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Timberland to Launch Worldwide Sites

Timberland Co. is taking the autonomy and speed it gained with the launch of its U.K. Web site to a handful of international sites next year.

Timberland Co. is taking the autonomy and speed it gained with the launch of its U.K. Web site to a handful of international sites next year.

Timberland Web sites in France, Italy, Germany and Spain will go live next year, and all will run on the same underlying infrastructure used by the U.K. site, which launched in October, said Troy Brown, senior director and general manager of e-commerce at the Stratham, N.H.-based retailer. Sites for Japan and Canada may follow.

Unlike Timberland’s U.S. site, which is outsourced, the U.K. site uses an electronic commerce platform from Demandware of Woburn, Mass., which keeps control in-house, allowing the retailer to be more nimble without having to tax its own IT department for every content change.

Changes to the U.S. site take at least a week to execute, but the U.K. site can update content in 20 minutes, said Brown. Even the U.K. launch was fast — four months, from start to finish — compared with a more typical seven months, he added.

Brown said average order size on the U.K. Web site is about $220, or almost double that of the U.S. site.

He acknowledged that Web sites running on different platforms adds complexity because content and features developed for one do not easily fit the template for another. (The technology used for Timberland’s international sites was unavailable when the U.S. site launched.) However, the commonality shared among international sites should ensure that each country’s rollout is smoother than the last.

"All European sites will be replicas of each other except for those things that have to be localized, [such as] language and payment methods," Brown said. International sites will offer many of the same special features the U.S. site has, such as the online product "configurator" from San Francisco-based Fluid Inc., which lets shoppers customize their own boots. Web site analytics software from Omniture of Orem, Utah, will help Timberland understand consumer preferences.

"I want to use analytics to help us allocate our resources toward things that matter as opposed to thing we think matter," Brown added.