This article is PART TWO of a two part series about a boutique owner in New Jersey, and how he was able to skyrocket his ecommerce business with the help of Material’s ecommerce toolkit.
Haven’t read PART ONE yet? Read that here.
Remember Mike, from Comfy Shoes? You know, the owner of a family-owned shoe business based in New Jersey that has been in business since 1947, that made waves as an ecommerce trendsetter with his “Donate A Pair” campaign in early 2020, that allowed his customers to donate a pair of shoes to a local New Jersey healthcare worker? Mike was able to keep their 73 year family business afloat and give back to his community with the help of the Material’s ecommerce toolkit and some quick thinking on his part.
Now, let’s fast forward to Summer 2022. Business was going well at Comfy Shoes, but supply chain issues pressed on, as they did for all retailers, and consumers were certainly becoming aware of them. With a deep history in shoe sales and trends, Mike had always followed the trends in his industry. However, he now watched as new styles quickly went viral and became almost impossible to find; whether it was UGG ultra minis with 6+ month pre-order timelines from department stores or Birkenstocks’ elusive Arizona style in “teddy”; people were going to never-before-seen lengths to get their hands on a pair of the latest “must have” shoe.
Just as he did in March 2020, Mike trusted his gut. He isn’t a digital marketer by training, but he is an entrepreneur and does know his customers and his business best. Just as he always had for inventory reasons, Mike consistently kept track of his products. But with Material’s analytics and reporting, his inventory became easier to manage and offered new opportunities and perspectives to view his products with. To gain insights into what his top selling shoes were, Mike pulled custom sales reports from Material and spotted a pattern; he noticed sales steadily increasing month-over-month for a specific pair of shoes: the Birkenstocks Boston clog.
With some quick supplemental market research, he learned that this was the next “it” shoe–and he knew that soon they’d be almost impossible to find just about anywhere–and spoiler alert: he did.
Here’s how he did this: in addition to noticing his sales slowly increasing for this style, he noticed the lead times for re-ordering the Boston clogs were much longer than usual. Mike reached out to his rep at Birkenstocks who informed him that their inventory was really low, and without hesitation, Mike asked to purchase the entire remainder of their inventory in that style. Before he knew it, Mike had his hands on enough pairs to corner the entire market.
Mike had so many Boston clogs, in fact, that his net sales grew from July to August by 598% and between August and September by 720%. Even with colder weather in October, his sales of the clogs were only down by 36% from September’s boom.
Traffic to Comfy Shoes’ site was inevitable since they were one of the only retailers in the country with deep stock of the elusive and popular style, but it was also mostly effortless for Mike to drive traffic to the site, since Material’s team provides merchants like Comfy Shoes with marketing services, including arming them with a SEO strategy to optimize their online presence and help the right customers find their business.
With the rapid increase in sales volume, Comfy Shoes’ partnership with Material allowed them to print customers’ outbound shipping labels at discounted rates, and helped Mike and his employees stay on top of existing and incoming orders directly from the Material dashboard. The reporting tools from within Material help him stay on top of inventory and to easily analyze new trends and make informed decisions about how much to re-order.
But Mike is already one step ahead of the game, tracking his next whale by using the same reporting in the Material dashboard that helped him identify the Bostons clogs over the summer. And when he finds it, he’ll be able to get the style listed in a flash and marketing materials ready-to-go, all thanks to the managed services team at Material.