Nations Oldest Lobster & Seafood Web Site Marks 13th Anniversary
Lobsters-Online.Com First Sale Came Minutes After 1997 Launch
Cape Cod, Mass. (Oct. 14, 2010) – The Lobster Trap Company Lobsters-Online.Com today announced the anniversary of its 13th year of selling live lobster with overnight delivery to retail customers all across the United States, making it the oldest Lobster web site in continuous operation.
Launched in 1997, the web site became an instant success with its first live-lobster sale coming from a Florida retiree who had recently moved to Tampa from Connecticut and was missing New England lobster.
Designed and built by founder Wayne Howe of Boston, the web site was developed originally as a prototype to show off a new e-commerce system and to encourage seafood wholesale vendors to move their 1-800 telephone order business onto the web. Howe was hoping to encourage the seafood outlets to employ the e-commerce system Howe was selling. Faced with resistance from the wholesalers, who rebuffed his efforts with expressions such as -- “Web, what web? We are fishermen. We don’t know anything about the Internet.” -- Howe decided to take the prototype and use it to create a web based retail seafood business.
Contracting with seafood suppliers, Lobsters-Online.com went live with the click of a mouse. And within minutes, orders began arriving.
First Sale in Minutes
“I saw the first e-mail alert and couldn’t believe a sale had come in. We just couldn’t stop smiling,” Howe said. “It seemed almost unbelievable that someone found the web site so fast. Back then, e-commerce was supposed to be only for the big retail players. Yet here we were, a small business able to take a credit card online, authorize it, and then deliver live seafood overnight to anywhere in the country.”
Sales grew steadily until the millennium, when orders came in so fast and so strong during December that it doubled sales for the entire year.
“Even with the automated web site, we were working 24 hours a day to manage all the orders for the holidays and the millennium,” Howe said. “We needed to request larger trucks to pick up all the orders. That holiday period was a real deal changer and it helped us map out the successful sales strategy in use today. Repeat business quickly became the engine that kept our sales growing.”
“We have thousands and thousands of satisfied customers who buy from us every year,” Howe said.
Since 1997, Lobsters-Online.Com has served hundreds of thousands of customers and has shipped millions of dollars worth of lobster and seafood. Sales have increased an average of 25 percent per year since the year 2000.
In 2002 Howe met Logan Clark, CEO of the Lobster Trap Company, headquartered in Bourne, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The 35-year-old Lobster Trap Company was among the largest seafood wholesalers in the country and it boasted sparkling, brand new plant facilities capable of storing thousands of pounds of lobster in seawater tanks. The new tanks were chilled to a constant 38 degrees keeping the lobster strong and healthy, and ready to travel.
Lobster Trap Partnership
The two men agreed to form the “Lobster Trap Company Lobsters-Online.Com” partnership in 2001 to continue to provide retail seafood customers with the freshest lobster and seafood, the best customer service, and the best seafood value available anywhere on the web. Customer service and fulfillment was moved to the Lobster Trap Company’s new facility.
Today the Lobster Trap Company boasts its own lobster boat docks and facilities in Machiasport, ME; Steuben, ME; and Cape Cod. This ensures that all Lobsters-Online.Com lobsters are fresh off the boats, onto the docks and into the Lobster Trap Company facilities. There are no middlemen to drive up the price or delay shipping. This means that all lobsters are kept strong and healthy, with the select grade reserved and ready to be shipped out overnight to anywhere in the United States.
Featuring all the best seafood New England has to offer – including hard to find jumbo lobster -- the Lobsters-Online.Com web site is open 24 hours a day. Customers that order by 2:30 p.m. EST can receive their lobsters the very next day. Deliveries are available Tuesday through Saturday.