For small independent retailers, store traffic can be everything. That’s why the traditionally slow months following the holiday season can be such a challenge each year.
Mike and Maria Smyth knew about such challenges in 2015 when they opened their fun and charming store in historic downtown Wabash, Indiana. The Eclectic Shoppe showcases the work of local artists ranging from pottery and paintings to hand-painted tees and jewelry.
“We are giving artisans a place where they can survive,” says Maria.
Problems with profitability
While initial sales were strong, the Smyths saw early on that they needed to double revenues to achieve profitability. The problem was, they were so busy with day-to-day operations they had little time to create a proactive and comprehensive marketing plan that could encompass an email campaign, an updated website and marketing materials maximized to support such growth.
In a favorable twist of fate, however, the Eclectic Shoppe was selected for a $500,000 Small Business Revolution Main Street makeover from the city of Wabash. The couple jumped at the chance to work with Deluxe to fulfill their marketing wish list.
Increasing brand identity
The Deluxe team immediately noted the Eclectic Shoppe was in need of a cohesive and memorable brand identity, ideally one showcasing the Smyths’ compelling startup story involving their love of travel. As such, a Deluxe design specialist first focused on creating one unified logo that captured the personality of the store and artists, as well as the owners’ philosophy; thus the sunrise design came to be, representing the idea that each day is a new opportunity.
Deluxe, to ensure brand synergy, then gave the Smyths’ website a major upgrade. Their previous content was thin and lacked a clear call-to-action, but Deluxe was able to maximize imagery and storytelling to highlight Eclectic Shoppe’s unique product mix while providing space for local artists’ stories. With the design work accomplished, Deluxe turned their attention toward customer growth.
Excelling through email
Email is the cornerstone of a successful marketing plan — it provides business owners with a direct line to consumers, and is a great tool to boost sales. If the Smyths wanted to drive foot traffic to their store, they were going to need an effective email marketing strategy aimed at encouraging return visits.
The Eclectic Shoppe’s first email campaign kicked off with 100 addresses gathered via a notebook placed near the store’s cash register. Since then, that customer database has grown, and the store has launched a program through which it messages customers weekly or bi-weekly to share upcoming events, promote sales and highlight new artist collections. The Smyths have also started integrating email into other aspects of their marketing strategy. Their website, for instance, encourages customer connections via email newsletter updates.
The development of the Smyths’ email marketing strategy was perhaps the most impressive change made during this time. Email has become an important focal point for the business, and early campaign results show strong click-through rates to the business’ website and social properties, a trend expected to continue to drive sales as customer awareness ramps up.
The end result? The Smyths now have the marketing tools in place to attract both new and existing customers to their shop, counteracting the slower months by doing what Maria calls, “stepping it up a notch.” Their emails have open rates of roughly 25 percent, which exceeds industry standards. Shortly after launching their first email campaign, they doubled sales from their grand opening month. Now that’s an exhibit of success their artists are proud to get behind.