Columbia Sportswear Co. repositioned its Sorel brand two years ago from being a maker of wilderness boots for men to a fashion brand, primarily for women. T
he Sorel.com site plays up the stylish boots, while providing subtle, understated navigation options. The home page is dominated by a fashion photo with small boxes on the left that link to images of other women’s boots, along with lightly drawn links to men’s and kids’ footwear. On category pages a tab labeled More from Sorel pops up with free shipping and other offers, then discreetly retreats, waiting for the visitor to click on it.
“The challenge of luxury sites is how do you convey full e-commerce messaging without cluttering the site?” says Paul Zaengle, vice president of e-commerce at Columbia. “We felt that was a good way to do it.”