Special Report

America's Best (and Worst) Online Retailers

The Worst

6. (tie) FTD.com
> Rating: 74
> Type: Flowers
> Audience: 1.1 million unique visitors.

FTD  — or Florists’ Transworld Delivery Inc. — was founded in 1910. Today it is a unit of United Online Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTD). Customers can order flowers via an 800 number or online, which can be delivered to many nations around the world. FTD also operates through a number of independent florists. The FTD website shows a broad array of flowers and flower arrangements, along with candy, jewelry and plants.

6. (tie) PCConnection.com
> Rating: 74
> Type: Computers and accessories
> Audience: 80,000

PCConnection.com is a small competitor to major PC and electronics sites, including TigerDirect and NewEgg, one of the most highly rated sites by Foresee. The PCConnection website is owned by PC Connection Inc. (NASDAQ: PCCC). The company claims that it offers 300,000 products from more than 1,600 manufacturers. A large part of PC Connection’s revenue comes from its divisions that work with the government, small and mid-sized businesses, and companies that need IT consulting. It its most recent quarter, the firm reported revenue of $561.3 million. PCConnection.com offers thousands of PC products, including  monitors, printers and scanners, as well as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) hardware.

Also Read: Eight Outrageous CEO Perks

6. (tie) Shop.com
> Rating: 74
> Type: Comparison shipping
> Audience: 650,000

Shop.com is owned by Market America, which describes itself as a shopping comparison site business and a supplier of services to its network of entrepreneurs that “allows them too create ongoing income, while providing consumers worldwide with a better shopping experience.” Market America bought Shop.com in January 2011. Shop.com runs an online auction service and has e-commerce sections for most off the products that a general merchandise site would — clothing, electronics, consumer goods. It also has a travel section powered by Travelocity.

3. (tie) CrateandBarrel.com
> Rating: 73
> Type: Furniture, home goods
> Audience: 2.2 million unique visitors

Crate & Barrel has over 100 stores and a catalogue business. The retailer, founded in 1962, sells a full line of furniture for both homes and offices. It also has a large inventory of dining room furniture and dining accessories and several lines of bed and bath supplies.

3. (tie) Nutrisystem.com
> Rating: 73
> Type: Diets
> Audience: 200,000

The website is part of Nutrisystem Inc. (NASDAQ: NTRI), which went public in 1999. It offers special diet programs for men, women and diabetics. The diet programs are complemented by online and telephone counseling. The company also offers a community center to encourage people who are trying to lose weight to tap into support groups. Since 2001, it has marketed some of its products and services on QVC.

3. (tie) RueLaLa.com
> Rating: 73
> Type: Personal shopping
> Audience: 1.5 million unique visitors

RueLaLa.com’s online traffic has grown considerably as it reaches into the online personal shopping business. To shop on the site, a customer must be a “member” and provide information such as e-mail address and gender. The member then gets access to several “boutiques” that each have a small selection of products. Some of these are open for only a limited number of days. Unlike many sites, RueLaLa.com makes certain to tell customers when items are sold out  The site also does marketing for local “hot spots” and restaurants in seven cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

1. (tie) Fingerhut.com
> Ranking: 72
> Type: General merchandise
> Audience: 5.6 million unique visitors

Fingerhut, founded in 1948, describes itself as “a nation-wide direct retailer.” The company uses direct mail, affiliates who refer shoppers and the Web to drive revenue. It also offers customer financing directly through WebBank/Fingerhut Credit Accounts. Fingerhut.com is similar to most other general merchandise sites. The departments are set up like a “mini-Amazon,” with products and services as diverse as consumer electronics, furniture, home supplies, health and beauty, and jewelry.

1. (tie) Gilt.com
> Rating: 72
> Type: Personal shopping
> Audience: 796,000 unique visitors

Gilt.com offers high-end clothing, home furnishing, food and travel to “members” who have signed up for the Gilt service. The company promises discounts of as much as 60% of retail price. Beyond whatever advantages membership offers, the site’s products are relatively normal clothes and accessories. Well-known online entrepreneur Kevin Ryan founded the company in 2007 as an “opportunity to start online flash sales.” Its customer service ranking may make it difficult to retain well-to-do clients.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Also Read: America’s Disappearing Restaurant Chains

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