Live From NEMOA: It’s Time to Focus on Outlet Pages

Boston—Can Internet retailers take advantage of shoppers in a weak economy? They can if they pay attention to their outlet pages, said E-tailing Group president Lauren Freedman during a session this morning at NEMOA.

By Freedman’s count, 86% of merchants have an outline outlet store—whether they call them outlets or clearance pages.

Whether or not the retailers are properly merchandising them is a different story. Based on Nordstrom’s recent announcement that the high-end department store retailer will only build outlet stores as it expands its bricks-and-mortar footprint, Freedman see outlets in all channels making a comeback.

“A dedicated, well-merchandised location attracts the shopper. And many more of us are that outlet shopper than ever before,” she said.

Merchandising the online outlet store will be key for Web marketers, though. Instead of just being a place to offer clearance and excess inventory, Freedman said online outlet stores need to become a second storefront.

Two examples she showed attendees were children’s home decor merchant Land of Nod and big-box sporting goods retailer Sports Authority.

Land of Nod’s outlet, called Nods & Ends, is set up like a second store. Freedman liked that it was sorted by product type, as well as by recency and percentage off, in a simple way on the Nods & Ends landing page.

Sports Authority’s outlet page includes deals of the week, percentage-off breakdowns, and a button that leads shoppers to Nike products.

“It’s not like either merchant throws the products they overbought into that area,” Freedman said. “They use it to merchandise that location, and it becomes a storefront of its own.”

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