Professional Insider: Trend Spotting
Retail experts say Christmas '99 will be big for on-line
retailers. Check out who's out there and what they're selling
'Tis the season to do your shopping from your home or office
computer. Everyone, it seems, is on the World Wide Web, hawking
gift items ranging from a Fruit of the Month Club membership
(www.harryanddavid.com) to a Breitling watch (www.Ashford.com).
The Web is getting crowded with brick-and-mortar retailers, catalog
retailers and exclusively on-line retailers throwing up pages
and waiting for the credit card numbers to come through their
secure encryption program.
It's easier at this point to say who isn't on the Web. As
if having a Gap store in what seems like every square mile in
America isn't enough, www.gap.com has a full clothing line plus
links to Gap Baby and Gap Kids. Retailers such as Banana Republic,
J. Crew, Nine West, Nordstrom, Macy's and Anthropolgie have full-service
e-commerce sites offering clothing, shoes, home furnishings and
Almost all of these big players support their on-line offerings
with reminders in their stores and catalogs. And you've undoubtedly
seen advertising for them in consumer magazines, on buses and
on network television.
Not surprisingly, many sites offer jewelry many are
on-line only. Three of the biggest are Miadora.com, Mondera.com
and First Jewelry. All of these sites have supported their on-line
efforts with glossy four-color ads in major magazines. These
sites offer uncommon convenience to on-line shoppers. Instead
of humping through the snow or fighting through crowds at the
mall, they find fine jewelry at their fingertips in a spare minute
in the office or late at night at home.
To compete, make it easy to shop your store, have extended
hours, make appointments with your best customers so they can
get in and out quickly and advertise. Also check these sites
yourself so you know how to differentiate your product. And to
make sure you get your shopping done on time, you may find yourself
tapping in to the wealth of Web shopping choices.
by Liz Smutko
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.