Playtex's Expectant Moments Site Tries to Build Customer Continuity

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Playtex Apparel Inc. will use the Internet for its Expectant Moments brand to deliver messages to women at different maternity and post-maternity phases in their life.


Playtex will go live later this month with a site dedicated to Playtex's line of maternity and nursing bras. The first online marketing stab for Expectant Moments, the site will offer information on the products, where to purchase and how to use them.


A key mission of the site will be its ability to gather data on women who are pregnant. Then, Playtex will market to them for their intimate apparel needs and even beyond, once they are done nursing their babies.


"One of the things we know is that the Expectant Moments consumer is, on average, 28 years, which would be significantly younger than our current consumer," said Julie Roche, director of marketing-Internet and marketing services at Playtex, Stamford, CT, "and for 87 percent of them, this is the first time they've bought Playtex."


"And we would like to be able to keep these women in the Playtex franchise," Roche said. "Again by understanding what their due date is, this should give us a chance to accomplish this."


Previously, Playtex found it difficult to connect again with women once they stopped using the Expectant Moments nursing bras. The site is meant to plug that break in continuity.


In-store signage and materials, packaging and PlaytexBras.com will direct consumers to expectantmoments.com. In-store promotions with retailers will also drive traffic online, where offers can be redeemed.


Once on the site, consumers can browse for information, retail offers and purchase details, as well as participate in a quiz. Visitors also will be asked to register on the site's home page. Details asked will include name and contact information and due date. No incentives will be offered to surrender information.


"We have an e-mail collector that we plan to use to collect information about women while they're nursing, and then go back to them when they're no longer nursing and then re-contact them to give them information about the bras we have that might meet their new needs," Roche said.


Launched seven years ago, the Expectant Moments brand is available in five styles. At the low end, the $10 bras retail in mass merchandisers such as Kmart. At the high end, the $26 bra sells at department stores.


While there is no data available on market share, Expectant Moments competes with private label bras in mass merchandisers and with Olga in the premium slot.


A division of Sara Lee Corp., Playtex is the leading branded manufacturer in the overall $4.5 billion bra category. It also is ahead of competitors VF Corp.'s Vassarette and Intimate Brands' Victoria's Secret in the full-figure bra segment, estimated at $1.9 billion.


In July, Playtex used the Internet for the first time through PlaytexBras.com to get consumers involved in the development of new products. That effort was aimed at seeking feedback from fuller-busted women for a new line of full-figured bras debuting this spring.


Efforts like that and the one for Expectant Moments not only encourage customer loyalty, but also continuity, said Olivier Leibowitz, managing partner at Direct Impact Marketing Inc., Norwalk, CT. The agency designed expectantmoments.com and offers strategic direction on content and functionality.


"The strategy is to leverage captured consumer contact information to support database modeling in the development of a mailing continuum based on lifestyle changes, needs and requirements," Leibowitz said.


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