The upmarket shoe brand guides shoppers through its fall boot collection with a content-driven merchandising and comparison tool.

A luxury shopper visiting for the boot that fits her fall style will find an assortment that, at first glance, is a bit overwhelming. The brand features more than 70 styles in an array of 15 colors, four shaft heights and four heel heights.

It’s a bigger selection than in years past, says Kristin Sebelle, vice president of global e-commerce, and so to help guide a shopper to her perfect boot the brand designed a comparison tool to place different styles side by side, along with style and trend information similar to what a sales associate would share in a store.

“We felt that the regular shopping experience wasn’t robust enough to really help guide the customer through the browsing journey on the website,” Sebelle says. “We wanted to develop a tool to help navigate the assortment and distinguish the differences between the styles that sometimes aren’t clear when shopping online, especially at the category level.”

Stuart Weitzman designed the “ultimate boot guide” tool in-house, and the brand’s e-commerce platform vendor, Inc., did the development work. It took about three months from concept to launch, Sebelle says, and the guide will be featured on the site—right now on its home page—through the fall selling season. Plans are in the works to use the comparison feature for the spring collection as well.

The guide includes content that describes 10 elements of boot style, such as heel heights, shaft heights and heel shapes, and it explains how one style is related to another. For example, if a consumer is fond of the Highland boot, which is made with stretch suede, a 3.5-inch heel and 24-inch shaft height that hits mid-thigh, the site shows the shopper that the Mitten boot is that style’s “closest relative,” meaning it has all the same attributes except a shorter, 5.75-inch shaft height. Consumers can compare up to four styles at the same time. The boot guide tool works on desktop and mobile devices.


“We found that customers often debated between purchasing styles like the 5050 boot or the Lowland boot. We felt that this comparison tool would give the customer a clear, side by side visual of the differences of the boots and guide them in making a purchase decision,” Sebelle says. She says the Stuart Weitzman team selected the attributes the guide offers based on pain points that showed up in usability testing and feedback from store associates about what consumers shopping at a Stuart Weitzman store talk or ask about when shopping for boots.

Stuart Weitzman LLC is No. 478 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, based on Internet Retailer’s estimates of its 2015 web sales. Handbag maker Coach Inc., No. 163, acquired Stuart Weitzman in May 2015 for $574 million.