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Borders previews new e-commerce site

Customers urged to provide feedback on redesign

By Linda Rosencrance
October 5, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - After a month of beta-testing some features of its new Web site, Borders Group Inc. is ready to see what consumers think.

Customers can preview the new site BordersStores.com, although they can't use it to make purchases. However, consumers can see the features that will be rolled into the new site, which is set to launch early next year. Users can still access its Web site, a collaboration with Amazon.com, for purchases.

Borders is encouraging consumers to visit the beta site and let the company know what they think about it. Borders said it will consider customer input in the site's final design.

After posting disappointing earnings in March, Borders announced a plan to revitalize the company that included launching an e-commerce Web site in early 2008 and ending an alliance with Amazon.com Inc. that began in 2001.

One of the features Borders has been testing for the past four weeks is called Magic Shelf, an online version of the in-store shopping experience.

According to Borders, when users log onto the site's home page, they'll see a 3-D shelf of real book covers displayed the same way they're displayed in Borders' physical stores. If a user wants to see details of a particular book, he can just click on the book.

"Over time, as customers shop at the future Borders.com, the Magic Shelf will become personalized for the shopper based on past purchases and will display books that the customer may be particularly interested in exploring," according to the statement.

Other features on the beta site include new and improved search and navigation capabilities and a wish list feature that allows customers to designate items they'd like to buy for themselves or receive as gifts.

Borders.com will also highlight the BordersRewards.com site, an informational Web site for customers who belong to the company's loyalty program, where members can track their rewards, find answers to questions about the program and personalize the home page.

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