February 2, 2010, 12:00 AM

Benjamin Moore is primed to sell paint on the web for the first time

Benjamin Moore & Co., which sells its paints through a network of more than 4,000 retail stores, has launched its first e-commerce site, enabling craftsman, contractors and do-it-yourselfers to order paint for delivery to their doors.

Benjamin Moore & Co., which sells its paints through a network of more than 4,000 retail stores, has launched its first e-commerce site, enabling craftsman, contractors and do-it-yourselfers to order paint and supplies and have those items delivered to their doors.

“We wanted to be where consumers are now gravitating toward,” a Benjamin Moore spokeswoman says. “Not having an e-commerce site was a gap in our brand.” Before launching the e-commerce site, store.benjaminmoore.com, the company’s web site attracted around 600,000 unique visitors a month, the spokeswoman says.

Since the launch of the e-commerce site Monday, consumers have placed about two dozen orders, many of them for paint samples. “Color fidelity is very hard on a monitor,” the spokeswoman says, acknowledging that many retail-store customers also first purchased paint samples before committing to specific styles and colors.

Benjamin Moore’s web site includes information on such issues as how to select a proper sheen and how to calculate the paint needed for a job. Along with the site, the company has launched a customer contact line that consumers can call to ask such questions.

Benjamin Moore offers free shipping for orders of $75 or more. The company also waives the shipping fee for customers who order four or more two-ounce color samples, a purchase that all but promises a major painting effort. Customers can choose from 600 color samples.

Benjamin Moore began developing the e-commerce site a year ago, she says. The paint manufacturer’s I.T. department will operate the site.

Benjamin Moore has promoted its e-commerce offering through two blogs that debuted on the firm’s non-commerce web site in the fourth quarter, the spokeswoman says. The company also might promote the site through Twitter.

The company has no plans to drop its sales in stores. “While we remain steadfastly committed to our retail partners, we hope they share our vision that this move will allow the brand to cast its net wider and capture new and more consumers, a benefit to us all,” says Carl Minchew, Benjamin Moore’s director of product development.

Benjamin Moore earns at least $1 billion annually in revenue, but the spokeswoman would not talk about the company’s expectations for sales through the e-commerce site. She said growth would come as more consumers who grew up with social networking and online ordering take to painting their homes and furniture.

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