January 17, 2003, 12:00 AM

Talk about integrating retail channels: NetRatings identifies the leaders

Some upscale retailers are showing that the web can create strong links to the customer, says Nielsen/NetRatings. The leader: Consumers who log onto Coach`s web site are 27 times more likely to visit a Coach store than the average Internet user.

A number of upscale, high-profile retailers with strong web offerings are showing that the web can create strong links to the customer, says a study from Nielsen/NetRatings’s @Plan service.

Nielsen/NetRatings reports that consumers who log onto Coach`s web site are 27 times more likely to visit a Coach retail location than the average Internet user. Visitors to NeimanMarcus.com are 18 times more likely to visit a Neiman Marcus store, while consumers visiting the J. Crew web site are 10 times as likely to visit a store. Bloomingdale`s and Williams-Sonoma rounded out the top five, showing that visitors to Bloomingdales.com are 10 times more likely to go to its stores while visitors to Williams-Sonoma.com are nine times more likely to visit the store.

"As retailers plan for 2003, the successful integration of the Internet into a retailer`s sales channel strategy will play a pivotal role in helping many underachieving merchants drive higher revenues," says Patrick Thomas, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen/NetRatings. "Many of today`s established traditional retailers continue to allow stores, catalogs, and Internet sites to operate independently, missing out on the true benefits derived through the maximization of their multi-channel sales initiatives."

Nielsen/NetRatings` @Plan service is a target-marketing platform for Internet media planning, buying and selling. The results are benchmarked off an index of 100, representing the average usage patterns of the Internet audience. Nielsen/.NetRatings says the data allow companies to determine their success rate at integrating their sales channels.

The leading brands in integrating web and store, and their scores, are:
1. Coach, 2,707
2. Neiman Marcus, 1,862
3. J. Crew, 1,077
4. Bloomingdale`s, 1,002
5. Williams-Sonoma, 956
6. Pottery Barn, 831
7. Crate & Barrel, 784
8. Nordstrom, 568
9. Eddie Bauer, 508
10. Macys.com, 476

On the catalog side, Nielsen/NetRatings reports that J. Crew again was successful. Individuals visiting JCrew.com are 13 times more likely to use the catalog than the average Internet user. William-Sonoma`s online customers are 12 times as likely to use the catalog than the average Internet user.

The top retailers integrating catalog and web, and their scores, are:
1. J. Crew, 1,363
2. Williams-Sonoma, 1,207
3. Nordstrom, 1,198
4. Pottery Barn, 1,128
5. Crate & Barrel, 998
6. Eddie Bauer, 810
7. OfficeMax.com, 762
8. Staples, 700
9. Victoria`s Secret, 695
10. Office Depot, 638

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