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Sur La Table Improves Website Stability and Grows Online Sales With Spark::red

With over 40 years in the market Sur La Table has become one of the biggest and most well-known US housewares retailers and currently operates over 100 retail stores. Besides a successful brick-and-mortar retail business, the company also is among the Top 500 online retailers in the US based on the amount of online sales per year.

Past Problems

Sur La Table needed to re-platform its site in 2011 to accommodate growing demand. After evaluating different eCommerce solutions, the company chose the ATG/Oracle Commerce platform. Its original hosting provider did not deliver the required website stability, and Sur La Table suffered many outages between 2011 and 2012.

Moreover, the previous hosting provider’s rigid controls did not allow Sur La Table’s team to make necessary changes to the website in an efficient, timely manner, making it difficult for the retailer to reach its business goals.

“We did not have a lot of transparency into our own systems. The previous provider felt like that they had to basically black us out in order to meet their service level agreements”,

– Kevin Ertell, Senior VP of Digital


As stated above, stability and flexibility of the hosting solution were Sur La Table’s two major concerns. In order to resolve those issues and maximize the ROI from the ATG/Oracle Commerce platform, the retailer made a decision to migrate the website to another hosting provider. After comparing the expertise and offered solutions’ flexibility of multiple ATG/Oracle Commerce hosting providers, Sur La Table selected Spark::red to be their new vendor and partner.

“We were really impressed by the knowledge level of the Spark::red team. It was very clear to us that we were going to get a whole different level of service from Spark::red, and it really felt like they were going to really just be an extension of our team. It’s also critical that we can manage changes and improvements to the site as quickly as necessary to keep up with the rapidly changing e-commerce industry. No other provider gave us the same level of comfort”,

– Kevin Ertell, Senior VP of Digital

In January 2013 Spark::red migrated Sur La Table’s online store from the previous ATG/Oracle Commerce hosting provider.

As a part of the Spark::red Oracle Commerce Hosting Solution, Spark::red provided fully dedicated infrastructure, Tier IV data center, 24/7 architect level support, advanced monitoring, tuning, access to production systems and more.


The new website has better speed and stability; tickets are resolved faster and Sur La Table’s team has access to production systems. Sur La Table’s website performance statistics for 2013 speak for themselves.

Since the online store’s relaunch in January 2013, Sur La Table has been able to focus on growing its business instead of troubleshooting the website. With Spark::red’s support the retailer had record Cyber Monday sales and grew online sales by 104.2% reaching $56.8 million in 2013 according to Internet Retailer.

SurLaTable.com Performance 2013 Calendar Year


“We’re seeing substantial levels of improvement in site speed, app performance and uptime. Tickets are resolved extremely quickly with Spark::red, and we’re very pleased with the flexibility of the Spark::red team to work with us in ways that work best for us.”

– Kevin Ertell, Senior VP of Digital

SurLaTable.com Performance Cyber Monday 2013


“The 2013 Holiday Season was Sur La Table’s third on the ATG platform and our first with Spark::red. The difference was remarkable. Unlike the problems that plagued us at our past hosting provider – inability to update site content during normal business hours, crashing application instances, and full site outages – this year we calmly watched traffic levels exceed expectations while our business sales goals were quickly met and then blown away. We know the decision to move this key piece of Sur La Table’s business to Spark::red was the right one.”

– Ed Amdahl, Director of IT Operations

About the Author:

Elena Rybalchenko is a Marketing Professional with a background in engineering. She has been focused on improving communication between technical and business professionals in the eCommerce industry through translating technical information for non-technical audiences, as well as analyzing eCommerce and IT markets and sharing industry insights and trends.
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