Challenge: Increase the functionality and boost revenue on a fashion retailer’s Web site
Solution: Redesign Web site for greater operational ease and better customer service using a hosted e-commerce platform
Result: Increase in visitor traffic and online sales
In the fast-paced, competitive world of women’s retail, establishing a relationship with your customers is essential if you want to thrive. Nowadays, this means offering a multichannel experience, including a user-friendly Web site that supports your brand—a fact not lost on New York City-based women’s retailer Intermix. With more boutique retailers optimizing their multichannel efforts, and even the larger department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue entering the online space, Intermix knew it, too, had to take the plunge and launch its own Web retail site.
Unfortunately, Intermix’s first foray into online retail merely tested the multichannel waters, and did not entirely meet customers’ demands. Launched in 2004, the site simply featured a number of products per Web page, but did not deliver the customer-focused environment Intermix was known for at its brick-and-mortar stores. “The basic components for customer service were not there,” says Don McNichol, Intermix’s director of e-commerce. “We weren’t very good at fulfillment, we weren’t very good at answering customer questions about their offers, anything to do with product merchandise that they didn’t see or wanted—all those things that build a relationship with a customer.” The site also failed to offer customers a real understanding of the brand as a source for fashion-forward apparel they could mix and match to create a look that was up-to-the-minute, whether they were in Manhattan or the Midwest.
So when McNichol came to Intermix in September 2005, his first challenge was to revamp the retailer’s online capabilities. The company relaunched its site in December 2005 with a stronger focus on personalized attention that now matches its service-intensive retail environment. However, it’s the new site design that has made the difference. Intermix adopted the MarketLive E-commerce Platform, a hosted application with templated elements that eliminates the need for the retailer to deal with the Web development aspect of the process. “This platform has given me the ability to hire fashion people to design the pages and update the site—they can focus on the merchandising,” says McNichol.
Intermix now changes its Web pages weekly—including every landing page and every category—so the customer comes back to a new experience and new products almost every visit. The site also has given Intermix greater cross-selling functionality, a capability particularly appropriate for a retailer whose brand vision is tied to helping customers mix and match. For instance, its landing page for the Red Carpet apparel category features several evening gowns and cocktail dresses interspersed with shoes, jewelry and other accessories, while the Resort page features a bikini, an oversize beach hat, a tote bag and sandals. “With that capability, our units per transaction are significantly increasing,” says McNichol. “It’s [also] really given a lot of credence to the idea of our brand.”
The number of visitors to the site has tripled, and sales have grown considerably, as well. Currently, Intermix’s online sales in one week are equivalent to what it used to make in one month, according to McNichol.