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AOL Launches Hub For Holiday Shopping

NEW YORK — America Online is taking sharper aim at its customers this holiday — after a period in which its shopping area was driven by merchants’ own promotions — with the launch today of a consumer-based shopping list hub,...

NEW YORK — America Online is taking sharper aim at its customers this holiday — after a period in which its shopping area was driven by merchants’ own promotions — with the launch today of a consumer-based shopping list hub, executed via an exclusive partnership with Macy’s.

America’s Shopping List will post the season’s hottest products, based on customer polls conducted at the hub; search terms used and data gleaned from AOL message boards. In turn, Macy’s will offer promotions of products that reflect the preferences of those AOL users through a link to macys.com. AOL also will feature consumers’ merchandise reviews and gift suggestions.

Apparel and accessories figure to play a pivotal role at the holiday hub, as it’s been AOL’s top-selling merchandise category through September. In September, AOL members spent a combined $409 million on apparel and accessories, disclosed a spokeswoman for Dulles, Va.-based America Online. More than 21 million of AOL’s U.S.-based members shop online, and 61 percent of those shoppers, or 12.8 million, are women.

The eight-week, themed holiday effort, beginning with gifts for home, will feature apparel during the weeks of Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, under themes dubbed gifts for her and gifts for him, respectively.

“The landscape is getting a lot more competitive, and AOL realized it lost its focus on its members,” the spokeswoman acknowledged. “Instead of pushing out products our [merchant] partners want to promote, we are listening to what members want, and pairing this with related items.”