NEW YORK — Bergdorf Goodman may be one of the first to showcase the fashion trends, but it’s among the last to hop onto the wave of e-commerce. But after establishing an information-only Web site last November, www.bergdorfgoodman.com is springing forth by finally going transactional on Monday.
The luxury site is filled with 10,473 stockkeeping units from a total of 101 designers and provides a clean, no-nonsense presentation without the bells and whistles that often bog down Web sites and complicate transactions.
“We’re about the last big retail brand to step into online shopping,” said Michael Crotty, senior vice president of marketing for Bergdorf’s. “We wanted to wait until we were ready to do something that would live up to expectations.”
In part, expectations were heightened by Bergdorf’s sister division, Neiman Marcus, which has a burgeoning business online. For the Bergdorf’s team, it’s evidence that luxury customers don’t mind shopping online for expensive fashion and accessories, even if they can’t feel it and try it on first. Officials at Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes catalogues, have said that most of its growth this year will come from neimanmarcus.com. Bergdorf’s executives would not disclose volume predictions for their new transactional site.
There’s been a long industry debate about what can sell and what can’t sell over the Web, and a perception that after getting pampered in the stores, luxury shoppers just don’t have the patience for Web sites. But lately, the naysayers seem to be losing their case. Aside from Neiman’s, even such mass Web sites as QVC, eBay and Sam’s Club have also found success selling fine jewelry and other expensive merchandise.
“From the Neiman Marcus experience, we know there is no price resistance,” said Crotty, who before joining Bergdorf’s last March was vice president of Neiman Marcus Direct. “Obviously, we don’t have couture on our Web site, but we didn’t shy away from designer. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity here. The brands and designers sold at Bergdorf’s are so well known around the U.S., but their availability in many markets is not there.”
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