November 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Specialty / Apparel & Accessories: Guess what: They will buy apparel online

(Page 2 of 5)

Retail starts with having the right products. The rest has to do with how well product benefits are communicated to consumers, and how easy the retailer makes it for consumers to buy. Eddie Bauer hits the mark this year with significant enhancements on all three measures.

It`s recognized the importance to today`s consumer of not just sizing but fit, and updated its pants and shirts to bring them in line with contemporary tastes. And it`s effectively leveraging the web to communicate that message. "There is a huge opportunity in helping consumers find clothing that fits them better," says Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president at consultants Retail Forward. "Eddie Bauer is thinking about the merchandise from a fit and a fashion perspective, not just a functional perspective."

EddieBauer.com makes that clear with new features such as its fit guide, which shows with text description and graphics how garments will fit: whether a blouse is designed to be loose or figure-hugging, for example. Among other ways to sort, the new "shop by fit" option lets shoppers sort tops and bottoms according to cut and style, pulling up only apparel with the preferred fit.

The web site takes that a step further with its video jeans guide, which lets shoppers launch video clips of models wearing different styles of jeans to show how they`ll fit. "Not every consumer wants the same fit or has the same shape, so we`ve gone out to help consumers understand that we do have their fit and we are going to help them find that on the web site," says Troy Brown, vice president of e-commerce.

Supporting the updated approach to fit and fashion this year is a new online wardrobing feature, "Complete the Look," and new ability to zoom in on, rotate, and swap color on product images. "They`ve always provided a clean shopping experience, but they`re continuing to improve on and evolve the ability to shop easily," Whitfield adds.

Recent results suggest customers approve. In August, the month Eddie Bauer launched its updated fall jeans collection and video fit guide, denim sales were double the volume of denim sales the previous August, according to Brown. "We`re seeing tremendous response," he adds.

EddieBauer.com/ Spiegel Inc.
14850 NE 36th St. Redmond, WA 98052
Date Launched
1997
Unique visitors (monthly)
1,500,000
Vendor Relationships
Site Design
In-house
E-Commerce Platform
Microsoft
Web Hosting
Fry Inc.

Site Search
Endeca Technologies
Content Management
In-house
Order Management
In-house
Payment Processor
Chase Merchant Services
Fulfillment
In-house
Affiliate Marketing Management
Performics
Search Engine Management
Performics
E-Mail Marketing
CheetahMail
CRM
In-house
Web Analytics
Coremetrics

Rich Media
RichFX


LandsEnd.com
One step ahead

Staying ahead of the competition is often harder than playing catch up. So give Landsend.com its due. Nearly a decade after its debut on the web, Lands` End remains a leader in site design and technology. Its success hinges on the creation of a high quality, seamless shopping experience. The experience is so good that some industry experts argue the retailer`s web site has eclipsed its flagship catalog in terms of quality.

"Lands` End is always on the leading edge of introducing new web site technology and they retool as needed," says Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president for Retail Forward.

Lands` End is such an established leader in online retailing that parent Sears, Roebuck and Co. is borrowing several of its subsidiary`s innovations for use on Sears.com. One feature is Lands` End My Virtual Room which Sears.com has recast as the virtual home. Visitors can view an image of a bedroom, the décor of which they can change at will. Visitors start by clicking on room view and then select colors for the room`s walls and the type of flooring they prefer. Visitors can select colors for bed linens, pillow shams, bed skirts and comforters. Once completed, the view of the room can be rotated to three positions and zoom in on elements.

"People want to be able to try out the look of what they are buying for the home," says Bill Bass, vice president and general manager for Sears Direct. "Our aim is to make it easier for customers to shop when and how they want."

The virtual bedroom builds on Lands` End`s My Virtual Model technology, which it pioneered in 1998, and is intended to deliver products individualized to the customer`s taste. Customers using the feature spend 8% more per purchase and have 34% higher conversion rate than customers who do not. In some apparel categories, custom fits represent as much as 40% of sales.

The technology is also attracting new customers. About 25% of customers purchasing custom pants and jeans are first time buyers. With no signs of slowing down the introduction of innovations for its web site, Lands` End, making its sixth appearance in the Best of the Web, is expected to remain well out in front of its competitors.

LandsEnd.com/ Sears, Roebuck and Co.
5 Land`s End Lane Dodgeville, WI 53595
Date Launched
1995
Unique visitors (monthly)
1,634,000*
Annual Web-Based Sales
$511,000,000 (2003)
Vendor Relationships
Site Design
In-house
E-Commerce Platform
In-house
Web Hosting
Berbee Information Networks
Site Search
EasyAsk

Content Management
Vignette
Order Management
In-house
Payment Processor
Paymentech

Fulfillment
In-house
Affiliate Marketing Management
LinkShare

Search Engine Management
In-house
E-Mail Marketing
Responsys
CRM
Trilogy
Web Analytics
Coremetrics

Content Delivery Network
Akamai Technologies
Rich Media
Scene 7


LLBean.com
Part of the family
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