February 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Meijer rings up 2009 online sales of $20.7 million

Midwest retail chain Meijer has grown online sales by 116% to $20.7 million in 2009 from $9.6 million in 2008. 2009 was the company’s second year of triple-digit growth since launching Meijer.com in 2007.

Midwest retail chain Meijer Inc. jumped into e-commerce late in the game in the third quarter of 2007, but in 2009 its web sales reached $20.7 million, the company’s second year of triple digit growth.

Meijer, No. 489 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), sells groceries as well as general merchandise at 182 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The company says it found online success not by offering a typical web site, but by incorporating features that differentiate the site to keep it relevant and interesting for shoppers. For example, Meijer.com offers interactive elements such as a Product Advisor tool that enables customers to query other shoppers while they browse. Interactive games in 2009 included its Back To School Scramble that featured daily giveaways for players. The company credited the game with boosting conversion on featured items by 18%.

“Meijer-the grocery side-is part of customers’ lives often on a weekly basis. The seasonal games and contests create engagement to further build our brand image and loyalty, and incorporate us into their daily lives,” says Dawn Bronkema, director of e-commerce marketing.

One promotion that proved popular during the holiday season was the “Elf’s Daily Steal,” which offered a deeply discounted item. It was continued after the holidays and now appears as the Big Steal and is one way the company seeks to attract budget-conscious consumers.

“We expanded our merchandise assortment to include products that filled the gap between what products our customers need that our stores don`t carry. We added pricing differentiators to offer more value-clearance, price drop, everyday best price, in addition to sale,” says Bronkema.

In 2009, the company also launched Grocery Express where customers can order groceries online and pick them up curbside at select stores in Illinois and Ohio.

The company’s plans for 2010 include streamlining checkout to reduce the steps and simplifying the site’s guided navigation, says Bronkema.

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