Dobbies to revamp website in bid to become UK's "leading online gardening retailer"

Dobbies Garden Centres will relaunch its website and call centre this summer.

Tesco-owned 24-store chain Dobbies is working with e-commerce solutions provider Snow Valley to replace its existing web platform and introduce Omniture's online merchandising system.

The site will have a new design and will also amalgamate the two different sites Dobbies runs - dobbies.co.uk and dobbies.com.

Dobbies head of ecommerce Joel Rendle said:

"As the credit crunch continues to have an impact, it's important that we work even harder to anticipate our customers' needs and invest in leading technologies to continuously improve the online shopping experience.

"We've got our sights set on becoming the UK's leading online gardening retailer and Snow Valley has the expertise and the platform to help us get there."

Rendle added: "We're frustrated by our limitations, as are our customers," and added that the company has particular challenges around converting visitors to the site into sales.

"The site receives around a quarter of a million unique visitors a month, and the bulk of customers come from places where Dobbies has no physical stores."

Dobbies bought Grovelands, an online retailer, two years ago.

Snow Valley will be providing a new online store, based on its MUSE2 platform, with a feature-set that "will engage Dobbies customers and convert browsers to buyers". The solution will support the expansion of Dobbies' social media strategy, initially through blogging, forums and the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The site will be integrated with Dobbies' line-of-business systems, which include Microsoft Dynamics NAV and BT Expedite's Mercatus. The site will give marketers and merchandisers direct control of their products, promotions and reporting.
 
Customers will not be able to collect online orders from stores in the first phase of redevelopment.
 
Dobbies plans to sell a number of lines online that are too large to stock in stores, but will be able to use a version of the web platform to allow customers to order these products in stores. Initially this ordering is likely to be done with the assistance of a member of staff at the point of sale, but Rendle said that the retailer will also consider self-service kiosks.


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