Tool King builds out a new e-commerce strategy

No longer content with selling such items as hammers and power drills, Tool King aims to become a mass merchant and e-marketplace. It plans to grow from 400,000 to 2 million SKUs while building web sites for distributors.

Paul Demery

No longer satisfied with selling just items like hammers and power drills, Tool King LLC has set itself on a course to become a mass merchant and e-marketplace that will grow from close to 400,000 SKUs and $32 million in 2012 sales to 2 million SKUs and about $200 million in sales by 2015, founder and CEO Don Cohen tells Internet Retailer.

Already selling items in categories including apparel, sporting goods and home-and-garden, Tool King plans to launch next year a new mass market web site under a new, yet-to-be-announced brand, while maintaining ToolKing.com as a niche site for tools and related products, Cohen says.

A key part of its growth plans is expanding how it processes online sales for distributors. Tool King is expanding e-commerce technology services to help distributors grow online sales through multiple online channels, including third-party e-marketplaces like Amazon.com as well as through ToolKing.com. Tool King is the seller of record for all such sales.

Tool King now works with close to 400 distributors, who drop ship about 70% to 80% of Tool King’s orders. Tool King is also expanding its program of building for distributors branded e-commerce sites for processing sales through ToolKing.com as well as other online marketplaces. In each case, Tool King is the seller of record.

Working with an Internet-hosted e-commerce platform provided by Shopify, Tool King uses its own proprietary Facilitail E-Commerce Solution to customize sites for distributors and provide order and inventory management. Tool King charges from $5,000 to $10,000 in first-year set-up and maintenance costs per site, Cohen says.

The sites developed for distributors, which appear with branded links on the bottom half of ToolKing.com’s home page, are identified as sites operated by Tool King as the authorized dealer. Packages delivered to customers identify Tool King as the seller.

Tool King has so far developed 30 sites for distributors, and plans to launch dozens more for a total of about 100 next year, Cohen says.  

Tool King is No. 384 in the Internet Retailer Top 500.