WC Penfolds will launch an office product e-tailing site early next week after hooking up with fulfillment partner Corporate Express to deliver products ordered online to the offices of SMEs.
The back-end of the new WC Penfolds site was developed in conjunction with Corporate Express, which have now made a series of diversions from its corporate services to serve the needs of small businesses.
Corporate Express already serves the fulfillment needs for all of Penfolds' retail stores, satisfying between 500 and 1000 orders a day. Its 36-strong IT division also has an extensive amount of experience in online sales and fulfillment, with its own site bringing in around $120 million in sales and deals with more than 30,000 clients a year.
The service Corporate Express has provided WC Penfolds is what general manager for sales and marketing Grant Harrod terms "deep integration".
"The system is integrated from the moment the order is placed online right through to being received as a picking slip for dispatch," he said. "We had to interface our system with theirs, and provide messaging capabilities so Penfolds could track the status of the orders."
Harrod admits SMEs are not the market Corporate Express would traditionally go after, but highlights the value of WC Penfold's strong brand in taking to the on-line environment. He is confident Penfolds will not suffer the same fate of other retailers that moved online but lacked integration between their online and offline presence.
"Penfolds has made sure the retail presence and online presence works together, it doesn't want to suffer what companies like Harvey Norman experienced - where the two didn't match. Penfold's retail presence will be promoting it's online presence, and vice versa."
Harrod says Corporate Express is very selective about which e-tailers it partners because its main focus is to remain on the corporate market. At present, it has done similar deals with Peakhour and Buy.com, but is not out to sign up dot-coms by the bucketload as the company is conscious about not wanting to provide solutions that compete with existing customers.
"We don't intend to become the fulfillment for every e-tailer," he said. "Our traditional market is serving corporate Australia. But we will get involved with companies that have a strong business model and can combine retail and online well. We want to be a boutique provider in this space."