November 15, 2010, 2:38 PM

A new Borders.com

The retail chain unveiled the site to coincide with the holiday shopping season.

Lead Photo

Bookseller Borders Group has unveiled a new version of its e-commerce site, marking the event by offering free shipping on all orders placed today.

Borders Direct, the e-commerce arm of Borders Group Inc., relaunched its e-commerce site today with more discounts, free shipping options and other upgrades, in keeping with the company’s growing emphasis on the web.

Borders Direct, No. 194 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide is discounting on the site more than 100,000 of its top-selling hardcover and paperback fiction and non-fiction titles. The retail chain unveiled its redesigned web site to coincide with the heart of the holiday shopping season as it seeks to position itself as a key online shopping destination.

“Ensuring a world-class online shopping experience is at the core of Borders’ brand transformation strategy,” says CEO Mike Edwards. “We’ve listened to our customers, discounted tens of thousands of our top online titles, and rolled out new product lines and a streamlined, more social online experience.”

The company is offering free shipping on all orders placed on Borders.com today. Other shipping enticements include free standard shipping for Borders Rewards Plus paid loyalty program members. In addition to free shipping, Rewards Plus members also receive an additional 10% off the purchase price of most items on Borders.com. Members of the enhanced free Borders Rewards program get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

Borders also recently linked with ShopRunner, an online shopping program that offers customers unlimited free two-day shipping with no minimum order size and free shipping on returns, for $79 annually. Other participating retailers include Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 37), BarnesandNoble.com Inc. (No. 42) and Ice.com Inc. (No. 195). Shoppers can sign up for a 30-day free trial at Borders.com.

Other Borders.com enhancements include a community-building effort via customer reviews managed by vendor PowerReviews. Borders also will invite its more than 40 million loyalty program members to share product reviews on Facebook to drive traffic to the e-commerce site, the company says. Borders also is encouraging its 19,000 employees to post book reviews online and will select reviews from both sources. The employee reviews will be available in stores on printed pages located on shelves.

The redesigned web site aims to give shoppers easy access to such resources as the New York Times bestseller lists and new tabs with drop-down menus. New tabs include Borders.com’s expanded array of products other than books and musical CDs such as posters, crafts and scrapbooking items.

Additional changes include product recommendations via technology from ChoiceStream Inc. Borders will provide new lists of staff picks and books and products currently in the news. Also, the title details page for each book lists all the formats in which that book is available, and some books feature a Google Books “preview” enabling shoppers to virtually flip through a few chapters.

Targeted content, provided by Endeca Technologies Inc., will provide relevant content to each customer based on their actions as they search and browse the online store.

Borders also recently launched a textbook rental service through an agreement with Chegg.com, offering students access to potentially millions of textbook titles, fast shipping and the option to return their books for free, the company says. The service complements Borders’ textbook offerings, which also include 1.4 million new and used textbooks on Borders.com and the ability for students to sell back their used books.

Borders’ new Holiday Gift Shop includes recommendations for shoppers organized by categories such as “Gleek,” tied to the popular TV program Glee; the “Mad Men Fan,” also linked to a popular TV program; the “Political Superjunkie;” “Super Mom;” and “Drama Queen,” targeting teenagers.

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