Watford, London 11th August 2009 – Salmon, specialists in delivering eCommerce solutions today announce they have completed the development of a new transactional website for Hotter Comfort Concept, who currently make 1.3 million pairs of shoes per year in the UK and sell direct to customers from a 100 seater call centre, five branded stores, 300 independent retailers and www.hotter.com

Hotter selected Salmon to design, develop and integrate their new website, helping them meet their long-term eCommerce strategy and ambitious online growth target of 20% for the next year. SAFE™, Salmon’s Application Framework for eCommerce, which extends IBM’s WebSphere Commerce product, was selected by Hotter as it offered an on ramp platform to develop the sophisticated functionality they were seeking for both short and long term.

Lisa McCarten, Marketing Director for Hotter said, “We now have an eCommerce platform in place which will scale to meet our growth objectives and which we can manage ourselves day to day. With the new website in place we are already benefitting from improved search engine rankings, an enhanced customer experience and more sales.”

At a glance:

* Day one of the new site saw an average of 1000 visitors per hour between 8am - 8pm (almost four times the volume on the previous week - 260 per hour)
* In the first five full days of the website visitor figures were almost three times the 2008 level (36490 vs 12526)
* Visitors are spending 60% more time browsing the site (5 mins 37sec vs 3 mins 30 secs) compared with this time last year.
* Hotter is on target to achieve 20 per cent growth in 2009 - its 50th birthday year
* Hotter turned over £37.5m in 2008 and made profits of £5m
* The company plans to open two new high street stores by the end of the year
* Private equity company Gresham invested £21m in the business in 2007
* Hotter selected Salmon’s SAFE™ solution – (Salmon’s Application Framework for eCommerce)
* Hotter’s reviews programme is operated by PowerReviews.com

Neil Stewart, Commercial Director at Salmon said, “The website will shortly be integrated with Microsoft’s Navision allowing Hotter to replicate product details, stock management, customer details, and order information across all their systems, making their day to day business easier to manage and providing their loyal customers with a better service.”

Customers purchasing via the catalogue or the website will experience a seamless journey with a simple and quick process from search to checkout. www.hotter.com also benefits from a new, contemporary, branded design and allows the marketing department to make changes using merchandising “hot spots” to fit with their retail, print and advertising campaigns.

In order to help customers find what they want on the site quicker Salmon have implemented SOLR http://lucene.apache.org/solr/ an open source enterprise search server based on the Lucene Java search library.

Merchandising has been improved with PowerReviews, a tag-based customer review engine that gives customers informative, trusted and personalised reviews on products, helping Hotter increase conversion, traffic and average order value. “As a niche footwear brand our target customers are active men and women in the 55+ market, 70% of whom, according to research*, are likely to use Web 2.0 resources like blogs and forums in advance of making a purchase,” adds McCarten. “We believe our customer reviews will be an important innovation offering a power house of support for our brand.”

Google Analytics has also been set up and integrated on the website allowing Hotter to track where their visitors come from and how they interact with the site, allowing Hotter to write better ads, strengthen their marketing initiatives and increase conversion and loyalty.

With their new platform in place Hotter have the flexibility to produce additional transactional, promotional and community websites or microsites simply and at low cost.

*Source: Management Today, 19th Dec 2008

About SAFE™
SAFE™ (The Salmon Application Framework for eCommerce) is a series of pre-configured, reusable and customisable eCommerce components which combine with a mature eCommerce project delivery methodology. SAFE™ facilitates the rapid delivery of very sophisticated eCommerce solutions, significantly lowering the risks inherent in launching a new eCommerce capability, or replacing an existing eCommerce platform.

In the interests of customer choice and commercial flexibility, SAFE™ can be implemented in three ways: either as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, as a starter store with rich 'out-of-the-box' capabilities, or as a framework to support a fully bespoke and extended eCommerce implementation.

About Hotter
Hotter Comfort Concept was founded in 1959 and is one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the UK making 1.3 million pairs each year at its Lancashire factory. The shoe brand targets active over 50-year-olds with a range of stylish comfort shoes, boots, sandals and slippers and uniquely sells via direct mail (through its on-site 100 seater call centre), five branded stores, 200 independent retailers and www.hotter.com

Published on: 1:20PM on 12th August 2009