BetsyFisher.com is a high-end retail clothing store that sells both on-line and in their brick-and-mortar establishment. Selling one-of-a-kind items requires real-time integration between on-line and in-store inventory.
The store employed a legacy database system linked to its point-of-sale terminals with its inventory. This database was incompatible with web server software and they did not wish to abandon and restructure their existing system. We required a way to integrate the contents of this database with the web site catalog and sales operations.
We created an on-line database with the functionality required to handle the catalog display of items both individually by category and also incorporated into "Looks" that were independently defined and presented. We then worked with the store's IT consultant and a local expert in the legacy database system to provide a means for the in-store database to export the current inventory information into a standard format.
Software was developed for updating the on-site database from the standard-format dumps of the store database, and two systems were produced for doing this. One allowed the store owner at any time to perform a bulk-upload of his database to update the on-site database and synchronize it with changes he had made to his product inventory. The second was required primarily to allow the web site to maintain awareness of numbers of items in stick when sales were made in the store as well as through the web site. For this purpose we installed code to cause the site to connect to the in-store computers at frequent intervals and synchronize the numbers of items available. Additionally the store was sent information whenever an on-line sale of an item occurred.
Finally we installed a content management and administrative system that allwoed the site woner to manage these databse operations and also to manage descriptions of special events and other frequently-changing material.
Additionally, at one time we integrated a live video feed from the store into the web site to enable staff to assemble outfits on in-store mannequins in real-time for on-line shoppers. This was later dropped due to excessive time demands on staff.