May 11, 2005, 12:00 AM

Overstock.com’s Q1 customer acquisitions rise 86% to 796,000

Overstock.com added 796,000 new customers in the first quarter ended March 31, a rise of 86% from the 429,000 customers added in the year-ago period, it says in a government report filed yesterday.

 

Overstock.com added 796,000 new customers in the first quarter ended March 31, a rise of 86% from the 429,000 customers added in the year-ago period, it says in a 10Q financial report filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gross bookings, the value of all transactions on Overstock including those for which it only earns commissions, rose 97% to $184.2 million from $93.4 million, it said.

But the expanded customer base came at a big price, as Q1 sales and marketing expenses rose almost four-fold to $16.8 million from $4.4 million a year ago, Overstock said. It noted that it received “disappointing results” from a $2.6 million TV advertising campaign conducted outside of its normal ad budget.

Overstock said its marketing efforts resulted in a 172% year-over-year increase in web site traffic, but that much of the increase has been tied to lower traffic-to-sales conversion rates as well as to traffic to its auctions section.

As previously reported, Overstock posted a Q1 net loss of $4.2 million, compared to a year-ago net loss of $2.3 million, while revenue rose 102% to $165.9 million from $82.1 million.

On a positive note, Overstock said Q1 fulfillment costs declined as a percentage of revenue to 7%, down from 8% a year ago. Due to increased volumes and improved vendor relationships, it said, Overstock saw declines in both inbound and outbound shipping costs.

 

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