WHY-TO-BUY-HERE STRATEGY #3: THE COMMUNITY HUB.
CambridgeSoft's six-year old Web store (www.chemstore.com) now offers a remarkably rich set of services for a worldwide Internet community of chemists. These services include a hand-compiled index of data sources and suppliers for over 100,000 chemicals ("the Yahoo! of chemistry"), an online trade journal and news service, a membership club, a marketplace for buyers and sellers of bulk chemicals, and several individual Web boutique stores that sell scientific software, books, lab equipment, and chemical supplies. Directly or through links to catalogs, CambridgeSoft's ChemStore offers 500,000 different products, the company claims.
One important reason that the community hub model works well for CambridgeSoft, says marketing manager Vanessa Tomasic, is that it serves a highly-fragmented market--the pharmaceutical, biotech, and chemical industries. "Business to business e-commerce is especially attractive in these industries because of the large number of products and suppliers, the diverse needs of researchers, and the inefficiencies of traditional paper-bound systems," she notes.
CambridgeSoft, 100 CambridgePark Dr., Cambridge, Mass. 02140; 617/588- 9100.
In more diffuse market segments, the product itself may become a focal point for a community Web site. Jasc Software's Paint Shop Pro began as a shareware program in 1991, and over the years a loyal community of users has grown up around the product. The Jasc store (www.jasc.com) highlights "people within this community who provide tutorials, art, plug-ins, and more," says Jasc's Lisa Piper. "We love this community and wish to firmly establish their worth to Jasc as a company."
In turn, the conspicuous enthusiasm of Paint Shop Pro users helps attract even more potential customers to the site. Jasc currently distributes more than 10,000 trailware copies a day, and downloads of beta versions sometimes hit 15-20,000 copies a day. During peak periods, Jasc is flooded with e-mail about its products, Piper says; during a recent three-week beta period, it took at least three people to answer e-mails and read newsgroup postings. But that's a necessary investment to sustain community enthusiasm, she says. "Many of these beta users write that they feel Ohonored' to help us develop our product."
Jasc Software,7905 Fuller Rd., Eden Prairie, Minn. 55344; 612/930-9800.
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|Date:||Oct 20, 2000|
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