IQ News: Reebok Makes Its Move Into Online Marketing

Reebok has taken its first step into online marketing with pop-up banners that enable shoppers to make purchases on the spot, rather than requiring them to go to another site, offering a quick direct-buying mechanism. The banners, built by New York-based Cybuy, began running last month.
˜We were looking for a more efficient way to help consumers understand and purchase our products online,” said Roger Cameron Wood, vice president of global e-commerce for Boston-based Reebok. ˜At current media spending rates, it is daunting for a company, any company, to spend millions of dollars per quarter driving traffic to its retail site.”
Cybuy has created a banner for each of the 10 products Reebok selected from three categories„shoes, sunglasses and watches. Banners are running on sites with related content in the Adsmart network of 375 sites.
˜Consumers generally like the idea of being able to stay where they are„in this case on the site„to find out more about a product offering or to buy it on the spot,” said Sandra Robinson, president of Cybuy.
Although other Internet companies„including San Francisco-based BlueStreak. com and Enliven, Redwood City, Calif.„offer pop-up banners, they tend to involve rich media and sometimes require consumers to use plug-ins. The concept is still new, and only a few companies, including British Airways, have begun to use the pop-up banners as a way to sell their products. ˜Cybuy builds pop-up banners that can be easily used by all Web sites. We are about helping people sell things,” said Robinson.
Reebok, which had not been using any online marketing to drive traffic to its site, wanted an innovative way to enter a competitive space already dominated by such retailers as The Gap and Land›s End.
˜The consumer is being bombarded by price-driven e-commerce messages,” Reebok›s Wood said. ˜Price and selection can only take you so far. We thought, ™There must be something else we can do,› given that we don›t want to play the price and selection game, which is a very brutal game and a tough one to win at.”
Tieing the banners closely to related content can take the emphasis off price and selection and integrate retail with other Internet activities. Reebok believes this approach is the wave of the future.
˜There will always be shopping sites, but as you begin to see the commercialization of all kinds of activities on the Net, retail will be woven into a number of activities and won›t be seen as a stand-alone act,” said Wood.
At the end of January, Reebok will evaluate the effectiveness of the experimental campaign. ˜We want to see if people will go for it,” said Wood. ˜The segmentation is not as important as the experimentation with the ability to browse content and make transactions along the way.”
Cybuy, a provider of e-commerce solutions for merchants and Web sites, uses profiling technologies from Engage, Andover, Mass. Its clients include REI, CondÚ Nast, Orvis and Ebag.
To help explore other online options, Reebok has retained Eisnor Interactive, New York, an offline and online marketing company, as an online consultant. It also works with Citysoft, New York, an Internet Web design company that built the Reebok Web site. n