Respond2 Debuts Online Shopping Site

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Respond2, Portland, OR, will conduct a soft launch of its new direct response television Internet shopping site, Efinds.com, within two weeks. Efinds.com will offer a host of classic direct response products from many companies and will figure in the DRTV production arm of the company.


A recent partnership with iCOMS Inc. helped secure the back-end technical solutions necessary to launch the site and will serve to expand the already-growing number of clients the company's Internet division is servicing.


"Efinds.com is a sort of Internet solution for direct response marketers. From our perspective, we wanted a place to give people a sense that our whole business model right now is based on the relationship between direct response television and the Internet," said Tim O'Leary, CEO of Respond2. "We also wanted a site where we could practice what we preach for some of our DRTV and Internet clients who do not have real good existing e-commerce solutions at this point."


The sites continues the "storymercial" format that O'Leary developed when he ran the Tyee Group in the early '90s. The concept is a story that features the continuing saga of Ethan Finds and his family. Portions of the site contain regularly updated stories that find Ethan and his family in different situations which will highlight certain products. The characters also will be used for other marketing opportunities like consumer loyalty clubs. The layout of the site is designed like a house, where visitors go into certain rooms and find products associated with that room.


In coordination with the production arm of the company, O'Leary said, there will be two levels of partnerships with other DRTV companies on the site. The core advertisers will sell their wares on the site and feature the Efinds.com URL in their DRTV spots and infomercials. The secondary advertisers will simply sell their products on the site. The site will launch with 20-30 products as it slowly rolls out toward completion, continually adding new advertisers and products. Tri-Star Products Inc. will be the first core advertiser.


O'Leary said that for the last year, the company's Internet division has mostly been concerned with building the Efinds site and developing the right approach and technology to help coordinate the building and modification of client sites. The company primarily works with clients that want to have a very strict direct component to their sites. The Internet is Respond2's fastest-growing segment, with clients including Liquid Metal Golf and Carnival Cruise Lines. Respond2 produced a five-minute infomercial and two shorter spots that drove viewers to the Carnival site while at the same time explaining to them what they would see when they got there.


"We are trying to create communities that grab people and up-sell them and cross-sell them while still keeping them dedicated to the site," said O'Leary. "The focus of the Internet division is what a great telemarketing agency would be but only on the Internet. We are working to make sure that the creative you see on television matches what's happening on the site, and that the site entices consumers to buy right away."


O'Leary added that the company is using Flash technology throughout the sites so customers never have to leave the page. The same technology is also being heavily used to up-sell and cross-sell to maximize the value of every transaction.
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