April 1, 2009, 12:00 AM

Diapers.com pins 2008 growth on more product diversity

Though the name suggests an online retailer dependent on a single product, Diapers.com is getting pretty good at mixing up the merchandise. By doubling the number of SKUs carried online and adding more categories, 2008 web sales increased by 147%.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Though the name suggests an online retailer dependent on a single product, Diapers.com is getting pretty good at mixing up the merchandise.

So much so that in 2008 Diapers.com doubled the number of SKUs it carries online to more than 3,000 and added a slew of new merchandising categories, including toys, books, clothing, shoes and environmentally safe products sold in a category called Green Baby. With better product diversity and a keen eye on its core customers-parents of newborns to 3-year-olds-web sales increased by 147.2% in 2008 to $89 million from $36 million in 2007. “Our strategy isn’t rocket science: it’s listening and giving the customers what they want,” says Diapers.com CEO Marc Lore.

Diapers.com, No. 231 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is growing web sales by literally growing up with the children using its core products. In 2005, Lore and co-founder Vinit Bharara founded Diapers.com as a niche e-commerce site selling name-brand diapers, wipes and formula. The online retailer next expanded into bottles, pacifiers, rash ointments, creams, shampoos and breast pads before adding an even broader assortment in 2008.

“We make it a point to return a response to a customer’s e-mail in under 20 minutes and respond to incoming customer service calls in 30 seconds or less,” Lore says. “That attention to detail has given us a pretty loyal customer base and their interaction with us is a guide to expanding our product mix.”

In 2009, Diapers.com will add more product categories such as car seats and furniture. Diapers.com also recently introduced several new features, including a community where couples with young families and newborns can share photos, exchange messages and start their own special groups. Diapers.com also updated its Baby Center with more content such as daily featured articles and interactive tools such as calculators for baby due dates and maternity and delivery costs, a height predictor, and an immunization scheduler.

“2008 was a great year but there is very strong price pressure in this category from competitors,” Lore says. “We’ll grow in 2009 by continuing to diversify our product mix and delivering what our core customers want.”

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