Thinks of the Bigger Strategic Picture

October 15, 2008

An updated e-commerce platform launched in conjunction with other new technology is helping diversify its web strategy.

This summer, No. 259 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide , moved from its old e-commerce platform from MarketLive Inc. to a hosted application from Demandware. also installed an analytics package from Omniture and an e-mail marketing program from Yesmail.

With better technology, the online retailer now can make major design changes faster, which is speeding up the launch of more microsites, says Jason Roussos, president of Richlund Ventures Inc., operator of “We can now build multiple web sites in a hosted environment using just one standard catalog, and do it quickly,” Roussos says.

Also this summer, which generated web sales of $30 million in 2007, launched as a universal branding site. Over time will launch more microsites such as, a forthcoming e-commerce destination that will sell a variety of beer cooling equipment and related accessories. But the company also will use, which sells wine and beverage cooling and dispensing products, compact appliances and specialty items, as a universal brand that will drive traffic to its present and future microsites, Roussos says. was founded as a niche business–the site carries more than 1,500 SKUs and specializes in selling small appliances for tight living and office space. Another microsite,, sells tankless water heaters. By migrating to a universal brand, sees a new opportunity to appeal to a broader universe of specialty appliance shoppers and improve its online marketing program, including search engine optimization. “ will be a destination and over time will become our main brand,” Roussos says. “Shoppers can come to and do a live chat, read and participate in customer reviews, and blog. It will be a branded entity for specialized appliance shoppers.”

Bolstered by upgraded technology and a more diversified e-commerce strategy, expects to finish out the year in good order, with web sales up by 25% or higher, he says.

Jason Roussos spoke in June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition and his audio-visual presentation at IRCE 2008 is available on CD-ROM.

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