Nancy wanted to bring Good feelings and Good things to the people who lived on and visited the Atlantic coast oasis of Long Beach Island. She launched The Good Life Gift Boutique in 2007 and it quickly became one of the favourite shops on the island. Nancy would work tirelessly to bring in the best things she could find, keeping it interesting for visitors to her shop. They found unique items, cheerful décor and helpful staff in this cute little store.
Her business grew year over year until 2016, and then the growth slowed. After a few years of looking for answers, attending all the trade shows, joining mastermind groups, she decided to launch an eCommerce website to complement her physical store.
In retrospect, the timing of her launch was pretty lucky. After months of preparation, The Good Life Boutique’s online store launched in April 2020, just as the east coast was going into stricter lock-downs. Before long, Nancy’s store on the island had to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. The online store was all she had to keep her business alive. She launched with an email to her existing customers, and they responded with orders. May was a great month! However, after that initial launch, the flow of orders was reduced to a trickle.
Nancy and Sue had known each other for several years, and even held weekly “accountability calls” in which they would brainstorm their business ideas and encourage each other to take steps toward their success. In October 2020, after reduced occupancy and consumer pandemic in-store fears that affected sales, Nancy asked Sue to join her team at The Good Life to add marketing insight and technical expertise.
The physical store was open again by now, and they were heading into the biggest gift-giving season of the year. It was time to turn things around. Together they made a plan for Black Friday and got busy executing it.
The plan involved several aspects of marketing for the store, both for online sales as well as in the physical store. Email campaigns were crafted, featuring the unique items and curated collections Nancy had worked so hard to bring into the store. They attracted additional new potential customers to the website with online advertising on Facebook and Instagram, including incentives for these new visitors to the site to add themselves to the mailing list.
By the time the week of Black Friday (also known as Thanksgiving week!) rolled around, The Good Life’s customers were ready and eager to do their gift shopping online. They showed up in the store too, and Nancy had her best November and December sales since 2016!
As with all cyclical businesses, sales dropped off a bit at the start of 2021, and yet another wave of COVID-19 grew. Fearing the worst, another full shut down of the store, the marketing plan was carried forward with additional aspects.
The catalogue was brought into Facebook so all items could be browsed by Facebook users, and tagged in posts with direct links to shop the store.
Email marketing did a lot of the heavy lifting for The Good Life in this period, and Instagram and Facebook were used to promote new items daily.
Search marketing was improved by bringing the catalogue into Google as well, has also been a huge support with 50% of online sales from March through Mother’s Day 2021 coming from searches, and another 30% from email campaigns.
The online store is getting more and more visitors each month, and the business overall had the best April since 2016.
Through building the online store, and leveraging it as a point of contact for customers, it’s become clear that it has driven a tremendous number of customers into the brick-and-mortar store. Many of them have even commented “It so nice to see that you have the same things in the store as you do on the website”, acknowledging the congruence and how the website and store support each other.
Nancy has commented, “I wish I had done the online store sooner.”
If you would like to turn things around for your business, get in touch to discuss where you are at and where you would like to go. If it sounds like a fit, let’s chart a path for your business to grow online and in-store just like The Good Life Boutique has.