Chanel Whiffs Up New Personalization Strategy for E-Commerce

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PHILADELPHIA - French luxury brand Chanel, known for its Chanel No. 5 line of perfumes, will relaunch its Web site with the help of online services firm FatWire Software.

Chanel, Paris, also is using the FatWire platform to gather customer information to tailor offers and content to online visitors, as well as better equip its regional sales forces.

"Relevancy is the next generation of Web business," Jeff Ernst, vice president of marketing at Fat Wire, said last week at the eTail conference. "You can't persuade customers to buy if you don't have relevant information about what they want."

Chanel can now collect information about visitors to its site through the FatWire Engage software. It gathers this data at the e-commerce store and then personalizes content, product placement and promotional offerings that apply to the specific customer.

The company tracks this information by asking the user questions and analyzing transactions, as well as by the Internet service provider address that the customer is logging on from. Visitor data can be based on demographics, preferences or purchase history.

Chanel can then invite a customer in Paris to a promotional event in San Germaine or present a client in the United States with a new black handbag that has reached the local market.

Local Chanel sales people have access to all the reporting and analytics to enhance their own marketing efforts.

Content is also an important aspect to the design-focused brand. The new site is Flash-based and contains a lot of rich media like animation and graphics.

This entire effort is driven by the bottom line.

"It's really direct marketing online," Mr. Ernst said. "You know you can measure and track demographics and use this information to increase sales."

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