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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19

Chapter 11:
Halfsed Clothing Case Assignment

Robert Halfsed was angry. Very angry. And when Robert was angry, he had a way of letting people know about it. His clothing company, and it was his, was called Halfsed, Inc. Halfsed Inc had nurtured a long term relationship with a certain national department store. That certain department store had been granted exclusive distribution of Halfsed' s designer jeans, marketed under the label "Mutated Jeans."

All of a sudden the boys and girls at the department store were playing serious hardball. They were threatening to renegotiate the distribution agreement in a way that was a lot less favorable to Halfsed Inc.

Robert had been hearing some of the hype about the Internet. He knew that some retailers were establishing an online presence. In some cases, customers had online access to price lists, catalogs and order forms. He wasn't sure how it really worked though, or whether it made any sense for a company like Halfsed. It seemed like an important decision. And after all, it was his company.

Some Background

Hundreds of "Online Malls" have sprung up in the past few years. A representative collection of these appears below:

In addition, other clothing sellers and manufacturers are using the Internet to sell their products. Here is a list of some:
    L. L. Bean
    Liz Claiborne
    The Gap
    Hugo Boss Note: If you have the Shockwave-Flash plug-in, you will immediately be taken to the site. If you don't, you will either have the option of downloading Flash or viewing the HTML version of the site.

In 1998, Levi Strauss began selling its jeans and Dockers online. One year later, however, the company announced that it was withdrawing from e-commerce and would sell through its traditional retail partners. The following three articles discuss the company's strategies.

Lands' End offers two interesting services to its online customers. The first, "Your Personal Model," allows women to configure a 3-D model to their body type. Then, they can "try on" the clothing. The second feature is "Shop with a Friend".

Other retailers have added "live" customer service agents to help visitors with questions about the products and services. Here is a list of some:

Your Assignment

After you have explored some of these virtual storefronts, here are the questions to answer for this assignment:

  1. As you explored some of the links given in this case, did anything catch your eye? What looked good and what looked bad? Why did it look good or why did it look bad? If you want to browse through some more examples, link to the Hall of Malls.

  2. Describe some of the ways in which electronic selling might differ from that which goes on in a traditional department store. Think about the ways that department stores create a shopping environment through the use of lighting, displays, music and other tactics. Can a web site similarly create a similar ambiance for its visitors? If so, how? If not, why not?

  3. Would using the Internet as a distribution medium be more conducive to selling certain types of products and less conducive to selling others? Give some examples. How are e-tailers reducing the risk of shopping online?

  4. What do you think of the features offered by Lands' End and the "live customer service" options offered by several companies? Do you think these features help reduce the risk of shopping online? If more sites offered features such as these, would it change your answer to Question 3 above?

  5. What might some of the advantages to Halfsed Inc. be of using the Internet as compared to using its traditional method of distribution? The disadvantages?

  6. Do you recommend that the company pursue selling its jeans on the Internet?

Copyright 1998 by Digital Springs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.