Monday, December 7, 2009
As we discussed in an earlier post, we've been experimenting with offline retailing, and it's been working really well, more than half our sales have come about as a result of our offline efforts! That's amazing given that we've had about 20 times as many people visit our website as see our offline displays. For those of us used to measuring conversion in the online world, the conversion rate for visitors to our business that see one of our offline displays is 20 times higher than for visitors who see our website only. That's incredible, but it makes sense.
As an online retailer of custom made women's shoes we face 2 barriers to people purchasing from us:
1. People like to see and touch clothes and shoes before purchasing them, particularly high quality products like ours.
2. Customers are a little uncertain when they come across a new business concept like ours. Despite our best efforts to allay their fears, they aren't sure if the shoes are going to look like they hope they will.
When people get to see and touch our shoes, both of these barriers are overcome. They see that the shoes are very well made and that they look very similar to how they look in the designer.
After quite a bit of thought and discussion, we think it makes sense to combine some offline retailing with our online efforts, the two are very complimentary. As we see it there are two approaches we can take:
1. Our own stores.
2. Shoes of Prey displays in existing retail stores.
Given the capital requirements of option 1, we figure we should leave that possibility for now and start with option 2. Retailers displaying Shoes of Prey shoes wouldn't need to hold stock, and we think we could build a great display in 1m x 1m, so we're going to start talking to some retailers to see if they'd be interested in working with us.
As this stage we think the ideal stores for us are mid to high end women's clothing boutiques and wedding dress stores. If you know of any great boutique women's clothing or wedding stores who you think fit with our brand, please let us know!
In terms of the in store retail display, JC from The Grand Social, who have kindly hosted our latest offline efforts (see the pic above), made the good point that we should aim for a really innovative display which clearly tells the story that you can see and touch the shoes in the display, then design them online. A simple way to do this would be to include a touch screen version of our shoe designer in the display. However I'm sure there are much cooler things we could do. Any ideas?!
Posted by Michael Fox at 8:41 AM