January 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

ShoppersChoice.com reports a 13% sales increase for 2009

ShoppersChoice.com saw 2009 sales rise to $20.1 million from $17.8 million in 2008. The increase came from increased traffic to some of the mass merchandise e-retailer’s niche e-commerce sites such as BBQGuys.com.

Mass merchandise e-retailer ShoppersChoice.com LLC saw 2009 sales rise to $20.1 million, up by 13% from $17.8 million in 2008. The higher sales came from increased traffic at some of the company’s main niche web sites, such as BBQGuys.com and SportsmanGuys.com, CEO and owner Mike Hackley tells Internet Retailer.

The company devoted resources to increasing product lines and adding web site categories in 2009, Hackley says. More product offerings paid off as ShoppersChoice, No. 375 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name) also began using Google TV Ads to increase traffic, he says. Google TV Ads is an online tool that enables users to create, buy and measure national cable television advertising.

The company started selling grills and related gear online in 2001 and began using the Shoppers Choice name in 2004. The 26 niche sites, grouped by barbecue, furniture and specialty stores, soon will become the focus of most of the company’s promotional and advertising efforts and Shoppers Choice.com will become a corporate site, Hackley says.

Shoppers Choice embraced video in 2009, including the addition of a chef to develop recipes for its cooking-related e-commerce sites. “We hired a full-time chef and all he does is barbecue recipes – he tests products five days a week,” Hackley says. “He’s putting a ton of videos out. We’re going to build a kitchen set in February for indoor cooking for HomeAppliances.com and for outdoor appliances for grilling.”

Next on the agenda is a social networking site called Sportsmans Spot slated for a March launch that will be “Facebook and YouTube for hunters and rolled into one site,” Hackley says. The site will provide a forum for hunters who join the network to list and barter hunting trips and post their own hunting videos. Members also will be able to create their own pages on the network, complete with weather reports, he says.

The social network will include promotional messages from ShoppersChoice.com’s related e-commerce sites and advertising, Hackley says.

2009 didn’t yield the kind of growth Hackley is looking for consistently-20% is the 2010 target-but it was good enough to prompt the hiring of eight new employees, and goals for 2010 will require adding two or three new marketing staffers, he says.

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