February 18, 2005, 12:00 AM

MusiciansFriend.com`s sales grow 24% in 2004

MusiciansFriend.com, the direct marketing arm of Guitar Center, is reporting 2004 Internet sales of $172.8 million, up 24% from $139.4 million in 2003.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Strong growth in 2004 web sales has MusiciansFriend.com singing a happy tune. For 2004, MusiciansFriend.com, the direct marketing arm of Guitar Center Inc., is reporting Internet sales of $172.8 million, up 24% from $139.4 million in 2003.

E-commerce sales continue to grow because MusiciansFriend.com believes in fine-tuning a business strategy that already works, says Craig Johnson, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. For instance, instead of making wholesale changes to its marketing and merchandising strategy in 2005, MusiciansFriend.com is making slight adjustments to be in perfect pitch with web shoppers who spend about $208 each time they make a purchase from the Internet store’s total inventory of more than 40,000 SKUs.

MusiciansFriend.com is adding more product reviews written by professional musicians who cover a variety of topics, including technical specifications, with detailed opinions. The web retailer is also making page adjustments that better showcase its inventory. Shoppers for a $280 Ibanez bass guitar and amplifier set, for instance, can click on zoom features that display more product detail. They can also read detailed product reviews, ratings and warranties and comparison shop for related accessories or complementary merchandise.

“We’re spending a lot of time making adjustments that reflect the synergy between our web and catalog customers,” says Johnson. “We’re improving site search and content by giving shoppers more ways to drill down and find what they’re looking for.”

MusiciansFriend.com is also adding more product comparison tables to its merchandising pages and introducing new products more quickly, especially in January when most major musical instrument and equipment manufacturers introduce new lines and upgrades. “We’re seeing more competitors in our space,” Johnson says. “We’re spending more time understanding the web, especially search, and aiming to become better at what we do.”

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