Ready for the Web – taking your business to the next level
Online shopping is, without question, becoming a crucial service that end users expect – even from small, independent boutiques. The benefits are innumerable, and shrewd retailers are increasingly making use of user-friendly tech to add more channels and to extend their reach globally. Even small stores are attracting visitors from around the world because consumers have discovered their sites. The plunge into the world of eCommerce isn’t as daunting as some might think, as was discovered by k colette in Portland, Maine.
Online stores often allow customers re-engage with a brand after they have visited the physical location, and k colette is especially popular among vacationers who flock to Maine’s beaches each year. They set up their LightSpeed Web Store after several customer requests about shipping goods back to their homes in another state or country. The store is just over a year old, but they found the technology easy enough to install not long after opening, and they’re starting to see some interesting results. “One customer saw us online and drove for four hours from Canada to visit us,” explained Megan Boltz, the mind behind their web experience.
The monetary and opportunity costs of selling online are negligible compared to the ability to capture more sales by engaging with customers over the web. In other words, even the most conservative increase in sales is usually enough to justify the cost. Although sites like Amazon seem to dominate the world of eCommerce, it doesn’t mean consumers aren’t looking for independent stores with unique merchandise. Many feel comfortable shopping for “niche” products from an independent online retailers, just as they are willing to buy from independent sellers on sites like Etsy. You don’t have to go head-to-head with the majors to make a web store worthwhile; simply having a professional-looking website with well-curated merchandise can garner strong results.
Even established, more traditional brick-and-mortar stores with loyal and extensive customer bases are joining the eCommerce movement. Axel’s, a high-end boutique in Vail, Colorado, has been a favorite in the ski-resort town for almost ten years. They are dedicated to remaining competitive, and hired IT specialist Stirling Thomas to connect their LightSpeed POS to the popular eCommerce platform, Magento. “Our physical store is still the bread-and-butter, but the web store definitely helps to showcase our products.”
Some retailers are still reluctant to dedicate the energy and time it takes to run an eCommerce site, but advancing technology has made it more user-friendly than ever. An online presence makes a business look capable and and forward-thinking, but other factors that reinforce the image should also be perfected: beautiful merchandising, great in-store customer service, and so on. By focusing on tightly curated, beautifully presented merchandise, combined with an unparalleled customer experience, k colette has managed to build a strong business with a fanatical following. The same results are within the reach of any dedicated business owner.
When you feel confident in your brand, it might be time to step up your game and get online – it’s simpler than you think.