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Trans World Boosts DVD, Web Presence

7 Dec, 2001 By: Joan Villa

After converting more than 600 mall-based locations to the FYE—or For Your Entertainment—moniker in time to capture holiday shoppers, TransWorld Entertainment is growing DVD, games and its "brick-and-click" strategy.

The retailer has teamed with the Microsoft Network and Windows Messenger to create a special tab that directs new consumers to FYE's Web site where they can sample music and video as part of a cross-channel strategy. Consumers can listen to 30-second clips of music or stream movie trailers prior to purchase, says marketing v.p. Mark Hogan.

"You're able to browse genres, set preferences, receive personalized alerts through the .Net Alerts service, and there are links to the store locator feature and our Web site," he explains. "So, ultimately, the goal is to drive purchase."

Hogan says FYE is devoting more floor space to DVD to keep up with "double-digit growth" in the category this year. Game software and some personal electronics like DVD hardware and MP3 and CD players have also been added to the traditional mix of CDs and movies in the FYE stores, all converted since March from previous brands Record Town, Camelot, The Wall, Disc Jockey and Saturday Matinee.

"At FYE we're going to look to have music, movies and games and we'll use electronics, accessories and storage to support the consumption of entertainment content," he explains.

Although it's too early to gauge results of what Hogan calls a "long-term strategy," he says the chain is "cautiously optimistic" with sales so far this holiday season.

"There's challenges out there relative to mall traffic and general consumer concern relating to the economy," he adds. The concept "takes time to develop."

TransWorld's approach of offering information and product sampling on the fye.com site seems to cater to how consumers actually use the Internet, notes Robert Alexander, president of research firm Alexander & Associates. Recent research indicates that consumers often go online first to learn more about a product that they intend to purchase later at retail.

The "bricks and clicks" strategy makes sense for retailers who can extend a trusted brand online, he continues.

"All that online experimentation was essential to figuring out exactly what does the market want," he says. "Now it feels more like a business with a solid base."

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