Issue: Volume: 25 Issue: 10 (October 2002)

A Sharper Catalog

Customers at, the online channel of Spiegel Catalog, can now view key product attributes in fine detail, regardless of their Internet connection speed, thanks to RichFX's Examine Solutions technology. Through the Zoom feature, cyber shoppers can get a closer look at product details such as embroidery or patterns, and with Color Swatch, they can preview the product in alternate hues.

"This technology shows some of the product details that a shopper would look for in a brick-and-mortar store. Often, these features are what make it a 'must have,' item," says Richard Burke, divisional vice president of e-commerce at Spiegel. "We are providing a more lifelike shopping experience, resulting in a comfort level in the buying decision." And, the results speak volumes. "Our studies show that a customer's use of Zoom or Color Swatching increases the conversion to buying behavior. Also, the technology decreases merchandise returns, since there is less guesswork in the buying decision."

For the technology to work, Spiegel provided RichFX with a high-resolution image and the color choices for each item. Then, RichFX digitally mastered hotspots for the Zoom feature or integrated swappable colors for Color Swatch using its own tool set. Although seamless to the customer, html tags in the product page template invoke the features. To represent the appropriate option, created simple on/off flags in its database, so the features appear as a product attribute on the page template.

Given the success of the technology on its site, Spiegel has expanded its use of Examine Solutions beyond the initial 200 items to include more fashion and home furnishings products, and will continue to add the features to other products and product categories such as electronics. —KM

Examine Solutions, RichFX;

Spiegel's online shoppers can get a good look at merchandise before placing an order.