Cross Channel Merchant of the Year

[Also won — SILVER: Print Channel | CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS | L.L. Bean, Back to School 2009
SILVER: Print Channel | FOOD/GIFTS, SALES OVER $20 MILLION | L.L. Bean, Christmas 2009
Gold: Print Channel | SPORTING GOODS/HOBBIES | L.L. Bean, Summer Outdoor 2009

L.L. Bean

Since 1912, L.L. Bean has built a reputation as a catalog legend. But the outdoor gear, apparel and home goods merchant has also embraced e-commerce with gusto and opened several bricks-and-mortar stores. In short, Bean is a cross-channel master.

WHY IT WON CROSS-CHANNEL MERCHANT OF THE YEAR: Judges heaped kudos on L.L. Bean’s catalog merchandising — not just the breadth and depth of the product selection, but also how it cross-references, with page numbers, items shown in the lifestyle photos.

And let’s not forget the copy. “Informative and evocative, highlighting benefit,” noted a judge. Added another: “You can hardly find a block of copy in the entire book that’s not good.”

On the Web, the use of rich media and technologies helps bring the L.L. Bean products to life. For example, judges loved the use of actual fabric swatches to show alternate looks vs. the use of a color block.

“Product options and cross-sells are clear and easy to find,” one judge said about the Website. “I love that each product has multiple views, and the shop-by-outfit feature is simple and compelling.”

IDEA TO STEAL: If you’re looking to incorporate user-generated content from the Web into a print catalog, L.L. Bean does it right. Bean’s catalog headlines are excellent, noted one judge, “but the use of ratings and reviews oftentimes sells the product better than the headline.”

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