Cardinal takes e-commerce plunge with golfing Web site

A new Web-based merchandising strategy developed by Cardinal Group for an international golfing event is just the beginning of future e-commerce opportunities for the company. As the official e-commerce partner to the World Cup of Golf, Cardinal is using its Jade development environment to build an online golf merchandise store.

A new Web-based merchandising strategy developed by Cardinal Group for an international golfing event is just the beginning of future e-commerce opportunities for the company.

As the official e-commerce partner to the World Cup of Golf, Cardinal is using its Jade development environment to build an online golf merchandise store. It will be part of the Web site for the tournament, which is being held in New Zealand from November 19 to 22.

Cardinal executive director Mike White says when users bring up the official Web site (hosted in the US) to check golfing results, they will be able to access the online store running on a server in New Zealand.

The Parallel Media Group is the international company managing the tournament and is involved in a wide range of professional sporting events around the world. It's not only using the Jade Web store technology for the 1998 and 1999 World Cup of Golf events, but has also expressed an interest in applying it to other event Web sites.

White says the site will make it easy for vendors to sell their goods, regardless of where they are.

He believes it's a great opportunity for New Zealand manufacturers to sell their products at a "cheap rate" globally. It will cost them $US100 to be on the site.

Visitors to the Web store will be able to browse the merchandise and purchase goods at US dollar prices using their credit card. This information is stored in a Jade application which converts the US dollars into the vendor's required currency. HTML is automatically generated to create a secure environment where vendors can view and download order information.

White says the Jade solution is a unique achievement in event marketing over the Web. "It is common for large- event Web sites to simply sell event-branded merchandise but not to offer a true Web store where multiple vendors from multiple countries with multiple currencies can offer goods for sale."

White hopes the site is the first of many similar sites. He says there's no reason why Cardinal can't look at the concept further. "Now we have the site set up, why wouldn't I look at other events — not necessarily run through the Parallel Media Group? Why wouldn't I just keep going?" Other sporting events which could be suitable include the Rugby World Cup, the Olympics and World Series Baseball. White says the concept doesn't have to be limited to sports. Anything which attracts high numbers of people to a Web site is ideal. He says Cardinal could go the "whole nine yards" and handle things like ticketing, accommodation and tours as well.

The golf site is expected to receive around a million hits a day during the four days of the tournament, which features golfers such Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and New Zealanders Frank Nobilo and Greg Turner.

White says Jade has already been proven as an e-commerce tool with Internet banking solutions for ASB bank and its subsidiary Bank Direct, but that this solution will go beyond those achievements because it will be required to handle a much wider variety of transactions and currencies.

The solution is just the sort of thing called for by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group in last week's Computerworld. A Deloitte's report said electronic rebundlers which provide an electronic one-stop shop for consumers by acting as a front end for other vendors will be a key e-commerce trend. Deloitte's New Zealand partner, Paul Gadd, said New Zealand organisations could take advantage of markets like the US by becoming rebundlers. The web store will go live on October 19 at www.wcg98.com.

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