After four years of specialty electronics sales online, Portland, OR-based 800.com has closed its web doors. The company shut down its web business yesterday. Today, Richmond, VA-based CircuitCity.com announced it is buying key assets from 800.com and re-directing 800.com’s traffic to CircuitCity.com. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.
800.com founder, President and CEO Greg Drew says it could no longer afford to operate independently in the current economic climate. "The sale of significant elements of 800.com to a recognized industry leader such as Circuit City is the best possible outcome for our loyal customers and prospects," he says. 800.com was known for its high-level, specialty customer service. 800.com prided itself on being among the few authorized online sellers of high-end electronics from such brands as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Kenwood and JVC.
Market analysts say 800.com’s demise is just the latest example of how pure-plays are struggling to stay in the online market amid pressure from large, multi-channel players. "A lot of that has to do with money and a lot of that has to do with expertise,” says Duif Calvin, vice president of global retail practice at New York-based Scient Inc., an e-commerce consulting and research firm. “It turns out you need to know more about selling than you do about the Internet to have a successful online business."
She notes that pure-plays, particularly in electronics, have struggled to compete in product selection and low pricing. "Customer expectations for most pure-plays are to see an ever-increasing selection at ever-lower prices," Calvin says. "Strong multi-channel brands can compete on more than just price."