Lucy.com Readies Catalog to Extend Reach

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Lucy.com, an online retailer of sporting apparel, footwear and accessories for women 25 to 40 years old, will seek new customers this fall with a print catalog that will have a drop of 1 million pieces.


A companion to the Web site at www.lucy.com, the 40-page catalog is typical of the latest offline ploys by Tavolo.com, RedEnvelope.com, Garden.com and other e-tailers that are not reaching their target audiences solely via the Internet.


"What the catalog enables us to do is to reach women that are not online," said Vicki Reed, director of marketing at lucy.com. "They may be online and they may not be quite comfortable ordering online yet. So we think that a kind of real-world presence and an ability to order over the phone is going to help.


"Of course, we would like it [if] people actually look at the catalog and then order online, and I think there'll be a fair amount of customers who do that and then become loyal Web customers," Reed said. "But we believe it'll help our target consumer get over the hump of ordering online."


The catalog will carry a selection of the 85 brands and 4,000 products featured on the site. Plans are to follow the fall catalog with holiday and spring editions.


In the next few months, lucy.com will send several smaller direct mail pieces to prospective and current customers. These mailers will encourage them to go to the site and register for a catalog.


"The addresses are coming from our current database of customers, [and also] we'll be buying lists," Reed said. "I'm not quite sure right now, but we'll be doing some dropping in September, so we're going to be quite aggressive in building our database every now and then."


Reed expects the mailings to be equally split between names sourced from the house list and those rented from online retailers and direct marketers with customer profiles similar to the e-tailer.


Plans for creating site traffic this summer include promotions, sweepstakes and a continued reliance on lucy.com's sponsorship of the Women's Tennis Association national tour. Lucy.com, Portland, OR, also is supplying and sponsoring Martina Navratilova's outfit for the French Open and Wimbledon.


At the same time, lucy.com will continue with an ad campaign created by Los Angeles agency Ground Zero that began in March. Ads will run for a year in magazines such as Self, Marie Claire, Shape, Women's Sports & Fitness, People, Glamour and Cosmopolitan.


But the catalog remains the top priority for lucy.com.


"It's very important," Reed said. "It's a big investment for us. It's a very important part of our business. I think it's integral to making our customers feel more comfortable with ordering on the Internet as well as showing them the depth and breadth of what lucy has without having to dive into a site with 20 categories."


Evie Black Dykema, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, said the name of the game to becoming an elastic retailer is to master three principles: access, adjacency and anticipation.


"Lucy.com's introduction of catalogs will enable the offline consumer to access lucy.com's hard-to-find specialty athletic apparel," Dykema said, "but it will also enable customers to browse the catalog on the beach -- a location computers don't reach and where catalogs are relatively efficient."
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