December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Studying more than customs

As consumers move from the mall sales to the web, Anthropologie.com does a fine job of offering great sales on its merchandise. And while other, larger retailers and manufacturers may be unloading out of season or unsold items on retail exchanges, Anthropologie is possibly a step ahead by using its existing web site and interest from its customers to keep its warehouse space free for incoming items. Anthropologie.com, a privately held retailer owned by Urban Outfitters, sells trendy ethnocentric women’s clothes, accessories and home décor. Sale prices on items can go as high as 75% off if consumers can hold off long enough to see their desired items come down in price. In the sales section, customers click through each item selected from a menu of smaller photos. A box then shows a larger photo of the item, displays the item description and the original price, then shows the sale price in retail’s traditional red ink. While it takes a few clicks to drill down to the exact item a consumer wants, finding something on sale for $7.95 that was initially priced at $58 is time well spent.

Keven Wilder of Chicago-based Wilder & Associates says highlighting the original and sale price for the sale items is important to show consumers the value in shopping on the site. But retailers who have sales on their sites must be careful not to lose the opportunity to sell items at full price by becoming really well-known only for their sales. While Anthropologie gives consumers the option to sign up for email notification of sales to drive traffic to the category, it also uses email to introduce new season line ups-at full price. That’s an important strategy because the Anthropolgie site complements the company’s catalog and store operations nicely-and sale items are not available in those venues.

Anthropolgie.com

Philadelphia, Pa.

Monthly visitors: 225,000

Sales: $5 million+

Went live: August 1998

Design by: Anthropologie

OS: Linux

E-C Software: Ecometry Stystem

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