Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
BlackandDecker.com now features user-generated content and improved navigation.
Tool manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker Inc. launched a rehabbed BlackandDecker.com last month, having rewired the site to give do-it-yourselfers a chance to brag about their home improvement successes and share project plans. The e-commerce site also features improved navigation, the company says.
The new site replaced a design that had been in place since 2000. Over the course of 10 years, navigating the site become more difficult because content managers kept adding to it without giving much consideration to how a user would interpret it, the company says.
“I don’t know how anybody found anything on there, to be honest,” says Christine Regan, interactive marketing manager for the Black & Decker brand. BlackandDecker.com receives more than 250,000 unique visitors a month, according to Compete Inc. data.
The new site channels visitors through three main categories that research showed consumers most wanted when they visited the site: products and accessories, parts and service, and projects and advice. The projects and advice channel contains most of the site’s new elements. “Our strategy was to develop a blend of pure product information and user-generated content. For the projects and advice area, we provide information from Black & Decker and also allow users themselves to put up examples of their own work,” says Jennifer Brian, director of operations at Band Digital Inc., the agency Black & Decker hired for the work.
The section features before-and-after photos of projects and step-by-step directions for projects submitted by users. Each submission is open for ratings and comments. Black & Decker turned to its community of nearly 13,000 Facebook fans and asked them to submit their work in the run-up to the launch to help populate the site. The company also e-mailed its database of more than 900,000 customers. It ran a short contest to pick the top 10 before-and-after photos to feature at the site’s debut.
The project took about two years to complete, with most of the technical work taking up about 11 months. Band and Black & Decker’s information technology team worked together to migrate old content and system requirements into the newly built system. Brian says the social elements of the site were customized by the digital agency but built on Demand Media’s Pluck platform.
Black & Decker does not currently sell direct to consumers from the site. Consumers that click the ‘buy’ button are referred to retailers that sell Black & Decker products, although the company says it will be integrating its direct-to-consumer eBay store feed to the site soon.
Product pages will feature links to projects posted by consumers and by Black & Decker where the product is used. “It will give consumers the 360-degree view on how it can be used and information on what others are thinking about it,” she says.
Consumers also can send product or project plan information to their e-mail, Facebook accounts or mobile devices. The site is not optimized for mobile—that is in the works for 2011, Regan says—but the company expects that the send-to-mobile capability will help consumers find products they discover online in stores. A project plan, for example, includes a shopping list of the tools and supplies needed to complete it, Regan says.