Back from administration: EBTM, 247electrical, Empire Direct


Three companies that fell into administration during the past
eight months have been bought out and will continue to trade
online.

The trading name, domain names, customer list, and trademarks of
electricals etailer 247electrical, which fell into administration
in November following the collapse of one of its major suppliers,
were bought by Spyder Enterprise in early 2009. Simon Dack,
Spyder Enterprise’s managing director, also operates Popcorn UK,
a rival of 247electrical.

“Popcorn was always aware of 247electrical as a competitor,
with a very similar product range but perhaps a different
approach to internet retailing,” says Dack.
“247electrical clearly based their business model solely
around price competitiveness, whereas Popcorn, whilst as focused
on price as any online retailer, realises that service is as
important, if not more so.” In keeping with that
philosophy, Dack is relaunching 247electrical with an emphasis on
service and customer engagement. The 247electrical website-in
soft launch since the beginning of May-is on a new ecommerce
platform that can support blogs, customer feedback, and user
reviews. Dack is also increasing the product range:
“Previously the site offered around 3,000 lines. By
creating a number of new supplier partnerships it will now stock
in excess of 6,000.”

Dack is pushing ahead with a consumer PR campaign, and in the
near future the site will begin running offers and incentives. He
told Catalogue e-business that he is already engaged in
affiliate marketing for his other business and will involve the
247electrical brand in due course.

Another electricals retailer rescued from oblivion is Empire
Direct, which was acquired by Richer Sounds in February. A
30-year-old business with 48 UK stores, a catalogue, and an
online presence, Richer Sounds bought EmpireDirect.co.uk from
administrator KPMG for an undisclosed sum; the acquisition did
not include Empire Direct’s 14 bricks-and-mortar stores. The
company will offer Richer Sounds credit vouchers to any members
of Empire Direct’s EdXtra loyalty programme with an outstanding
balance. Richer Sounds didn’t comment on whether it would operate
the business as a separate entity or fold it into the Richer
Sounds brand.

TKC Direct, the parent company of urban fashion
cataloguer/retailer Route One, acquired the website, trading
name, and customer database of Everything but the Music (EBTM) in
April. The online seller of music-inspired fashion had fallen
into administration in March. Route One managing director Richard
Boissevain says that EBTM’s customer profile was very similar to
that of Route One but that there was virtually no overlap of
customer names. “We are already in the youth market,”
he explains. “We know the type of customer, and through
EBTM we’re able to communicate to a wider customer base.”

EBTM was relaunched in late April in a “fairly low
key” way, says Boissevain. As the acquisition did not
include any stock, TKC has added lines from the Route One range.
Boissevain also worked on reestablishing relationships with
suppliers, which he says have responded positively to the
acquisition. There are still 3,000 products to be uploaded onto
the ecommerce platform.

Once the site is “fully loaded,” says Boissevain, the
company will embark on a marketing push. Adverts will appear in
targeted publications such as Front magazine, and the company
will have a presence at the summer’s music festivals. It will
also undertake affiliate marketing and social networking.

Boissevain says that he doesn’t want to limit EBTM to
“gnarly” heavy metal and intends to expand its scope
to attract more female customers. “We have the capacity to
get 250,000 units out of the door a year. We’ve a long way to go
before we reach that,” he says.

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