Online sales at auto accessories retailer J.C. Whitney Inc. have accelerated as the year has progressed, with growth of 40% year-over-year during the first two weeks in June, Geoff Robertson, director of technology at Chicago-based J.C. Whitney, tells Internet Retailer.
The growth at JCWhitney.com is the result of channel shifting as customers adopt the convenience of online shopping, Robertson says. Online sales in January and February were 10% higher than January and February 2002, while March and April sales were up 15-20% over the same months a year earlier. In early June, growth accelerated to 40% over the same weeks a year ago. Meanwhile, companywide sales were flat. “Channel switching is continuing,” Robertson says. “A lot more of our Internet sales are coming from the catalog; customers like the convenience factor.”
At the same time that volume is growing, J.C. Whitney’s average order value is increasing. In May, it was 5-10% above May 2002, Robertson says. He attributes that to the growth of products available at the web site. J.C. Whitney is growing its online catalog to all 55,000 SKUs, from 30,000. When applied to all the makes and models of cars that they can fit, those 55,000 SKUs represent 3 million variations of products. “As more product goes up on the site, people buy more,” Robertson says. “It’s so fundamental.”