New Web Catalogs

Aug 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

Duncraft You don’t have to be an ornithologist to put up a feeder and watch birds come to your backyard,” says Michelle Pinciaro, customer service manager for Concord, NH-based bird accessories company Duncraft. And you don’t have to leave your computer to buy birdbaths, feeders, and seeds, thanks to the December 1997 launch of Duncraft’s online catalog.

Like its print catalog, Duncraft’s site offers a variety of bird seeds, from sunflower to a fancy French mix, and accessory items such as an ant guard to keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder. The average order of $70 has exceeded expectations by about $10, which Pinciaro attributes to the higher income level of Web users.

In the fall, the site design will feature a panoramic view of a backyard landscape furnished with Duncraft items. When a customer clicks on a product, he or she will be linked to the page featuring the entire product category.

Geerlings & Wade Geerlings & Wade uncorked its catalog on the Web this past May in order to reach new customers and keep in step with competition, according to Jay Essa, president of the Canton, MA-based wine cataloger. “Our Website talks about us as a company and what we sell and how we sell it. It’s much more for somebody who doesn’t know us,” he says.

The approximately 20 products for sale on the site include wines from Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, and the U. S. Prices range from $7 for a Domaine de Fontedit 1996 merlot to $55 for a 1995 burgundy from Beaune, France. The Website’s target customer, like that of print catalog, is “someone who has an interest in fine and hard-to-get wines,” Essa says.

The response and average order were not available at press time. The company is now determining how best to promote the site. By the end of the summer, Essa expects to have 50 products online. The March launch of an online wedding registry and gifts catalog titled means that engaged couplescan register from the comfort of home or work and not have to worry about finding stores that are conveniently located near their wedding guests. “We’re trying to take the hassle out of registering and shopping for wedding gifts,” says Jeff Swearingen, president of the Flower Mound, TX-based company.

The more than 2,500 products-a selection that is increasing daily, Swearingen says-are divided into 13 categories, such as cookware, garden, and everyday dishes. The target audience, says Swearingen, cuts across demographic lines to “anybody getting married or who needs to buy a wedding gift.”

With 500 couples registered with the Website as of early June, the catalog is taking orders and shipping product every day, but “a lot of these people are getting married in 1999 and 2000,” says Swearingen, so the company is not making its sales all at once. “We’re trying to grow slowly and learn how to do this right,” he adds.

To provide customers with another way to buy its software, and to drive traffic to its resellers, Lotus in May launched LotusStore, the online catalog of Lotus software and training materials. The company is offering 250 products on the site, including the popular Lotus 1-2-3, Lotus ccmail, and Lotus Freelance Graphics programs, plus training videos and books.

Products are offered at suggested retail price; the site also tells visitors how to reach resellers. While larger companies are “well covered with our sales force, which works with our reseller partners, there’s a renewed commitment behind marketing to small businesses and the individual user,” says Jim Gerosi, manager of the online catalog. “The online store is helping to fill a void” in this area, he says.

Without giving specifics, Gerosi reveals that although the average order of LotusStore is lower than that of the Lotus Selects print catalog, the company isn’t too worried. “It’s new. People are getting their feet wet. Once they get comfortable they’ll order multiple products.”