Cataloger Alloy Mines Teen Market

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Teen cataloger and Internet store Alloy Designs Inc., New York, is fine-tuning its targeting of the teen market through updates and improvements to the technology behind its Web site.

For Alloy, Web-site improvements are particularly important because it was the Web that first showed Alloy that its customers are teens.

"Alloy is really an example of a case where the site spawned the catalog," said Matt Diamond, Alloy's CEO. Although the site at and the catalog were launched simultaneously, the company initially had positioned itself as a direct marketer of snowboarding apparel.

"Feedback from our Web site made us realize our customers were not snowboarders, they were teens," Diamond.

Recent improvements include a seamless Internet fulfillment program, implemented by OneSoft Corp., Annandale, VA, that helps the flow of information from the Web site so packages can be picked, packed and shipped directly after credit card approval without human intervention. In addition, the company is exploring possibilities of personalizing the site for customers. While cookie technology that aids personalization is in place, the company still is considering whether using it is appropriate for its audience.

These are the latest in a string of additions and modifications to the site. After repositioning the catalog as a teen marketer a year ago, the company began working with OneSoft to make the site have the type of content in which customers were showing an interest.

"We were receiving comments and feedback from our customers and as a result realized that to our customers Alloy mean a lot more than just a catalog. It was the fashion, the music, the teen-age independence," Diamond said. "We didn't think it made sense economically to put editorial content in the catalog, but we realized we had the opportunity to leverage the lifestyle online."

The relaunch of the site early this year to include chat rooms and articles on the latest gossip proved popular with customers. Since the relaunch, traffic is up tenfold to 15,000 visits a day, sales are up 400 percent and catalog requests from the site have risen 20 to 25 percent.

The community nature of the site worked well because of Alloy's type of business, said Jim MacIntyre, OneSoft's chairman/CEO.

"It draws people through word of mouth, particularly in an affinity-oriented market where people have a lot in common to talk about," he said.

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