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Clint Engel

I.O. Metro to aggressively promote new e-commerce site

LOWELL, Ark. — Home furnishings retailer I.O. Metro launched a new e-commerce website Sept. 30 and said it will begin more aggressive promotion of online sales in the coming months.

The site at offers more than 2,500 furniture items, art and accessories. Among the products are the 19-store retailer's 1492 Collection of one-of-a-kind pieces from around the world, custom upholstery and its U.S.-made Eco-Metro Collection.

The company has stores in the South and Midwest, but said it can ship product sold online anywhere in the United States except Hawaii and Alaska.

"Our customers have been asking for this for several years now. We had to oblige," said I.O. Metro CEO Jay Howard. "It was a natural and logical step for our brand."

The website is programmed to be easily used on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, allowing customers to shop on mobile devices without having to use a separate mobile version, officials said.

"Having a mobile-friendly website was very important to us," Howard said. "Our customers are on the go, and we always want to adapt and meet their needs."

He added that the mobile-friendly feature also is "a wonderful tool for our brick-and-mortar locations. Our sales associates don't have to be tied to a sales counter to access our website and can easily pull more detailed information for a customer."

The home page provides a link to I.O. Metro's house blog that will feature regular guest blogs by company spokesperson and TV design star Vern Yip. Product pages feature a "share" button that allows sharing of specific products via Twitter, Facebook, email, blog platforms and other ways. Flickr, YouTube and Issuu are used as well.

The site also features live chat.

The Lowell, Ark.-based retailer said it already has seen a 147% increase in unique visits to its site compared with six months ago, but didn't immediately provide traffic or sales numbers. I.O. Metro is offering a free shipping promotion on all online orders and said plans to roll out new promotions in the coming months.

During an upcoming Black Friday promotion, the retailer will give away an item a day for 28 days.

Howard said he expects the new website to have a positive effect on brick-and-mortar locations.

"We don't think we'll ever be able to replicate the store experience on our website, although we've tried," he said. "We do believe our new site will support our stores, with more robust information, and it will also help with general brand awareness.


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