|Successor||Fry's Electronics, Inc.|
|Headquarters||Kent, Connecticut, United States|
|Products||Discount computer hardware & software|
Cyberian Outpost was an online vendor of discount computer hardware and software, and was one of the first successful online retailers. CybOut was founded in 1994 by Darryl Peck and announced its IPO in 1998 (NASDAQ: COOL). After its stock reached a high of $60 in 2000, Cyberian Outpost fell victim to the burst of the dot-com bubble and its stock price fell rapidly. The company's assets were acquired by Fry's Electronics in 2001. Fry's maintained its online store through the Outpost.com domain and brand until 2006, when it was rebranded as Frys.com. Beginning in 2008, Outpost.com simply redirects to Frys.com.
Cyberian Outpost was one of the earliest successful online-only retailers and is an interesting case study in the history of the nascent online retail industry. Unlike many large retailers of the time, founder Peck marketed directly to expert consumers instead of businesses, and specialized in hard-to-find Macintosh products in a market saturated with Microsoft-compatible products. Having no physical retail store to manage, Outpost.com marketed its products overseas where it gained a strong word-of-mouth reputation for its low prices. Outpost.com was soon offered in 11 languages.
The company continued a rapid expansion, taking advantage of the booming Internet. In 1997, Money Magazine rated the site as "best online retail site" and "the best computer equipment site," placing it among giants like PC Connection and Amazon.com. Outpost.com raised $2.7 million in venture capital in 1997, and claimed 25,000 visitors per day and 1.3 million customers. It secured another $22 million in private equity financing in 1998, and $70 million from its IPO. Outpost.com opened a warehouse in Ohio that could guarantee next-morning domestic delivery and worldwide delivery within 48 hours, a notable achievement for the nascent online retail industry which competed directly with large and well-established mail-order companies.
Cyberian Outpost had many unique and unusual marketing programs. The company created an Affiliate program whereby partners could receive a commission for referring customers to the site. Outpost.com also forged marketing partnerships with major Internet portals, such as AOL, C|Net, and Lycos. Outpost.com hired Cliff Freeman to produce TV ads, whose agency Freeman & Partners had created the "Pizza Pizza" campaign for Little Caesars and the "Where's the Beef?" campaigns for Wendy's International. Outpost.com adopted a zealous and controversial marketing program which included a Super Bowl ad in which fake gerbils were shot out of a cannon at the company logo, followed later by an ad that featured a high school marching band being attacked by a pack of ravenous wolves, and another ad portraying pre-school toddlers being tattooed with 'Outpost.com' across their foreheads.
- "PC Connection, Inc. to Acquire Cyberian Outpost, Inc.; Stock-for-Stock Transaction Will Add Strong Internet Brand." Business Wire, 30 May 2001.
- Outpost.com at the Wayback Machine (archived December 7, 2001)
- Outpost.com at the Wayback Machine (archived August 26, 2006)
- Outpost.com at the Wayback Machine (archived September 15, 2006)
- FRYS.com at the Wayback Machine (archived September 29, 2008)
- Parry, Mark E., "Cyberian Outpost." (University of Virginia - Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.) UVA-M-0624, Social Science Research Network. http://ssrn.com/abstract=910080
- "Cyberian Outpost Announces Strategic Marketing Agreement with Security First Network Bank," Business Wire, December 2, 1997.
- Belsky, Gary. "Get it quick--and pay less-by shopping on the Web." Money, 01494953, September 1997, Vol. 26, Issue 9.
- "Web Fulfillment Isn't a Problem for Everyone," DM News, January 19, 1998, p.48
- Brief corporate history
- Outpost.com TV Ad: Gerbils shot out of a cannon
- Outpost.com TV Ad: Wolves attack a high school marching band
- Outpost.com TV Ad: Children in Daycare being tattooed with "outpost.com" on their foreheads