In the wake of the dot-com bust, Irvine, CA-based Web marketer Buy.com has launched a 40-page magalog as a means of garnering additional sales.
The Buy.com book mailed in early March to 5 million Web customers; the company plans to produce it quarterly. Like the Buy.com site, the magalog sells digital cameras, notebook computers, Palm Pilots, Gameboys, and software. Prices range from a Belkin Desktop Network PCI card for $13.95 to a Samsung 65″ wide-screen television for $3,229.95. Like similar Web marketers, Buy.com does not house physical inventory. Rather, product is drop-shipped to customers from equipment manufacturers.
The book features an 800-number on every page; it also includes 14 pages of advertising from Buy.com’s vendors and partners, who purchased the ads for a whopping $50,000. Advertisers include networking products marketer Belkin and cable-modem supplier Linksys.
The magalog is part of what company founder Scott Blum calls a “pixels and paper strategy,” with the goal of “making the buying decision easier. We’re not just marketing to techies. That’s why our editorial is written in a way that will cut through the mystery of making a purchase.” For instance, in the section selling digital cameras, a staff writer advises that five-megapixel digital cameras are best for framing or enlarging images.
It’s been a wild five years for Buy.com. Blum founded the company in November 1997, then sold it to Japanese investment bank Softbank for $230 million in 1999. This past November, Blum bought the company back from Softbank for $26 million and took it private.