Even with a new lease on life, Linens ‘N Things online faces a tough fight.
The e-tailing group’s top picks in 16 categories
The e-tailing group announced its “category killers,” based on review of 100 web sites and their effectiveness in promoting shopping and buying.
Chicago-based consultants the e-tailing group announced its “category killers” today, based on its review of 100 web sites and the retailers’ effectiveness in creating a shopping and buying environment.
The categories, the criteria that the e-tailing group reviewed and the winners are:
ACCESSORIES– Branding, themed areas and gift strategies like suggestions, reminders & registries are essential to help customers make buying decisions: eBags
APPAREL – Established merchandising and multi/cross-channel features leverage the best of what customers are familiar with from their favorite stores or catalogs: Lands’ End
AUTOMOTIVE – Interactive tools that use databases of make/model information to customize product selections are indispensable. Seasonal promotions trigger purchasing. Enthusiasts leverage guides and how-tos to stay current: CSK Auto/Parts America
BOOKS/MUSIC – Top sellers, sales/specials and new releases are fundamental along with extensive category specific search options including title, author/artist, genre, release date and reviews: Barnes & Noble
COMPUTERS – This brand-centric category relies on vendor-supplied promotions plus ask the expert, product comparison, customization and configuration tools to facilitate online research that results in buying offline as well as online: Dell
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS – Manufacturer promotions, top sellers and price are the category drivers while content helps educate shoppers. Cross-sells that suggest related items and up-sells that promote warranty/service options are vital to increase average order sizes: Best Buy
DEPARTMENT STORES – Similar to the apparel category in reliance on offline roots to mold online presence: J.C. Penney
DRUGSTORES – Comprehensive “My Account” areas with profiling & localization enable these sites to personalize product offerings. Extensive couponing mirrors the offline price-driven nature of this category while how-tos & health guides add credibility: Walgreens
GIFTING – These sites rely on seasonality and suggestions to encourage gift purchasing and include gift centers or search functionality that aggregate products by recipient, price and/or occasion; address books, reminders, gift wrap, gift certificates: 1-800-Flowers
HEALTH/BEAUTY – In-store, in catalogs or online this category promotes brands with samples, gift-with-purchase and expert advice. Profiling and interactive tools make the experience even more personal online while driving targeted sales: Sephora
HOME/GARDEN – Expertise abounds from checklists to glossaries to how-tos (both text & video). But beware; the need to consistently generate fresh content has contributed to the demise of many a site. Also important are themed areas to organize products & cross/multi-channel initiatives like promotion of store events or links to weekly circulars: Bed Bath & Beyond
MASS MERCHANTS – Value orientation is reinforced on-site, with targeted e-mail and through in-store promotions. A trend to watch is multi/cross-channel partnering to deliver better customer convenience/service/selection: Amazon.com
OFFICE SUPPLIES – The commodity and replenishment nature of this category makes it ideally suited for across-the-board online merchandising with price promotions, contests, preorders, monthly programs, cross-sells, up-sells, and multi/cross-channel tie-ins: Office Depot
PETS – Similar in nature to office supplies where replenishment, profiling and interactive tools uniquely customize the shopping experience. Greater use of community tools than any other categories surveyed speaks to the enthusiast nature of pet owners: Petsmart
SPORTING GOODS – Seasonality and specific sports dictate product emphasis, custom content and presentation with what’s new, brand shops, gifting and clearance strategies the standard bearers: REI
TOYS/GAMES – Hot Toys and Best Sellers are critical as is a gifting strategy that enables search by age, gender, character, brand and/or theme: SmarterKids