January 5, 2010, 12:00 AM

Niche retailer Online Stores plans to enter new markets in 2010

After finishing 2009 with 15 niche retail sites and a 25% year-over-year increase in total sales to nearly $25 million, Online Stores is planning to double its number of e-commerce sites this year, co-founder and vice president Kevin Hickey says.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

After finishing 2009 with 15 niche retail sites and a 25% year-over-year increase in total sales to nearly $25 million, Online Stores Inc. is planning to double its number of e-commerce sites this year, co-founder and vice president Kevin Hickey says.

“This year we expect to at least double our number of niche sites,” he says.

The retailer’s main e-commerce sites include United-States-Flag.com and EnglishTeaStore.com. Within the past couple of years, Online Stores has acquired some sites, including ConstructionGear.com and personalized children’s furniture site PerfectMatchBoutique.com, and started others from scratch, including Imprinted.com, which sells coffee mugs, carrying bags and other items that customers can personalize.

Going forward, new e-commerce sites launched by Online Stores may offer baby furniture and gourmet food to complement the products offered on EnglishTeaStore.com and PerfectMatchBoutique.com, Hickey says.

Online Stores operates all of its sites on Yahoo Inc.’s Yahoo Merchant Solutions platform, which is also known as Yahoo Store, with an order management system from Stone Edge Technologies Inc.

Online Stores is No. 352 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name).

Comments | 1 Response

  • Caveat emptor is my advice to online buyers (those who order items from Internet Retailers). When I ordered an $880 item from Cymax.com, they immediately billed my credit card. Their website stated that the item would be delivered within 3 days of my order date, I waited a week and did not see that anything had been delivered, so an email was submitted to them. I waited another week, and no response was forthcoming. I sent them a second email, again complete with my order number and queries. Still no response. Two weeks after placing the order, I make a phone call and was told they did not have the item; in fact, the item was discontinued and they would not be mailing anything to me. Nothing was said to me about the credit card charge. Later that same day, I emailed Cymax, telling them to rescind their charge. Their next day emailed response was that my refund request would be given "a high priority so that it gets looked at quickly" - as if there was any other option for them. Of course, i immediately contacted AmEx and told them that the Cymax charge item was a bogus item and that it was not going to be paid since no product or service was provided me by Cymax. The point of all this is that online retailers automatically charge customers their prices without even determining whether or not they can deliver their advertised products.

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