FYE to IM Customers

Bob Woods

Updated · Dec 03, 2001

The experience of a mall-based music seller comes to instant messaging (IM) — Microsoft's flavor of IM, that is — through a deal signed between the software giant and Trans World Entertainment Corp. .

In a pact announced today, Trans World's FYE brand, a specialty-music retailer, and Microsoft said that a special tab on Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger will let IMers sample and even buy music and video selections.

Messenger tabs provide customers with the ability to easily access additional information and services through both the Windows and MSN Messenger clients, officials said.

In the Trans World pact, clicking on the FYE Messenger Tab will give users access to FYE's entire catalog of more than 200,000 music titles, 10,000 DVDs and 5,000 console games. Registered customers will enjoy an enhanced personalized experience through genre recommendations, customized messages, alerts on new releases, top seller information and product offerings based on their personal preferences and interests. Consumers will also be able to catalog their music collections, share listings with friends, create wish lists, listen to music samples, and view movie trailers.

The Messenger Tabs will also work with the Windows Media player to bring to users music samples and movie trailers, officials also said. The FYE Tab provides instant access to customer's favorite music, updated news along with the capability to preview and purchase top sellers in the music, video and game categories.

Additionally, the Tab directs new consumers to FYE's Web site and allows users to browse genres, set preferences and receive personalized alerts through the .NET Alerts service, providing users with specific, targeted information they elect to receive.

In turn, FYE gains personalization and customer relationship management capabilities with the new system.

The Messenger Tab is an “integral part” of FYE's “eWorks” initiative, which also includes in-store Windows XP-powered listening and viewing stations and kiosks, as well as FYE's “Backstage Pass” loyalty program, which is slated to roll out early next year. The “eWorks” initiative is expected to help drive sales in FYE's 700 retail locations and significantly increase traffic on the newly launched fye.com site as consumers can experience and preview their purchases through digital sampling, music video previews and movie trailers, company officials said.

“Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger are helping FYE to write a new chapter in the in-store and online experience for music lovers,” said Bob Higgins, chairman and CEO of Trans World Entertainment, in a statement. “With the FYE Tab for Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger we will be able to significantly increase our audience of potential customers and to make the transition to a sale easier than ever before. Additionally, the FYE Tab firmly positions FYE as the leader in the customer/music interface, personalization and loyalty programs, all of which will further drive sales.”

The FYE Messenger Tab was developed by Microsoft and Trans World, and is the first non-Microsoft tab to be announced, officials said. The launch is the latest initiative under a broad business, technology and marketing alliance involving Microsoft and Trans World Entertainment.

Trans World operates 970 retail stores, including 700 mall-based FYE locations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. It also runs fye.com. Freestanding locations include Coconuts, Strawberries, Specs and Planet Music.

Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet.com.

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