January 20, 2010, 12:00 AM

ReStockIt turns in a 41% online sales increase for 2009

A site upgrade including improved search, navigation and checkout helped web-only office and business supplies retailer ReStockIt.com reach $20.4 million in sales for 2009, a 41% increase from the prior year.

A site upgrade including improved search, navigation and checkout helped web-only office and business supplies retailer ReStockIt.com reach $20.4 million in sales for 2009, a 41% increase from $14.5 million the prior year. The company attributes a 49% increase in conversation rate and a 12% hike in average ticket to the site upgrades and marketing initiatives in 2009.

ReStockIt.com, No. 414 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), deployed guided search technology from Endeca Technologies Inc. and Thanx Media Inc. in late 2008 that enabled ReStockIt to analyze conversions per search term. The vendor’s tools helped the retailer to better merchandise search results, which in turn led to a 50% increase in search conversions, ReStockIt says.

Analyzing customer search patterns prompted ReStockIt to implement guided navigation technology, also from Endeca and Thanx Media, in January 2009. As a result the e-retailer was able to funnel its customers to the products they were looking for, contributing to sales and average order size increases.

In June 2009 ReStockIt added an internally developed guest checkout option that let customers bypass registering for an account, which slashed checkout abandonment by more than 80%, the company says. And in August a review of how shoppers find products led the company to develop new category names and a new navigation structure based on both competitor and customer search analyses. ReStockit estimates orders have increased by more than 7% as a result of the taxonomy changes.

Other changes in 2009 included a revised free shipping policy encompassing tens of thousands of its 200,000 products; price reductions; enhanced descriptions and images of its 500 best-selling products; a new “green” product category so customers can easily find and purchase eco-friendly products such as energy-efficient electronics, cleaning, office, and restaurant supplies; and educational content on topics ranging from preventing the spread of the flu to finding the best voice-over-Internet phone.

New marketing initiatives that rolled out in 2009 included promotions to new and repeat customers. These promotions helped increase conversion rates by 5% to 7% along with increasing average ticket by 15%, the company says. ReStockIt also overhauled its daily e-mails, focusing offers and products by customer segment. Open rates, click-through rates and gross profits on e-mail have increased by 20%, 30% and 10% respectively, ReStockit says.

The e-retailer also stepped up its use of social media and has accumulated more than 2,000 Twitter followers and more than 800 Facebook fans. Promotions offered exclusively to fans and followers, as well as contest entries via Twitter and Facebook, led to “significant traffic” from those sources, ReStockIt says.

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