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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has revamped its online store, making it easier for members worldwide to buy study materials, books, music and even sacred apparel.
A test version of the new site, http://www.store.lds.org, is available and allows users in 56 countries, including Mexico, Australia, the Philippines and Russia, to order directly from the church in their own languages and using their currencies. The LDS Church also has added customer-service support for the website, in Spanish and Russian, 24 hours a day, Mondays through Saturdays.
The church's site will be officially launched Sept. 30.
"Our No. 1 focus is that you can shop the online store anywhere, anytime," said Andrea Peterson, the church's online store product manager. "We have a lot of people who don't live near our retail stores, which are found near temples."
That had made it difficult for some church members in other countries to obtain sacred garments worn by LDS church members under clothing, as well as attire worn during ceremonies conducted in church temples.
Members in countries beyond the 56 included in the first phase of the site's development can place orders via the church's website, but would be doing so in English and in dollars. The church plans to add a number of other languages and currencies over the next year to its online ordering system to expand its presence in Central and South America, Europe and Asia.
The church won't have separate web addresses for specific countries; rather members will be able to choose a language and country once they get to the http://www.store.lds.org website.
In addition to making it easier for those in other countries to place orders, the church's new website also offers free shipping, Peterson said. Including those costs is a popular trend among online merchants because of its increasing popularity, according to a recent report by BIGresearch, a retail research company.
The newly designed site is part of the church's efforts to use technology to expand its presence worldwide. The church also has unveiled http://www.new.LDS.org, which is designed to be a more visually appealing and easier-to-navigate version of the church's official website. It eventually will replace the existing LDS.org. Another church-affiliated site, Mormon.org, was revamped earlier this summer.
New Mormon Church online store
O To see what's available on the revamped site, visit http://www.store.lds.org.