A Successful Launch

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With more than 3.5 mil­lion page views and 850,000 visits per month, the ABA Web site is one of the busier sites of any nonprofit organization on the Internet. It is a source of information for tens of thousands of ABA members. More and more, it is where members turn first to determine a meeting date or access a report and, in­creasingly, to purchase products.

In September 2004, the association launched the ABA Web Store, available at www.ababooks.org and www.abaclecatalog.org. It allows unique access to a wealth of legal products, ranging from the latest books and journals to premier continuing legal education products, all at the click of a mouse. The site provides lawyers with access to more than 1,500 products, including books, CDs, DVDs, audiotapes and videotapes, magazines, journals, online catalogs, course materials and newsletters.

Impressive Early Results

The Web Store completed its first five months at the end of January, and the results are impressive. Orders for le­­gal products increased in those five months of this bar year compared to the same months last bar year by almost one-third–from 8,400 to 11,000 orders. In terms of dollar amounts, we had $1.1 million of sales in the five months through January of this bar year, compared to $784,000 during the same period last year–an increase of more than 40 percent.

Our most optimistic initial projections were that the store would generate 25,000 orders in this 2004-2005 association year, valued at $2.5 million. Results to date indicate we will likely exceed those optimistic projections.

The ABA Web Store is featured in major search engines, including Google, AOL Search, MSN Search, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo Search. An encouraging result of these placements is that www.abanet.org/abastore is now ranked as one of the top Web sites by Google.

The Web Store is the brainchild of the Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education, chaired by R. Clark Wadlow of Washington, D.C., and the Standing Commit­tee on Publishing Oversight, chaired by Joseph M. Potenza, also of Washington. The store came about through the hard work of many talented people in the association, including those in ABA Publish­ing, the ABA Center for CLE and the Information Sys­tems Depart­ment. The result combines an excellent venue for members and visitors to browse through our impressive array of intellectual property with incentives for visitors to join the ABA and receive even greater benefits–in both discounts on products and the intangibles of belonging to an organization that develops such a wealth of materials.

Features and benefits of the Web Store include:

• Special discounts, promotions and offers for members.

• Improved search capabilities.

• New releases and best sellers by topic and format.

• Online catalogs for easy shopping.

• Product bundles and related products.

• Access to continuing legal education products.

• Gift certificates and special offers.

While the ABA now has its own Amazon.com-like ability to deliver its products, the Web Store is only in its initial phase. In the future the store will be able to provide information about related products, offer more flexible discounts, and manage product data with greater ease and timeliness. Planned upgrades will provide shoppers with enhanced search capabilities, further links between relevant resources and more user-friendly navigation, making for an even more streamlined shopping experience.

The Web Store adds new strength to the association’s sales, marketing and branding initiatives, and increases our Web traffic. As the store provides the association with richer data on what our members and other legal consumers want, we can refine and place greater emphasis on our Web-based marketing and advertising. The Web Store has already enabled us to significantly enhance cross-marketing efforts, and this is only phase one.

For their excellent work in bringing this great new benefit to the ABA and the legal community, I would like to thank Sarina Butler, associate executive director, communication group; Mary Cavallini, associate executive director, professional services, membership and market research; Gordon Kerr, chief information officer; Bryan Kay, director of ABA Publishing; Joe Andrews, manager, Web site applications and services; Diane Bruhl, director of membership and marketing; and Peter Glowacki, director of the ABA Center for CLE.

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