May 14, 2003, 12:00 AM

Petals.com boosts merchandising power in relaunch

New merchandising tool lets Petals tag products in multiple categories – and makes it easy for customers to find them on the site. It also simplifies changes to pricing and promotions.

Petals, a 60 year-old multi-channel retailer of silk flowers, plants and home decor, with a product mix and offers that change frequently, needed to help customers search and browse effectively. To boost its merchandising and product presentation capabilities as well as usability, the site recently relaunched with Multimedia Live’s MarketLive application.

Now, in addition to allowing visitors to shop by product category, Multimedia’s flexible display templates and product group feature allow Petals staff to tag any product for inclusion in a broader range of categories, such as price, color and theme. Any product can be tagged to appear in any number of product groups; buttons for the groups appear in the navigation for every page.

Product groups facilitate site administration as changes to pricing, promotions, status of group membership and other characteristics can be applied simultaneously to all products within the group, according to Ken Burke, Multimedia Live CEO. The Java-based MarketLive application was easily integrated with Petal’s existing back end, he adds.

“Just as with a retail location or catalog, a web site’s success depends on the quality of its merchandising,” Burke says. “Throughout Petals.com, every product is presented in the most appealing way possible, with kickers for related cross-sells underneath. Customers consider this a great service and a great convenience because it gives them easy access to products that are pertinent to them.”

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