A PEEK AT BOO: FALL 2000

Byline: Antonia Sardone

NEW YORK — With just one season behind it, boo.com is quickly expanding into a fashionista’s dream. For the fall season, their second, the site is broadening its eclectic mix of authentic outdoor brands, classic sport labels and designerwear with a technical edge.
The labels offered have grown to approximately 55 — more than double the number at the November launch. At a reception last Thursday, the company unveiled new clothing, footwear and accessories, all of which will be featured on the site in staggered installments, beginning in August and continuing through September.
In addition to expanding its inventory, the company has also addressed customer complaints and improved site navigation. For instance, users with a slow modem had problems downloading it, and the check-out process had too many steps. To remedy the former, Boo has added two versions of the site, full or simple, which customers can select based on the speed of their modem. The company claims that the process is now 50 percent faster. As for the check-out process, it’s been reduced to four steps, instead of the original six.
New developments in merchandising are also afoot.
Jay Herratti, president of boo.com North America, was unable to attend last week’s event, as he was in London for his monthly visit to Boo’s corporate headquarters, but in a faxed statement, responding to questions posed by WWD, he said the company is testing a few new ways to display its merchandise, including still photography and showing the fashions on people. Currently, the clothing is merchandised on mannequins.
“We will also enrich the way in which we show collections and hot items,” Herratti continued, “by enhancing the ‘brand shops’; creating ‘thematic boutiques’ of multibrand vendors, and also expanding ‘boo recommends’ to become the ‘boo closet,’ which may include hot items in specific categories, top choices for different seasons and special occasions, and by highlighting what’s hot in different cities or countries.”
Although beleaguered by technical difficulties, boo.com has taken an innovative approach to merchandising fashion online: It has been among the first to use 3-D imaging of apparel and footwear and to open a fashion-lifestyle site, with rich graphics, in 18 countries and multiple languages.
At the reception, held at the Monica Stevenson Studio space, across the hall from Boo’s West Village offices, Ed Whitehead, Boo’s vice president of merchandising, described the site as “a balance between active sportswear and urban/suburban streetwear, mixing traditional ‘old school’ sportswear and new world technology.”
Designer exclusives are another important customer hook. Last season, Boo offered Jil Sander’s Puma shoe, which could only be purchased on the site. For fall, specific designer exclusives are still in the works. Currently, Fred Perry’s tennis line can only be found online in the U.S. at boo.com, as can the Italian activewear line Napapirji; Mackintosh outerwear will offer colors exclusive to the site for fall selling.
Boo’s Internet exclusives also extend to a few pieces from Kosuke Tsumera’s Final Home collection, including a toggle coat design, a camouflage jacket and a hooded vest.