April 12, 2002, 12:00 AM

Spiegel.com zooms in on sales--and sees double digit growth

Spiegel.com has seen double-digit sales increases in some areas since it made zoom available on 100 products six months ago. It plans to expand the technology to 500 products when it redesigns its site this fall.

In the past six months, Spiegel.com has seen a double-digit sales increase on products for which it offers zoom enlargements. The company plans to more than double its use of zoom as part of a planned fall site redesign, Richard Burke, divisional vice president of Spiegel Inc. tells Internetretialer.com. The zoom capability, launched on Spiegel.com six months ago as a hosted application at technology provider RichFX, was initially made available for 100 products on the site. Burke says Spiegel.com already has done better than break even on the cost of implementing the technology through the increased sales it`s driven, and that the site will feature zoom for perhaps up to 500 products by this fall, when Spiegel.com plans a major web site redesign.

The zoom feature, which allows site visitors to greatly enlarge areas of the product image, has been added for products that are rich in detail, such as rugs or certain items of apparel. And it`s been particularly effective at closing online sales of higher-ticket items, says Burke. "When you`re buying something online that`s over $100, there`s the hurdle of seeing a close enough view of the product to feel comfortable buying it, and zoom really contributes to that," he adds.

Burke didn`t disclose the number of Spiegel.com visitors who have used the zoom feature, but does note that Spiegel`s best customers across all channels tend to be the biggest users of zoom. "That`s pretty much true of any new tool or technology we put on the site," he says. "The biggest challenge is getting people to use it." Spiegel.com flags visitors on the zoom feature with an icon on product pages where it`s available, as well as putting a separate grouping of product images on which zoom is offered in a featured area of the site.


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