March 31, 2009, 12:00 AM

Product configurators help double average order value at

Borrowing from online shoe configurators, firearms vendor Brownells creates a build your own rifle tool that doubles average order value.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Borrowing from the concept of online product configurators that allow web shoppers to preview customized products such as shoes before ordering, has launched a similar service for shoppers building self-designed rifles. Customers who use the retailer’s new AR15 builder tool have an average order value that’s twice as high as those who don’t, according to Brownells Inc. e-commerce manager Clayton Whipple.

The tool, built with web design firm Formula Design, also increases the average time visitors spend on its pages over the average time spent on other pages on the site by five times, Whipple says.

Brownells spent six months developing the new tool and launched it in January. Because The AR15 rifle offers many customization options, such as different stocks, grips and barrels, and many potential combinations, it was a good fit for a product configurator, says Whipple. He adds the company decided to build the tool after observing Nike Inc.’s success with its online shoe builder.

Customers can build the rifle according to their own specifications, using the detailed photos on the site. Brownells also offers kits containing the basic elements.

The company is promoting the tool with online banner ads, through social media, and with print advertising, Whipple says. The tool, located at, is accessible from Brownell’s home page and also is a stand-alone web site. The company expects to launch a similar builder tool later this year for another product, a customized pistol, Whipple adds.

The retailer also is planning to offer the software it’s developed for the builder under license to other retailers in its category sometime next year, he adds. Whipple didn’t disclose what Brownells paid to develop the tool, or how the software would be priced when it becomes available.



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