La Jolla, California-based Web marketing company Clarinova has created a new software called Front Window, which creates search engine optimized Web sites that guide consumers to local retailers who carry the specific brands they are searching for. The new technology is already being used by Sanuk and has added hundreds of retailer microsites online, which in turn help consumers find local shops that will have the Sanuk product they are looking for, according to a press release from Clarinova:
“LA JOLLA, CA-Imagine you live in Carlsbad and you want to check out some Sanuk sandals. You’re not exactly sure where to find them, so you look online. You Google “Sanuk” and “Carlsbad” to find a surf shop in your area. Until very recently, your search may not have pulled up any local shops, or if it did, their websites might not have shown you any current Sanuk styles, product photos or promotions.

All this has changed with the launch of Clarinova’s Front Window. The Front Window software builds search engine optimized websites-called microsites-that guide customers to local retailers who carry specific brands. These microsites feature the latest product images and promotions for a particular brand along with the retail store’s information. Through a new collaboration with Clarinova, Irvine-based footwear designer Sanuk is adding hundreds of retailer microsites to the web. These sites tell customers exactly which of their products can be found at which local shops.

Eric Busboom, CEO/CTO of La Jolla-based Clarinova explains how Front Window is changing the way customers and retailers interact on the web. “Many small businesses such as surf shops don’t have websites, or if they do, their sites are out-of-date or aren’t optimized so people can easily find them, especially when searching for particular companies or products,” explains Busboom. “This makes it difficult for manufacturers like Sanuk to promote their products in local retail shops, which is unfortunate because over 90% of retail transactions still take place in brick-and-mortar stores.”

While Sanuk does a fraction of its overall sales from online purchases, the web is invaluable to its retail business for other reasons. “The reality is that the majority of people are using the web–and in particular search engines–to find out where to buy locally,” says Busboom, “And this is especially true in the surf and skate industries.”

A company like Sanuk can only control part of its online presence, and the other part is left to retail stores. If retailers aren’t effectively promoting their products online, manufacturers are missing out on sales opportunities. Busboom explains that Clarinova developed Front Window to allow manufacturers to help themselves by helping their retailers get online. The Front Window microsites help people find local retail stores so they can visit the store, see and touch the products they’re interested in, purchase the products, and take them home the same day.

By collaborating with Clarinova, surf and skate manufacturers now have branded microsites for the retailers they choose. The sites have the look and feel of the manufacturers’ sites, but are also branded with the logo of the local surf shop. The microsites include background on the shop, hours, contact information and a map feature so customers can easily get there. Clarinova also promotes all its Front Window microsites through local business directories, social media, email marketing, search engines and blogs to ensure each site is highly visible.

West Wetsuits is now working with Clarinova to increase its web presence on retailer sites. “We need customers to find us no matter how they search on the web,” says John Harbin, Brand Manager of West Wetsuits. “Whether they type in a city, zip code or a neighborhood–along with our company name–we need our retailers to pop up in the search, and the Front Window microsites are making this happen.”

Clarinova’s Front Window is also a cost-effective way for manufacturers to drive traffic to retail businesses. Few companies on either the manufacturer or the retail side have budgets large enough to successfully market on the web on an ongoing basis. It is expensive to support premium functionality like search engine optimization for retailers. Consistent search engine marketing and online advertising are also cost-prohibitive for many companies. “Clarinova’s technology really evens the playing field for all businesses, and allows manufacturers to work collaboratively with their retailers,” says Busboom. “We’re giving manufacturers affordable tools to promote their retailers so they can effectively compete on the web.”

La Jolla-based Clarinova is a collaborative web marketing company working with manufacturers and retailers to grow and satisfy market demand for manufacturers’ products by creating a powerful online presence. Clarinova bridges the gap between creating a brand and making certain it is well-represented on retail websites and across the Internet.”