June 9, 2005, 12:00 AM

Anthropologie uses rich media to build customer relationships

Anthropologie, a retailer of women’s apparel and home furnishings, uses rich media throughout its retail web site to get shoppers to stay longer and spend more, Ranjana Sharma, head of e-commerce, said at the Internet Retailer Conference this week.

Anthropologie, a retailer of globally sourced women’s apparel and home furnishings, uses rich media throughout its retail web site to get shoppers to stay longer and spend more, Ranjana Sharma, head of e-commerce, said at the Internet Retailer 2005 Conference & Exhibition this week.

“We try to cater to the shopper’s curiosity,” Sharma said. “The more time she spends on our site, the more she’ll spend with us.”

To illustrate her point, Sharma clicked on an image on Anthropologie.com of the same purse she carried into the conference, then used the site zoom to blow up the image’s details on an overhead screen. She noted how the zoomed web site image could focus on the embedded jewel in the handbag, making it easier to see the details than if a shopper were looking at the actual bag from a short distance.

All products on Anthropologie.com, ranging from women’s and girls’ dresses to handbags and upholstered furniture, can be clicked on to create a rich-media pop-up. The pop-up allows the shopper to zoom in or out, see front and back views, change colors, and, on some products, click to see the product on a model or in a room setting. Products appearing on models can also be clicked to change the product’s color. Models often are shown in a complementary setting, such as a country or city scene.

The multiple rich media options from Scene7 are designed to provide customized interactions that suit the multiple interests of shoppers, Sharma said. “We want to let the shopper build a relationship with us on her terms,” she said. “We want to give her the control to interact with us.”

Anthropologie also provides an “e-mail to a friend” feature on each product page, which lets shoppers send an image of a product to a friend. “They can let a friend suggest different colors,” she said.

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