CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
The home goods e-retailer will consolidate dozens of niche online stores.
Home furnishings e-retailer PureModern LLC is shutting down dozens of specialized e-commerce sites to focus on its primary online store, PureModern.com.
This is a stark reversal in strategy that the e-retailer has pursued for four years with its expansion into niche web sites such as ModernPlanter.com, ModernPetStore.com and ModernGadget.com.
PureModern, No. 629 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, says the worker hours spent managing multiple web sites will be better focused on growth opportunities for its flagship online store. Those opportunities include international shipping, broader advertising campaigns and targeting commercial clients. PureModern is considering offering some of its more popular niche web stores at auction.
PureModern’s founder Phillip Crane advocated the multi-site strategy during a period of rapid growth. But Crane found that shoppers were not aware that purchasing from one of its niche sites was essentially the same thing as ordering from PureModern.com, he says. This led to confusion about the PureModern brand.
Placing all of its products and content on one site will also help the e-retailer show up higher on Google search results, Crane says. “With the changes in the way search engines view content, we thought it would be best to focus on the most relevant content and product mix on our primary web presence rather than risk getting penalized for duplicate content,” Crane says.
PureModern isn’t the first web retailer to consolidate multiple online stores into one e-commerce brand in recent years. In September 2011 CSN Stores renamed itself Wayfair LLC and combined about 200 home goods sites into one with the launch of Wayfair.com. Hayneedle Inc. did the same in 2009 by relabeling NetShops.com and using Hayneedle.com as the umbrella site for more than 200 specialty web stores. Wayfair is No. 50 and Hayneedle No. 85 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
PureModern brought in an Internet Retailer-estimated $9.7 million in online sales in 2011, a 9% increase over $8.9 million in 2010. Crane says the company will continue selling its products on Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Top 500, and that the consolidation of its web stores is expected to contribute to record sales in 2013.