November 16, 2010, 2:38 PM

Premium sunglass retailer sees sales potential in e-commerce launches today.

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The new e-retail site for Solstice Sunglasses debuted today.

Specialty sunglasses retailer Solstice Sunglass Boutique is hoping for a bright future in e-commerce. The high-end chain launched today its first e-retail site at The retailer, which operates 160 retail locations across the U.S., says its move to e-commerce is part of a strategy to sell across more channels.

Shoppers navigate the site using basic categories such as gender or brand, and have the option to drill down further within a category. For example, a consumer can choose Women’s and then Price Range, Color and even Hinge Type to narrow her selection. The site offers free shipping and free returns to shoppers who register with their shipping and billing information. The site also features recommendations and cross-selling during checkout.

The retailer is promoting the e-retail site launch to consumers at select Solstice stores. The company says stores will house touch-screen kiosks that shoppers can use to explore and order from the new e-commerce site. The kiosks let shoppers see additional inventory available online and detailed product information. For now, the kiosks are deployed only in the retailer’s new San Francisco store, but Solstice says it plans to roll out the kiosks to more stores beginning next year. 

The site is also a marketing play to help get the word out about Solstice, the company says. For example, the site integrates with social networks including Twitter and Facebook and enables shoppers to upload their favorite styles to their social network profiles. Consumers also can share product pictures via e-mail and send photos from the e-commerce site to their mobile devices.

“Our goal was to set the standard for selling luxury, designer and sport sunglass brands online,” says Rick Talmage, chief operating officer. “In our stores, we always present the brands in an upscale and tasteful fashion and we want to mirror that on”

The company uses Demandware Inc. as its e-commerce platform provider and creative agency Fluid Inc. for site design.

The site sells more than 40 brands of sunglasses, including styles from Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Carrera and Smith Optics. Solstice Sunglass Boutique is owned and operated by Solstice Marketing Concepts LLC, a subsidiary of the Italian designer eyewear manufacturer Safilo Group.


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