In this issue Aoife Kinsella speaks to Robert Harris, Marketing Manager at Stakelums Home & Hardware about their ecommerce journey to date, how their online functionality helped them through Covid-19 restrictions, and their plans for the future.
Tell me about Stakelums’ ecommerce journey to date. What have been the main developments?
Stakelums Home & Hardware’s first eCommerce website was launched back in 2014 and in January 2020 they recruited me as a dedicated marketing/eCommerce manager to drive both their instore and online business. During the first lockdown we reviewed the website and began researching potential partners to collaborate with to improve our online offering.
Following a successful application for the government’s COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme, we were able to move to a new platform with Magico/ABCommerce that integrates with our EPOS for live stock levels. Our new website has brought additional functionality and has addressed issues with load speed, responsive design and UX that were present on our old website.
How did your online functionality help you in recent months?
Having a functioning eCommerce website is extremely important, especially in times of lockdown, as we were able to continue selling online and processing orders behind closed doors. This year we saw more customers online orders than ever before, many of whom were purchasing online for the first time.
Since the launch of our new website in early October, we were also able to add extra categories and products that we never sold online in the past. This allowed us to expand our online offering to better represent the range of products we have available in our physical store.
We now currently have over 5,000 products live and the integration with our EPOS now allows us to easily “web-enable” products at the push of a button. Integrating our website with our EPOS has created a smoother workflow allowing us to monitor stock levels, prices, download reports, monitor real-time analytics and process orders more efficiently.
We now also provide online finance options to our customers, allowing successful applicants the ability to “Pay in Slices” thanks to Humm by flexifi.
Your website has a .IE domain. What inspired you to make this choice?
Choosing a .IE domain identifies us instantly as an Irish company and we feel that Irish customers are more willing to support local companies, especially during the challenges of COVID-19. We have found that using an Irish domain name has helped us rank better locally for targeted keywords, improving traffic and sales. Can you tell me about any of your future plans?
The new platform we are using will allow us to continually adjust and improve our websites functionality and customer’s online shopping experience. The team at Magico/ABCommerce provide a community of experts who offer support and advice with a huge archive of step-by-step articles.
They listen to feedback from us and other clients to carefully select 3rd party plugins (advanced search, related items etc.) that add functionality and we look forward to using these and others in 2021.
What top online sales trends did you see last year?
We sell a wide range of products including electrical, paint, bathroom & tiles, garden centre, homewares, furniture, garden machinery & tool hire. The top online trends we saw since the launch of our new website in October were:
- Small Appliances (Cooking, Floorcare and Food Preparation)
- Technology (Phones, Tablets and Laptops)
- Christmas (Tress, Lights and Decorations)
What advice would you have for any similar hardware retailers/builders’ merchants looking to get started on their own online journey?
Having an eCommerce website is essential now, particularly during the turbulent times we’re all facing as businesses.
Research the supports available to your business to start building an eCommerce website if you don’t already have one and talk to Irish eCommerce providers to make sure you get the right fit.