Shoe Retailer Takes Steps to Expand

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Footwear retailer Schnee's is organizing its multichannel business in anticipation of growth, using the Web platform from ProfitCenter Software for this integration.

Along with catalogs and an e-commerce site, the Bozeman, MT, firm has two retail stores in Montana and aims to open stores in New England and the Rocky Mountain region.

"I have a background in engineering and did research for the possibilities from installed software to [application service provider] model," said Jon Edwards, president/CEO of Schnee's. "I was very impressed with the ASP model and the experience they had setting up for cataloging, online commerce and inventory at the same time."

Uniondale, NY-based ProfitCenter Software's application lets Schnee's consolidate database information from its retail channels into one repository via a Web-based application running in Oracle 10. The integration did not require Schnee's to shut down its business. It only had to send files via its FTP server, tapes or CDs. Data can be entered from any channel in the system and will be accessible to all channels in real time.

For example, a customer can go to Schnee's site at www.schnees.com and enter her mailing address into the customer profile. If the customer wants to place an order over the telephone two minutes later, the call center representative will have the updated mailing address in the customer's profile.

Also, the database adds the latest information about new styles and product availability for brands that Schnee's stocks.

Mr. Edwards said that ProfitCenter's application has been helpful for a firm that communicates with customers via many channels. The downtown Bozeman store has an Internet kiosk where shoppers can look at new products online and then buy or order them directly at the store.

The system allows for scalability. Schnee's is growing, but it is difficult for the retailer to predict how large it will get.

ProfitCenter Software sees the Schnee's account win as a customer service opportunity for itself.

"Direct marketers are in business to sell products [but] most don't have the resources or IT staff to really manage their databases," said George Winter, executive vice president of ProfitCenter Software. "One of the beauties of a Web-based system is that it takes a lot of work off their hands so that they can concentrate on selling their products."

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