Diapers.com Founders Prepare Pet-Supply Website Wag.com

Amazon.com Inc.’s Quidsi, the owner of Diapers.com, said it’s opening a site for pet supplies in the coming weeks to target the “other baby” of the family.

Wag.com will carry items from dog food to hamster cages, Jersey City, New Jersey-based Quidsi said in an e-mail to customers and on its website. Seattle-based Amazon.com bought Quidsi this year for $545 million.

Quidsi, founded in 2005 by Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara, also owns Soap.com and BeautyBar.com. Its foray into pet supplies harkens back to Pets.com Inc., the ill-fated website that is often held up as a sign of the exuberance of the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. Quidsi is counting on its size and the automation that keeps down costs at its warehouses to give it an edge, as well as the growing number of Web shoppers.

“Ever since Vinit and I started Diapers.com, customers have been asking when we would offer something for the other baby in the family,” Lore said in the e-mail. “That day is almost here.”

The broader e-commerce market will increase 12 percent to $197 billion this year, accounting for 9 percent of total U.S. retail sales, according to estimates by Forrester Research Inc. In a November interview, Lore said Quidsi sales would probably rise 67 percent to $300 million in 2010 and would surpass $1 billion by 2012.

Customer Service

The company said it prides itself on its customer service that includes a 365-day return policy and speedy shipping. Quidsi’s sites share a common online shopping cart so consumers can purchase items from any of them and check out once. The company offers free two-day shipping in the U.S. on orders of more than $49.

Quidsi is Latin for “What if?” Its backers included Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, BEV Capital, MentorTech Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

Lore and Bharara, who weren’t available for comment beyond Lore’s e-mail to customers, won’t be the first to try their hand at a site for pet supplies. Pets.com opened in 1999 and went public soon after. Its sock-puppet dog mascot became a recognized figure, appearing in a Super Bowl commercial. By November 2000, San Francisco-based Pets.com had burned through its cash and began liquidating the company.

Amazon.com fell $2.63 to $185.69 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have risen 3.2 percent this year.

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