November 25, 2002, 12:00 AM

Computers/Electronics/CDs: High-tech sites for tech-smart shoppers

(Page 4 of 6)

IGo.com has operated since 1999 as a source of mobile device accessories for a customer base that has grown to 350,000. In addition to service, it attracts customers with unique private-label items, such as the iGo Xtend Power Xtender for DVDs, marketed as the first DVD adapter approved for use on airlines as well as in cars.

With a tech-smart customer base, iGo.com gets credit for easy navigation and clear presentation. “The layout looks solid and has navigational ease,” says Jim Okamura, senior partner at retail consultants J. C. Williams Group in Chicago. “You quickly get the sense that this is the place for mobile accessories.”

Although 80% of iGo’s direct sales come in through the call center, most customers first research their purchase on iGo.com. “People go to iGo.com to find out what’s current because the catalog is out of date the minute it goes to printing,” Ingallinera says.

iGo.com

Date
1999
Unique Visitors
300,000/mo.
Sales
$19 million/yr. (online and catalog)
Design By
in-house
Site Search
Netrics Inc.
CRM
Onyx Software Corp.
Affiliate Management
N/A
Fulfillment
PFSweb Inc.
Order Management
Microsoft Corp. Small Business Solutions
Returns Liquidation
PFSweb Inc.
Web Analytics
Fireclick Inc.
Payment Processor
Page Digital Inc., Paymentech L.P.
Content Management
in-house
E-mail Management
eWayDirect.com Inc.

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Radio Shack
The know-it-all friend on the web

Originally known as a place for techies and electronics hobbyists, RadioShack has emerged over the years as the ubiquitous neighborhood store that offers popular consumer products as well as electronics gear and ample advice from knowledgeable sales people.

There are now more than 7,200 RadioShack stores across the United States, the perfect base for a complementary web site, says David Goyne, senior vice president and general manager of RadioShack Corp.’s RadioShack.com, which debuted in 1999. “Our intention is to replicate the store experience online,” he says.

The company’s long-running slogan, “You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers,” plays right into its web strategy, he adds. RadioShack.com enables users to drill down quickly into an extensive well of information about products and how to install, repair and maintain them. And in a true multi-channel strategy, it’s used as an informational tool by in-store customers and store personnel as well.

“RadioShack really understands the importance of information, and that’s what you get on their web site,” says Neil Stern, partner with Chicago retail consultants McMillan/Doolittle. “Their site is highly integrated with their store system.”

RadioShack, which plans to have broadband Internet-access terminals for customer use in 90% of stores by year-end, is out to be the source for consumer electronics information as well as products. Its free-flowing information policy, for example, is intended to help consumers with questions about electronics even if their questions pertain to products bought at other retailers. “If you bought a cell phone at another retailer and need an accessory for it, we’ll help you find it,” Goyne says.

At the same time, RadioShack is adding to the ways shoppers can search online for products. For this holiday season, for instance, it expanded its online Gift Finder. “We intend to evolve RadioShack.com into an increasingly relevant experience every time a visitor comes to our site,” Goyne says.

One trendy service RadioShack does not offer online is in-store pick-up, but it provides information online about what’s available in local stores and it accepts returns at all locations.

“We want customers to make a logical connection between RadioShack.com and the RadioShack store in their neighborhood,” Goyne says. “And when we’re not meeting them face-to-face, we’re trying to show them online how RadioShack can help manage their complicated, electronic world.”

RadioShack.com

Date
1999
Unique Visitors
1.37 million/mo.*
Site Search
Microsoft Corp.
CRM
in-house
Affiliate Management
Be Free Inc.
Fulfillment
in-house
Order Management
in-house
Returns Liquidation
in-house
Web Analytics
Fireclick Inc.
Payment Processor
N/A
Content Management
in-house
E-mail Management
Microsoft Corp.
*As reported by comScore Networks Inc.

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Sharper Image
Keeping a sharp eye on innovation

Sharper Image Corp. has the customer base that is perfect for web sales; high-tech, interested in the latest gadgets, its clientele is more likely to be online than the average consumer. And yet, Sharper Image has adopted a conscious policy to grow all channels. It’s opening more stores and mailing more catalogs than ever-even while its web sales are growing at nearly 50% a year.

“Sharper Image has really been a pioneer of multi-channel retailing,” says Neil Stern, a partner with retail consultants McMillan/Doolittle. “Sharper Image is about finding the latest, greatest stuff, and the web supports it.”

“When Internet commerce came into being around 1995, we saw it as a perfect complement to our existing multi-channel strategy,” says Tracy Wan, president. That strategy is comprised of four selling channels, all of them growing-stores, expanding to 127 this year from 120; a catalog whose circulation is increasing this year to 78 million from 70 million last year; TV infomercials; and SharperImage.com.

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