Now we’ve closed our shop, it gives us time to make some much-needed website improvements.
It’ll take some time, of course – there’s still a lot of work to do just sorting out what stock has ended up where ! The plan is that actual stock lives in easy-access secure storage, while labelling and packing is done from home in a new home office log cabin. That’s been subject to some delay – if you need a shed or garden outbuilding, I’d suggest avoiding a company called Garden Buildings Direct. So far, it’s taken nearly 7 weeks, 3 deliveries and about 30 phone calls and we’re still short of a third of the pieces we need to build the thing.
Even before that is sorted out however, there’s a plan ! It looks something like this…..
- Have a couple of days off. It’ll be the first time in over a year that we haven’t worked 7 days a week, and will give our spines and minds time to recover a bit !
- Ruthlessly cull products and categories from the website which are either not performing, not profitable, or where we have had supplier issues. Sadly, this means losing Games Workshop, as they have advised they are unwilling to supply businesses without a bricks & mortar shop that jumps through the hoops they set. It’s a shame that adherence to an inflexible policy means more to them than losing the £125,000+ we spent with them in the last 12 months alone.
- Optimise the surviving products and categories to really create website improvements. This will be a mix of re-jigging categories, moving products to more logical places, improving images and descriptions, and a bunch of “behind the scenes” improvements. I have a feeling this will be more of an ongoing process than a single task !
- Re-work the formulas that set our stock levels to maximise product availability. The cost of shop overheads, high levels of shoplifting, and need to keep up with Games Workshop’s frantic release schedule had a fairly negative impact on our cashflow. Over a period of time we’ll be able to “re-inflate” the categories which didn’t get enough investment, and we’ll recalculate the stock levels we should hold for each product.
- Investigate whether adding back some of the non-performing products as special-order items is feasible and would make our customers happy.
- Once we’re comfortable that things are running smoothly, start looking at new products and ranges to stock.
All of these website improvements are likely to take a little while, with many of them becoming an ongoing process. But the goal is that it is very much a new start for SnM Stuff as we get back to doing what we are good at and put the blind-alley of having the shop behind us.