The Mark Group-A 50-Year Legacy of Service (1,709 words)
Channel Shift Underway
Since 1998, The Mark Group has been migrating each of its brands to the Internet with the goal of offering the best this new shopping medium has to offer to its customers.
According to Miller, in discussing the move of some its business to the Web, "channel shift" is the term the company uses, preferring to eliminate the word "cannibalization" from any of its language regarding the interplay between Web and catalog sales. While the Web may lower the cost of acquiring new customers as more customers use the medium, Miller does not foresee the elimination of communication channels such as catalogs and 800 numbers.
First to make the jump online was Mark, Fore & Strike. Launched in December 1998, the site has been e-commerce-enabled since its inception. It has undergone two major rewrites of Internet functionality since its initial launch.
Charles Keath went online in February 1999, and has had three functional upgrades since its debut. The site also has been e-commerce-enabled from its inception. Boston Proper first went online in April 1999. To date, it has the fastest-growing Internet sales of the three Mark Group brands. As such, it became the first of the company's brands to use OneSoft's OneCommerce software, with the December 1999 launch of the second-generation Web site www.bostonproper.com. "We went ahead with this site's update first because we found these buyers to be the most responsive online," says Bryant. The company boasts that Boston Proper was among the earliest in the women's apparel industry to have a fully integrated Web site offering real-time, in-stock inventory levels, real-time credit card confirmation and direct order entry from the customer to the company's fulfillment operations.
Plans are to eventually migrate both the Mark, Fore & Strike and Charles Keath sites to the OneSoft software platform. Until that time, the sites will continue to operate integrated to the company's fulfillment software, and will have a more limited product selection and functionality.