March 14, 2005, 12:00 AM

SonyStyle tunes its site to meet the demands of high-end electronics buyers

SonyStyle.com, an e-commerce site of Sony Corp., is looking to give shoppers as much information as possible and pass along the same information in real time to some of its core online retailing partners, including Ritz Interactive and Crutchfield.com.

As a group, online consumer electronics shoppers can be a statistical bunch, scouring over a merchandise page looking for arcane product specifications or bombarding a customer contact center with reams of e-mail inquiries about precise technical details. But rather than waiting for customers to initiate a call or contact, SonyStyle.com, the e-commerce site of Sony Corp., is looking to give shoppers as much information as possible upfront and pass along the same information in real time to some of its core online retailing partners, including Ritz Interactive and Crutchfield.com.

Adding more online content, including three-dimensional images of consumer electronics such as high-definition TVs, is a key part of SonyStyle.com’s 2005 merchandising, says Scot Pettit, manager of web merchandising. New to the site’s merchandising pages are larger images and links that take shoppers deeper into the portal and expose them to articles such as “Why HDTV” and “Why Get It Now?” Next to the articles are featured products – some with 3D-enhanced images – and archived versions of Sony’s latest TV commercials available for playback.

SonyStyle is pushing more content as a way to enhance sales because Sony’s e-commerce shoppers tend be big spenders, placing online orders that average about $800. But big-ticket online electronics buyers are also brand conscious and particularly interested in details and products specs to ensure that they are buying the latest available technology.

“At the high end, product information is a very valuable sales tool,” Pettit says. “Since we are a manufacturer, customers expect lots of information about the brand and our products – and that’s what we are giving them more of.”

The enhanced content is rolling out now across SonyStyle.com, Pettit says. The same content is also being made available to other online retailers who sell Sony products. Using XML and real-time data links, the content is updated once at SonyStyle.com and on other retailing sites. “We are trying to get shoppers to learn more about each product line and technology as they get deeper into the site,” Pettit says.

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