September 14, 2011, 2:41 PM

Power equipment e-retailer picks up the pace

Power Equipment Direct sales through early September exceeded all of last year’s sales.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Sales are on a tear at Power Equipment Direct Inc., which sells lawn mowers, snowblowers, electric generators and other items through nine niche e-commerce sites and a single physical store, CEO and founder Jon Hoch says.

The privately-held Power Equipment Direct, No. 250 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, had web sales last year of $49.7 million, up 71.4% from $29.0 million in 2009.

This marks the second consecutive year that Power Equipment Direct has exceeded prior-year sales by September. In earlier years, “It would usually take us to November to exceed year-ago sales,” Hoch says. “Our growth is both in new customers and in incremental sales from existing customers.”

Hoch attributes the surge in sales this year to several steps his company has taken to expand its business. In 2008, it launched five new niche e-commerce sites—ChainSawsDirect.com, LogSplittersDirect.com, MowersDirect.com, WaterPumpsDirect.com and SumpPumpsDirect.com. And since then it has continued to build up both its product lines and exposure through Internet search marketing—steps that are continuing to drive up sales, Hoch says.

More recently, the retailer added a navigation bar at the top of each of its nine e-commerce sites that lets shoppers link to any of its other sites. Mousing over the icon for each site pops up a “Shop Now” button along with a picture of an employee associated with the site.

“Originally shoppers found us through an Internet search for log splitters or snow blowers, but each site was stand-alone and it was hard to shop multiple Power Equipment Direct sites,” Hoch says. But many shoppers for one of its product lines often are in the market for one of its other lines, and “now our site-to-site traffic has increased substantially,” Hoch says.

The retailer has also boosted its Facebook presence, and now boasts about 8,000 fans, thanks to promotions such as “Operation Support Our Troops—America.” Power Equipment Direct donates $1 to U.S. military personnel every time a consumer Likes the retailer on its Facebook page.

Earlier this year, Power Equipment Direct opened its first store at its home base in Bolingbrook, IL, where the store fronts a warehouse that fulfills online orders. Its other e-commerce sites are SnowBlowersDirect.com, AirCompressors.com, ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com and PressureWashersDirect.com.

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