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Go Fly a Site

BY CSA STAFF

It’s always a treat to discover a new gem in a crowded online marketplace. And once again, the big guys can learn something from the small start-up.

Meet BestKiteboarding.com , a Delray Beach, Fla.-based online retailer dedicated to selling equipment and apparel for kite boarding. The sport, which involves using a controlled power kite to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard, is for adventure seekers and risk takers. The site parallels this by taking a few leaps of its own.

However, it’s important to preface this by saying that the site is by no means perfect. It’s crowded, often difficult to navigate and throws too much information at its visitors. But what makes BestKiteboarding.com worth a second look is the concept behind its video section, which features both product and instructional online videos, as well as do-it-yourself clips sent in from amateur boarders.

With the growing popularity of sites such as YouTube and Google Video among Gen Yers, BestKiteboarding.com knew that online video would appeal to its young demographic. The site has on occasion hit $2.2 million in sales per month during peak periods. It embraced the digital medium way ahead of its time—it launched its e-commerce site almost five years ago. Now, years later, it still shows that small players in the online retail space are often ahead of the game.

The site’s educational videos provide insight to consumers on how to maintain and use certain kiteboarding equipment. They discuss why some items may be better suited for different levels (beginner to advanced) and provide tips on how to use those products.

Videos help consumers make smart and confident purchasing decisions. They also serve as a built-in salesperson who can supply detailed product information to influence the shopper and ultimately impact the merchant.

As this medium becomes even more of an online staple, shoppers not only will take advantage of video to learn about products, they eventually will come to expect it.

The tactic has been key for attracting loyal shoppers to the site for a while. And even though video is only a small segment of the site, the section alone draws nearly 26,000 page reviews per month. Some shoppers even repost clips on YouTube, further extending the brand.

Although the concept behind the video section is strong, there is still much room for improvement. Organization of its 500-plus clips is almost nonexistent. Videos should be split into distinct categories, allowing visitors to browse through different product types and styles, as well as by level of expertise. BestKiteboarding.com should take advantage of this video presence by displaying clips on its product pages to directly target interested shoppers.

The online retailer also features some videos sent in from passionate kiteboarding aficionados—and this could be its gold mine. The submitted videos put the site in a pivotal position as they allow consumers the chance to express themselves creatively. If BestKiteboarding.com better markets the opportunity to upload clips, it could truly embrace shopper customization on a level similar to YouTube.

Even though the site needs organizational revamping, it successfully narrows in on the niche kiteboarding market with ease. It also embodies the very essence of its core customer, and this in itself is powerful. It’s vibrant and colorful—and in keeping with the nature of kiteboarding, it certainly takes risks.

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Stage Stores says Peebles evp to retire

BY CSA STAFF

HOUSTON Stage Stores today announced that Dennis Abramczyk, evp and coo of its Peebles Division, will be retiring after approximately nine years with the company. He will continue to serve in his position until a replacement is found.

Jim Scarborough, chairman and ceo, commented, We want to thank Dennis for his contributions and service to our company, and we wish him well as he begins this new phase of his life. We will immediately begin a search for his successor, and we are pleased that Dennis will be staying on until the conclusion of our search process, as this will ensure a smooth and orderly transition.

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Home Depot to cut 500 HQ jobs

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA Home Depot is cutting 500 jobs at its headquarters. According to reports the cuts make up 10% of the 5,000 employees who work at the headquarters.

The cuts are partly due to the struggling U.S. economy, which has hurt market conditions, reports said. Employees were notified of the eliminations today, they will be paid through April 4.

Home Depot reported fiscal 2007 third quarter consolidated net earnings of $1.1 billion, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.5 billion, or 73 cents per diluted share, in the same period in fiscal 2006.

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