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Jun 26, 2000
Interview

QXL - Building a Pan-European Internet Brand

SUMMARY: QXL.com always intended to be ‘the leading Internet auctioneer across Europe,’ says CEO Jim Rose. And they’re doing pretty well so far: they’ve built up the largest pan-European online auction community, currently conducting C2C and B2C auctions in umpteen different countries – that means umpteen different languages and, EMU or not, umpteen different currencies. So – how does a UK-based firm set about conquering Europe?
CREATIVE

QXL.com enlisted the help of business solutions provider Syzygy in the middle of last year. Between them, the two companies decided that the key to successful European expansion would be branding. For starters, Syzygy, devised a distinctive new logo – now used in all on- and offline transactions, the logo was designed to complement the ‘fun but trustworthy’ reputation that QXL.com had already established. But, as everybody should know (we’re constantly amazed by the number of people who don’t) branding means more than just putting your logo on stuff. Syzygy also overhauled the company’s Web interface, and more fully integrated its different auction models, making the site cleaner and more user-friendly, and enhancing the overall customer experience. Best of all, using a highly adaptable and scaleable templating structure, they integrated an interface design, information architecture and navigation (that means launching new sites, in new languages and new currencies, across Europe with the same QXL.com branding is an absolute doddle – Ed). The new, improved QXL.com was launched in September 1999, heralded by an advertising campaign across Europe.


RESULTS

Pretty spectacular. The new site gained ‘unprecedented traffic’ almost immediately. The number of new users rose dramatically, and the number of registered users by 80%. User loyalty also grew – Repeat purchase rates doubled in the three months after re-launch to over 70% and, at 16.5 pages and 16.1 minutes on average, user sessions began to outscore even Amazon’s. And of course QXL.com just loved the new scalability that Syzygy’s template allowed, helping them to become No. 1 European eBusiness site in tons of important studies.

COST

The sort of service provided by Syzygy doesn’t come cheap, and QXL don’t really like to be specific. But we have it on good authority that they forked out in excess of £100,000...

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