ATG Suite Lures Buyers to Cabelas

Hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer Cabela's got a relatively late start to the dynamic B2C game, but ATG's Consumer Commerce Suite has helped it make up for lost time.

Hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer Cabelas got a relatively late start to the dynamic B2C game, but ATGs Consumer Commerce Suite has helped it make up for lost time.

I spoke recently with Sam Sidner, Cabelas Internet marketing manager. In addition to site development and maintenance, Sidner works with the marketing teams to implement online programs and promotions.

While the 41-year-old retailers catalog and direct-response channels were "pretty mature," the original Web site, launched in 1998, was completely static, Sidner said.

Cabelas realized it needed a better solution but lacked the in-house expertise to develop one from the ground up. So the company turned to ATG.

"The fact that we did things the way we did was out of character for Cabelas," Sidner said. "Its always been a do-it-yourself operation. When it came to the site, however, it became clear that we had to step it up. We were looking at projections for Christmas 2001, and we wanted to be able to make projections."

With 130,000 items available through its online outlet, a more robust and dynamic site was crucial. After looking at options from ATG, BEA, Blue Martini and IBM, Cabelas picked ATG to develop its site. "Some of the other guys had new products, but it was still an open question as to how stable they would be," Sidner said. "A lot didnt have the full suite of products that ATG has." In addition to e-commerce systems, ATG provides portal, relationship management and personalization products.

Another deciding factor was ATGs strong Java support, an important consideration for future site honing because specialized development skills are in short supply in Cabelas neck of the woods, Sidner said.

Cabelas launched the new site last October, using Version 5.111 of the suite, which was integrated with Cabelas AS/400 and Oracle8i platforms. Version 5.6 of the ATG suite was just announced and includes support for IBMs WebSphere.

Sidner declined to say how much Cabelas paid for the ATG deployment, but ATG officials said the average cost for a small implementation is about $250,000, while midsize to large implementations cost $500,000 and up.

The personalization and cross-selling features provided by ATG helped realize its initial goals, with online Christmas 2001 sales 60 percent higher than Christmas 2000 sales. Next on the agenda, according to Sidner, is further integration with e-mail for making personalized offers to users who have registered at the site.

"Were still really just scratching the surface," Sidner said.

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