January 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

igourmet.com aims for better 2010 with expanded product offerings

After a rough 2009, online retailer igourmet.com plans to diversify product offerings beyond its imported food products to improve sales.

Like many retailers, igourmet LLC struggled during 2009’s economic downturn and faced challenges on all fronts.

“It was a moderate amount of everything. Traffic was down, conversion was down, average ticket was down,” says Spencer Chesman, CEO, at igourmet, No. 447 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). The company’s online sales declined 32.7% from $10.4 million in 2008 to $7 million in 2009.

The weakened U.S. dollar also hurt results, says Chesman. Like other retailers that import products, igourmet spent more on inventory but was reluctant to raise prices for increasingly price-conscious consumers, he says.

However, Chesman says the company has weathered the difficult year by becoming more efficient and is now looking at ways to net better results, such as offering more luxury lifestyle products beyond the company’s current selection of gourmet foods. “People are looking for deals so we have to talk to our suppliers about what we can put together to move products,” he says.

The company will keep up efforts to reach current customers with continued promotions as well as aim to increase its customer base by growing its affiliate program, Chesman says.

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