Friday, January 16, 2009

(Virtually) Up Close and Personal

Online personalization features are all the rage these days among Gen Y (are you catching on?), and some retailers are effectively embracing the trend to learn more about their customers and ultimately give them what they want.

Sucharita Mulpuru, senior analyst at Forrester Research, discussed this topic during the session, “The State of Retailing Online” at the NRF Big Show held earlier this week in New York City. Some retailers are sitting on rich consumer information, and only some are taking it to the next level, she said.

For example, let's take contemporary apparel company Wet Seal. The retailer's site recently gave consumers the opportunity to create and assemble their own virtual outfits. Soon after launching the feature, the site received over 100,000 outfits.

The company took this to the next level by leveraging the information from their customers to help merchants do their jobs even better. Wet Seal gave shoppers the chance to vote online for their favorite outfits, and surprisingly, the user-generated creations repeatedly came out on top. The retailer then took the outfits that received the most votes and the highest ratings from shoppers and populated its product-detail pages with those cross sells and upsells.

This is just one of the many examples of how retailers are starting to benefit from thinking in new, innovative ways on the Web.

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