September 6, 2007, 12:00 AM

PayPal pays off for redesigned Market Warehouse site

Online retailer of computer software, consumer electronics and housewares reports a 26% sales increase since launching its redesigned site and adding PayPal acceptance. International orders are up 304% and 41% of those sales are through PayPal.

Market Warehouse Inc. made two major changes as it redesigned its web site: giving more prominence to housewares and adding PayPal as a payment option. Both are paying off in a big way, as sales at the online store jumped 26% over last year since the new site went live in July.

The previous site primarily displayed computer software and consumer electronics, and gave little weight to the housewares line the company added three years ago, says Robert Steiner, the company’s general manager and co-founder. The new site gives housewares equal prominence and adds other features, such as improved navigation, clearer images and recommendations of other items that might go with the product the visitor is looking at. A customer looking at a carving knife, for instance, will also see images of a block for holding knives and a paring knife.

Those recommendations have helped boost the average order value 26.5% from $241 to $305. Meanwhile, shopping cart abandonment has gone down, from 73% to just under 70%.

But the most dramatic increase has been in the international orders, which have gone from 4% of the company’s business to 12%. PayPal accounts for more than 41% of those foreign orders. International customers may well be aware that many U.S. e-commerce sites reject foreign credit cards, and so are seeking out sites like Market Warehouse that accept PayPal, Steiner says. “Once our new site had PayPal,” he says, “international users flocked to it.”

The Market Warehouse site is hosted by Yahoo. The privately held company does not report its revenue.

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