Brandon Company is a retail marketing services firm that’s making the most of e-commerce technology. The Göteborg, Sweden-based company has two operating segments. One develops, produces and distributes branded products, such as T-shirts and other apparel for King.com Ltd., a maker of mobile video games such as Candy Crush Saga. The other segment provides centralized purchasing of retail marketing supplies, like store signage and mannequins, that Brandon’s customers access online from BrandonCompany.com.
The marketer has come a long way since its 1987 launch as a fulfillment and delivery company, particularly in the last six years as the company has applied more sophisticated e-commerce technology, says Patrik Jirblom, retail business unit manager. “We supply stores globally with consumables—mannequins, signage, posters and other marketing materials,” he says.
Brandon builds websites, or workshops in the company’s terminology, that its clients use to place orders for the marketing materials. About six years ago Brandon implemented an open source e-commerce platform from nopCommerce, a Yaroslavl, Russia-based vendor. That was after Brandon evaluated the nopCommerce technology and compared it with its existing e-commerce platform from Swedish vendor Wipcore.
“We have our own website for Puma built on nopCommerce,” Jirblom says. “A Puma store manager goes online to place orders for Göteborg and Turin, Italy.” Other customers include fashion apparel and accessories brand Saint Laurent and Intersport, a global sporting goods retailer based in Switzerland.
Brandon went with nopCommerce for two key reasons: its open source format and its functionality. “At the time nopCommerce was more modern,” says Peter Larsson Tornedal, Brandon’s e-commerce developer. Open source software enables web developers to build and share their own custom features or tweak the existing ones themselves.
Tornedal used the nopCommerce to create custom designs for each of its 11 business-to-business client websites. “All of them are selling B2B and two also are selling to end consumers,” he says, and each site has features that support the client’s needs.
The Brandon-built websites help clients cut costs by establishing a hierarchy for approving the purchasing of marketing materials, says Jirblom. At the lowest level is the Requester, who could be a store manager who says he needs certain materials, such as branded apparel hangers or customer shopping bags. Each order flags what Brandon calls a Pro User budget manager, who can approve, modify or reject the requested materials.
A Super User oversees both the Requester and Pro User to control marketing spending, Jirblom says. The Super User also approves who is authorized to use the site for placing orders. The cost control function can be part of the client services agreement.
The nopCommerce system is integrated with Brandon’s enterprise resource planning system, through which Brandon places orders with its factories in Europe and the Middle East, Jirblom says. The ERP system is from Stockholm-based Jeeves Information Systems.
From his standpoint as a developer, Tornedal says the open source nopCommerce technology makes it “very cost-effective to enhance the platform, add functionality and add plug-ins.” The previous technology was sufficient for its time, but the open source system was a timely addition. “Back then e-commerce was not as big as it is today,” Tornedal says.
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