SOURCE: Mercent

March 20, 2007 08:00 ET

REI's Online Performance Climbs With Mercent Retail

Outdoor Gear and Apparel Retailer Increases Online Revenues, Profit Margins, and Return on Advertising Spend Using Mercent's On-Demand Marketing Service

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 20, 2007 -- Mercent, a provider of online marketing technology and services for retail merchants, today announced that outdoor gear retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has improved key e-commerce performance metrics by adopting Mercent's hosted software service, Mercent Retail. Using Mercent Retail, REI -- already a leader in multi-channel retailing -- increased online sales, profits, and Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) while lowering its cost to acquire new customers online.

"Mercent Retail has been instrumental in increasing the performance of paid online advertising channels for REI," said Tom Vogl, vice president of marketing at REI. "We are particularly pleased with the positive impact Mercent delivered during the 2006 holiday season, our first holiday as a Mercent customer. Mercent Retail is an important contributor to REI's success."

In 2006, REI recognized the growing importance of online shopping engines and consumer marketplaces in expanding e-commerce revenues. With more than 10 leading online marketing channels and 150 unique consumer-facing vendor Web sites delivering referrals to REI.com, REI's data feed marketing practice had outgrown the retailer's internal tools and processes. After completing a thorough evaluation of leading performance marketing solutions, REI selected Mercent's on-demand software service, Mercent Retail, to automate and optimize the company's data feed marketing efforts.

Mercent fully integrated Mercent Retail with REI's back-end retail management systems in time to help the merchant capitalize on the 2006 holiday season. With the software-as-a-service (SAAS) performance marketing solution in place, the company began to normalize and optimize its product data feeds with immediate results. REI realized a 30 percent increase in order conversion on Mercent-managed referrals while overall revenues through Mercent-supported channels increased 11 percent during the first 90 days following deployment of Mercent Retail.

Adds Vogl, "Mercent has helped REI become more nimble in online marketplaces and comparison shopping portals. Reaching new customers through program growth is made much easier with the Mercent Retail management and optimization tools."

So far in 2007, REI has seen a 38 percent decrease in cost per order (CPO) and a 50 percent increase in return on ad spend (ROAS) using Mercent. Equally important, REI can quickly capitalize on new features released by innovative channel operators such as Google and Shopping.com, and adopt new marketing channels as soon as they emerge without incurring additional development or integration costs. The online marketing team at REI has realized lower management overhead and reduced ongoing reliance on IT resources to implement dynamic promotional campaigns. The retailer's product content and merchandising offers delivered to consumers through online marketing channels are more consistent with the company's own e-commerce storefront, and are more accurate and timely due to automation and improved optimization.

"We're very pleased with the results Mercent Retail has delivered for REI," said Eric Best, CEO of Mercent, "and we look forward to producing additional performance marketing gains for REI in 2007 and beyond."

Information regarding Mercent Retail is available at www.mercent.com/solutions

The complete list of online marketing channels supported by Mercent Retail is available at www.mercent.com/channels

About REI

REI is an outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its more than 3 million active members for a lifetime of outdoor adventure. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI operates 90 retail stores nationwide, two online stores -- REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com -- and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. As an active supporter of communities in which it does business, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through education, gear donations and financial contributions.

About Mercent

Founded by veterans of Amazon.com, Mercent provides online marketing technology and services to help retail merchants optimize performance across online channels. Mercent's on-demand platform, Mercent Retail, increases revenue and gross margins by promoting the right products with the right merchandising offers and placement. Mercent Retail provides a single point of integration between existing retail management systems and more than 35 leading online marketing channels including transactional marketplaces such as Amazon.com and SHOP.COM, shopping portals such as Shopping.com and Shopzilla, and affiliate marketing programs such as LinkShare and Performics -- making it easy for merchants to automate, measure, and optimize online product merchandising campaigns through these channels. Mercent customers include REI, GUESS?, Lucky Brand Jeans, SmartBargains, Wet Seal, Proflowers, Celebrate Express, Crabtree & Evelyn, Levenger, and other leading retailers. Mercent is an Amazon.com Certified System Integrator and SHOP.COM Certified Data Feed Provider. Mercent is a venture-funded company based in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit www.mercent.com.

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