Case Study: How Christopher Radko Drives a Successful e-Business Strategy
The challenge for many companies whose products are highly seasonal is to generate sales throughout the remainder of the year. Christopher Radko's approach to building a Web site with the tools from its chosen ASP, ZLand.com, shows how one company in the holiday ornaments business has taken on this challenge using the tools of e-commerce.
Focusing on the critical Christmas selling season, Christopher Radko turned to an ASP to quickly enable all aspects of the Radko electronic commerce goals for 1999. Hundreds of ornaments can now be previewed, priced, and ordered via http://www.christopherradko.com. The site also provides a listing of key distributors and shops, including their Web sites.
Combining Craftsmanship and Sound Business Practices
The impetus for Christopher Radko's company occurred in 1983 when the family Christmas tree, laden with thousands of antique glass ornaments from Europe, tipped over. Vowing to replace the thousands of broken ornaments, Radko made it is his quest to find true glass ornaments that would equal the quality of the ones broken. After designing several himself and having them produced by local craftsmen, he soon found friends interested in purchasing them. In addition, Radko had the opportunity to travel to Europe, where he found many antique pieces that reflected the same craftsmanship found in the family heirlooms he was so intent on replacing. Yet before he could deliver them to his home, friends asked if they could buy one or several of them.
What began as an effort to replace family heirlooms grew to become a business with 4,000 total designs to its credit, over 700 of them featured in the 1999 Christopher Radko catalog. To produce these ornaments, the company has more than 1,500 people working in cottage factories in Poland, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Instead of going door-to-door to sell his products, Radko today has 3,000 accounts, including the venerable retail giants Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, and Marshall Fields. One of Radko's many accomplishments is the recruitment of Walt Disney and other key customers as OEM partners. Christopher Radko now creates customized figurines for Walt Disney, F.A.O. Schwartz, Starbucks, Marie Osmond, DC Comics, and several of the world's leading department stores.
Complementing all these efforts is the firm's latest communications and commerce vehicle, its Web site, developed in conjunction with ZLand.com. Unlike the traditional retailing media for seasonal items such as ornaments, the Web serves Christopher Radko and its customers 365 days a year.
The ASP's approach to catalog building made it possible for Christopher Radko's 1999 catalog to get online quickly, in time for the 1999 holiday selling season. On the Web site there are hundreds of ornaments that can be previewed, priced, and ordered online. The site also provides a listing of key distributors and shops actively selling ornaments, and includes listings of their Web sites as well.
The ASP-enabled catalog architecture provides Christopher Radko with the flexibility to add key marketing messages and images of these ornaments. Examples of the custom work Christopher Radko has done may be found among the Disney Catalog ornaments, including Winnie the Pooh, for the 1999 Disney Christmas Catalog. An example of the craftsmanship that Christopher Radko brings to its ornaments is apparent to online shoppers in the details in this ornament.
Today's online customer can even listen to the Radko Holiday Song online, in addition to checking order status and finding ornaments that are appropriate for each season. Christopher Radko's ASP-designed Web site is making a seasonal product line accessible to customers all year long, while sustaining the business with ornament products that cross the highly seasonal barriers experienced in the early stages of the company's life.