Everybody knows you can find a pair of top-notch hiking boots through Eddie Bauer's catalogue or Web site. But, like so many other businesses looking for new revenue streams in the new, New Economy, the apparel retailer has been expanding its product offerings to include such items as furniture and luggage.
So, in a time of limited marketing dollars and uncertain advertising venues, how is the company letting the public know about its newest wares? It's joining retailers such as Spiegel and The Gap in buying pay-per-click listings from Web Directory vendor LookSmart.
By doing so, Eddie Bauer ensures that its more obscure products are listed on general interest sites such as MSN, the major portals, and mainstream media companies, as well as more than 400 ISPs. So, if a web surfer were to search, say, Alta Vista for floor lamps, Eddie Bauer would appear in a sorted directory of floor-lamp retailers, with a direct link to the company's floor-lamp page.
"Companies are moving from using online as a branding medium to a direct marketing medium," says Tony Mamone, VP of products at LookSmart. Mamone says retailers are using their brick-and-mortar stores for branding, whereas they're looking to the Internet to generate incremental sales.