The nine tiles on Eurosport's homepage flash various soccer-related images at loadtime.
An easy-to-navigate frames-based layout makes the site simple to get around in.
Talk about a killer URL: sports equipment cataloger Sports Endeavors, Inc., which does business as Eurosport, managed to snag www.soccer.com as its online moniker. The Hillsborough, N.C. company was founded in 1984, and last year, with revenues edging $25 million, went onto the Web. Phaedra Hise spoke to CFO and co-owner Brendan Moylan about what he's found:
What's the purpose of the site?
Our goal now is to find new customers. As a name generator it will definitely help out. As an ordering option it will be just like a fax machine--people will increasingly find it strange during the next five years if they can't order over the Web. We want to work out the kinks now, so that when people start to order a lot we'll be ready.
Just under $5000. We had a one-time setup fee, and are charged as we make changes to the site. Our long-term goal is to bring everything in-house, like our catalog and other media that we control in-house. We have the expertise and the facility.
How much time does it take?
Development took about three people full time for a week, about 120 to 150 people-hours. We had one in-house guy spend about a week and a half gathering product information and putting pictures on disks. Our MIS person, Dave Wolfe, spent about three weeks developing editorial. Since then, there have been spurts when there's a reload of merchandise information that might take the developer 20 to 30 hours to put up. Other weeks it only takes about five hours. For ongoing maintenance, Dave spends about half his week freshening up the editorial, making corrections, and swapping product listings.
How many hits do you get?
2000-3000 per week, most of those coming from the search engines when users search on "soccer" or the names of famous soccer players.
Who seems to be visiting?
Mostly it's young people coming from search engines and other soccer sites. On the order form, there are some optional questions about age and gender that indicate young males are our most common visitors.
What kind of business have you gotten?
The site paid for the initial investment in 8 months, and factoring in labor it's getting to be profitable now. It's still a small percentage of our total sales that come directly over the Web--maybe one percent. But other sales come indirectly: what tends to happen is that visitors request a print catalog from the site, and we mail it to them with an origin code that tells us they came via the site. Then they order from the catalog. The site is more of a marketing tool right now, a name generator.
Phaedra Hise is the author of the book Growing Your Business Online: Small Business Strategies For Working the World Wide Web, (Henry Holt & Co, 1996).