Gearing Up for 2002 World Cup, Sportsetail Kicks Off E-Commerce Web Site Built on Microsoft Commerce Server

REDMOND, Wash., June 28, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Sportsetail Limited, the company that runs the official merchandising operation for England’s Football Association (FA), the national governing body for soccer, chose Microsoft®
Commerce Server as the e-business platform for the FA’s official online store, Expecting increasing demand for official England soccer merchandise during the months leading up to and during the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, Sportsetail needed to rapidly deploy an improved e-commerce solution to handle the increased traffic on Snow Valley, a London-based software integration company, was tasked to develop and manage the solution.

“When Sportsetail asked us to help it relaunch for the 2002 World Cup, we knew that migrating the site to a Commerce Server and Windows®
platform would improve the site’s reliability and performance. Online stores are becoming more sophisticated, and Sportsetail’s expectations for the site had changed accordingly,” said Carlo Rimini, managing director of Snow Valley. “The finished store scales to the demand the site incurs with the success of the English soccer team and provides the functionality needed to be a market-leading solution.”

Web Site Flourishes After Each England World Cup Victory

When first launched in 1999, few would have bet on England winning its qualifying group for the 2002 World Cup, much less advancing to the quarterfinals after beating Denmark in the Round of 16 game this month. The success of the team has created the need for Sportsetail to maintain its Web site on more robust and agile technology to support the increase in the demand for official team merchandise. Together with its strategic technology partner, Snow Valley, Sportsetail migrated to the Microsoft platform.

Using Commerce Server, has become a scalable and reliable online store that also provides the advanced analytics needed to plan, execute and evaluate targeted online marketing campaigns. In addition, the new solution integrates the online store with the company’s existing customer enterprise resource planning (ERP) system using Microsoft BizTalk Server.

Although team England fell to Brazil in the quarterfinals, the ardor of English soccer fans is unstoppable, and Sportsetail is continuing to grow its business through its other online stores, which include the merchandising operation for the premier English league club, Manchester United. The Commerce Server-based solution that Snow Valley created for Sportsetail has been designed and implemented to provide an open migration path for future development.

“England’s run of success during the 2002 World Cup has demonstrated the extent to which Sportsetail’s business can be affected by uncontrollable factors. A single goal in a qualifying game can send traffic and sales on the site soaring,” Rimini said. “Not only has Microsoft Commerce Server enabled the site to cope with the traffic and resulting sales, it has allowed Sportsetail to increase sales revenue through improved direct marketing and analytics of its promotional campaigns. And the built-in integration with Microsoft BizTalk®
Server has helped it greatly reduce its administrative costs.”

Built with Microsoft .NET technology, Commerce Server 2002 provides powerful features for user profiling, personalization, catalog management, order processing, globalization (multiple languages and currencies), and advanced online business analytics to allow businesses to better extend Web site functionality and enhance the customer experience.

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