January 24, 2007, 12:00 AM

CompactAppliance.com builds business with better tech tools

CompactAppliance.com used customer reviews and internally developed product image viewing technology to drive 2006 web sales up 38% to $22 million. The company also plans to expand its b-to-b marketing this year with the launch of a new web site.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

CompactAppliance.com is using customer reviews and internally developed product image viewing technology to drive 2006 web sales up 38% to $22 million. Online sales in 2005 were $16 million.

Selling appliances via the web and phone requires placing a lot of product information in front of the shopper. CompactAppliance.com, No. 288 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, banks on building customer relationships with product data, and did so online in 2006 by adding commercial and inhouse software, says Jason Roussos, vice president.

“A lot of our e-commerce tools help us get to know our customers better,” he says. Some 65% of the company’s sales come from the web, while 35% come from its call center.

Recent e-commerce initiatives include adding customer reviews technology from PowerReviews, which Roussos says helps cement customer relationships by providing different product information. The internally developed product imaging tool enables a 360-degree view of products. “The hardest part about shopping online for an appliance is getting a feel for how it looks and works,” he adds.

CompactAppliance plans to expand its business-to-business marketing this year with the launch of a web site dedicated to customers it now serves through existing channels. Targets include health care facilities and government organization buyers, Roussos says. “Our growth in web retail was almost 40%, but our B2B growth was closer to 100%.”

An offshoot site called PortableAirShop.com did a little more than $1 million in sales for 2006 and CompactAppliance hopes to build on that business this year. The site sells air conditioners, cleaners, purifiers and other related products.

 

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