EDDIEBAUER ADDS TO WEB PRESENCE

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Web directory LookSmart.com said Monday it has struck a deal with casualwear e-tailer EddieBauer.com that will bring the apparel brand broader exposure to shoppers online.
The arrangement allows Eddie Bauer to distribute content links throughout LookSmart’s directory, thus enabling users who click on those links to transact purchases for apparel and home goods on EddieBauer.com. The deep links will also appear as search results on portals with which LookSmart has forged partnerships, such as Microsoft’s MSN, Alta Vista, and iWon.
Prior to the pact with Bauer, LookSmart fashioned similar deals to list links with such e-tailers as Amazon, eBay, and the Web sites of Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Cybershoppers searching for leather outerwear, for instance, could conduct a search on LookSmart, or one of its partners, and be served with listings of those goods — and links to take them to these sites — for possible purchasing.
With the deal, Bauer is aiming to stoke its Web site’s momentum, a business that now accounts for nearly one-third of the company’s direct sales, or $135 million. Some analysts see the site’s sales surging 30 to 50 percent this year, tallying somewhere between $175 million and $200 million. And it’s currently a profitable endeavor, according to Eddie Bauer, Seattle-based subsidiary of The Spiegel Group, which launched the Web site in 1996.
In the past year, many Web portals and search engines, including LookSmart, have invested in improving their shopping offer. LookSmart, for instance, engaged eLuxury as one of the largest sponsors of the destination’s Fashion and Beauty Center, while Yahoo’s Designer Shops and Luxury area, opened last summer, snagged Saks.com as its anchor tenant.