LYCRA’S CYBER-VILLAGE

Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — As part of its ongoing campaign to boost its Lycra spandex brand, DuPont is working to attract retailer participants for its recently launched Lycrashop.com web site.
The site currently hosts about 40 women’s apparel brands and is set up to suggest a downtown shopping area, with pages including “women’s wear way,” “junior junction” and “contemporary plaza,” and a post office and laundromat, where shoppers can send e-mail to DuPont or learn about fabric care.
Site visitors can visit pages featuring a selection of looks, all of which contain Lycra, from such resources as Liz Claiborne and Levi Strauss & Co., and click through to visit the vendors’ own sites.
The next step for Lycrashop.com, which opened in July, as reported, is to build its roster of retailers, and Sheryl Parente, global knowledge strategy manager for DuPont Lycra, said she expected to have several of them represented on the site this fall.
Currently, visitors viewing garments on the Lands’ End page — Lycrashop.com’s one retailer — can click through to its e-commerce site.
Karen Center, general merchandise manager for Lands’ End’s Internet ventures, said her company chose to participate in the site because “we have had a lot of success with the Lycra product, we frequently request it in a lot of our products, so therefore being associated with DuPont’s site was advantageous to us. We would not turn down an opportunity like that.”
While the retailer isn’t yet able to gauge how many purchases have actually been made by consumers clicking through from the Lycra site, Center said the site had added to Lands’ End’s overall traffic.
“The beauty of the Internet is that there can be a lot of little sites, and it is an opportunity to raise awareness,” she added.
Parente said the company was talking with several retailers, including J.C. Penney Co. and L.L.B, about joining Lycrashop.com this fall. A Penney’s spokesman and an L.L. Bean spokeswoman each said her company was discussing the site with DuPont, but had not yet made any decisions about participating.
The site currently doesn’t offer any e-commerce features of its own, but Parente said DuPont was considering building a page that would allow visitors to order the garments shown on the site, though DuPont would not handle order fulfillment.
“We may set up the online capability for a customer to order a specific product and to have the order go to a [participating] company’s back office,” she said.
DuPont hasn’t yet determined a maximum size for the site, though it intends to limit participation to companies with a substantial Lycra presence, according to Linda Kearns, Lycra global brand manager.