Overstock.com Inc.

In 10 years, Overstock.com Inc. grew its annual revenues from more than $1.8 million to more than $1.09 billion. How did this online retailer capture and hold on to consumers, even as the economy continues to put a damper on consumer spending? By providing shoppers with a convenient way to find bargains while offering an alternative sales channel to manufacturers, distributors and other retailers.

“Overstock.com provides online shoppers the best value and a superior customer experience,” CEO Patrick Byrne says in the company’s vision statement. “We are honest, helpful, efficient, accountable and trustworthy, and we are committed to profitability and service. We want our colleagues and customers to feel At Home with the ‘O.’’’

Overstock.com – also known as O.co – got its start in the spring of 1999, when Dr. Patrick M. Byrne saw great potential in liquidating excess inventory via the internet. Until that time, the company says, bargain seekers had to travel to distant outlet centers, often encountering crowds and limited product selections. Also, small retailers had no way of entering the market of closeout merchandise.

Within six months and with no outside funding, Byrne launched O.co with a goal of becoming the premier company selling excess inventory through the Internet.

Shopping Locally and Globally

The online retail offering of O.co includes bedding, home decor, appliances, jewelry, electronics, sporting goods, clothing and shoes – all high-quality merchandise at discount prices. But O.co’s offering continues to grow – in addition to the wide variety of small goods available, shoppers can use the site to buy new cars, domestic and international vacations.

Through its Main Street Revolution Store, consumers have access to goods sold by U.S.-based small businesses. In operation for just more than a year, O.co’s Main Street Revolution has 161 vendors and carries more than 3,700 products. Through the store, consumers can “shop local” by searching for products that a produced and sold in a particular state. With vendors in 30 states, the Main Street Revolution Store carries a wide range of products.

“Our Main Street Revolution Store provides small businesses with a platform for national visibility,” Byrne said.

Excellence Recognized

Consumers are not only finding great deals on Overstock.com, but they also are benefiting from a positive shopping experience, as evidenced by Overstock.com’s extensive industry recognition. The company ranks fourth in customer service, according to the National Retail Federation and American Express, and it was named the Customer Service Department and Retail and Sales Department of the Year at the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

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