SOURCE: Bonanza

October 13, 2010 09:00 ET

Bonanza Launches First Specialty Marketplace Focused on Multi-Billion Dollar Handbag Industry

Fashion-Oriented Content and Social Media Viewed as Key to Company's Plans to Build the Brand and Reduce Reliance on Google

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - October 13, 2010) - Bonanza, the leader in community-driven social commerce, today launched Bags Bonanza, a specialty store focused entirely on handbags.

The new site, which can be found online at bags.bonanza.com, is the first specialty store for Bonanza and will feature more than 20,000 handbags, custom fashion and celebrity-oriented content from professional writers, and price comparison features that ensure buyers are getting a good value.

"Handbags have always been among the strongest product categories on Bonanza.com, which creates an incredible opportunity for Bags Bonanza," said Bill Harding, chief executive officer of Bonanza. "We intend to build Bags Bonanza into a destination that combines the greatest breadth of handbags online, with the attention to detail that handbag buyers crave." Handbags is a hugely profitable category and there are no clear winners in the marketplace segment, Harding said. According to a report by the analyst firm Research and Markets, the handbag market worldwide is estimated at nearly $5 billion annually.

Bags Bonanza grew out of input and feedback from the company's vast, loyal customer base. Harding said shoppers today are forced to choose between e-commerce sites with a good customer experience but a narrow inventory, or sites with inventory breadth but a poor shopping experience. "With more than 20,000 handbags and a passionate base of buyers and sellers on Bonanza.com, we're off to a great start and could dominate the category," he said.

Bonanza has blended its unique marketplace experience with a variety of new features including a price comparison tool that crawls the web to provide a price range for each bag so shoppers can tell if they are getting a good value. Shoppers will also soon be able to participate in one-day flash sales on select brands and styles. In addition, professionally authored content will chronicle the latest in handbag styles from LA to the runways of New York and Paris.

"Our customers have told us that the perfect handbag shopping experience can't happen at a one-size-fits-all marketplace," Harding said. "These are highly sophisticated buyers who want to know the bag's 'personality' and if it's authentic and fairly priced."

Bonanza is an online marketplace focused on SKU-less items. Working from virtual booths, merchants sell a wide variety of products ranging from old coins and antiques to handbags and candles. Its most popular categories are women's shoes and handbags, home and garden, jewelry, and collectibles.

Founded in 2008, Bonanza has quickly become one of the most popular social commerce sites on the Internet. At present, Bonanza has more than two million monthly visitors, 300,000 registered users and more than 3.4 million items for sale across its array of storefronts. Sales on Bonanza have increased by 150 percent over the past year, Harding said.

Last month Bonanza renamed and rebranded after operating for two years as Bonanzle. Earlier in the year Bonanza raised $1 million in funding from a group of prominent investors, including Ignition Partners, Voyager Capital, Founder's Co-op and Curious Office Partners, all of Seattle, and Matrix Partners of Silicon Valley. The investment round also included prominent angel investors such as BuddyTV founder Andy Liu, Wetpaint founder Ben Elowitz and Ontela co-founder Dan Shapiro.