July 1, 2002, 12:00 AM

Golfsmith.com re-launches with improved search, speedier ordering

A new outlet area, streaming video and more golf news content help boost traffic significantly for Golfsmith.com, the multi-channel retailer of golfing equipment and accessories.

Improved search capacity, a new outlet page, and the addition of new features such as streaming video have significantly increased traffic at Golfsmith.com, which has re-launched with its first major update since it debuted in 1998, the company reports. Golfsmith.com, the web channel of long-established cataloger and retailer Golfsmith International, has expanded search options to go beyond basics such as product type or size to include a broader array of searchable product attributes such as color.

In addition, the site has added an outlet area with discounted closeout merchandise, thus expanding liquidation options for merchandise it formerly moved only through its catalogs and stores. It also moved higher in the site late-breaking golf news content from GolfOnline, with which it has an ongoing relationship, and added streaming video that allows visitors to view the company’s TV commercials. For speedier online transactions, the re-launched site offers a new express feature that allows shoppers to type in catalog product numbers, which instantly moves items into their shopping carts.

“The new site combines user-friendly navigation and visually stimulating graphics. The improvements and new technology in the site provide our customers with easy accessibility to the latest information and products in the golf industry,” says Ted Popp, vice president of information technology and e-commerce.

While buyers of sports equipment typically like to try it out before they buy it, in golf, the fairway itself functions as a de facto showroom, which makes it possible for the web site to drive a significant amount of transactions, though the company did not disclose numbers. “If you’ve got a regular foursome, for instance, one person may try out someone else’s driver and they will then know what they`re looking for on the site,” says a company spokesman. He adds that site transactions are also tied to catalog mailings, typically spiking after new catalogs drop.

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