After Makeover, Will Customers Love Lucy.com?

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After much introspection and customer tips, sportswear retailer lucy.com thinks it has found its right online look.


Following the recent example of Nordstrom.com, lucy.com has overhauled its home page, eased up on its trademark orange background, and introduced new features that allow women to shop by body type.


"What we're doing is really helping women to ensure that what they take out of the box is what they expect," said Vicki Reed, vice president of marketing at lucy.com Inc., Portland, OR.


Introduced this week, the new look is meant to speed up the process for women shoppers ages 25 to 40 in search of sporting apparel, footwear and accessories.


The home page at www.lucy.com simplifies the process by offering options of shopping by 20 sports, 90 brands and 1,300 product styles. In close proximity are permanent tabs for new arrivals and a bra search feature. The graphics were improved across the site to allow faster page pull-ups. The orange background largely has been replaced by white, and the number of photographs has been reduced.


But the biggest change is letting consumers shop by seven body types: tall, short, busty, hippy, boyish, curvy, pregnant and plus size.


Reed, who recently was promoted from director of marketing to vice president, said shopping by body type takes the sizing process -- a key issue for online apparel retailers -- a step further from the usual small, medium or large classifications.


"People come [online] with a different thing in mind, because in the sporting goods category there's a lot of criteria in finding something," Reed said. "What this does is elevate the engines to our store to the front door, more quickly and easily.


"We're [also] trying to cut down our exchanges and returns and trying to get more people online by giving them more confidence."


The site tweaks came in the same week that lucy.com announced a change in its privacy policy. Interhack Corp., an online privacy firm, accused lucy.com, Toysrus.com and its Babiesrus.com sibling, and Fusion.com of violating their privacy policies by sharing personally identifiable customer information with Internet data-analysis firm Coremetrics.


Lucy.com clarified that while it uses Coremetrics' data analysis, it has never sold, rented or misused customer information.


"We feel that the data about our consumers is our biggest resource and asset," said Deborah Pleva, public relations manager at lucy.com. "We would never do anything to violate our customers' privacy. The Coremetrics data is used to help us understand how women shop our store, and we can make site improvements with the tools they provide."


A revised privacy statement now reflects its use of Coremetrics' services. Lucy.com is a member of TRUSTe, a privacy seal provider.


Only six months since its formal launch, lucy.com feels better prepared for its first fall season.


"What we hope is that these changes are in time for fall shopping, so that as traffic actually increases, we'll have some more directed shopping experiences for people that come to our site," Reed said.


In September, it will drop an estimated 1 million pieces of a new lucy.com print catalog that mirrors its online offerings.


The catalog will target women who are not yet online or are not comfortable buying on the Internet.


Yet that does not mean the attention will shift from lucy.com. A new print ad from ad agency Ground Zero, Los Angeles, will run in women's magazines as part of an ongoing campaign. Themed "A Uniboob Epiphany," the ad is about the character Lucy of Portland and the quest for the perfect sports bra.


The ad is a tongue-in-cheek story of how the crusading Lucy guides a woman working out in a gym wearing an ill-fitting bra to the right place for the appropriate bra.


"It's really the essence of our site," Reed said. "We call it workout wear that works."
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