Case Study: Living Direct Saves Time and Money Through Vendor Network
PROBLEM: Living Direct, an online retailer of home appliances, cookware, outdoor patio furniture, electronics and more, sought to integrate third-party technologies — namely ratings and reviews — onto its e-commerce platform quickly and cost effectively.
SOLUTION: Accessed a global network of vendors committed to providing prebuilt integrations and support.
RESULTS: Saved time and thousands of dollars by choosing an on-demand technology provider from a marketplace of more than 75 vendors.
Created to remove the hurdles retailers face when adopting e-commerce technologies, LINK is an enterprise e-commerce technology partner program that allows clients of on-demand e-commerce platform provider Demandware to choose from a wide selection of no cost, prebuilt and approved product integrations.
Living Direct is one such Demandware client taking advantage of this network. A web-only merchant, Living Direct is constantly looking to keep up with today's emerging online technologies to provide customers and prospects with the best shopping experience possible.
But in the past, Living Direct has been reluctant to roll out new tools on its websites because of the prohibitive cost and time involved bringing them to market.
"The first part of the integration process with most providers is always the hardest," says Drew Leakey, vice president of marketing and business development at Living Direct. "The LINK program has managed to cut out the first several steps [of integration]."
Living Direct launched ratings and reviews on its site in June after working with LINK member Bazaarvoice. Living Direct believes giving consumers all the tools necessary to complete a purchase — including the opportunity to read reviews from their peers, as well as submit their own — is vital in today's ultracompetitive online marketplace. The retailer's improved conversion rates have already proved the tool's value.
Demandware communicates with members of the LINK program in advance to put together the documentation (i.e., coding) necessary to complete the integration process. This is particularly effective at minimizing bugs, which require added IT developer time to fix after implementation.
As a result of working with a LINK vendor, Living Direct had ratings and reviews live on its site in just over six weeks of developer time, roughly a month faster than it normally would have taken. This resulted in tremendous cost savings for the retailer.
One Size Fits All
Each e-commerce platform, technology vendor and business process for how to reach the other to unite the technologies is always a little bit different. When dealing with so many permutations, every integration and deployment is a custom project — which is a lot of time and money.
In fact, for every dollar spent on enterprise licensing, another seven dollars goes to infrastructure and integration, notes Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing at Demandware.
Since Demandware offers an on-demand platform and all of its customers use the same version of the platform, the integration points are constant. By working with other on-demand technology providers whose integration points are also constant, LINK can offer repeatable product live integrations between two product sets that survive the test of time.
"Having the full list of documentation, Living Direct isn't having to shepherd the vendor through the process," says Leakey. "Demandware has already communicated, they already understand each other's platform."