifications to the core package," Flynn says. The software has a GUI that's easy to use, which helps the company's employees who aren't PC experts.

CommercialWare's chief benefit for GolfWorks is its cross-channel integration. Instead of running a catalog business and an online business as two entities, CommercialWare harnesses both operations with one platform.

Golfworks supplies both retail golf outlets and individual golfers, using a double-pronged approach of selling through its catalog as well as its Web site.

Bessin particularly likes the cross-channel capabilities of CommercialWare's analytics tool, CWAnalytics.

"It does a wonderful job of processing data and putting it in an environment where a large number of people...have the ability to view data across channels, by channels, combining channels," he says. "It tracks all aspects of the order process - demand, sales, product movement."

"I'm a data junkie," Bessin says. "My ideal system is one where I don't have a bunch of standardized executive reports, but instead I have the ability to dig." CWAnalytics gives him this ability to explore hunches quickly and easily.

Also helping with cross-channel integration is a CommercialWare feature called WorkFlow. It's a rules-based routing tool that helps GolfWorks route customer orders through the system. It helps with both online and phone orders.

For example, "you may want to set up a rule that says 'anytime a new customer places an order, you route that order either through certain 'fraud buckets' (which checks for credit card fraud) or certain 'marketing buckets' (which sends a welcoming letter)," Flynn says.

With WorkFlow, he says, "we get an opportunity to save money and create revenue at the same time."

Source: eCommerce Guide

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