May 15, 2000
Location is everything, according to the real estate people, and that's as true on the Web as it is for a bricks-and-mortar store.
Which brings us to 1-888-watches.com. This New York City company boasts more than 1,000 watches in stock, 17 top brand names and 50-plus years of experience selling watches by mail. As far as selling on-line, however, its biggest asset may be that it comes up first in a list of 133 watch retailers in a Yahoo! search.
That sort of exposure is like having the location that faces the food court at Anymall, U.S.A.
Here are the steps followed by a Web surfer who had never heard of
1-888-watches.com, but nevertheless found himself checking out a Baume &
Mercier Capeland men's Sport Watch for $1,575 a 30 percent discount,
according to the company (an unauthorized dealer) within 60 seconds of
pulling up America's favorite search engine.
1. Enter "jewelry" in window and hit Search, bringing up 11 separate categories, plus links for 4,061 sites.
2. Click Category No. 1: Home > Business and Economy > Shopping and Services. This brings up 28 subcategories, ranging from jewelry to watches.
3. Click "watches," bringing up six subsubcategories: antique, directories, makers, repair, retail and straps.
4. Click on "retail," bringing up 1-888-watches.com on top of the heap. If you don't think that equals sales, when was the last time a customer mentioned he had to buy a birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift for his wife and yours was the first store he saw?
Of course, this is likely no accident. The company's domain name has numbers rather than letters, which makes it pop up first, even before the alphabetical listings. Sort of like those odd names such Aardvark Cleaning Service some companies choose so they'll be listed first in the Yellow Pages.
The 1-888-watches.com site itself is serviceable enough, though on the low-tech side (not much in the graphics department.) Primarily, it's got a search engine so shoppers can browse by brand name, style or price.
There's also background information on the company and its policies, security assurances and contact information. In other words, the usual.
And, of course, it comes up first in a Yahoo! search.
- by Mark E. Dixon