Alpaca Direct Drives Sales with Web 2.0 Social Networks and Ajax Technology

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A New Social Network and Web 2.0 Yarn Selection Tools Translate To Higher E-Commerce Sales At Alpacadirect.com

Alpaca Direct (alpacadirect.com), an online provider of Alpaca apparel, knitting yarns and wool fiber, today announced strong demand for its luxury knitting yarns like Alpaca, Silk and Merino wool since launching a new Web 2.0 social network (http://www.knitideas.com). They also are creating first-ever advanced yarn selection tools (http://www.yarnestimator.com) using Ajax technology and interactive agents. The online retailer has seen a strong correlation between the Web 2.0 social network of its loyal hobbyist knitters and ecommerce sales of its luxury alpaca yarn and fibers. "The future of ecommerce is about community and we are committed to supporting our customers with social network tools to rate and compare our products in an open environment" say James Hobart, the company founder and technology evangelist.

Quality alpaca yarn is lightweight, soft as cashmere and warmer than wool. American knitters are beginning to discover the many unique benefits of Alpaca Yarn. This natural hollow-core fiber is lightweight and thermal regulating, making it a perfect fit for creating versatile sweaters, ponchos and socks that can be worn throughout the year. "The response has been phenomenal! When our clients discover alpaca, they become lifelong customers," says, Kelley Hobart one of the founders of the Silicon Valley dot com venture. Alpaca apparel and yarn has been somewhat of a secret among Alpaca owners since most retailers have not offered natural fiber alpaca products due to its exclusiveness and limited availability.

In addition, most of the Alpaca products available have not been designed for the North American fashion market. "We teamed up with American designers to introduce the public to fresh colors and style combined with the incredible natural benefits of alpaca. Combining incredibly high quality products with easy online shopping and fast shipping has been a winning combination. Our goal is to educate the consumer market about alpaca apparel and yarn. Most people do not realize this natural fiber is soft as cashmere but much warmer and 5 times stronger than wool." Alpaca Direct is addressing the market by making the entire line of Alpaca apparel available online, in popular American styles through a highly usable retail website. Most retail web sites are very difficult to use and have a high abandon rate. To solve this issue, the software design team at Alpacadirect has focused on usability of the core shopping experience. This focus, combined with old-fashioned customer service like free shipping and free gift wrap aims to set new service level expectations for online retailers.

"Our goal is to target a specific market niche, usability test the shopping experience and refine our approach based on user feedback." Specialty apparel retail sites like Victoria Secrets and LL Bean have been leading the growth segments in the elusive e-commerce market by using a similar online strategy. "It is all about the basics… Great products, competitive pricing, excellent customer service all delivered in an effective online shopping experience," says Mrs. Hobart.

About Alpacas
Alpaca are native to the high Andes Mountains of South America. Domesticated for centuries by the Inca of Peru, their precious fleece was worn only by royalty. Alpaca produce over twenty natural shades of a fiber that is soft as cashmere and stronger than wool. This unique hollow core fiber is extremely light yet retains the ability to warm its wearer against even the harshest winter chills. Alpaca are still very rare in the United States with the current US alpaca population at about 50,000. The average female alpaca sells for between $15,000 and $30,000 dollars in the US market.

About Alpaca Direct
Alpaca Direct is the latest e-commerce retail venture launched out of Silicon Valley. Located in Brentwood, California, USA the site was extensively tested in a state of the art usability lab and offers a wide range of high quality Alpaca apparel and gifts.

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Catherine Harris
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