April 15, 2008, 12:00 AM

Horizon Hobby gets a lift in revenue with brand-focused storefronts

By merchandising products in dedicated online “storefronts” designed for particular brands or product categories, Horizon Hobby has increased revenue and made nearly all of its 80,000 SKUs easy to find, the retailer says.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

By merchandising products in dedicated online “storefronts” designed for particular brands or product categories, Horizon Hobby Inc. has increased revenue while making nearly all of its 80,000 SKUs easy to find, says Sebo Dapper, former director of web commerce and now head of the retailer’s European markets.

Horizon Hobby, an online retailer as well as wholesaler of radio-control toy cars, model trains and learning toys, has developed its dedicated online storefronts within HorizonHobby.com using site search-and-navigation technology from Endeca Technologies Inc. and cross-selling recommendations technology from Baynote Inc., Dapper says.

Hosted on servers from Thanx Media Inc., the storefronts have produced a lift in revenue while enabling the retailer to improve merchandising for many products that would otherwise get lost, Dapper says.

“We have 80,000 SKUs, and this has allowed us to merchandise them on our site better so shoppers wouldn’t just hit a dead-end on a product page,” he says.

Many of Horizon Hobby’s products-plastic assembly kits and die-cast model cars and planes, for example-are relatively slow sellers that typically fall outside of primary display space. “No one has had the time to spend merchandising these items,” Dapper says.

But with storefronts focused on product categories or brands, more of these less popular items are now presented in an organized series of pages that makes it easier for shoppers seeking to find them while browsing similar products.

A storefront designated for the Losi brand of radio-control model vehicles, for example, lets visitors browse among colorful images of popular model cars, beach buggies and trucks, while also displaying on the same page relatively obscure items like the plastic shell of a Losi model truck body. “If a shopper searches on the term Losi, the site returns a mini Losi site instead of just a bunch of results,” Dapper says. “Losi might have thousands of products, but a shopper can get to all of them from the main Losi page.”

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