News creates a home for pros

August 2, 2012 11:30 AM

Building trades professionals that sign up for Inc.’s Pro Program now have a dedicated sub-site to’s primary e-commerce site to view special pricing.

Besides offering builders discounts, the Pro Program also assigns each builder a dedicated customer service representative, says Gary Clark, the Pro Program manager. “Our representatives will follow up with our pros on a regular basis to ensure all products are on track and they didn’t arrive broken or damaged,” Clark says. Representatives also may make product recommendations and double check to ensure products meet the purchaser’s specifications, he says. Launched in 2010, the Pro Program has more than 50,000 active members, says. The discount pricing has always been a part of the program, says.

Though about 80% of’s sales are direct to consumer, Clark says home improvement professionals are growing in importance to the web-only retailer.’s pro sales currently are 50% greater than at this time last year, says Brandon Proctor, vice president of marketing.

A pro makes a purchase about every 90 days on compared with every 180 days for a consumer, he adds. “A regular consumer might buy products to remodel one room, while a pro is constantly working on something,” Clark says.’s 2011 web sales totaled an estimated $300 million according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 guide. is No. 81 in the guide.

Visitors to the pro site are greeted with a dialogue box with options to select if they already belong to the Pro Program, want to sign up for it or are a consumer, in which case they are redirected to the primary e-commerce site. vets each applicant to ensure he is a home improvement professional.

The pro site itself required little tweaking, retaining the same format and product SKUs as the consumer site, Proctor says. Among the tweaks are the special pricing, adding a link to offer suggestions and an invitation for Pro Program members to submit photos of their projects. Eventually, will showcase these photos on the site, Proctor says.




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