The company describes the new "Fashion in Action"* as "the industry's first ever dynamic fashion catalogue," and the effort--a test--went live on its Web site Monday.
"We've been thinking about how to take catalogs to the next level," says Denise Incandela, president of Saks Direct. "People have been seeing deterioration in direct mail catalogs, and so we put a lot of thought to how we can combine our catalogs with the Internet, and make it much more like interactive TV."
The test focuses on Saks' three best-selling departments: Contemporary ready-to-wear, handbags, and shoes. Since Saks knows that about 99% of its shoppers have broadband access, "it's been great for us," she says. "You can have movement, voice-over, music and information, with narrators talking about what's important in each look."
Runway commentary details not just the outfit, but also the shoes, jewelry and handbags that work best. She says the company chose the 17 looks in partnership with its vendors, and that like all its catalogs, this one has specific sales goals.
Although other retailers--even in the luxury category--have been struggling as the economy has softened, Saks has consistently shown strong same-store sales performance.
In recent quarters, the chain has based its marketing on its "Want it!" campaign, which boils a whole season's worth of fashion into a handful of key trends for both women and men. Many of those trends--bangle bracelets, bright colors, and florals--star in the new video treatments.
* Editor's note: The article has been amended to correct an inaccuracy on Saks' part.