The Client

The Book People (TBP), established in 1988, is a national supplier of Books. At present TBP supplies books through three mediums - field merchandising representatives, a catalogue business and its Internet site.

The Objective

Due to the increasing amount of customers buying books over the Internet, TBP embarked on an exercise in June 2004 to identify a potential replacement system for their transactional web presence.

Some of the key drivers behind replacing the current sites included the ability to enhance the user buying experience with a more personalised service. TBP wished to offer a reliable website that could scale and grow as load and functionality increased, and allow for better promotions and bundles packages.

TBP were also keen for the new solution to have more user-friendly, intuitive tools to allow front-end changes to be made quickly and easily.

Back end integration and the ability to interface with both XML and EDI for dynamic messaging were other key requirements for the successful product offering.

The Solution

TBP chose IBM WebSphere Commerce as the core framework and selected Morpheus as the partner to build and support the site.

Morpheus re-developed the core site for The Book People, implementing customisable features, where needed, to ensure the site met all of the client requirements. The site emulates the paper catalogue exactly, continuing to promote TBP's aim of a multi channel retail environment.

The new application enables customers to search on TBP's full range of book titles, using clearly defined categories. Customers can view stock availability dynamically and place orders securely by credit/debit card.

Once an order is placed, the e-Commerce application has the ability to integrate into TBP's back-end fulfillment system to reserve the stock and update the quantity remaining. Orders can then be generated from the available stock and placed in a shopping basket.

The commerce product infrastructure has been extended by Morpheus to create bespoke features, such as a loyalty scheme called Book Points. The Book Point functionality allows a customer to redeem points earned with previous purchases and details are all kept centrally for ease of scheme management. The site also has a VIP section for frequent purchasers, who receive special offers and discounts.

It was vital for TBP to have an efficient mechanism for handling their extensive range of promotions and managing content. Morpheus has customised the accelerator interface built into IBM WebSphere Commerce to make it more suitable for marketing personnel to use.

With a greatly improved infrastructure, the new e-commerce application aims to increase the number of sales the site is able to handle, particularly during peak periods. The site also improves the user experience, by offering more dynamic content, which can be updated quickly. New features to enable up-selling and cross-selling, encourage users to visit more areas of the site.

The site provides a higher level of self support, with customers being able to view and amend their account details online and view the status of current and past orders. This reduces the impact on the internal customer support team.

User profiling is also integrated into the system to allow The Book People to target promotional information to their users.



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