November 21, 2008, 12:00 AM


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The site also established online Health and Drug Information Centers, which offers advice on such issues as weight control, women’s health issues, fitness and nutrition, and heart health. The various health centers are listed on the left side of the home page. There’s also a “Consultation Corner,” which provides articles on a variety of health issues.

“And we’ve integrated information with prescription management,” says Humphreys. “For example, consumers can click on a drug in their medication profile and view information about proper use, side effects and precautions.”’s campaign to strengthen its ties with the company’s brick-and-mortar pharmacies is also reflected in an enhanced store locator. Not only can a consumer find a CVS pharmacy by entering her home address or the CVS store number, but also by using an “along a route” feature that locates pharmacies along the route that she plans to walk or drive.

“It will show me all the stores along the route, which is very smart and uncommon,” says analyst Scott Kincaid, vice president of the usability practice at web experience consulting firm Usability Sciences Inc. Back to top

Brewing convenience
Coffee drinkers are creatures of habit. They love their regular cups of joe and typically drink them the same way whether it’s with cream and sugar, black or some other way.

Dunkin’ Brands Inc. aims to build on this loyalty through its web site, While the web site contains a limited selection of items, such as coffee, rechargeable Dunkin’ Donuts prepaid cards, coffee equipment and travel accessories, it provides features that make shopping interactive and convenient for customers.

For example, customers can purchase regular coffee subscriptions on the site and have the products automatically sent to their homes or offices. Customers can sign up for coffee subscriptions by clicking on the category header located on the top navigation bar and scheduling their own times for deliveries. In addition, customers can buy a stored value card that they can use online and in stores and sign up on the site to automatically recharge the card once a week, once a month, or whenever the balance drops below a certain amount.

On, launched in 2001, the shopping bag remains on the right-hand side of the page once a purchase is made and the purchase amount recalculates if an order changes so that customers can keep track of purchases. Another convenience feature allows purchases to be sent to multiple addresses.

The web site also boasts engaging content. “The DDSMART Menu feature lets users view the menu and nutritional information in an engaging and interactive way,” says Manivone Phommahaxay, senior experience design consultant at online marketing firm Molecular Inc. “Rather than reading about calories from a chart, DD presents a fun interaction that lets users see enticing food while learning about the nutritional value.”

Dunkin’ Donuts, which has 7,900 shops in 30 countries, has also jumped into social networking, posting its promotional videos on YouTube as well as on its web site. “Clever integration of YouTube videos builds a community of fans who can subscribe, share and riff off of each other about the latest commercials and Dunkin’s experience,” says Phommahaxay. Back to top

A beauty salon online
Estée Lauder is on a mission to help its customers look good, even glamorous. And it’s using its e-commerce site to carry out that mission in a manner that lets it connect with customers in multiple ways.

Estée Lauder, a long-time leading beauty products brand from manufacturer and marketer The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., sells a collection of makeup, skincare and fragrance items on But it also engages online shoppers with interactive and image-rich content to give them the virtual experience of visiting a beauty salon.

“E-commerce is a critical growth vehicle for the Estée Lauder brand,” says Karmine Yu, Estée Lauder’s vice president of e-commerce. “But is not just about sales. It’s also about providing tools, tips and useful information to our customers that they can use every day.

“We offer our customers detailed descriptions of all products and the ability to communicate with an Estée Lauder beauty advisor via live chat or phone for personalized service and recommendations.”

The company carries out its mission well and in line with its venerable cosmetics and fragrance brand, says Danielle Savin, former head of e-commerce at Frederick’s of Hollywood and now vice president and retail specialist at consulting firm FitForCommerce.

“The color and imagery throughout is striking and reflective of the nature and elegance of Estée Lauder,” Savin says. “The site also offers good category refinement and intuitive customer navigation. The overall site experience is very good.”

The site injects a personalized salon-like shopping experience with tips from professional models on their personal profile pages, which show each model’s favorite perfume and makeup materials. Two interactive tools, the Foundation Finder and the Skincare Finder, let shoppers on enter their personal skin type and complexion, then enter their personal makeup-wearing style and appearance or skincare goals, to find the most appropriate group of cosmetics and tools for applying them.

Personal attention, of course, is what Estée Lauder is about. “Our site is a reflection of our brand’s personality,” Yu says. Back to top

Sniffing out product
It’s not easy purchasing a fragrance online when you can’t smell the product.

But is undergoing a redesign of is site and navigational tools that will help customers find fragrances and related products based on their descriptions-for instance, a soft and fruity scent versus a strong and spicy one.

Although the full redesign won’t be complete until February, some features were rolled out this fall. Already, customers can list a fragrance that they like and get suggestions for similar fragrances. That aids customers who like certain high-end designer fragrances but don’t want to pay the high-end prices and want suggestions of similar, lower-cost alternatives.

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