Friday, December 24, 2010

A Shoes of Prey Store?



A few months ago we discussed the possibility of opening a Shoes of Prey store but we've recently turned off the idea.

We were particularly interested in the Oxford St. Paddington area of Sydney so we spent quite a bit of time speaking with retailers in the area. It was quite depressing. Very few retailers seemed particularly enthused by how their businesses were going and many were very negative. It seemed that most single store retailers were barely breaking even, if that.

Our concept for a store is a little different in that we have a well trafficked e-commerce store that would drive people to our physical store, so in one sense we should be able to do better than a lot of retailers, but none of us have a background in the very specialised and competitive area that is physical fashion retail so that negative may outweigh the positives. I'm sure if we threw ourselves into it we could learn and possibly do reasonably well, but we need to prioritise our time and given how other offline fashion retailers are faring at the moment I think our time is best invested elsewhere.

We're on the look out for new office space to move into in the new year, so we think a showroom as part of our office is the way to go. That means we won't need to pay retail rents for the space and we won't need to have a full time staff member in the show room as we can man it in between working in our office. It will still allow us to get a lot of the benefits in that Sydney based customers of our website can visit the showroom, but it will keep the costs in money and our time down. We'll also be able to experiment with offline retailing using the showroom and if we find that it looks like it would work as a concept, we can go down the offline retailing path at that point.

4 comments:

  1. Hey guys, like your posts about the world of business and entrepreneurilism. Especially like the fact you tell your successes, failures and more importantly lessons learnt. Keep them coming. Merry Xmas to you and the crew and every success in the New Year, may your cash flows be positive- Damien Foley.

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  2. Thanks Damien, Merry Christmas and all the best to you too!

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  3. Hey Michael, great blog! Read through it earlier in the year as a bit of light reading up in Sydney, but now with the family business moving from the wholesale jewellery world into online jewellery this has/will be a great help for us as, well not technically a start up, but I am viewing it as such!

    We didn't decide to go down the 'design your own Jewellery' path as it just isn't feasable, but our online store is finally up and running!

    Would love your feedback on it!
    http://oblo.com.au/jewellery/

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  4. Hi Simon, apologies for the delay in my reply. Glad to see you got the store up! A few quick thoughts:

    1. http://oblo.com.au is a bit of a wasted page. You want to get customers straight into it with your main landing page. Give them your unique value proposition, tell them why they should shop from you rather than your competitors straight up. At the moment your main page is more of a welcome page which is unnecessary. Also the 3 leading paragraphs on http://oblo.com.au/jewellery/ is a bit too much text. Break it down, make it simpler. See what we did with the 3 step images at http://www.shoesofprey.com/ for an example.

    2. Stock photography. It looks like you're using a lot of stock photography on the site. That turns a lot of people off very quickly. It's well worth doing a photo shoot to get some high quality images.

    3. Product photography. You're using a mix of blue backgrounds and white backgrounds in your product photography. I understand silver must be hard to photograph on a white background, but I think you need to be able to do that. Check out the product photography on http://www.oyemodern.com/ for some great examples of silver photographed on white well. While you're at it, you'll also want to get product shots from multiple angles.

    4. Product pages. This page needs some work: http://oblo.com.au/jewellery/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=26 Here's a blog post discussing our thoughts behind our recently redeveloped product page: http://www.22michaels.com/2010/09/product-page-research.html

    I hope those tips are useful, best of luck Simon!

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