Sweets, treats in a heartbeat

Hungry for a snack? Need an ice cream fix? GW students are now calming their midnight cravings via the Internet.

A new Web site, Kozmo.com, boasts being the first company to deliver of all your entertainment and convenience needs directly from the Internet to your door, desk or dorm in less than an hour.

Joseph Park and Yong Kong started the site in 1997 as an online video rental service in a small warehouse in Greenwich, N.Y. Now Kozmo operates in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. A sixth location in Los Angeles is set to open soon.

Since Kozmo’s Nov. 22, 1999 launch in Washington, D.C., it has become a hit with college students in Northwest D.C.

Students make up a good portion of our customer base, said Sean Jackson, general manager of the D.C. Kozmo office. They are some of our very best customers.

When D.C. was hit with a major snowstorm in late January, and the city shut down for several days, about 75 percent of orders came from students, he said.

Kozmo offers movie rentals, DVDs, video games, music, books, magazines, food and other items ranging from Band-Aids to home pregnancy tests. Delivery is free and guaranteed in under an hour.

Only Kozmo members can order from the site but becoming a member is free and easy. As an added bonus each new member receives a free video rental. Kozmo assigns all members user names and passwords to ensure privacy.

Kozmo accepts all credits cards and check cards. The card is billed at the end of each month and an itemized bill is e-mailed to the customer.

I like that I don’t have to get up, and I don’t need cash, sophomore Eileen Kickish said.

To attract students to the site, Kozmo representatives visited the GW and Georgetown campuses three days prior to the launch and offered students a chance to try the site first, Jackson said.

Many students asked said they heard about Kozmo from other students. Kozmo also has some GW students on staff that work to promote the site on campus.

I like the ease, product selection and cost of products, said junior Sam Giller, a Kozmo shopper.

GW students said their use of the site varies from once every few weeks to four times a week.

Video rentals, Krispy Kreme donuts and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream were some of the most popular products students ordered, they said.

Kozmo gives you a lot of information about the movies they have available, junior Beth Domenick said.

Kozmo offers VHS and DVD rentals for three days, ranging in price from $2-4. The site gives a synopsis of each movie along with reviews and blurbs about actors and directors. Customers can search for movies by title, people, new releases and genre. Kozmo also has a section of its own suggestions with 20 catchy categories such as edge of your seat, testosterone tonight, chick flicks, and date movies.

All rentals can be returned at drop boxes or picked up by Kozmo for $1. The drop boxes in the Foggy Bottom area are at Cone E. Island, Foggy Bottom Grocery and VIP Cleaners.

Kozmo operates from 10 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. All items ordered before midnight are delivered until 1 a.m.

To make ordering easier Kozmo has several specialized options. Customers can request delivery to an alternate address and can choose advanced delivery times. Kozmo also lets customers know if the product ordered is in stock. Kozmo members can also order by phone with their user name and password at 1-877-GO-KOZMO.

Kozmo has a strong commitment to fast delivery, according to the site. Even the CEO has helped deliver items on busy nights.

Eileen Kickish remembered a night when she was online when her order arrived. The delivery person could not get through to her room when he used the call box, so he called the phone number listed with the alternate address in her profile. He then talked to two additional people and called another number in order to get the second phone number to Eileen’s room so he could deliver her order.

Jackson said Kozmo is planning to expand its D.C. coverage to Capitol Hill partly to make up for a possible drop in orders when students leave for the summer. Whatsa Bagel will be added to the site to offer sandwiches and other lunch items. Kozmo is in the process of adding other sandwich offerings and more breakfast items.

Students say they have not run into any problems with the site. Products are usually in stock, and deliveries usually come in under an hour.

However, there are a few student-created problems.

I signed up with my friend using my credit card, junior Nathan Campeau said. Now I live in constant fear that she’s eating her weight in ice cream and Krispy Kreme Donuts and giving me the bill.

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