May 3, 2006, 12:00 AM

Ace makes the web the place for independent retailers

Ace Hardware Corp. is planning a major site redesign this fall that will emphasize personalization and generating more multi-channel sales for the chain’s nearly 5,000 independent retailers.

Ace Hardware Corp. is planning a major site redesign this fall that will emphasize personalization and generating more multi-channel sales for the chain’s nearly 5,000 independent retailers. “We want to brand more around the local stores,” says Dana Kevish, interactive marketing manager for Ace.

With the redesign, Ace, No. 388 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, will feature an enhanced store locater button that’s placed more prominently on the home page.

Frequent visitors to AceHardware.com also will be redirected to a new landing page that features more content and images of the store nearest them. For instance, the new page will feature a picture of the nearest Ace store or the store manager. The page may also feature merchandise and promotions exclusive to that particular store, Kevish says. “Many of our customers shop online, but pick up their merchandise at the Ace store nearest them,” she says. “We are going to make changes that make the web site feel like an extension of their local store.”

Ace will work with GSI Commerce Inc., its third-party e-commerce provider, on the redesign. Using the web to drive more store sales is a big multi-channel marketing priority for Ace. The chain says 66% of all merchandise ordered online at AceHardware.com is picked up at a nearby store. About 33% of customers who buy-online-pickup-in-store also makes an additional purchase, Kevish says. “We are going to localize the web site,” she says.

Ace Hardware is on track to generate e-commerce sales of about $8 million in 2006, Kevish says.

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