December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Shoppers` social secretary

By Nicole Grasse, T.J. Becker

Editor in Chief

It can get lonely online, but Lands’ End keeps turning out new ways to humanize Web shopping.

This fall, the Wisconsin cataloger launched Shop with a Friend, a feature that allows two shoppers to link browsers and view pages together, while talking by phone or Web chat. “The Internet is not a very social experience,” points out Bill Bass, vice president of e-commerce at Lands’ End. Shop with a Friend warms up the Web by simulating an aspect of land-based shopping. And since it transcends geography, it’s a particular benefit for long-distance family and friends.

Another Lands’ End tool that helps replicate the real world is My Personal Model. This feature allows women to create an online body double to view selected apparel. Though there’s no substitute for the real thing, it’s certainly a cut above static Web pages. Matt Stamski at Gomez Advisors calls the online mannequin “the best of breed.”

The online clearance table is another crowd pleaser. Adopting a Filene’s Basement approach, new merchandise is slashed first on Saturday, with deeper cuts as the days roll by. Yet by leaving up merchandise that has already sold-out, the clearance area creates a sense of urgency for remaining goods.

This fall Lands’ End launched international sites in Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. On top of Web chat and interactive telephone customer service technologies, Lands’ End continues to reach out and touch consumers-wherever they are.

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