February 22, 2006, 12:00 AM

Hammacher Schlemmer considering feeding customers

Hammacher is looking for new ways to connect with web shoppers and is considering alternatives including RSS feeds, says Dayna Bateman, director of Internet marketing.

As the clutter and static of the Internet grows, how can online retailers best reach shoppers? Is there a better way than using paid search, e-mail, affiliate programs and other conventional marketing tools? That’s the big question. And Hammacher Schlemmer & Company Inc. is giving serious thought to the answer, which might be RSS feeds.

It’s important for the company to position itself in this growing information channel, says Dayna Bateman, director of Internet marketing at Hammacher Schlemmer, No. 229 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites.

“RSS cuts through the noise. It lets users control information,” says Bateman, who is exploring the RSS option as a way of getting product and company news directly to shoppers. “Folks are ready to use this technology. It keeps them informed without overwhelming them with details and noise.”

RSS, or really simple syndication, is a data feed to which individuals can subscribe, most often for free, to receive routinely updated information from a web site. Every entry in an RSS feed typically features an article or document title, a few lines of descriptive text, and a link to complete information on the selected web site. Web site owners, using content management or similar software, send information in standard XML format to subscribers, who view the information via free aggregator software.

The RSS style of disseminating information suits the Hammacher Schlemmer brand well, Bateman adds. “We are very journalistic in our merchandising approach. We tell the story and the history of every product.”


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