March 19, 2002, 12:00 AM

Restoration Hardware’s new web site tries to replicate the store experience

Restoration Hardware Inc. will re-launch its web site next month with a new design that ties the web shopping experience more closely to the store shopping experience, Fort Point Partners Inc., which designed the site, tells Internet Retailer.

 

Restoration Hardware Inc. will re-launch its web site next month with a new design that ties the web shopping experience more closely to the store shopping experience, Fort Point Partners Inc., which designed the site, tells Internet Retailer. “Restoration Hardware’s customers come into the stores expecting knowledgeable sales persons who know what it means to renovate a house and who can offer advice,” says Kevin Tate, vice president of global marketing for Fort Point Partners. “Executing that on the web is very challenging.”

How products are presented in the database was key to the success of the site, Tate says. “How the site is laid out in data systems sounds like the plumbing, but it has a lot of do with merchandising and how the customer shops,” Tate says.

The data structure is important because the web site relies on it to direct customers to cross-sell merchandise. “In the stores there are complementary collections so there might be a rug that goes with a particular couch and chair,” Tate says. “They may not actually be grouped together and it’s usually the sales person who crosses the collections. But you don’t have that online so much of the data was re-architected to achieve that.”

Fort Point Partners worked with Restoration Hardware for about two and a half months to create the new site. Because Fort Point has worked on about 30 retail sites, it had all the basics in place, such as shopping carts and checkout procedures, Tate says. “That allowed Restoration Hardware to focus on the things that make them special,” he says.

The web is becoming an increasingly important outlet for Restoration Hardware. While companywide sales grew 9% during the holiday period, direct sales, which include web and catalog, grew 53%. And before that, while companywide sales in the autumn were declining, direct sales were going up.

 

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