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Case Study Mastermind Toys

Toronto, Ontario
Retail

Mastermind leverages their technology investment as FD completes website redevelopment

Mastermind Toys is a leading specialty toy retailer in the Greater Toronto Area. Since 1984, Mastermind has been famous for its extraordinary selection of carefully chosen toys and books that challenge thinking, awaken creativity, develop imagination, and offer children hours of fun. Over the years, Mastermind has built a large customer following by offering outstanding service and product selection in its eleven stores and through its website www.mastermindtoys.com.

The original website was written over ten years ago using, at the time, modern technologies from Microsoft, including ASP, IIS, and SQL Server. As the business grew and requirements changed, the technological platform slowly became obsolete and the existing software was enhanced to the point where it became very difficult to maintain and performed below industry standards.

FD Solutions was chosen by Mastermind to develop and implement a completely new website for its online retail channel. An updated and streamlined site with greatly improved performance and a variety of new and improved features was needed to provide customers with an easier and more versatile way of shopping for books and toys online.

Read Details

Challenge accepted

Develop and implement a completely new website for Mastermind Toy's online retail channel, offering greater functionality, improved performance, and a variety of new features, to enhance customer online shopping.

Solution delivered

FD Solutions proposed using a proven e-Commerce framework written for modern Microsoft technologies, and upgrading the operating system platform to Windows Server 2008 and the database engine to SQL Server 2008.

Technologies

  • Visual Studio
  • Mediachase ECF G5
  • Windows Server
  • SQL Server
  • IISC#
  • ASP.NET
  • Visual Studio
  • Mediachase ECF G5
  • Windows Server
  • SQL Server
  • IISC#
  • ASP.NET
  • Visual Studio
  • Mediachase ECF G5
  • Windows Server
  • SQL Server
  • IISC#
  • ASP.NET
  • Visual Studio
  • Mediachase ECF G5
  • Windows Server
  • SQL Server
  • IISC#
  • ASP.NET

Benefits of deliverable

By adopting a disciplined approach to QA testing, Mastermind would offer customers best-in-class options from day one.

FD QA labs replicated the Mastermind environment reducing costs and increasing the ability to find problems before go-live.

Weekly reports kept management up-to-speed with all aspects of the project and meant no surprises when critical decisions needed fast attention.

By adopting the methodology and thought leadership introduced by the FD QA team, Mastermind delivered a premiere online shopping experience to North American customers from day one.

Solution details

FD Solutions proposed making use of a tried and tested e-Commerce framework written for modern Microsoft technologies. We decided on ECF G5, from the U.S.-based firm Mediachase (www.mediachase.com). This e-Commerce technology boasts an extensible and flexible platform that addressed many of the requirements specified by Mastermind Toys. ECF has a significant installed customer base, sharing similar functional and performance characteristics with those desired by Mastermind.

Screenshot of a Silly Bandz promotion on the Mastermind Toys website

FD recommended that Mastermind leverage their existing investment in Microsoft server technology by upgrading their operating system platform to Windows Server and database engine to SQL Server. We also suggested that the existing server configuration should be slightly modified so that SQL Server would no longer run in a virtual environment, since it is most optimal to run the database natively on its host computer. The development environment that First Derivatives Canada proposed was Visual Studio 2008 combined with Mediachase ECF G5. The web server ran IIS 7.0 with the ASP.NET 3.5 framework. C# was used as the code-behind language, and was also the implementation language of ECF. FD considered that this platform was optimal, but it had the additional benefit of ensuring that there were no unusual integration issues with Mastermind's customization of ECF. The ECF framework provided a good starting point for an e-Commerce site, yet had enough flexibility to provide unlimited customization of existing features, as well as the addition of new ones.

Screenshot of the Active, Outdoor, Sports section of the Mastermind Toys website

The new Mastermind Toys website was launched in October 2010 and can be viewed at www.mastermindtoys.com.

A few words about the project

Feedback

We're delighted with the greatly expanded functionality of our new website and the many additional and improved features that make the online shopping experience much easier and more enjoyable for our customers.

— President at Mastermind Toys

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