UK department store Debenhams launched a revamped website today, as part of the company's overall GBP120 million modernisation programme.
The site, www.debenhams.com, was developed in just four months by a joint partnership of Internet consultancies OS Integration and USWeb/CKS.
It will include the UK's first online wedding service, enabling guests to purchase gifts directly over the Internet, and will offer a selection of Christmas gifts including clothes and novelties.
Information on the site will be updated every two minutes, reducing the chance of two people buying the same wedding gift.
Couples can build their wedding list using a handheld bar code that can then be transferred onto the site. Other features are also being planned, including a choice of fresh flowers from the end of November.
Simon Hawkes, ecommerce director for Debenhams, said: "We already cater for more than 30,000 wedding lists. The site will provide our customers with increased access to the service."
David Godwin, director of client services at USWeb/CKS, also commented: "A number of ecommerce initiatives will be rolled out over the coming months. Debenhams will have the first-to-market advantage as it is one of the first stores to enable customers to buy directly online."
Debenhams also unveiled its new [email protected] at its Oxford Street store, which offers shoppers the chance to surf the Net at £2.50 for half an hour. [email protected] will be launched in Reading, Manchester and Guildford in the next month and across other stores next year.
Andy Brown, analyst at IDC, said: "The site certainly has the potential to be successful. At present many retailers offer services online, but usually advertising only. "Debenhams possibly needs to improve its positioning in the retail market and this step can only serve to improve sales. Realtime updates is an interesting new slant [for retailers]."
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