Tool retailer Hardware Sales Inc.’s, online business is growing--so much, in fact, that it’s outgrown it e-commerce software provider. The tool superstore announced last week it has chosen Infopia, Inc. as its new e-commerce channel management vendor, replacing ChannelAdvisor Corp.
More competitive pricing, better customer service and the need for a more robust inventory management and reporting system prompted the move, Steve Douge, Internet sales division manager for hardware sales , says.
When Hardware Sales began selling online about two years ago, it mainly conducted sales through Internet auction house eBay. Today, consumers can purchase the retailer’s products on Amazon.com and directly through HardwareSalesInc.com. Douge says Infopia offers a better program for monitoring and consolidating transactions initiated at multiple web sites, and in different ways, such as through an auction versus a direct purchase. It also tracks available inventory so out-of-stock items are not offered.
“When you’re selling on eBay, you have auctions and “Buy It Nows”, and you’re selling in volume, it takes a special piece of software to track everything.” Douge says. “And, when you’re selling on your own web site and Amazon and eBay, it’s easy to oversell. Having everything under one roof is really important.”
Monthly online sales for the tool retailer have grown from about $90,000 to around $700,000 in the past two years, Douge says. The average online purchase is about $145, and the hardware retailer processes about 5,000 orders a month. Internet sales now comprise about 35% of Hardware Sales’ business, Douge adds. The rest of the company’s transactions are conducted in its 10-store complex in downtown Bellingham, WA.
As Hardware Sales continues to expand its online presence, Douge says the Infopia platform will allow it to better track growth and also help its marketing efforts.
“It’s (Infopia) better for our branding,” Douge says, noting that before, online customers often would see a ChannelAdvisor URL rather Hardware Sales’ web address, which could be confusing. Infopia also archives all sales information indefinitely, a feature Douge found rare when investigating e-commerce software companies.
Hardware Sales pay a percentage of its monthly sales to Infopia for its services.