About 60% of the 90 marketers featured in the SkyMall catalog made the initial jump to SkyMall.com. The remaining merchants wanted to see the Internet product first before committing, said SkyMall President-CEO Bob Worsley.
This will mark the first Internet foray for many of the catalog's merchants, which include Sharper Image, Brookstone and Mrs. Fields. Some, like Mrs. Fields, have never been online before; only about half of the SkyMall merchants have Web sites, and of those, only some of them do e-commerce.
BRINGING PRODUCTS ONLINE
The airline catalog plans not only to bring its products onto www.skymall.com, but also take advantage of its experience and back office infrastructure in running a non-brick-and-mortar mall.
"We're leveraging an existing profitable mall concept on the Internet," Mr. Worsley said. "They're remarkably similar if you can just get your head around the idea of a paper catalog."
SkyMall.com will be a kind of free-lance mall on the Internet, allowing interested Web sites without any e-commerce to add SkyMall. Amazon.com has had success with a similar formula, putting book links on almost any site.
Under that kind of agreement, the site with the link gets a transaction fee, as does SkyMall. SkyMall.com also will make money by charging merchants a flat fee to be on the site, similar to the way merchants pay a fee to be in the catalog.
Last year, SkyMall had about $60 million in revenue, with about $20 million from placement fees and $40 million from merchandise sales.
Airline Web sites are the obvious first targets for partnerships. Continental