Virgin Retail hires hybris, Mercado, Underwired to create new website

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Virgin Retail announced plans for a complete revamp of its online offering, virginmegastores.co.uk. Virgin Retail has been working with retail and e-commerce consultancy, Javelin Group, to manage the selection process of agencies to produce a new e-commerce platform and redesign.

Virgin Retail have selected companies hybris, Mercado and Underwired to create the new website, which will be live by late Summer 2007.

hybris, supplier of e-business software solutions, was chosen to provide the overall e-commerce platform due to its ease of customisation and its strength in product information management, which is crucial for sites with large product catalogues such as virginmegastores.co.uk. hybris will ensure ease of use for managing the merchandising, promotional and transactional elements of the site.

Andrew Piscina, UK Country Manager for hybris: says "As one of the leading vendors of e-commerce solutions in Europe, we are very happy to be working with Virgin and our partners in creating one of the most ground-breaking online stores for their customers. We will be providing Virgin with a state-of-the-art e-commerce platform which will enable them to take full advantage of the much talked about Web 2.0 capabilities. This will provide Virgin's customers with an optimised on-line experience which, in turn, will serve to increase Virgin's revenue and improve brand empathy."

Virgin Retail has engaged design agency, Underwired, to redesign the website with the key aims of combining simplicity and usability with Virgin's authority in entertainment to deliver a great user experience. The overhaul will see Virgin Retail’s website management and development brought in-house for the first time, giving the company greater control and the flexibility to build new features and functionality on to the platform.

"Mercado has a strong track record of helping leading retail brands maximize revenue in the online channel," says Rich Beattie, vice president of Mercado Europe. "We're very excited to have been chosen by Virgin and look forward to contributing to their continued success."

Virgin Retail has had a transactional website since September 2002 and – in line with other retailers – has seen online sales increase sharply. Christmas sales figures for 2006 were up 191% on the previous year.

The company’s marketing and e-commerce director, Steve Kincaid, said: “The vastly improved site, geared towards the needs of today’s online customer will form a major pillar of Virgin’s multi-channel strategy.”

The website will be designed by Underwired to combine simplicity, usability and entertainment, allowing Virgin to deliver rich media content via its website.

In addition to the development of the new site, Virgin Retail is planning to increase the product breath of its CD, DVD and Games catalogue as well as taking additional entertainment related product and delivering rich media content to enhance customer experience.

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