September 17, 2010, 2:32 PM

Dressbarn launches its first e-commerce site

The women’s fashion retailer aims for a clean and simple look for the site.

Lead Photo

Dressbarn, a women’s apparel retail chain with 830 stores, this week launched its first e-commerce site, dressbarn.com. The launch comes in a busy period for parent company Dressbarn Inc., which in the past year has launched an e-commerce site for its Maurice women’s apparel brand and also acquired retail chain Justice. 

Dressbarn.com has a relatively clean and simple design, reflecting the tastes of the retailer’s customers, says Brett Trent, Dressbarn Inc.’s assistant vice president of e-commerce. “We wanted a site that does not get in the customer’s way,” he says. “Every time we edited the site prior to launch, we took things out.”

One feature that did not make the cut was virtual fitting room technology, used in various forms by other apparel retailers.

“From customer feedback, it became clear that our core audience is not a high-end technology user or early adopter,” Trent says. “So we created the site to be much like our stores: a simple, comfortable and straightforward shopping experience that is big on style and service, small on noise.”

 The site, however, does allow customers to post product reviews. And links at the bottom of the page enable consumers to join Dressbarn’s Facebook page or follow the apparel retailer’s Twitter feed. The company’s Twitter messages offer links back to the e-commerce site.

Trent says Dressbarn spent 51 weeks on the project. The retailer worked with SpeedFC, which has also handled site development for the Justice stores. Once Dressbarn provided SpeedFC with the creative assets required to build dressbarn.com, development took 24 weeks, SpeedFC says.

“When we acquired the Justice stores, they had a preexisting relationship with SpeedFC,” Trent says. Maurices, however, uses GSI Commerce Inc. for its e-commerce platform, he adds. The sites for the different brands share staff for operations and call center tasks, he says.

The Dressbarn site launched about two weeks after the retailer deployed a new point-of-sale system in the retail stores, which is designed to make life easier for customers who want to return to stores items bought on the e-commerce site. “All of our web sales data are fed into the corporate back-end system the same way store data is, so returns are easy,” Trent says.

Dressbarn is promoting the new site with signs inside stores, direct mail and e-mail messages to its customers. Trent says the retailer could start tweaking the new site in about five or six months after analyzing how shoppers use the site.

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