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Shopcreator, the portal and e-business provider, has designed and delivered a new online store for UK photo-video retailer and mail-order business Sussex Camera Centre that, since going live just over four months ago, has generated a 20 per cent increase in orders taken, and a 35 per cent increase in online revenue.

www.cameradepot.co.uk sells over 500 products online, supporting the Sussex Camera Centre retail outlets and established mail order business. The online store provides a simple, safe and secure method for customers to purchase from a wide range of cameras; lenses; camcorders; and associated products, and to take advantage of the discounts that can be offered via this cost-effective channel to market.

Sussex Camera Centre approached Shopcreator in October of last year, at a time when its existing e-business solution was leaving the business feeling dispirited and was notably falling short on delivering revenues. Sean Smith, e-Commerce Manager at Camera Depot takes up the story: "Our original transactional website appeared to be failing us: revenues were dwindling and a lack of support from the solution provider meant that we couldn't easily keep content, product variants or stock up-to-date. When we heard about how Shopcreator solutions were helping other businesses realise significant revenues and efficiencies from the online channel, we were interested to find out more."

Camera Depot was recommended to contact Shopcreator by its stock control solution supplier, and after undergoing a preliminary requirements analysis, the new solution was completed and launched on 2 December 2003 - perfectly timed to take advantage of the Christmas and New Year season.

Sean Smith continues: "After the launch, one of the immediate benefits we witnessed from the solution was the intelligent content management system that runs throughout the Shopcreator software. It is exceptionally easy for us to manage and update, yet can
incorporate sophisticated functionality that has had a major impact on both order volumes and average order value."

The site incorporates a 'digital camera finder' facility, which enables customers to search for a camera by manufacturer, mega pixels and price; enabling fast and direct access to products that meet the customer's precise requirements. Then, once the required product is located, the 'product linkage' facility displays all of the available associated accessories and upgrade options along side the product, on the same web page.

For further expediency, the site also has a 'one-click' checkout function and features a special offer promotion, on every page. The scrolling offer text links directly to the relevant product and can be easily updated by Camera Depot on a daily basis; keeping site content fresh and the customers returning on a regular basis.

Sean explains how this functionality is providing benefits for both the business and its customers: "In terms of customer experience, the Shopcreator solution has revolutionised our offering - providing a tailored, professional, corporate offering that offers our customers a standard of service commensurate with our brand values: expert knowledge; vast range of products; customer focused service; and competitive pricing policy. Enabling the customer to navigate through the site quickly and efficiently was a major requirement for us and one which the Shopcreator team and software capably met."

The way in which the site has been designed and built has also resulted in a major increase in site traffic. The lack of traffic visiting the online store had been a key concern for Camera Depot, prior to changing suppliers. Sean continues: "We were heavily reliant on referrals before coming to Shopcreator and one of the targeted key areas for progress was to improve our rankings on search engines. Since switching to Shopcreator, our site is performing extremely well on the search engines and we regularly appear on the first page of Google. Our expectations have been exceeded and we were amazed by the speed in which this was achieved."

As Camera Depot felt that it had simply outgrown its previous solution and supplier, the key criteria in its selection of a replacement e-business partner related to the scalability of the technology and the provision of robust support and service, in order to be able to meet requirements, both now and in the future.

"We are delighted with all the aspects of the service that we have received from Shopcreator, who have been friendly, supportive and extremely knowledgeable. We have a dedicated named support team and account manager and it is so reassuring to be able to pick up the phone and speak directly to the people who have developed the site. The fact that Shopcreator is used to working with all sizes of businesses from market entrants to market leaders has been a major advantage for us. We are already discussing integrating our online store with our warehousing systems, and the fact that Shopcreator has already delivered numerous projects of this type helps de-risk the entire process for us."

In reference to the initial grounds that led Camera Depot to switch e-business supplier - falling revenues and problematic site administration - Sean is quite clear about what the new solution has delivered: "The Shopcreator solution turned our financial year around. When we approached them in October of last year we were significantly down on the previous year's figures. After the implementation of the Shopcreator solution, the difference in the technology, functionality and ease of management astounded us and we made immediate progress, finishing the financial year - less than 4 months later - over 50 per cent up on the previous year's figures, and well above the annual revenue target."

With site visitors, number of orders, repeat clients, and average order values all in ascendancy, Sussex Camera Centre and Camera Depot are delighted that they have chosen a solution that is providing a sound platform for future development. And, with the last quarter of the financial year turning in such significant improvements, the business is looking forward to a very happy and healthy 2004.

About Shopcreator:
Shopcreator is a leading provider of portal and e-business solutions to public sector, SME and corporate organisations, with leading customers including, Sainsburys, the Co-Operative Group, Aston Villa FC, Floors 2 Go, Wolves FC, the Science Museum, Girl Guiding Association and DVD Plus. The company provides end-to-end e-business solutions including education and training, consultancy, bespoke software, graphics design and full project management. Shopcreator was recently listed as one of the Sunday Times/ARM Tech Track 100 fastest growing unquoted technology companies, and was also ranked by Deloitte & Touche as one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the UK. Visit www.shopcreator.com

For more information please contact:

Cheryl Billson
IBA, PR for Shopcreator
Tel: 01780 721433

Alison Chapel
Head of Marketing, Shopcreator
Tel: 0845 1211 400

Published on: 12:00AM on 27th April 2004