Going for the Green
Some family-owned businesses have trouble adapting to change. At times, that’s been the case with cataloger-retailer Edwin Watts Golf. But as it nears its 40th anniversary, Edwin Watts has rolled with the frequent punches in the discount- and brand-driven golf equipment industry.
Founder Edwin Watts opened his first retail store in 1968 and launched a catalog eight years later. The company debuted its Web site (www.edwinwattsgolf.com) in 1998, one of the first online golf equipment shopping sites in the industry. Through the years, the company has managed and prospered from change. Yet, no change may prove to be as worthwhile as an investment it’s made in a tool it already possessed.
Recognizing the constantly evolving marketplace and options consumers have today, Edwin’s son and Vice President of Catalog and Online Operations John Watts felt he needed more from the company’s Web site. Its lack of Web analytics and overall traffic from a lack of search engine optimization were hindering business.
“We recognized in early 2006 that we needed a platform that could help us grow over a number of years, with tools such as Web analytics and search engine optimization,” he says. Enlisting the services of a Web site developer and a new Internet platform, the Watts site has entered a new growth mode.
The site originally was developed with a Microsoft Commerce platform, which it operated under until 2005, but the site’s continued growth rendered the platform inefficient. John Watts noticed the site’s shortcomings, including bandwidth and server-size issues, as well as an inability to track the site’s traffic. “We had to be able to analyze traffic,” he says, to market to the company’s customers more effectively.
After nearly a year of experimenting with IBM WebSphere Commerce Express 5.6, an e-commerce Internet platform that Watts and its vendors found too limiting, Watts migrated to the IBM WebSphere Commerce Enterprise 6.0 platform and unveiled its reinvigorated site this past January.