Package deals are nothing new, but they sound more enticing in French. Paris-based wonderbox.fr offers a themed gift "Wonderbox" with vouchers for thousands of high-end goods and services from a network of European partners, including travel company Thomas Cook and Virgin.
Launched in 2004, the site badly needed an overhaul to bring it up to current industry standards. Boston-based Optaros redesigned and replatformed the site, which now includes rich media applications and improved usability. On the back end, Optaros created an e-commerce solution that helps track Wonderbox's multiple vendors, orders and customers with greater efficiency.
Among the Web 2.0 improvements is the use of social shopping, where users can submit ratings and reviews of products and vendors. Marc Osofsky, vice president of marketing for Optaros, touts the "new openness" among online retailers. It's about "letting go of control and embracing the power of customers to have a voice as strong as your marketing department's," he says.Wonderbox has also instituted private-event e-tailing, where invited users gain exclusive access to discounted, limited quantity merchandise. Osofsky calls such impulse purchases the "holy grail" of online shopping. Also, the ability to pass invitations along to friends creates a viral effect, while maintaining the exclusive cachet.