Relaunched Site Offers Enhanced E-Mail, Customization Features

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Looking to upgrade the functions of its Internet marketplace,, an online reverse auction company, relaunched its Web site last week.

EWanted, Santa Clara, CA, announced several enhanced features, including e-mail notification, seller customization and deeper vertical lines.

The reverse auction Web site, whereby online buyers post requests and sellers bid for their business, also created vertical home pages with targeted content for users.

"Ultimately, an auction site is not about bringing buyers and sellers together," said eWanted's chief marketing officer, Mark Del Vecchio. "It's about bringing the right buyers and sellers together."

With the relaunch of its Web site eWanted has added the Early Bird Notification, an updated e-mail alert service for sellers, Del Vecchio reported. The updated service aims to notify sellers when a buyer has posted a request, he said.

Del Vecchio said that upon registering for the e-mail notifications, sellers are able to create an "agent," which allows them to select the type of request notifications they would like to receive. Sellers can request e-mail alerts, for instance, based solely on geographical relevance, he said.

"E-mail notifications put a lot more power in the hands of sellers," Del Vecchio said. "They can set up their alerts and filter all the requests."

EWanted also announced last week an effort to expand and deepen its vertical lines. Del Vecchio said the Web site is now split into 19 categories, which range from antiques to automobiles. In addition, the Web site will feature subsites with home pages for each of the vertical lines and a "much more vertical approach in providing the parties the information they need," he said.

EWanted is planning this month to launch a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign that expects to include a variety of channels, including offline, online and affiliate marketing, said Afshin David Youssefyeh, director of online relationships at eWanted.

The company recently ran a direct mail campaign to acquire new sellers, Del Vecchio said. The campaign, which launched in May, went out to 60,000 comic-book sellers, travel agents and antique dealers. About 4 percent of the sellers responded, he said.

On the buyers' end, eWanted launched an e-mail campaign in August, Youssefyeh said. In a sports memorabilia drive, the company delivered 34,000 e-mails to buyers, he said. The company reported a 13 percent click-through rate and a 5 percent conversion rate.

EWanted would not reveal the number of buyers and sellers that transact through the Web site. One seller, however, JC Rules Computing Inc., Fort Worth, TX, has offered computer products over eWanted for about a year. Jerry Phelps, president of JC Rules Computing, said the computer products distributor had been using an early version of the e-mail notification service.

Phelps reported that as a result of the service, more than 10 percent of the offers made by JC Rules Computing resulted in sales.

"Compare that to a direct mail piece that will get about a 1 percent conversion rate," he said, "and that's pretty good."

"It's great from a seller's standpoint because [the e-mail alert service] gives you nonstop leads," Phelps said.

Meanwhile, eWanted representatives said buyers benefit from auctioning off their requests on the Web site as well. Youssefyeh said buyers average a little more than an offer per request. He said reverse auctions serve as better platforms for buyers than traditional auction sites because the cost of a request is lowered when sellers bid against one another.

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