September 12, 2003, 12:00 AM

The web brings new customers to cataloger Miles Kimball

Cataloger Miles Kimball is attracting new customers through its web site, Joel Schunter, marketing manager, tells Internet Retailer. That, in turn, affects how often Miles Kimball updates its home page, Schunter says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Cataloger Miles Kimball is attracting new customers through its web site, Joel Schunter, marketing manager, tells Internet Retailer. That, in turn, affects how often Miles Kimball updates its home page, Schunter says. "Now that we have a lot more non-catalog shoppers at our site, we change more frequently," he says. "We want customers to know we have a lot of different products."

The difference between customers is in the degree of knowledge about Miles Kimball. Catalog recipients know what Miles Kimball sells from browsing the catalog; customers who come through an affiliate link or search results will not be as familiar with the company’s merchandise, Schunter says. The company refreshes its home page every two weeks now vs. once a month before.

Schunter says that 50% of the customers who shop the site enter a key code from a catalog. "Our customers are trained to do that to get special offers," Schunter says, leading the company to believe that most of the rest are not catalog customers.

Miles Kimball re-launched its web site in July with a new design from design firm Multimedia Live. It gave its home and product pages a cleaner look, reduced the number of categories and made them more intuitive and color-coded its categories to match the catalog presentation. Category names appear against a yellow background, but when a customer mouses over a category, the category color changes to match the color in the catalog. It also added a Wish List and Tell A Friend.

It hopes the re-design will push customers beyond the product pages. "New customers who come in looking for a particular gadget don’t understand what we’re all about," Schunter says. "We want to get them beyond the product page. We’re convinced that everyone who comes to the site will find something they didn’t know they needed."

With the new site and the success in attracting new customers, Miles Kimball now plans to step up its search engine marketing, Schunter says.

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