LaGarde Launches E-commerce Platform

The Phoenix platform is customizable and extensible.

E-commerce solutions provider LaGarde is releasing its Phoenix Platform, a .Net-based software-as-a-service e-commerce platform.

"The days of running e-commerce as a silo are over," said Bob LaGarde, company founder and chairman. "Anybody seriously running e-commerce is running it as part of a whole e-business system."

LaGarde said Phoenix, which was announced June 3, functions as a Web-based transaction system that performs roles including order management, catalog management, checkout and back-office tasks. He said Phoenix was designed to handle the unique business methodologies and characteristics of midmarket enterprises while remaining relatively easy to maintain.

"There is an issue of maintainability," LaGarde said. "For a number of years, we provided a solution with a high degree of customization. But that becomes hard to maintain, as custom solutions tend to become one-off solutions that take a longer time to deploy."

To avoid this problem, he said, his company is providing Phoenix as an end-to-end, modular solution that can be expanded without developing "islands of one-off solutions."

He continued, "It is a robust, modularized e-commerce platform with a rich Web services layer for extensibility. ... It can be customized and integrated without creating a one-off system."

LaGarde said the systems architecture is the primary driver for Phoenix and that it includes a retail-specific feature set.

"For example, there is a sophisticated catalog engine that allows you to support scheduled catalogs," he said. "You can go live with a seasonal catalog on a certain date and then expire it on a certain date and launch the next season's catalog without having to redevelop the entire site."

LaGarde said the platform also includes a rich shipping engine and is fully compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry) data security standards.

Lance Hemingway, chief marketing officer of LaGarde, cited the attachment of services and knowledge that comes with Phoenix, such as the ability to market across multiple channels and perform SEO (search engine optimization) marketing, as another essential feature of the solution.

A benchmark report released by research company Aberdeen Group in December 2006 indicates that online retailers expect e-commerce solutions to flexibly meet their complex needs and quickly provide a return on investment.

"The online Business to Consumer (B2C) marketplace is increasingly impatient, which is a reflection on the pressures merchants feel from their customers," the report stated. "Retailers want instant gratification and ROI in typically less than six months. Twenty-one percent of retailers expect to see revenue results from their online tools within weeks."

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out's Retail Site.