In an email interview with Defenseworld.net, Anthony Farwell, President, Managing Director & Founder talked about the inception of GovX, its members and how the company became the "largest controlled-access e-commerce marketplace that combines content and community exclusively" dedicated to the armed forces.
DW : How did GovX come to be? What was the idea behind its inception?
Anthony Farwell: My business partners, Marc and Shannon Van Buskirk, developed Oakley’s military and government sales channel, and after their company was acquired by Oakley, we set out to build an advanced e-commerce platform with leading edge online verification technology, member management and special features to allow manufacturers and brands to reach this noble constituency. The company has grown very quickly and brands and members have expanded rapidly. Members win because they receive substantial, privileged discounts; brands win because they reach an audience that is very large but extraordinarily hard to reach without disrupting their traditional retail sales channels; and our participating foundations win because we offer a give-back program. Finally, GovX’s employees and shareholders win because we are building tremendous value while serving a higher cause. We wanted to change the e-commerce convention and create an online destination that truly honors those who protect and serve our country and communities by giving them private access to a broad array of premium brands and services at privileged prices exclusive to them.
DW : Since its initiation four years ago, how has GovX grown?
Anthony Farwell: . GovX.com started three years ago, quietly launching in late 2011. To date, we have grown substantially, counting triple digit growth year over year. Since we launched GovX.com, we have brought on more than 300 premium brand partners, 40,000 product SKUs, and more than 750,000 active customers with 3.2 million affiliated members through military and government associations and foundations. Recently, to provide even more value to our members, we launched a new vertical: sports and event ticketing. This new service provides our deserving members discounted prices on tickets for MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, motorsports, and entertainment events, along with race registrations. Today, GovX.com is the largest controlled-access e-commerce marketplace that combines content and community exclusively for verified service men and women, first responders, government employees and their spouses.
DW : And how does this new way to conduct e-commerce to a targeted community work?
Anthony Farwell: We sought to partner with major and emerging brands that sincerely understood what we were doing and wanted to deliver exclusive discounts and benefits to this very deserving group. We had to find partners who wanted to be a part of a noble cause to serve those who serve us, and we quickly attracted customers who realized that GovX.com was made for them and to honor them every day. Our growth since our launch three years ago is a testament to our business model, how we view the e-commerce industry and how we continue to be thought-leaders in the broader retailing industry. Our members are a deserving group of service men and women who genuinely appreciate the support and privileged pricing offered through GovX.com. It’s a rewarding business model for all involved.
DW : How do you weed out the imposters, if any?
Anthony Farwell: We use our patent pending online verification system that interconnects with government institutions, unions, professional associations and other data sources, while employing optical character recognition and fraud detection systems. In layman’s terms, every single member goes through a thorough verification to confirm their eligibility to access GovX.com’s premium products and services.
DW : Your company “offers substantial discounts on premium on-duty and off-duty products”. Can you tell us more about these products?
Anthony Farwell: The GovX.com marketplace is comprised of popular manufacturers of lifestyle products, tactical and outdoor gear, and tickets to major league sports and entertainment events.
DW : You also provide a platform for the community to connect and interact. Can you tell us more about this?
Anthony Farwell: GovX.com has not only grown into a leader in the e-commerce space, but we are now redefining the e-commerce experience. GovX.com delivers consistent, authentic content across a variety of verticals and platforms, including blogs, a new social bar, online reviews, expert testimonials, live chat with experts, and member spotlights. From military experts who blog and military and first responder members who share their experiences, to retired veterans who discuss their “life after work” adventures and members who like to talk about their favorite new products, GovX.com is a community for our members to share life stories, converse about adventure, and review and enjoy GovX.com’s hand-picked products.
DW : And what do you foresee going ahead?
Anthony Farwell: The market for active, reserve, veteran and retired U.S. Military along with law enforcement, firefighters, emergency response and federal, state and local government employees is approximately 50 million people, just under 30% of the U.S. adult population. Along with their spouses and their dependent children, they represent just over 100 million. We are now the largest non-government provider e-commerce marketplace serving verified users in this military/government segment, and we are growing quickly, adding brands and members rapidly, so our charter is to provide secure access to a broad and deep range of curated manufacturers, service providers and retailers. We plan to continue to serve this market while embracing the higher purpose of our mission.