Centor Publishing (sportEX)

Web site development case study



Centor Publishing produce two magazines quarterly aimed at health and fitness professionals respectively that are distributed to their subscribers, plus a wide variety of 'Patient Advice Leaflets' which are available for sale.

Prior to SUMMIT's involvement they already  had a web site containing information about their publications and a basic 'shopping' area which enabled customers to place orders online, although credit card processing was not included. Their order processing was handled back in the office with a combination of 'home-grown' Access databases and manual administration.

They wanted to upgrade the web site not least because they had dozens of ideas that they wanted to introduce, including:

  • Enable subscribers access to their personal and subscription details
  • Put their magazine articles on-line, but accessible only to their subscribers
  • Provide a 'courses & events' feature which allows providing organisations to manage their own entries
  • Have a complete e-commerce shopping area
  • Introduce a 'book club' which would feature comprehensive reviews of publications and the opportunity for subscribers to buy at discounted prices

In addition they needed to simplify and streamline their order taking, processing and fulfilment process as much as possible because they wanted to introduce special offers, discount vouchers and other marketing ideas to stimulate trade.

SUMMIT's involvement

Centor's first meeting with SUMMIT happened over coffee in the IOD in London in early 2002. Tor Davies (one of Centor's proprietors) met with Ian Hayes to talk through her ideas and plans. More ideas were generated which culminated in a full day brainstorming meeting at Centor's offices with the entire office staff.

Towards the end of this meeting, Ian proposed a solution which quite literally took Tor's and Sarah Kilroy's (the other proprietor) breath away. Ian's proposal was to build, not just a new web site, but a complete end-to-end business system on the web, thereby eliminating the need for any office-based systems at all.

18 months later...

With 3 major phases of new software release and numerous small and large enhancements within each phase, the new sportEX web site and business system is fully operational. All of their old legacy data has been converted and integrated into the new system and all order fulfilment administration now takes place within the web-based system.

Some of the major features of the system are:

  • Full content management of their on-line articles
  • Subscribers and all customers able to log in, update their own details,  place new orders and monitor their order progress
  • Book reviewers enter their reviews on-line (either single book or multiple book, head-to-head reviews) which are checked before being 'published'
  • The book club, which allows customers to read the reviews, is fully integrated into the e-commerce shopping area so that books can be immediately added to the 'shopping basket' if required
  • A system of promotional 'vouchers' has been implemented which give customers discounts and/or free products
  • A full suite of order processing, invoicing, payment reconciliation and management reporting
  • Automatic dispatch of book orders to the appropriate publisher for fulfilment
  • Complete customer and subscriber records immediately accessible
  • Generation of customer lists for mailshot purposes (e-mail or paper) that can be based on a large variety of criteria including subscription status and purchase history

If you would like to see the sportEX site (although, of course, you will only be able to access the customer 'front end') you can visit www.sportex.net.