2/04/09

PartStore.com pieces together a 32% web sales increase in 2008

Household electronics and appliance parts retailer PartStore.com plumbed new depths in its Google marketing tools in fiscal 2008. The result: web sales of $20.2 million, a 32% increase compared with fiscal 2007.

Mark Brohan , Research Director

Household electronics and appliance parts retailer PartStore.com plumbed new depths of its Google marketing tools in fiscal 2008. The result: web sales of $20.2 million, a 32%, or $4.9 million, increase compared with web sales of $15.3 million in fiscal 2007.

Fiscal 2008 rode out on a strong fourth quarter for PartStore.com, with web sales reaching about $7.5 million, up by about 50% from $5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

PartStore.com, No. 431 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, attributes a good measure of its sales success in 2008 to using Google tools it already had in place, says Dan Seligson, vice president of e-commerce. “We had Google Adwords, but we dug into it and used it to do split tests on copy and landing pages,” he says.

The tests were much simpler than formal A/B testing, and the simpler the tools the better when it comes to managing 8 million products. “The parts business is very complicated,” Seligson says. “We built a very complex, dynamic e-commerce platform. Changing the way a page looks is a significant technical effort.”

In the past, testing new page features required building a new template, which could take several weeks, time that PartStore.com’s technology team could be spending on other tasks. “So we took testing out of the technology arena and put up standard web pages to test different page looks and feels,” Seligson says.

Adwords reporting increased the conversion rate by 40% in one program by enabling testing of two different sets of copy on Google, he says. “Google will do a very good job of displaying that copy in a 50-50 split into two different landing pages,” Seligson adds.

PartStore.com also is experimenting with Google’s Web Site Optimizer. “The tool looks at page flow and conversion rate and will optimize along those lines,” Seligson says. “For example, if we send people to two different versions of a page, the tool will tell us what works better and then redirect traffic based on elements of the page that works best.”

Retailers like PartStore are benefiting from leaner economic times as consumers are more likely to repair than replace broken products, says Karen Bray, director of marketing. The company hired SurveyMonkey.com to conduct an e-mail survey of its subscriber list last October. 82% of more than 2,900 respondents said they were more likely to fix than replace products than in the previous year. 60% of those “fixers” said their actions were tied to the economy, Bray says.

Topics:

AdWords, Human-computer interaction, Hypertext, Internet marketing, Landing page

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