Tired of hearing the words “unprecedented times”? So are WE! These past months have been uncharted territory for most business owners. If the continuing pandemic and threat of another shut down has your head spinning, you are not alone.
While speaking with our competitors in the embroidery business and other small business owners, we all have gained lessons learned around ecommerce, switching niches, dealing with low inventories, increased cost of raw goods, and delayed shipping.
- Elevating the E-commerce Experience
While e-commerce and online stores aren’t new to decorated-apparel providers, they took on a new significance during the pandemic. E-commerce does not always work for the smaller size business. Embroidery For You STL strives to provide customers with a great shopping experience via our website and business Facebook page, while posting weekly on our business Instagram page. It is a virtual world and we have a presence on social media platforms.
Prior to March 2020, most of our bridal and commercial client consultations were in person where our customers could speak directly to us and we could offer examples and show pictures/slide shows. This one-on-one meeting helped us to fully understand the expected outcome our client had. With the extensive product ideas, font options, and thread colors we can offer, having an on-line option for clients does not work for us.
Do note there are sometimes costly expenses associated with setting up a website for on-line shopping, ordering, and payment collection.
- Maintaining (and Switching) Niches
Lots of embroidery decorators served niches that suddenly shut down overnight during COVID-19. That meant they either needed to learn new ways to serve their customers or expand into new niches. Embroidery For You STL did try to cast a wide net in the beginning of the shut down but have determined the Bridal and Commercial industries are what sticks best for us. We identified what we are really good at and enjoy, and market to those clients
- Develop new ways to market and generate new business.
During the pandemic, we took advantage of downsizing our inventory and took additional educational courses on marketing and new embroidery trends. We focused our marketing for a few months to the individual consumer for Easter, Graduations, the holiday season. While not our best use of time and dollars, this did generate some return on investment.
We try to gather as much information as possible during the initial phone call or email. We are slowly getting back to in- person consultations when possible, via social distancing appointments. Embroidery For You STL is known for our personal customer service in answering phone calls and emails LIVE versus automation. We always keep our customers apprised of their order, especially now with supply chain and shipping challenges.
As the world continues to change due to “these unprecedented times”, so does Embroidery For You STL and the decorated apparel industry .
We look forward to “Embroidering For You!”