Neckties and digital cameras may be popular holiday gifts, but at niche e-retailer Power Equipment Direct Inc. the holiday season gift of choice is an air compressor that can be used to run power tools like paint sprayers and drills, founder Jon Hoch says. Power Equipment Direct’s total 2006 sales are on pace to hit $15 million, up 58% from $9.5 million in 2005, he adds.
Power Equipment Direct, based in Romeoville, IL, is a pure-play online retailer that operates three niche web sites: AirCompressors.com, ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com and PressureWashersDirect.com. 60% of its sales are to consumers, Hoch says.
While electric generators sell particularly well during power black-outs and pressure washers are strong for Father’s Day, air compressors are the best sellers during the holiday shopping season as gifts that can be used both at home and on a work site, Hoch says. AirCompressorsDirect.com sells items ranging from $20 inflators to air compressors priced in the thousands of dollars as well as a broad range of air-powered tools and accessories.
Sales on AirCompressorsDirect.com for the Dec. 1-11 period have already surpassed sales for all of December 2005, and on Dec. 11 the site processed nearly five times as many orders as it did on the same day last year, Hoch says.
Hoch attributes the increases to several efforts, including an increase in the number of paid-search ads, improving the web site for natural search rankings, an expanded product line and new site features that help customers shop for products.
In August, for example, AirCompressorsDirect.com launched a brand-independent recommendation feature that offers a “good-better-best” table of product options across multiple categories.