Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
Ann Taylor wanted to leverage the live show it produced for the fashion press online. A fashion show video has earned lots of clicks on AnnTaylor.com, as new online merchandising tools present images of modeled outfits and the ability to buy them.
AnnTaylor.com has been using rich media applications from on-demand technology provider Scene7 to support online merchandising for years, but last fall it ventured into online video for the first time. A fashion show produced for the fashion press but captured on video for AnnTaylor.com-a process repeated for the spring collection-has made the videos the most clicked-on feature or piece of content on the site in the past year, Ann Taylor Direct senior vice president Michelle Pearlman tells Internet Retailer.
When it produced its first live fashion show last year to debut the fall line to fashion editors-previously, it had depended exclusively on printed “look books” to introduce new collections to the press-Ann Taylor also wanted a way to leverage the show online. Ann Taylor Stores Corp. is No. 153 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
So now, Scene7 serves the video on web pages created by Ann Taylor that present shoppers with the opportunity to watch an edited version of the fashion show. Clicking on a Shop the Looks link on the home page brings shoppers to a page that offers them the option of clicking on a tab to open a window that plays the video clip. The page itself features thumbnail images of outfits in the seasonal collection, many of which are modeled in the clip. Mousing over a thumbnail brings up a larger image of the outfit; clicking on the thumbnail brings up information on components of the outfit, with the ability to click through to buy them right from the page.
Pearlman didn’t disclose incremental sales attributable to the presence of video on the site, but she says it’s been a strong sales tool. The videos also have given the brand added exposure at online venues such as YouTube.com and Google Videos. Additionally, because fashion collections preview ahead of when shoppers can actually buy the apparel, using the web site to direct shoppers to Ann Taylor’s call center to preorder outfits shown in the fashion show gives Ann Taylor one more merchandising tool. The web site of sister brand Ann Taylor Loft has been hosting its own fashion video and supporting it with similar product display functionality from Scene7, with results much like those on AnnTalor.com, says Pearlman.
So far, shoppers can’t shop and buy directly from the video as they can from the Ann Taylor catalog pages hosted on the site. But Pearlman says she’d like to explore that as a next step when the technology becomes available.
“The first step was to prove that people want to watch the video and want to shop from the fashion show. We’ve proven that case out, and the next step is, how do we make it an even more interactive experience,” she says.