February 26, 2004, 12:00 AM

Lands’ End is moving its success in online custom clothing to the catalog

Lands’ End has had such success with its online custom-fit offerings that it has started making custom clothing available via phone orders, Sam Taylor, vice president of e-commerce for Lands’ End, told eTail attendees this week.

Lands’ End, one of the leaders in testing new ways to use the Internet, has had great success with its online custom-fit offerings and has started making custom clothing available via phone orders, Sam Taylor, vice president of e-commerce for Lands’ End, a division of Sears, Roebuck and Co., told eTail attendees in Palm Springs, CA, this week.

Lands’ End introduced custom fit on chinos and jeans at its web site. “Out of the gate, 40% of chinos and jeans orders were custom fit,” Taylor said. Today, the most popular custom category is men’s dress shirts. “It’s just like ordering from your tailor in Hong Kong, but at a fraction of the cost,” he said.

Customers who order custom fit clothing have a 39% higher retention rate than the average Lands’ End customer and spend 39% more in the following year, Taylor said.

Lands’ End introduced custom fit online rather than through the catalog because of the talk time to place a custom order and because of the personal nature of some of the data needed to complete the order. But with the success of custom fit, Lands’ End now is moving it to the catalog as well. Its current catalogs feature two-page spread on custom fit, with a step-by-step breakdown of what the customer needs to do to place a custom order on the phone. “We’re trying to get customers to make as many decisions as possible before they pick up the phone,” Taylor said. Talk time is higher than an average order, but Taylor said the company is working on ways to refine the message in the catalog to reduce time on the phone.

Lands’ End also is expanding the My Virtual Model technology to 1,500 items this year, Taylor said. It installed the original version of My Virtual Model in 1998 and earlier this year installed the latest version. Lands’ End is a fan of My Virtual Model because customers have a 34% higher conversion rate than average and spend 8% more than the average customer, Taylor said.

The newest version of My Virtual Model includes a more realistic depiction of people, includes a section that depicts on the model how customers should measure themselves and allows customers with high-speed connections to view changes in clothing on the model in real time, Taylor said. Lands’ End also has developed a “Great Go-Togethers” function that places ensembles on models.

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