LetsBuyIt.com strikes Amex deal

LetsBuyIt.com, the co-buying website that came back from the brink of bankruptcy earlier this year, has signed a major marketing partnership with American Express.

The deal enables LetsBuyIt’s 1.2 million members to pay for their co-buy purchases using the American Express card. In return LetsBuyIt.com will have access to 3.7 million Amex members through the credit card company’s direct mail and online campaigns.

In February two-year-old LetsBuyIt realigned its co-buying business to focus on four key regions: the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, all of which will now accept Amex purchases.

The two companies hope to develop joint communications and targeted marketing campaigns across all four markets.

“Over the past two years we have created one of the leading Internet brands in Europe,” says LetsBuyIt.com UK managing director Sheila Farrell.

“It’s the strength of this brand and the loyalty of our customers that allows us to attract high profile suppliers and service providers such as Amex. Our aim is to create marketing programmes that build on these two strong brands to add value to our respective member communities.”

American Express claims its 51 million card holders have a higher average spend per transaction than any other payment method, including other cards. It also says Amex cardholders are more loyal to establishments that accept American Express and actively look for the American Express sign when shopping. Critics say this is because so many establishments do not accept Amex.

The company has recently begun targeting affluent younger consumers with its Blue card addition. It has also established close ties with a number of other websites, notably Amazon.com.

Hopes for LetsBuyIt’s survival have been boosted by the latest results from Priceline.com, the reverse auction specialist, which posted a smaller than expected loss and forecast profitability by the end of the year.

Both dot-coms are pioneering radical new consumer models which leverage the purchasing power of groups rather than individuals, and of high-speed transactions which take advantage of dynamic pricing.

LetsBuyIt announced a new cash injection last week of E25m (&£15.6m) from a New York-based venture capital company.

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