March 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

L.L. Bean nips and tucks site personalization

The web store is now L.L. Bean’s biggest sales channel, which the company is enhancing with new personalization features.

L.L. Bean keeps building–both online and off. As part of a broader multi-channel plan, L.L. Bean may open as many as five new stores in 2006, mostly along the East Coast.

But L.L. Bean, No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, certainly isn’t forgetting the web, now its biggest single sales channel, the retailer says. On top of customer comments gleaned from its call center, ongoing usability research and a comprehensive annual usability review involving hundreds of users, L.L. Bean gathers customer feedback about products directly from the site.

Based on internal results and customer feedback, LLBean.com now is adding new features such as personalization applications that enable shoppers to customize by color and size a bag or tote. And with the site’s outerwear finder, customers will be able to view customized weather information.

Giving customers the ability to personalize more types of site content and merchandise is a top priority this year, the company says. “In 2006 we will focus on top-line growth and adding self-service features to reduce customer contacts, with an equal or better experience than on the phones,” says an L.L. Bean spokeswoman.

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