Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
After its web sales declined in 2007, Tool King ramped up its online operations with more product content and interactive Web 2.0 features like Toologics.com, a microsite that lets visitors share information in forums. The strategy worked as 2008 web sales rose 10%.
2007 was not a good year for Tool King-web sales dropped 18.5%. So it brainstormed and decided that providing more information-much more information-along with adding Web 2.0 tools and entering the realm of social networking would capture more repeat customers and attract new ones looking to better understand tools and projects.
The strategy worked. In 2008, web sales for Tool King grew by 10% to about $24.2 million from $22 million in 2007.
“We were placing too much emphasis on new customer acquisition,” says company founder and managing partner Donald Cohen. “Now ToolKing.com is focused on customer retention and we’ve narrowed our merchandising categories and made the site much more interactive.”
The company expanded Toologics.com, a microsite that enables visitors to share information in various forums, post and view classified ads, and access product buying guides. The microsite, which attracts about 50,000 unique visitors each month, now features an in-depth blog and more tool-related news, product reviews, contests and how-to guides.
TV’s Tool King
Additionally, Toologics.com and ToolKing.TV, a dedicated site Tool King added in October, now feature more than 100 internally produced product and how-to videos. The video site draws about 10,000 unique visitors each month.
To appeal to bargain-minded tool shoppers, Tool King also added ToolaDay.com, a section that offers a deal on one specially selected tool or accessory. The deal is available until the end of a given day or until the available inventory is sold out. ToolaDay.com, which Tool King launched in October, is drawing about 4,000 unique visitors per day, Cohen says.
And Tool King is starting to use Facebook and YouTube to extend its brand across social networks. “We’re a small company adding the same Web 2.0 applications that a shopper would find on a much bigger brand name site,” Cohen says. “We’re remaking ToolKing.com into an online destination with relevant content and not just a site that sells tools.”