January 17, 2002, 12:00 AM

The web as a test bed

Military PXs web site tested selling a $900 digital camera—and it sold so well that stores decided to stock it.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

More retailers are finding they can use the web to test new products. Lillian Vernon did it to test her audience’s reaction to Razor scooters (see: Never one to watch opportunity pass by, Lillian Vernon embraces the web in Internet Retailer, November 2001). And Barry Gordon, senior vice president of the cyber region of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates military base PXs as well as a PX web site, told the National Retail Federation’s convention this week that he tested a $900 digital camera on the web site. The high-priced cameras-especially in relation to military personnel income--sold so well that the PX subsequently stocked it in its stores.

Gordon also told attendees that the web has been a good way to sell sale merchandise. But an added benefit to posting the sale merchandise is that 41% of buyers of sale items are new customers, he said.

 

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