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Lands' End Tries Interactive Swimsuit Shopping. Will It Take A Dive?

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Lands' End on Tuesday (May 12) introduced its latest attempt to make swimsuit shopping less painful or, at the very least, more interactive. From a design and special effects standpoint, the site uses a tropical island getaway as a backdrop for images of a few models wearing a very small number of swimsuits.

Although it boasts the ability to mix and match, it literally just moves small thumbnails of the outfits near other. If it generated images of the models wearing those impromptu combinations, that could have been much more meaningful.

The other interactive component is the ability to share the selected apparel images "through popular social media platforms and vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter and E-mail." Never thought of E-mail as a popular social media platform or vehicle, but guess it technically is.

Site visitors can share images on the screen by simply selecting the "Share" tab and the preferred social network. The site then helpfully launches that network, but it then abandons the customer. Earlier, they're told to cut and paste an URL. What's the great value in that? When I tried it and eventually tested that URL, it brought me back to the main site with no indication of the combination outfit I chose. (Maybe we're not giving the system sufficient credit. Perhaps it looked at my selections and decided, "You really don't want anyone to see that you chose this.")

The site—not surprisingly given the multimedia, design and autoplay audio—is mind-numbingly slow, as in more than three minutes to fully load the homepage graphics slow. (I'll be nice and say, "Maybe they were installing some software when I happened to visit.")

Still, at least they're trying. Lands' End has an excellent history of cutting-edge E-Commerce eforts, so they'll probably work out the bugs in a few months. If this is considered a trial run for the Summer of 2010, it's probably perfectly timed.