November 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

ShopPBS.com refines its growth strategy

Expanding on a site redesign earlier this year, ShopPBS.com, the Public Broadcasting Service’s online store, is looking ahead to features like customer reviews to further engage shoppers and grow its customer base, vice president Andrea Downing says.

ShopPBS.com, the Public Broadcasting Service’s online store for DVDs, CDs and books related to its TV programs, is looking ahead to web site features like customer reviews to further engage shoppers and bring more customers to the site, says Andrea Downing, vice president of home entertainment and partnerships for PBS and head of e-commerce.

“We’re really taking a step back to see how we can take a holistic look at our marketing approach, how we can re-target our customers and grow our customer base,” Downing says.

ShopPBS, No. 368 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, faces the challenge of consistently engaging customers in ways that go beyond shopping activity sparked by broadcasts of popular programs, she says. One technique is to offer some of its products through sites like Amazon.com, which helps to expose its brand to a mass audience but at discount prices.

“We’re trying to balance getting our products out in there in the market with ensuring that the shopping experience on ShopPBS.com is a really good one,” Downing says.

Many of its customers come to ShopPBS.com rather than a discount site because of their passion for PBS and their desire to support it, she says. “There will always be a price-sensitive shopper, while others will always shop on ShopPBS.com,” she adds.

To give ShopPBS.com shoppers more reason to return and become engaged on the site, ShopPBS is planning to launch a third-party customer reviews application early next year as one of the first steps in its growth strategy. “Customer reviews have become a staple of e-commerce these days,” Downing says. “Now that we’ve relaunched our site, we have to keep moving.”

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