June 14, 2006, 12:00 AM

‘Attack of the Killer Tarantulas!’

Toys and electronics cataloger Spilsbury is adding audio and video capabilities to grow web sales, enhance merchandising and improve the customer experience.

There’s no business like show business. And Spilsbury Inc. is playing things up this year by adding audio and video capabilities to its e-commerce site in an effort to grow web sales, enhance merchandising and improve the overall customer experience.

“Many of our toys, electronics and activity products are best demonstrated through live action video and sound-our radio-controlled tarantula, for example,” says Nancy K. Hamlin, vice president of merchandising and advertising. “By adding these features to our web site, we will fully leverage the technological advantages of selling through the web channel and provide shoppers a dynamic selling environment.”

A major and obvious challenge in print catalog merchandising always has been demonstrating motion and sound to potential customers; but now the Internet can provide a rich experience to help shoppers decide on purchases, Hamlin says.

“We’ll be running a video of a radio-controlled car making all of the possible maneuvers. And the funny thing is, this probably could not be done even in a store,” she explains.

Spilsbury, No. 385 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, is working with an existing vendor partner, SysIQ, to add the A/V features as well as creating some of the enhancements in house.

“Our tagline is ‘We Deliver Fun,’ and we strongly believe the online shopping experience can be quick, easy and fun for shoppers if we continue to keep their needs in our planning,” Hamlin says. “Adding bells and whistles to our web store just because we can is not our focus. We’re adding new capabilities only when they can improve the customer experience-and ultimately increase sales.”

Spilsbury reached web sales of $10 million in 2005, a 17% increase over $8.5 million in 2004. Company executives predict more than 14% sales growth this year.

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