A hardware retailer uses Manage Your Experiments to help multiple brands boost sales in Amazon’s store

"The Manage Your Experiments tool allows us to ask, ‘Are all these additional things going to make a difference in the future, or is the thing we’ve been doing the last year or two still working well?’"
Headshot image of Ben Huge
Ben Huge
Brand Manager, Onkata Hardware Sales, Inc
ESTWING Sure Strike Drilling/Crack Hammer

From brick-and-mortar sales to e-commerce leader

In 1962, Onkata began as a brick-and-mortar hardware store called Hardware Sales in Bellingham, Washington. That storefront still exists today as a trusted source for tools, building materials, and home and garden supplies, but the founder of Onkata’s online division, Steve Douge, always had an eye on the future. He sold hardware goods on eBay in the late 1990s and early 2000s, until he got what was then a rare chance to start selling his goods on the up-and-coming e-commerce platform Amazon.com. That opportunity began a journey of growth that has culminated in the successful management of over a dozen hardware brands in Amazon’s store.

Structuring streamlined success in Amazon’s store

Onkata’s business structure is unique. They employ workers in three different environments: retail, warehousing, and e-commerce support. Over 100 people work at their brick-and-mortar location in Bellingham, WA. They employ hundreds of workers in a warehouse outside of Indianapolis, Indiana and another in Ferndale, Washington. Their e-commerce arm, comprised of several dozen people, manages Amazon Brand accounts for over a dozen brands.

Companies like AccuTec, Barleans, Scratch and Peck Feeds, and Spyderco Knives hire Onkata to organize and optimize their product listings and brand presence in Amazon’s store through Brand Registry. “We created a strategy that lets us work directly with companies to represent them in the Amazon store and manage their brands,” says Ben Huge, Onkata’s e-commerce brand manager.

He explains that with so many different distributors, brands couldn’t efficiently manage product pricing or sales. They prefer to have one entity represent their image and control their inventory rather than third-party sellers.

Ben and his team help brands choose quality graphics and text for A+ Content and develop and run A/B tests to optimize that content using Manage Your Experiments.
Our work is all about cleaning up a brand’s presence in the Amazon store and utilizing our expertise, our experience, and our warehousing to the brand’s benefit.
Ben HugeBrand Manager, Onkata Hardware Sales, Inc

Manage Your Experiments helps Onkata revamp content and boost sales by 5x

At the end of 2020, one of Onkata’s clients came to them with a unique goal. AccuTec, a razor blade manufacturer, wanted to increase their total annual sales figures in their American Line brand from about $125,000 to over $500,000. Ben’s team utilized various tools, most importantly Manage Your Experiments, to improve conversion rates, showcase their brand, and increase sales by over five times.

“Because of our ability to test which images and keywords had higher click-through and conversion rates, we were able to significantly grow sales figures for AccuTec’s razor blades,” says Ben. Thanks to subtle changes in listing content driven by learnings from A/B testing in the Manage Your Experiments tool, the sales of packs of razor blade refills jumped from $15,000 in 2021 to $122,000 in 2022.
New Graphic

How a small graphic change quadrupled sales figures

Onkata conducted several experiments for AccuTec’s American Line razor blade brand. They ran A/B tests to compare the click-through and conversion rates of the razor blade’s original graphic, a simple photo of the package of razor blades, against a new graphic, which included an image of an actual razor blade in the foreground with the package in the background. They also ran a test to compare the original product listing title with a version that contained different keywords.

The results were outstanding! “We figured there would be some growth once we published the listing that performed stronger in the test,” Ben explains. “We were surprised by just how much American Line’s sales jumped once we added the image of the razor blade in front of the package on the primary listing image.”
With Manage Your Experiments, we can explain what’s going on in a customer’s marketplace. We justify the changes or recommendations we want to make thanks to the data Manage Your Experiments produces, and more importantly, we can give our customers positive results.
Ben HugeBrand Manager, Onkata Hardware Sales, Inc

Manage Your Experiments outcomes can inform business decisions that facilitate growth

Results from A/B tests run with Manage Your Experiments can impact practical business decisions. Thanks to their experience selling with Amazon, Onkata learned that there was a demand for cases of razor blade refills. “Breaking down cardboard in warehouses, you’re going through razor blades quickly,” Ben explains.

Onkata helped AccuTec work with Amazon Business to offer multipack sales of razor blade refills, including cases. “We knew that adding the picture of the razor blade itself increased sales, so we made sure it was in the graphic of the razor blade packages with multiple packs. We were able to advise AccuTec ahead of time to boost inventory and prepare for more sales.”

A/B testing yields datadriven sales boost

Doorstud is another brand whose Amazon listings and strategy are managed by Onkata. They offer a specialized tool that lets one person install a door. Ben and his team experimented with subtle changes in language in the listing title that better optimized the product in customer searches.

By adding the phrase “front door” to their listing titles, they increased conversion rates by 8% and sold more units compared to a listing title without that phrase. “Adding the words ‘front door’ was better for the listing,” Ben says. “We then saw a strong July and August, and they were our best months in 2022.”

Using positive results to benefit other brands

Onkata’s unique business model allows them to apply what they learn in Manage Your Experiments tests on a product from one brand to other brands they work with. “Even when there were low moments with our most popular item, other items would take its place because we used the same strategy across the board,” Ben says of the razor blade image in the foreground.

By applying positive Manage Your Experiments results across multiple brands, Onkata has positioned itself as a trusted, knowledgeable leader for brand management in Amazon’s store.
One of our biggest clients was blown away with the results we achieved with Manage Your Experiments and other brand tools. We exceeded their expectations.
Ben HugeBrand Manager, Onkata Hardware Sales, Inc


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