Lee Jeans Strides Into E-Commerce

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VF Corp.'s Lee Jeans makes its first foray into e-commerce with the introduction of a Web site dedicated to selling its 1889 line of jeans for teen girls.

The Merriam, KS, marketer used LaGarde's StoreFront shopping cart software for an e-commerce platform that could integrate easily with its legacy systems. The product sold at www.lee1889.com is not widely sold through offline retail stores.

"Part of what we're seeing with a number of manufacturers who have a heavily vested interest in the existing retail channel is that they're anxious to find ways to develop an online strategy that's complementary to their retail channel and, conversely, not conflicting," said Bob LaGarde, CEO of LaGarde, Olathe, KS.

"There's more of an opportunity to promote some of your higher line of merchandising online or a line of custom merchandise that can't be distributed through the retail channel," he said.

Lee1889.com sells jeans, capris, shorts, skirts, T-shirts and polo wear. Consumers can add items to their wish list and send pages to friends. Lookandfeel new media, an interactive agency in Kansas City, MO, created the site.

LaGarde customized an electronic data interchange system to allow the exchange of data between the StoreFront platform and Lee's legacy ERP system. This integration lets Lee process orders, create shipping notices and update inventory from one administrative interface.

Lee also had other requirements. The platform had to be scalable to accommodate future online stores like one for the men's-focused Lee Dungarees and the premium Lee Authentics launching in a few weeks.

Also, all Lee market segment e-commerce sites have to share a common inventory and customer system. This enables cross-selling, cross-store checkout and account management support. Order fulfillment and inventory tracking are easier, too.

"Their requirement was that the e-commerce system have an effective interface into the EDI system for fulfillment," LaGarde said. "We had to meet with them extensively in order to map out that process for interfacing into that system as a part of securing that contract."

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