We recently spoke with Ryan Urban, Customer Acquisition & Analytics Manager, BrickHouse Security. He’s been instrumental in making BrickHouse one of the fast growing Yahoo! Stores by selling lots of security and surveillance products to consumers, businesses, and government agencies such as the NYPD, LA County Sheriffs Department, and the FBI.
What’s your background?
I’ve been in and around ecommerce for a long time. I started in 1996 when I was in high school and got serious about selling Beanie Babies in volume. I ended up a Top 100 seller on eBay in 2002-2007. I went from eBay to consulting on other people’s sites, as well as jumping on the Amazon.com platform when it opened up. When I joined BrickHouse in September 2008, it was the first time that I had worked for someone other than myself.
Tell us about BrickHouse.
BrickHouse has been online on since 2005 and is an Internet Retailer Top 500 retailer for 2010. We have fulfillment warehouses in California, Indiana, and Tennessee. We’re headquartered in New York City. We offer 18,000 products, focusing on opportunities in micro security niches, such as GPS tracking, consumer sector surveillance, biometric locks, home security and child safety. We were born on SEO & Analytics, that is what makes us great. Interestingly, we have a lot of international customers who are looking for technology that isn’t readily available in their home countries.
How did you get started in analytics?
Someone has to figure out how to make the money. I’ve been in analytics for years.
Who is the typical BrickHouse customer?
There really isn’t a typical customer. I guess you could say that the typical BrickHouse Security customer wants to find out something or confirm a suspicion. The GPS tracking customer, for example, is looking to confirm the location of their children, their husband, or their vehicles. The customer interested in surveillance usually wants to confirm that things are OK. How is the nanny treating the children? They come to us for general security and surveillance technology.
What do you do to stand out to in the marketplace?
We try everything here. We have an actual phone number on our site. We have a huge tech support team with free lifetime support. Our product videos are stellar. We are everywhere in the online universe, including eBay & SkyMall.
Has the economy in the past couple of years changed the types of product that people buy?
It hasn’t. People still want to do what they want to, and have needs to fill. Finding a cheating spouse, for example, is a need for some people; as is making sure their children are safe. We’ve maintained strong conversion rates. In fact, conversion is higher now than it was in 2007. As far as pricing….we continually reevaluate it. We’re certainly not the lost cost leader because we sell the best products with professional service.
What do you think is the most interesting product you sell?
I think it is the Stealth iBot. It installs in seconds through a USB port, and records everything a person does on a computer. It is undetectable by most anti-spyware software, and stores up to 10,000 screenshots and virtually unlimited text. Think of it as a really sophisticated keylogger that is capable of revealing multiple email and Facebook accounts. It only costs $129.
Thanks Ryan. If Sandra Bullock had slipped an iBot into Jesse James’ laptop she would probably have saved herself a lot of heartbreak and been able to take someone more deserving to the 2010 Academy Awards. Look for Part Two of our interview with Ryan in a couple of days.