Managing an ecommerce site can be an expensive, difficult and time-consuming task. Managing three separate ecommerce sites? That is enough to make your head spin. Since 1981, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has been selling handmade teddy bears from its home in Burlington, Vermont and mailing Bear-Grams across the country. Since the company first began selling online, it has expanded to own and operate two additional sites that fall under the snuggly umbrella: PajamaGram.com and PajamaJeans.com.
When the portfolio of sites began experiencing severe performance issues and usability problems, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company seized the opportunity to reimagine its ecommerce experience, beginning with Blue Acorn and Magento Enterprise Edition. The company employs a common team that manages all of the sites (each with its own, unique code base), a task that was increasing in technical difficulty as the sites became more outdated. Magento’s multi-store functionality provided an ideal solution for Vermont Teddy Bear: a common code base that empowers non-technical employees to easily manage the storefronts. To providing a cost-effective solution, Blue Acorn built out a common foundational theme that contains around 60 percent of the code, then customized the final 40 percent for each brand.
A Personalized Gifting Experience
From teddy bears for any occasion to pajamas for the entire family (including Fido and Mr. Meowingtons), VermontTeddyBear.com and Pajamagram.com are designed to create an engaging gifting experience. Many of the products have customization options: fur color, monograms, add-on items, and gift tags are just few. A custom-developed module allows shoppers to customize a product and then select add-on items all on one page. Icons provide an intuitive method to quickly create a unique, heartfelt gift. Then, the updated checkout page displays all of a product’s unique customizations as one line item.
However, there is a downside to creating a highly successful gifting experience: dramatic spikes in traffic around the holidays. For added performance security during peak traffic and faster page load times, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company’s ecommerce sites are hosted by Rackspace.
Gathering Better Data
Along with The Vermont Teddy Bear Company’s novel approach to gifting comes unique, off-site marketing initiatives. A streamlined checkout page, found across all three sites, collects information about why customers are sending a gift and how they ended up on the website. In turn, the responses influence more impactful advertising placements. The checkout page also enables buyers to add pre-written gift messaging for a final touch.
An Improved Business Experience
Customers aren’t the only ones who appreciate the new site. The multi-store functionality stores customer data on the same application, allowing Vermont Teddy Bear’s administrators to import and export data, as needed. Because of the company’s unique business model built around gifting, many products are offered on more than one site. While items like a teddy bear are merchandised differently on each site, the inventory of the shared products is accessible via the company’s single Magento admin panel along with order and shipment information.