Live from Shop.org: CatalogCity Coming Out as Shop.com

Las Vegas–Having changed its name from CatalogCity, Shop.com is in the midst of a rebranding effort to boost sales for its merchant customers and for the first time etch its name into consumers’ minds.

The company changed its name to Shop.com in June and plans to launch a Website redesigned around the Shop.com brand in October, said Arthur Coleman, vice president of marketing for the Monterey, CA-based online mall.

“There’s nothing to describe shopping that can get any shorter [than Shop.com],” said Coleman, declining to say how much the company paid for such a sought-after Web address.

The name change also represents a shift from being a business-to-business brand to a business-to consumer brand. Not that the shift means Shop.com is suddenly competing with its merchants. “The merchant is our customer,” Coleman said.

Shop.com currently has about 1,000 merchants for whom it sells products on a cost-per-order basis. Shop.com’s cut usually ranges from 15% to 40%, depending on the product, Coleman said.

To fund the revamp, Shop.com received a $25 million investment this spring from Oak Investment Partners of Palo Alto, CA , Coleman said.

Besides a desire to have a name that is more memorable to consumers, the switch to Shop.com was also the result of the CatalogCity name being outmoded, said Coleman. In the late ’90s, only catalogers had the ability to drop-ship, he said: “In 1997 you couldn’t get a major retailer to drop-ship.” Today all multichannel merchants can do so.

Shop.com’s overall goal is to become the “find” for consumers, or to own the category. “Google owns ‘search'” Coleman said. “We want to own ‘find,'” as in when consumer wants to find a product, they think of Shop.com first.

As part of the effort to drive more sales, this month the company began testing Shop.com-branded multimerchant e-mails to its file of millions of consumers. Coleman did not divulge how the tests are going.

Shop.com is also testing various merchandising packages for its merchant customers, such as prominent placements on the new home page and on category pages. Shop.com currently processes thousands of orders per day for merchants, he said.

To get its new name out to consumers, Shop.com plans to use viral marketing. “I don’t see us doing a lot of advertising,” Coleman said. For example, Shop.com allows customers to designate any nonprofit of their choice, such as a local school or church, to receive a portion of the cash from their purchases. Also, the company allows customers to send so-called e-gifts, or e-mails with multiple gifts of their choice in them, from which the recipient can select one. “That’s one of our most popular features,” he said.

Each of the site’s new features are designed to “enhance the multimerchant capabilities of our site and encourage people to shop across merchants,” said Coleman. “People who value our site value it for the ability to shop across multiple merchants with a single account.”

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