Wrapping around what they know

For the 10 specialty e-retailers in the Hot 100, selling online isn’t just about merchandising and design, it is about figuring out what their customers’ desire and finding interesting ways to meet those needs.



Why They're Hot:

Gift retailer Cool Material has about 160,000 Facebook fans and more than 50,000 newsletter subscribers. Driving those consumers to visit Shop.CoolMaterial.com and share it with their friends is the retailer's humorous blog content, which highlights the unusual items it sells. In fact, Cool Material doesn't pay for any search marketing because it attracts enough traffic from social sharing, says founder Tim Jacobsen. "As long as we bring in new readers and eyeballs, we'll naturally be able to funnel our readers into customers," he says. He hopes to eventually convert 3-5% of the newsletter subscribers to shoppers. Already, store revenue is on pace to surpass revenue from advertising on the blog. "But we'll never become a pure-play retailer—we'd lose our credibility," he says. "We just subtly introduce products we think are great. It's all about the content."

Key Statistics:
  • Date Launched:2009
  • Unique Visitors:800,000
  • Web-based Sales:Order the Hot 100 issue
Who They're Using: