November 7, 2007, 12:00 AM

PCUniverse.com is a small retailer with big e-commerce plans

In the past year PC Universe has completely overhauled PCUniverse.com with advanced features that reduced the steps to finding a product and completing a purchase by 50%. The payoff: higher average tickets and more accessory sales.

PC Universe Inc. is big developer of web site features and functions that attract serious techies.

For more than a decade PC Universe has quietly built up PCUniverse.com into an e-commerce site that today carries an inventory of more than 25,000 products and 250,000 individual SKUs. Over time PC Universe has seen various competitors come and go, while bigger retailers such as Newegg.com have diversified their computer products with consumer electronics and technical services.

But PC Universe, No. 360 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, survives in a tough, low-margin business because it sticks to its roots and gives customers what they value most: quick and easy ways to purchase computer gear. In the past year PC Universe has completely overhauled PCUniverse.com with advanced features that reduced the steps to finding a product and completing a purchase by 50%. The product pages also have been reconfigured to include more product reviews, buyer’s guides and other content. Another new feature – Intelligent Cross-Sell, a product recommendation tool developed by CNET Channel, but customized for PCUniverse.com – gives shoppers instant recommendations on the cables, cartridges or other accessories they need when they select a new computer or printer.

“When a lot of retailers are offering similar computer equipment at the same price, we decided that building better features and functions would keep our customers focused and set us apart,” says director of e-commerce Patrick Colletta. The decision to rebuild its web site with tools that keep hard core tech buyers coming back is paying off: PC Universe’s average ticket has grown by 25% to more than $400 in the last year while the sale of computer accessories has jumped by 22%, Colletta says.

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