February 19, 2004, 12:00 AM

Baby gear retailer OneStepAhead’s catalog does double duty online

An exact replica of the paper version, the virtual catalog captures sales from new web shoppers more used to paper and work-based shoppers who don`t have the catalog on hand.

Baby gear retailer OneStepAhead is driving increased cross-channel utility from its paper catalog to its web site since it put the catalog online. About 40% of web visitors are choosing to flip through its new Flash-powered catalog, launched with the help of technology provider RichFX, when they visit the site, Rachel Pendon, Internet manager of site and catalog operator Chelsea & Scott Ltd., tells Internet Retailer.

“We know that about 50% of the people who visit our site have received our catalog,” says Pendon. “And about 85% of the people who have purchased from the virtual catalog are new buyers.” Pendon speculates that the high virtual catalog purchase rate among shoppers who’ve never bought from the web site before has to do with their familiarity with the paper catalog, of which the online catalog is an exact replica. “If you are not familiar with our site but are with the catalog, the virtual catalog is the easiest way to find things online,” she says. “For the new user who hasn’t really shopped our site before and is just becoming familiar with it, using the virtual catalog may just be more comfortable.”

Pendon adds that having the catalog online also helps capture sales from shoppers who’ve already located what they want in the paper catalog but don’t have it on hand when ordering online. “We do have a catalog quick shop feature on the site, but we think there is a high percentage of customers out there who are shopping from work and don’t have the catalog with them,” she says.

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