This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    Norwalk-based meal-prep and delivery service Cookin’ Dinners is the first of its kind in the Northeast, preceding its big West Coast cousins Super Suppers and Dream Dinners.

    answerYES Interactive got involved with the start-up franchise six months ago when founder and gourmet chef George Gardone approach us to build the ecommerce website, mailer, and web-based reservation system and menu management.

    answerYES worked with George closely to design the right look and feel for the online presence as well as how the back-end application should function, including support for multiple stores under multiple owners. The entire site was built from scratch using the the latest ASP.Net C# framework and Microsoft SQL Database optimized for fast order processing.

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    The Care Center (TCC) has been selling home medical equipment — everything from scooters and wheelchairs to cold packs and colostomy bags — for over 20 years in Old Greenwich, CT. When it came time to take the business online, the owners turned to answerYES to build an ecommerce site. We actually did a little more than that, answerYES helped TCC with print ads, store signage, and establishing an 800 number with a messaging system. We also provided on-site training to TCC’s sales staff on how to effectively manage products under their new customized osCommerce platform. And if they ever needed additional support, we were just an email or phone call away.

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    I recently launched the ecommerce site for start-up cookie company StaceyLu Confections based out of Weston, CT. They specialize in custom-made cookies for corporate and private events. I was hired to do logo design, website design and development (used osCommerce as the ecommerce platform), and to design a newsletter template for Constant Contact.

    In addition to the server-side stats I also enabled Google Analytics (you can never have too many metrics when it comes to tracking your return on investment). Along with this came server-side search engine optimization (SEO) which includes something relatively new, submitting XML sitemaps to Google (and others). I used the free sitemap generator XML-Sitemaps.com for StaceyLu (for small shops the free version is more than adequate). The site has been live for a few weeks now so go buy a cookie already.

    Aside: when asked to do the newsletter design I decided to take the plunge and learn the special Constant Contact mark-up language for creating email templates. Already familiar with XML I didn’t have any problem getting up to speed and creating the first newsletter using my new StaceyLu template. Ahh, but here’s the rub, Constant Contact does NOT allow you to keep your custom template on their server so it would be available the next time around. To do this, you have to pay them $600! Given I did all the work, this felt like a crude bait and switch. A workaround is to upload the template code each time you compose a newsletter but this is not a practical thing to ask a client to do (who was taking over the task).┬áNeedless to say, I was a bit peeved. I ended up redoing the newsletter using one of Constant Contact’s built-in templates (not nearly as chic). Going to use MailChimp next time!

    {Ed. Note 12/19/06: I was interviewed by The Hour (Norwalk, CT) about my viral marketing campaigns and the StaceyLu website was pictured along with the article. Free publicity for StaceyLu but honestly not sure why the paper grabbed that picture, it has nothing to do with viral marketing. }

    {Ed. Note 3/30/10: StaceyLu is no longer a cookie company. The site is being converted into a blog about “personal growth” or something like that. It has been many years, often are the whims of start-up entrepreneurs. Still, it was interesting work at the time. }

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    Pro-Formance Industries┬áis an innovative bio-mechanical manufacturer of healthcare products located in Southern New Hampshire. For over 30 years, Pro-Formance’s goal has been to enhance the lives of people by producing ergonomically designed products that provide comfort and support. Pro-Formance does this by designing products with experts and seeking the highest quality components to produce the most durable, comfort-enhancing products on the market.

    Today, we officially launch the website for new product line of Ergo-Step Insoles. We were given only two weeks to design and develop an ecommerce solution (using ColdFusion) but we’re pretty proud of the end results. Moreover, so is the client.

    “Our goal was to provide Ergo-Step insoles to the medical community at a discounted, volume rate. We wanted to make it as easy and cost effective as possible so our marketing research pointed toward an integrated online solution,” said Deb Johnson, President of Pro-Formance Industries. “We also needed the solution to be scalable and we needed it quickly. Within two weeks, answerYES and our marketing department were able to build a list of robust requirements and create an informative dynamic website where both healthcare professionals and patients can order online. Most importantly, we know we’ll be expanding our business and answerYES has designed a scalable solution poised to expand and integrate with our back-end processes.”

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    The owners of the New York Gift Company came to me late into the holiday season to get their ecommerce site up and running before December (for anybody in retail relying on the Christmas bump knows this is too late but the client was really ramping up for Valentine’s Day). Nevertheless, I worked very closely with the owners on everything from product photos to search engine keywords in order to have the site ready for holiday shoppers. The ecommerce used was Yahoo! Store which helped expedite the security issues and New York Gift Company was up and running on 12/1.

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