new Web catalogs

Jun 01, 1999 9:30 PM  By

Guess? to encourage Web surfers to buy from its new Website, Guess?, the Los Angeles-based casual apparel manufacturer/retailer, is offering free second-day Federal Express shipping and free T-shirts with all online orders. The incentive appears to be working; According to Jennifer Makkar, manager of e-commerce, the site has exceeded expectations since it launched in March. Makkar says that the site’s average order size is about $90; product prices range from $10 to $250.

The decision to launch an online store extends beyond an eagerness to keep up with the competition and changes in the market, Makkar says. “We have a large audience across the U.S., and not all of those people have access to Guess? stores. Now we have a way to serve those customers.”

Guess? is also working to serve its business-to-business customers via the Web; Makkar says it is building a section of the site that will target retailers.

Sirena Apparel Group el Monte, CA-based Sirena Apparel Group, a designer/marketer of branded and private-label swimwear, intimate apparel, and resortwear, jumped into the Internet pool with the April launch of its online catalog. “Swimwear and intimate apparel buyers have strong brand loyalty,” says Adam Sullivan, vice president of strategic development. “So we decided to make our product lines directly available to them.”

To avoid competing with its retailers, Sirena created two merchandise lines, the Rose Marie Reid and Hot Water labels, strictly for sale online. The average order size is $95; merchandise prices range from $8 to $85; and the response has exceeded expectations, Sullivan says. Plans for the site include offering closeout specials and sample sales.

Williams Controls betting that farmers and farm equipment dealers are surfing the ‘Net, Williams Controls went online in January. The West Bloomfield, MI-based parts division of equipment manufacturer NESC Williams sells parts for such products as large rotary mowers and industrial sprayers.

The company launched its site primarily to make ordering easier for its 600 dealers nationwide, says chairman/CEO Thomas Itin. But the online catalog enables end users to order spare parts without traveling to a dealer. “When we sell direct to consumers, we still send the commission to the dealer in that territory, because the dealers are our core business,” Itin says.

And the Web catalog offers much more than ordering convenience, Itin adds. “Some of our large customers, such as GM, can go right into our engineering software online and design the parts they need from us.”

Tandy Leather & Crafts tandy Leather & Crafts, a Fort Worth, TX-based manufacturer/marketer of leathercraft supplies, closed its retail doors and opened up shop online in March. “We decided that the Internet would be a good medium to get our message out to consumers that we haven’t targeted and to expand the base that we have reached,” says call center manager Ron Perry. The company is also hoping to gain wholesale and institutional sales, from camps and schools, via the new Website.

Perry says that the average order size is $65; the average price point (based on price per yard of leather) is $6. While he won’t cite specific sales figures, he says that the Website’s response has met Tandy’s expectations. To encourage sales, the Website has been offering online-only discounts.