Translating touch and feel online

Toys and sporting goods might be among the most touchable of products, and the e-retailers profiled for the category this year are figuring out non-tactile ways to encourage consumers to buy online.

Company

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Why They're Hot:

Marbles: The Brain Store wants its site to replicate its in-store experience. The retailer's 27 bricks-and-mortar stores are relatively small, but typically feature several sales associates—or, as Marbles call them, BrainCoaches—who help shoppers understand how its sometimes not-so-obvious education-oriented games, puzzles, books and software work. That's why most of the retailer's product pages feature bullet points that explain how to use the product, along with a BrainCoach quote that explains how the item can improve your brain and a YouTube video that shows how it works. "We're a startup so we're shoe-stringing it a little bit," says Angie Seaman, e-commerce manager. "We want to bring in as many interactive elements as we can to make the site as fun and exciting as our stores are."

Key Statistics:
  • Date Launched:2008
  • Unique Visitors:65,000
  • Web-based Sales:Order the Hot 100 issue
Who They're Using: