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Ooh La La Boutiques goes social with Villij to attract customers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Long Beach, N.Y. – For five-store women’s specialty retailer Ooh La La Boutiques, maintaining strong customer awareness is critical for successfully competing with larger, more established brands in its crowded vertical. Add in the impact of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath on this chain which is located in and around Long Island, and you have a business in need of personal connection with its customers.

Looking to pull more people to its e-commerce site, Ooh La La launched a page on the Villij social network last month. According to Ally Gugliotta, social media analyst for Ooh La La, since going on Villij the retailer has pulled more traffic to its e-commerce site and developed personal relationships with shoppers.

“Customers ask us questions,” said Gugliotta during a phone interview. “They may have an event and ask us what they should wear, and we’ll send them links to items on our site. It’s more interactive than other social networks and other customers can make recommendations, as well.”

Since launching its Villij page, Ooh La La has seen a roughly 15% boost in site traffic. In addition, with two stores in the coastal New York communities Of Ocean Beach and Long Beach that are still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy last fall, Villij has played a crucial role in maintaining and increasing visibility.

“It’s hard to get customers in those communities back,” said Gugliotta. “The towns are still being rebuilt, and people’s top priority is not shopping. With Villij we can reach a bigger audience beyond our normal customers.”

Gugliotta said Villij even helps Ooh La La, which fills national orders from its e-commerce site, develop new customers around the country. Ooh La La hopes to continue growing its presence on Villij and is promoting its Villij page both through messages to customers on its email list and advertising at the point-of-sale.

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Crocs deploys Centric Software to manage product development

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Gatos, Calif. – Crocs will implement Centric Software’s product lifecycle management software. Crocs will implement the full Centric 8 PLM suite to manage its product development process, including concept, design and sourcing.

The company will implement the Centric system on a worldwide basis to hundreds of users, including Crocs suppliers and partners. Crocs will integrate Centric 8 with its SAP enterprise software, according to Dale Bathum, Crocs’ chief product officer.

“Centric’s unique blend of product, team and execution plan makes it clearly the best choice for Crocs,” said Bathum. “Centric 8 will help Crocs speed development, and gain visibility earlier in the product development cycle to make better decisions.”

Crocs will implement two of Centric’s patent-pending mobile apps in the deployment: Centric 8 Collection Book for Fashion iPad and Capture It for iPhone. The Collection Book for Fashion iPad app will allow Crocs to link its footwear collections in the PLM system to corporate and retail buyers in the showroom through an interactive mobile device. The Capture It for iPhone app will let Crocs users take and upload photos directly to the Centric 8 PLM system quickly, accurately and easily, making them instantly available for review, mark-up and analysis.

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American Greetings founders raise private offer

BY Staff Writer

Brooklyn, Ohio – The Weiss family, which founded the public American Greetings greeting card company is now looking to take it private. As reported by Reuters, the Weiss family is raising an existing buyout offer of $18.20 per share to $19 per share.

The increased offer was contained in a regulatory filing made July 1.

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