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Enhanced Product Presentations

Online retailers are always trying new ways to make their products appealing in an atmosphere where the customer doesn’t have the option of feeling the merchandise or trying on the clothing. Television shopping programs have taken the lead in this area, probably because of their experience in selling in a "view only" atmosphere.

A quick look at the online versions of QVC, HSN (Home Shopping Network), Shop at Home TV, and ShopNBC, the top four television home shopping networks, reveals an extensive Internet presence.

All of these television merchants allow you to watch their live television programming through the Internet. On a dial-up connection, this type of television viewing is choppy and slow, but on a high-speed cable or DSL connection you can watch just as you would watch television. Not only do you get to see live TV, but the screen also shows information about the current item and, of course, provides a hot link for ordering the item. ShopatHomeTV.com even has online broadcasts of six archived programs so you can see what you might have missed on television.

QVC.com features more than 800,000 products, and the others are not far behind. The shopping channels have not only made it easy to comparison shop and purchase online, their websites have become community centers for their customers. There are online pictures and information on the show hosts, chat rooms, and bulletin boards.

The following is a list of four of the most popular shop-at-home sites:

HSN.com has developed an interesting online tool to enhance its product presentation and make it easier to buy clothing. At its website you can create a virtual model. Enter your height, weight, and other statistics, and a model with your figure proportions will appear on the screen. You can even choose the hair color and style of your virtual model. Then you use your model to try on HSN clothing. You can try different outfits and even add shoes and accessories. You can rotate your model to see how she looks from all directions. HSN also has a stock model for you to use if you don’t want to customize your own. You can get an idea of what the HSN virtual model looks like in Figure 3.6.

Lands’ End at http://www.landsend.com has a virtual model for men as well as women. Now, guys, don’t scoff at this. Try it out. You actually get a much better feel for how the clothing will look when you try it on the virtual model.

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 At HSN.com you can see how the clothes will look using a virtual model.

Other websites are using many different merchandising methods to attract purchasers. Shop for shoes at Nordstrom.com (http://www.nordstrom.com) and you will be able to zoom in and out to see all the details of the shoe. Many stores are offering the ability to click a button to see a larger view of the item. At some websites, such as J.Jill (http://www.jjill.com), you can see the item either on or off a model, and you can click on a color swatch to change the color of the item on the screen. At the Volkswagen website (http://www.vw.com) you can explore each car by a simple move of the mouse. You can change the color of the car and turn it around to see it from every angle.

Web shopping sites are finding that personalized product suggestions are helpful to the shopper and also sell more merchandise. When you shop for an item on QVC and many other websites, you are presented with other available items that are related to the product you are viewing. You can either ignore these items or click on them for more information if you are interested. Amazon.com takes this idea one step further. Make a few purchases at Amazon.com, and the next time you visit, the site will suggest other items you might like to buy, based on your previous purchases. Quite often these product suggestions are accurate enough to be truly valuable.

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