Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Pssst …. Guess what Talbots wants the world to know?
“Guess what?” is one of three slogans used by the specialty retailer in its just-launched advertising campaign, highlighting Talbots’ new channel of distribution, talbots.com.
Also new is a licensing deal with The Cartoon Network for use of the Jane Jetson cartoon character in the campaign.
According to Mary Pasciucco, senior vice president for catalog development and advertising at Talbots, the company licensed the Jane Jetson character because, in the cartoon, the space-age figure would push a button and get a complete outfit.
“Like Jane, we were looking for an impeccable message, that you only have to do like Jane, and have [the items] sent to your home,” Pasciucco said.
Pasciucco made her observations in a presentation on the company’s e-commerce business at a Prudential Securities conference called “Bricks & Mortar E-Commerce,” which was held here last week at the Essex House.
Besides the “Guess what?” slogan, other versions of the Talbots banner ads feature either the “Introducing talbots.com” tag, or the query, “Remember how she just pressed a button and got a complete outfit?”
“The extensive Web advertisements target Internet shoppers seeking a head-to-toe lifestyle,” Pasciucco said.
Full-page, color ads hawking talbots.com are breaking in newspapers this week in 10 markets.
According to Pasciucco, the e-commerce marketing strategy was based on Talbots’ ability to leverage its brand name and provide customers with a third shopping venue, along with the stores and catalog.
“We partnered with a Web developer who understood our business…and focused on driving additional traffic to our site through in-store signage and e-mail sign-up cards at our cash wraps,” she explained.
The retailer’s 676 stores and annual mailing of more than 50 million catalogs to customers with Web addresses, said Pasciucco, provided the firm with a “prequalified and highly targeted audience.”
Ed Larson, senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Talbots, said during the company’s presentation that talbots.com seeks to emulate the store and catalog shopping experience.
One of the features that was a hit when the site opened last November, he recalled, was a customer service feature called instant chat.
The company now has 50 telemarketers and 25 customer service representatives who are able to participate, with an almost immediate response time, in the instant chat feature.
“We monitor customer feedback through [instant] chat transcripts, e-mail and online surveys,” Larson noted.
The site also calls up alternate selections if a particular choice is out of stock, he added.
New to talbots.com is a store-mapping option that provides users with directions on how to get to the nearest Talbots store from their home, work or any other point of origin.