November 20, 2007, 12:00 AM

Patagonia.com adds social and shopping tools to build brand and sales

Patagonia’s e-commerce site added a blog this year to generate more social interaction among visitors and shoppers, and direct links to partner stores when shoppers encounter an out-of-stock product on Patagonia.com.

Patagonia.com started a blog earlier this year, called The Cleanest Line. The unedited blog is accessible on the site’s home page and provides a forum for discussing the company’s products, outdoor activities and environmental issues.

The blog was designed to generate more social interaction among visitors and shoppers, help promote Patagonia’s position on preserving the environment and build trust in the brand, says Bill Boland, Patagonia.com’s creative director. Patagonia is No. 257 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

In a more direct effort to increase sales, Patagonia.com launched a feature in late October that directs shoppers to alternate sources for out-of-stock products. If the product is unavailable online, the order page gives shoppers a toll-free number where agents will try to locate it at a store. The page also will show the logos of any Patagonia partner stores that have the requested item in stock. Clicking the logo takes the shopper to that product’s ordering page on the partner’s site.

All the site improvements have one goal in mind. “We want to help Patagonia customers get our products,” Boland says. “The customer is the focus for our site design.”

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