February 21, 2007, 12:00 AM

Keying in on demographic makes for a brawny site

Men’s fashion cataloger and e-retailer Undergear crafted its e-commerce site’s new design around the style and fashion desires of men 25-54. The result? So far, so good.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Men’s fashion cataloger and e-retailer Undergear identifies its key customers as fit men between the ages of 25 and 54 who like to experiment with looks and set fashion trends rather than follow them. As a result, the retailer crafted its e-commerce site’s new design around the style and fashion desires of this particular demographic.

“A good percentage of Undergear customers live in very urban areas, all the big cities. And we recognize them as being fashion forward. Our customers really enjoy fashion, and style trumps price when they make a purchase,” says Robin Baskin, vice president of e-commerce at Undergear parent Hanover Direct Inc., No. 73 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Baskin was hired one year ago and immediately tasked to consider a web site redesign. Right off the bat she noticed a stark stylistic contrast between the look of the site and the look of the company’s apparel. “The previous version of the site was so neutral in its appearance and it didn’t have functionality that enhanced the shopper experience,” she says.

The new site, like the fashion it sells, is more stylish and edgy, Baskin says. “Our customers typically are body-conscious and take pride in their appearance-we wanted the site design to reflect this. So we went darker and grittier, not neutral like before. We wanted the site to have a personality so when you hit the home page you know what it’s all about.” NetPlus Marketing Inc., an interactive marketing and design firm, handles design work as well as programming and coding under the direction of Baskin and colleagues.

The design, launched Jan. 4, includes pages of vibrant imagery of attractive, well-built, young men showing off the latest styles in underwear, swimwear, activewear, loungewear and more. The retailer intends this design to simply and sleekly send its fashion message to shoppers. And getting its message across online is key because more than 50% of Undergear sales come through the web channel.

As to the success of the new design, it’s still early, but preliminary signs look good. Since launching the renovated site in January, Baskin reports, conversion has increased one percentage point and cart abandonment has decreased 8%.

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