Buy.com Grows Up in a Hurry1 Mar, 2009 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
The online retail superstore now offers more than 5 million products, and Jeff Wisot, vice president of marketing, says expanding use of direct response methods continues to spur exponential growth.
A Big Agenda for 2009
In a partnership officially launched in April 2008, although testing began in fourth-quarter 2007, Buy.com began selling products on Ebay. The goal was to reach a different audience, through another channel, since Ebay customers have different buying habits and are a different demographic than customers on Buy.com.
Buy.com is paving the road as the first E-tailer to strike this kind of deal with Ebay. The deal not only benefits Buy.com, it is appealing to Ebay customers because it offers free shipping from a trusted brand. Plus, "you're not bidding on a product. You put up the lowest price and you can buy it immediately," says Wisot.
In the upcoming year, Buy.com plans to expand its offerings on Ebay. Thus far, the channel has not been as successful as originally expected — due to the vast quantity of non-unified similar listings and the lack of branding around the ability to buy the best priced new product on the Web — but Buy.com sees potential.
Beyond Ebay, Buy.com is already working on expanding its reach through other digital media campaigns. For instance, a partnership with Google has Buy.com dabbling in SEM search on mobile and handheld devices. If a customer searches through Google and lands on a page with a product advertisement from Buy.com, the consumer only has to click on that ad and then a number pops up that immediately connects him or her to a live Buy.com operator. And according to Wisot, this is just the beginning of Buy.com's plans for mobile.
Another project in the works is called Garage Sale, which is an application in beta testing on the social networking site Facebook. The idea is that Buy.com is able to sell products on this site where customers are already spending a large chunk of time. Buy.com handles the entire transaction by just having a customer click on an ad to make a purchase without leaving the site. Eventually, Buy.com hopes to take the application to other social networking sites.
"In the past, the Internet was impersonal — you go to a page, don't interact. But now, with what we've been doing, we try to make it as friendly and educating as possible," remarks Wisot.