May 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

Sales boiling over at iGourmet.com

Something was smelling awfully good at iGourmet.com last year. Sales at the e-retailer grew 147.6%. This year it plans to turn up the heat even more via product line expansion and other efforts.

Something was smelling awfully good at iGourmet.com last year. It turned out to be sales, which boiled over in 2005 hitting $10.4 million, a 147.6% jump over 2004’s $4.2 million.

The company, though, is planning a more modest meal this year: It projects sales growth of around 40%, still well over the industry average of 25%. And at some point in 2007, iGourmet.com executives say they can double their number of customers via plans to branch out into a new product category that it keeps closely guarded.

To reach 40% growth in sales this year, the company will continue to broaden product offerings and use longtime partner Pepperjam for online marketing management as well as implement web site improvements.

“Enhanced site functionality hopefully will lead to a higher conversion rate,” says a company spokeswoman. “Improvements are being made to site search and checkout. Our checkout improvements will, for example, enable customers to more easily split their order components into multiple ship-to addresses.”

The company, No. 376 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, performs all I.T. work in house.

On another front, iGourmet.com has tested numerous types of promotions and determined that free or discounted shipping offers and “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” sales generate the highest response rates. “We’re focusing sharply on these types of promotions this year and beyond,” the spokeswoman says. “In addition, we will continue to use search analytics to maximize and extend our search engine marketing investments.”

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