September 17, 2010, 2:47 PM
Blogger

For online retail, punk rock can be as good as Pink Floyd

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Here at Internet Retailer world headquarters, my colleagues and I spend hours learning and writing about the latest mobile sites and apps, video applications, geolocation services and other digital tools turned out by the web and marketing geniuses who are pushing retail forward. It’s all rather cool, and some of the stuff we cover even borders on the masterful and artistic.

So I was a bit confused the other day when I checked out the new e-commerce site from women’s fashion retail chain Dressbarn. I can’t say I have shopped for too many skirts, blouses or pumps, and I am certainly no expert on fashion or web design, but the relatively bare-bones feel of the site was pleasing.

Absent were the sullen models striking poses in unrealistic photo shoots—no jungle vegetation, no old barns, no glossy robotic faces, no wild animals menacing in the background. Nor was I assaulted by videos that wanted to tell me all about how to properly wear a scarf or which crowed about the fair-trade origin of the material in a sweater. And there was no Twitter feed moving across the page to divert my attention; I get enough exposure to data scrolls when I watch pundits shout at each other on cable news.

Instead, I saw just the product categories, a free-shipping offer, a store locator, a live chat button and items worn by women who seem more likely to be sitting across from you in an airport lounge than trying to win some reality show model contest.

That’s not to say innovation is bad, that the latest technology and edgy design doesn’t have its place in online retail. Of course it does, as many smart retail professionals are proving. And I realize that for many retailers, I am hardly the prime consumer. I don’t have a burning urge to own a smartphone, nor do I Facebook. I prefer phone calls and e-mail over texts and I’d rather read a product description on my own than have an eager employee explain it to me on YouTube.  I have no desire to dress to impress anyone, either.

But, as the online retail world progresses ever further into personalization, social networking, images-over-text and the technical avant garde—developments brought home every week as my colleagues and I decide which sites are good enough for our upcoming Hot 100 feature in the December issue of Internet Retailer magazine—let me raise my voice for those consumers, whether old fogeys or younger boring married dudes, who are naturally attracted to the simple and to the clean.  For those of you with a musical bent, think of it as the difference between punk rock and Pink Floyd. Both can be beautiful and effective, but one is crisp and powerful, and nails you in the gut, while the other floats around you in a swirl of tone and melody.

Comments | 3 Responses

  • While I agree with your general observation that many eCommerce sites are overwhelmed by technology for technology's sake, I think that, unfortunately, Dress Barn missed out on a few basic eCommerce functionalities that could really impact sales. Where is the option to sort by price? No guided navigation? Shoppers should also be able to click on the clothes the homepage models are wearing and go straight to those products within the site. As an aside, I always thought the name "Dress Barn" was an odd choice for a business that sells women's plus-size clothing.

  • Hello, My name is Jenny Amanda, i saw your profile today at (www.internetretailer.com) and become interested to know more about you with all pleasure, please i want you to send mail to my e-mail address (amandalovex1@yahoo.com) so i can give you my picture and also tell you more about me, Have a nice day and God bless you, I wish you the best thanks yours Jenny Amanda amandalovex1/@/ya/hoo.com

  • Hola, Mi nombre es angela Vi tu perfil hoy en este sitio y obtener intrested saber que usted, porque te ves muy bien en su perfil, aquí está mi dirección de correo electrónico (angela22oneil@yahoo.com) por favor envíeme un email para que yo os envío mis fotos y le dirá más sobre mi mismo,. envía un email al (angela22oneil@yahoo.com) Recuerde que la distancia, color, religión o tribu no importa, pero importa mucho amor. beso mi querido amor angela ========================= Hello, My name is angela I saw your profile today in this site and get intrested to know you, because you look very nice in your profile, here is my email address (angela22oneil@yahoo.com)please send me an email so that i will send you my photos and tell you more about my self,. mail me at(angela22oneil@yahoo.com) Remember distance,color,religion or tribe does not matter but love matters a lot. kiss my dear love angela

Sign In to Make a Comment

Comments are moderated by Internet Retailer and can be removed.

Not a member? Signup for free today!

Recent Posts from this Blog

FPO

Seth Barnes / BLOG_ROOT

Commissions are for closers

A Savings.com executive responds to an Internet Retailer article describing a web merchant’s decision to ...

FPO

Charles Nicholls / E-Commerce

E-mail remarketing: three best practices to maximize revenue

Consumers who make it to the shopping cart are interested in buying. The chief strategy ...

FPO

Kim Giroux / E-Commerce

The five most effective retail affiliate marketing tactics

For starters, find affiliates likely to attract consumers interested in your products, says Kim Giroux ...

FPO

Vanessa Rumbold / E-Commerce

What e-retailers should focus on in 2014

Mobile, for sure, says an e-commerce design expert in a Q&A. Many retailers still fall ...

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement