September 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

Microsites offer a macro search marketing boost at Liz Claiborne

Since using a supplemental microsite to feature new styles and connect with customers, apparel retailer and manufacturer Liz Claiborne has seen increases in conversion and sales. Another dividend: a better ROI on paid search marketing.

When apparel and accessories manufacturer and online retailer Liz Claiborne Inc. sensed that women in its target age demographic of 35 to 55 were wary of adopting trendy styles, the company saw an opportunity to help them learn ways to wear the new styles while mixing and matching with classic clothes in its fashion line.

“They were afraid of trends and weren’t sure if they were going to last a couple of months or have more legs,” James Mount, manager of web analytics and e-commerce at Liz Claiborne tells Internet Retailer. In response, the company created a supplemental microsite that can be reached directly at or through the main site at The microsite offers coordinated outfits based on five top fashion trends as well as tips and style information from Liz Claiborne chief creative officer and fashion author Tim Gunn. Gunn is also a mentor to aspiring designers on the reality TV show Project Runway on the Bravo Network.

Liz Claiborne’s in-house designers were able to build the home page on the microsite with an identical left hand navigation bar and other imagery similar to the layout and images on “The microsite gave us more control over branding, and a way to capture trends and talk directly with our customers,” Mount says. Clothing featured on the top trends pages also has been among the top selling products at bricks-and-mortar locations.

The trend-related approach has paid off with a 67% higher conversion rate on, says Mount. Liz Claiborne is ranked No. 357 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

In addition, Liz Claiborne works with Commerce360 on search engine marketing and has seen its return on investment for paid search terms for its new microsite top 300%, the company says.

Since launching the microsite about a year ago, more content has been added such as video of Gunn answering style questions from audience members at Liz Claiborne fashion shows around the country, a fashion glossary and a pants finder that helps women identify form-flattering pants. Liz Claiborne is using microsites for its other brands such as

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