Do it Best revs its e-commerce engine

New e-strategy, new e-platform unveiled at Spring Market in Orlando.
Kenneth Clark
Editor in Chief
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Allison Flatjord and e-commerce took center stage in Orlando.

ORLANDO—Do it Best Corp. unveiled its most ambitious e-commerce and omni-channel vision yet, along with detailed plans to provide members “top tier” technical support to drive sales and increase traffic.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based co-op’s new platform–now in its testing phase and expected to launch this summer—marks a major shift in Do it Best’s approach to e-commerce. As opposed to simply making digital tools available to members, the new strategy calls for the co-op to take an active role in the heavy lifting of running an e-commerce business.

Same-day in store pick-up is one of the motivating concepts behind the new system. Some of the other features and benefits described by the co-op include:

• Do it Best Corp. is removing cost to entry to participate in the e-commerce program. Gone are the set-up fees and monthly maintenance fees. Members will be charged a fee based on the volume of sales through the site.

• The new strategy will feature member microsites integrated with Members will have the option of controlling their home page and promoting unique merchandise, but Do it Best intends to handle critical tasks including design, analytics, marketing and search-engine-optimization.

• Profit from ship-to-home product sales at will go to the nearest participating store even if that store had nothing to do with the sale.

“Gone are the days where it's OK to just put up a sign in your store, calling out your website.”
Allison Flatjord, Do it Best

The unveiling of the platform, put the spotlight on one of the co-op’s relatively new executives, Allison Flatjord, who took on the role vice president of e-commerce in January. Flatjord played a central role in the market kick off presentation.

“If you're going to compete and win today, it gets pretty complex pretty fast,” she said. “We are going to be delivering the online experience your customers expect, and an online experience designed to deliver growth.”

The theme of Do it Best's Orlando market: "Powering Up."

During the Kick Off presentation here in Orlando, a video of the new platforms demonstrated “the latest functionality on browsing, search, navigation, cross-selling, product comparison, and site merchandising,” Flatjord said. The platform is built with Adobe, described as a “top-tier” tech vendor that also services Nike, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

To participate, members will need a compliant POS. Do it Best has been working closely with Epicor in this regard, but not at the exclusion of other systems, Do it Best is also working with members to prepare their inventory tracking to make use of the new e-commerce platform.

While marketing and content duties will be supplied by corporate, the strategy will allow members to maintain their local flavor, according to Brianna Wells, Do it Best’s content and marketing manager for e-commerce.

Member content, and products that are available in the individual store, will be integrated on the member microsite, she said. “So, if they have local beekeeping materials, for instance, we are partnering with them to be able to put that online,” Wells said. “We will truly be giving the online consumer that ability to see the actual product that’s in the stores. [The consumer] will know that they can go pick that up in store today, and it will be a really easy transaction.”

The increasing complexity of e-commerce, with the advent of Google and social media, spurred Do it Best Corp. to step up and take on more of the e-commerce responsibility. “Gone are the days where it's OK to just put up a sign in your store, calling out your website,” Flatjord said.

Nick Talarico, executive VP of sales and marketing for Do it Best Corp., explained to the Kick Off audience that the opportunity is huge. “And to be clear, I'm not talking about e-commerce as in just shipping packages to customers' homes, but leveraging e-commerce to drive traffic into your stores through an integrated, best-in-class e-commerce solution that allows customers to buy online and pick up their purchases in store the same day.”

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