WEBSITES OF SELECTED "BRICKS-AND-MORTAR" RETAILERS.
FAO Schwarz www.fao.com
The homepage highlights, among more generic elements, two licenses for which
FAO has exclusive arrangements-ASPCA and Eloise. But the page also prominently
features a pull-down "Brand Area" menu that links to licenses and branded lines
such as Barbie, Madeline, Maisy, NFL, Pat The Bunny, Patrick The Pup, Pokemon,
Star Wars and Teletubbies.
A quick tour through the Kmart site brings a mixed bag of a shopping
experience. A shopper can type in the name of a license and come up with
appropriate goods; i.e. type in Looney Tunes and get a list of Looney Tunes
products available on the site. But something to look out for: Type in nfl (or
NFL), and the cybershopper gets a list of products made by Evenflo (note the
three-character letter combination in the middle of the brand name). If you
type in the name of a specific NFL team, you're shown a product description
specific to that team, but only a single team version of the product is shown
as illustration; i.e. a Dallas Cowboys helmet snack bowl is always shown, even
if you're trying to order a New York Giants version of the product.
Spencer Gifts www.spencergifts.com
We found this site-right now heavily themed for Halloween- one of the simplest
to shop; each page incorporates a complete site map that hot links to a
specific property or merchandise category. Distinct pages in the TV/Movies
section are devoted to Austin Powers, South Park, Star Trek, Star Wars, The
Mummy and Wrestling. Music category includes pages for Beatles, Elvis and KISS.
Commands are straightforward, to say the least: Push the "I Want It" button,
then the "Ring Me Up!" button to make a purchase. Product pictures are small,
but enlarged before the shopper makes the purchase.
Target Stores www.target.com
Target relaunched its website in August, 1999, designed to represent an
extension of the in-store shopping experience. The company acknowledges that
the site is a work in progress that contains a limited assortment of
merchandise that's in the stores. Toys aren't there yet, but will be added for
the holiday season. The search function won't let the browser scan by license,
only by product category. A section of the site is dedicated to Target's
exclusive assortment of products designed and licensed by designer Michael
Graves. However, the cybershopper who's looking for Hello Kitty licensed
merchandise and exclusive 100 Cats products now being featured in the stores
under Target's agreement with Sanrio has to go to a store. They're not
Wal Mart www.wal-mart.com
Type in NFL, get a list of 49 products ranging from team-specific gift sets to
licensed videogames to books and videos, among others. Similar results when
entering names of entertainment and character licenses. The site's homepage
merchandises a range of licensed and generic goods, including a Pokemon
handbook and a Fleer Mark McGwire commemorative gold card. In addition, there's
a graphical hot link to a distinct Star Wars merchandise shop, though the
selection there is limited to books, calendars, t-shirts, music, videos and
computer accessories (the latter "department" was empty when we visited). A
more general search of the site also brings up game software and some Hasbro
We're Entertainment www.shopwe.com
Navigating through the offerings of this specialty retailer is rather
straightforward, with four properties highlighted on the home page (Backstreet
Boys, Pooh, Austin Powers and Pokemon when we logged on) and a list of direct
links to pages elsewhere on the site for more than 20 other properties. Product
photos (which accompany the vast majority of the merchandise) are large
enough, for example, for the viewer to read the writing on most t-shirts.
Virtually everything we clicked on had a "Grand Opening Sale!" price. The site
currently has about 25% of the selection available in the retail stores, though
that ratio should go up.