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Heavenly Hams, Killer Brownies, And Tlc

Business Week -- Web Smart 50 -- Customer Service

Heavenly Hams, Killer Brownies, and TLC

With little fanfare, Dorothy Lane Market Inc. has become one of the most innovative grocers on the Web. Customers can go online to place orders, see the day's specials, and check the availability of goodies such as Asiago Cheese Bread and Prosciutto di Parma. The company answers e-mail within 12 hours--24 hours a day, seven days a week. One Boston couple e-mailed the market after-hours asking if the store could deliver food to their daughter, who was ill at college. It did. "Dorothy Lane has made the Net human," says Daniel R. Wegman, president of Wegmans Food Markets Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. "In our business, that's revolutionary."

Others agree. In August alone, grocery execs from Italy, New Zealand, and Australia visited the Dayton grocer to learn its Web secrets. There, they saw how the market runs its back-office operations over the Net. Todd Templin, who manages the beer and wine department, says the company's Web site has cut his paperwork in half. Still, nothing is more popular then Dorothy Lane's specialties, like its Heavenly Hams and Killer Brownies, which now sell around the globe. Now that's customer service.Return to top


Dorothy Lane Market

The Project: To build a Web site that promotes the store's specials while letting managers concentrate marketing dollars on discounts for regular customers.The Payoff: Sales rose 10% and profit margins jumped to 3% from 2%, aided by the elimination of most outside advertising in favor of promotions over the Web.Return to top

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