By  on July 6, 2010

Whether it’s a Bottega Veneta store or the brand’s Web site, the look is surprisingly similar: Small groups of carefully edited products stand out, spotlighted against a plain, dark background.

That was the mood the company wanted to capture in a redesign of the Web site and a new digital strategy that will bring the Web into the stores via flat-screen monitors and the iPad.

“The idea behind it was to replicate the kind of impact and service we have in our brick-and-mortar shops,” said Bottega Veneta chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri.

The new site started rolling out in late June, with more elements to follow this month. It offers a fuller array of merchandise, including a larger selection of ready-to-wear, than the old site, which was more classic in appearance with a beige background and an emphasis on traditional woven-leather pieces.

Stories in the form of videos and slide shows communicate the values, craftsmanship and design behind the brand.Creative director Tomas Maier’s collaborations, each collection and how the bags are made are some of the topics.

When a visitor clicks on a look in the digital catalogue or look book, the still photograph appears to come to life, as a video plays that shows the model strutting down the catwalk.

Improved navigation, checkout and search features make the site easy to use. Highlights of the collection are grouped by changing themes, such as “Tomas Maier’s Picks,” “Essential Handbags” and “Our Favorite Accessories.” Related products, such as other accessories in the same color, are suggested on the side. Shoppers can view total looks (snapshots off the runway), and the individual items that make up each style appear next to the runway photo.

The collection can be browsed by material, such as napa or silk, and scale, such as small or large. Dedicated personal shoppers are available for consultation, and sales associates can place items they suggest in a shopper’s profile.

The profiles are created by shoppers and also contain their address and shipping information and a wish list.

The brand is moving into social media with a Facebook page, which makes its debut later this month, and an archive of videos on YouTube. Each product has its own Web address for easy sharing and searching. Later this month, sales associates in the Fifth Avenue store will be equipped with iPads. The brand also plans to display video in the store on flat-screen monitors.

The company realized the digital space was crucial when its site’s global traffic surpassed the number of people coming into its physical stores. Bottega plans to roll out e-commerce to Japan, the U.K. and Canada by the end of the year. Italy, France, Germany and China will follow in 2011.

Mobile will be the next step, especially in Japan. Currently the site intro uses Flash, but otherwise the site runs on mobile devices.

Digital agency Syrup, video company Code and Theory and search-engine-optimization company Morpheus Media partnered with Bottega Veneta on site design and content.

The site runs on e-commerce platform Demandware and orders are fulfilled out of Gucci Group’s warehouse in Secaucus, N.J. Under the old setup, Bottega’s boutiques shipped orders to customers. Bottega plans to start testing in-store pickup in its Fifth Avenue store soon.

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