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OfficeMax, BuyLine Partner

Software BuyLine, Mountain View, CA, announced it will operate a Web site for OfficeMax Inc. through which the office products giant will market software products. The site, www.softwaresupersite.com, will offer a catalog of utilities, games, Web tools and productivity titles.

The site, named [email protected], will make available thousands of software titles from publishers including Microsoft, Symantec, Network Associates, Electronic Arts, The Learning Co., GT Interactive, Broderbund and Cendant Software. Shoppers will be able to download software directly from the site or have the products delivered to their homes or offices in the off-the-shelf packaging. The site also will offer service and support for customers, and Software BuyLine will operate the store from an IS standpoint, including capturing the customers and adding to OfficeMax's database.

“The real benefit to OfficeMax is that they get into business instantly in a category that they don't have complete expertise in,” said Ed Lauing, president/CEO of Software BuyLine. “[OfficeMax has] a terrific customer following and a terrific brand name, and that's what direct marketing is about. It's getting a customer file to buy things from you — and the more customers are familiar with a brand, the more they trust it.”

Lauing declined to specify financial terms of the pact with OfficeMax, though he said the agreement will operate on a split gross margin basis.

Customers who click on the software “click to shop” option within OfficeMax.com will be transported to the store, which runs directly off Software BuyLine's inhouse server. Software BuyLine carries thousands of products under contract with hundreds of direct relationships with software publishers.

The site will give users access to the company's try/buy technology, which allows shoppers to test the software without actually installing it onto their computers. Privately held Software Buyline, formerly TestDrive Corp., pioneered and patented the try/buy technology.

“Our strategy and our benefit is to go to folks like OfficeMax who want to be in this merchandise category but for whom it hasn't been a primary category,” Lauing said. “We have a lot of expertise in this category and it's our only category. And we can take our basic infrastructure and turn it into a customized co-brand for OfficeMax.”

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