Spiegel starts portal, revamps CW

Need proof that Spiegel believes in the future of e-commerce? How about this: In early November, the Downers Grove, IL-based general merchandise cataloger launched eMarket, a Web shopping portal that features links to more than 15 Websites in seven product categories.

Spiegel launched the portal to save its customers time by “helping them select sites of offers that fall into their areas of interest,” says Scott Weiler, director of business development and promotions. He describes the Spiegel customer as interested in maternity items, food gifts, and jewelry.

“Creating a portal is different from launching your own Website, in which you have control over all the details,” Weiler says. “With the portal, we had to make sure that our partners’ sites – and our links to them – were working.”

The site, which the company revamped with simpler buttons and three more inches of screen space, acts as a gateway to the new portal. Website visitors must click on the eMarket icon on the home page to bring them to the portal’s home page. From the home page, users can access links to the Websites of portal affiliates, which include jewelry and tabletop cataloger Ross-Simons, food mailer Omaha Steaks, and apparel retailer Mimi Maternity.

While the Spiegel eMarket portal offers surfers links to other merchants, Weiler says it is not responsible for processing orders for them. The individual merchants handle their own fulfillment.

Goodbye (for now), CW In other Spiegel news, the company decided in October to cease mailing women’s apparel catalog Clifford & Wills (CW) after the fall issues. Come spring, though, its merchandise line will be showcased in a specialty spin-off, Spiegel Presents Clifford & Wills.

In the meantime, Spiegel will roll CW into its spring 2001 “big book,” says vice president of marketing, advertising, and production Christian Feuer. The company will also revamp the brand to focus on “modern classic apparel,” Feuer says. Spiegel bought CW from New York-based cataloger/retailer J. Crew last December.

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