Ann Taylor Makes Online Showing

Ann Taylor, a women’s specialty clothier, debuted its first-ever online
store on Tuesday.

The launch is just in time for the holiday shopping season. According to
Jupiter Research, a e-commerce research firm, 6.3 million U.S. residents
will spend more than 50 percent of their holiday budget online this year —
an increase of 294 percent over 1999.

Further, the research firm predicts that a large number of consumers will
make online apparel purchases this Yuletide season. “Consumers are more
likely to purchase clothing and shoes online this year because they are both
desirable gifts and, this year, a greater number of sites are offering a
larger selection of brand-name apparel,” said Ken Casar, Jupiter Research
senior analyst.

Jupiter anticipates that online spending for apparel will reach $1.4
billion this year. Footwear sales expected to account for $200 million in
online spending.

The site is powered by InterWorld Commerce Suite, an
e-commerce software solution. According to Michael Donahue, chairman and
president and CEO of InterWorld, the online store uses InterWorld’s rich set
of pre-packaged enterprise applications to facilitate product merchandising,
client service and order management to help ensure a positive shopping experience.

“Ann Taylor planned to launch the site in March 2001, but it will instead
open in time for holiday sales, due to a speedy implementation,” he said.
“InterWorld’s e-commerce solution will support Ann Taylor’s anticipated
long-term e-commerce growth. We’re pleased to add them to our growing
customer roster of leading e-retailers.”

The Ann Taylor site, designed by Digitas, intends to offer a mixture of
Web-exclusive clothing as well as about 50 percent of the products
available in the store.

Features of the virtual store include:

  • An interactive “Wardrobe Advisor,” which suggests items to customers
    after they enter personal style information.

  • “Quick Shop,” which allows users to view entire outfits by catalog

  • A Wardrobing Room, modeled after an in-store fitting room, that lets
    users mix and match items, viewing them in different combinations.

“We were charged with building a user experience for the online store
that is consistent with Ann Taylor’s lifestyle brand image and client
expectations,” said Daniel Flamberg, senior vice president and managing
director, Digitas. “ uses an array of technology to provide
clients with the ability to zoom, view front and back and instantly change
an item’s color by simply clicking on color swatches.”

Ann Taylor’s younger, less-expensive division, Loft, will launch its own
site next year, according to InterWorld.

Ann Taylor Stores Corp. operates 467 stores in 42 states, the District of
Columbia and Puerto Rico. Last year, the company’s sales were just over $1
billion with a profit of $64.5 million.

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