After Makeover, Will Customers Love

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

Following the recent example of, 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 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 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 The orange background largely has been replaced by white, and the number of photographs has been reduced.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 announced a change in its privacy policy. Interhack Corp., an online privacy firm, accused, and its sibling, and of violating their privacy policies by sharing personally identifiable customer information with Internet data-analysis firm Coremetrics. 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 "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. is a member of TRUSTe, a privacy seal provider.

Only six months since its formal launch, 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 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 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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