The tools build on the vast amount of information Google knows about consumers.
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The retailer also has focused on consistency across channels as it's added new sales channels, including mobile and social marketing. "From mobile commerce to social media to the Internet and TV broadcasts, we are very consistent in products and pricing," she says. "That helps drive and open opportunities to engage customers in many ways."
The results speak for themselves: ShopNBC's web sales grew 30.4% in 2010 to $231.6 million from $177.6 million in 2009.
Columbia Sportswear Co.
Columbia Sportswear is a relative newcomer to e-commerce compared with other consumer brand manufacturers. But the outdoor apparel maker, which only launched an e-commerce site in 2009, is bent on making up for any lost time. Just about 12 months after launching a web store, Columbia, No. 314 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, launched a mobile site in March 2010 and later this year will inaugurate international e-commerce operations in Canada and various European countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Internet Retailer estimates web sales in 2010 increased year over year 117% to $31.5 million.
It's a private-sale site, but Gilt Groupe is certainly in the public eye these days. Gilt made news in May by raising $138 million in funding from new and previous investors. Gilt says it will use the money to pay for acquisitions, geographic expansion and product additions. Gilt (No. 49) also continues to diversify its product offerings. This summer Gilt will launch a new site that sells men's apparel, accessories, athletic gear and gadgets. The new men's site will offer products at full price and for a longer period. Internet Retailer estimates web sales for Gilt grew 150% year over year to $425 million in 2010.
All channels grew, but it was clearly e-commerce that grew the fastest for Ann Inc. (formerly Ann Taylor Stores Corp.) in 2010. For the year ended Jan. 29, Ann (No. 95) recorded an increase in e-commerce sales of 55.8% to $189.5 million from $121.6 million in 2009. Total sales rose year over year 8.8% to $1.98 billion from $1.82 billion and comparable-store sales increased 18.7%. In 2011 Ann will spend $25 million on improving its information technology and e-commerce infrastructure with a redesigned web site, a mobile commerce site and more international web stores, CEO Kay Krill told Wall Street analysts on a year-end earnings call.
L.L. Bean Inc.
After a tough couple of years, L.L. Bean's e-commerce business came in from the cold in 2010. Last year web sales for L.L. Bean (No. 21) grew about 29% to an Internet Retailer-estimated $1.37 billion from $1.06 billion in 2009. L.L. Bean continues to invest in its web operation and in March the retailer announced that it would in the future ship all orders for free to U.S. and Canadian shoppers, regardless of the amount ordered. "We tested free shipping offers with no minimum purchase for several months and the customer response was overwhelming," says Chris McCormick, president and CEO of L.L. Bean. "Our customers want and value free shipping."